Tag Archives: Travel

Richard Twynam – Azamara Club Cruises

In Pursuit of Richard Twynham

Find out how Azamara Club Cruises’ Managing Director Richard Twynam took 70 flights in a year and still managed to find time for exercise, family and golf.

How did you end up working in the Cruise Industry and what was your first job?

I applied for a job in the Sunday Times to be Managing Director of Virgin Holidays Cruises in 2010, which somehow I got.

If you could have chosen anything else as a career what would it be?

A Professional Golfer.

What makes Azamara Club Cruises stand out from other cruises?

We have a single minded focus on destination first.

As Managing Director of Azamara Club Cruises, what is an average day in the life for you?

What I like is that there is no average day if you like. But most Tuesdays are made up of one to ones with the sales folks in the morning, followed by trading meeting at lunchtime, followed by various internal meetings in the afternoon. Then there will be events to attend every week.

I travel a lot in my role throughout the UK, Europe and to HQ in Miami, so am on a plane most weeks, I did over 70 flights for work last year which was exceptional.

What was your last holiday?

A week in Crete with my family in May, and staycation with the family in September.

Have you got your next holiday booked and what/where is it?

A long Christmas break to visit our family in California!

Your job role must require organisation, focus and a lot of energy. Do you have any lifestyle/ personal management tips you can give us?

Key things for me are balance and I’ve learned this year the power of fitness too, thanks to my wife who is a yoga teacher.

So we have a couple of simple rules.

No tech upstairs at home.  No phones, no tv’s, no tablets. Bedtime is about switching off.

There is always time for exercise. We have 2 tiny children, so we have a trainer come to the house at 7am whilst the kids eat their breakfast!!

What are your hobbies?

Being a dad, golf when I can and keeping fit. We have a large garden so I love tinkering with that.

Name one or more things on your bucket list.

The Cook Islands and a drive across Canada.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about taking their first cruise?

It’s like any holiday, don’t over complicate it, keep it simple, choose your destination first, and then what type of cruise, and always use a travel professional that will sell you what is right for you.

To browse the beautiful itineraries Azamara Club Cruises have to offer, go to https://www.azamaraclubcruises.com/

WOULD YOU LOVE TO WORK ON A CRUISE SHIP?

HОW TO GET WORK ON A CRUISE SHIР

I have lost count of the number of times people have asked me to do a blog about how to get work on a cruise ship. It’s no insiders secret but I guess when you have so many agencies online it can be daunting. If you have read my post about my journey in the industry, you will know how much I loved every minute of it. So here is a guide to avoid the scammers and improve your chances of a life at sea.

Cruise line or Agency?

When it comes to finding work on a cruise ship, there are a number of things that you can do to increase your chances of success. It is a competitive industry and anything you can do to help with that dream job should be considered. One thing you can do is get an agency to help you find a job, especially if you are looking to work as part of the entertainment team.

Because of the high volume of job applicants, cruise lines use agencies to help them find the best candidates. They will interview the applicants and do all the hiring on behalf of the cruise line. They will also get your cv up to a high standard to maximise your potential.

Agencies make their money by earning a commission when you start working, so their goal is to get you that job. They also have the contacts to make things happen, and they will probably know the right people to approach to find you the work. This is a huge advantage for someone just starting off in the business.

You can also send an application directly to the cruise line. There are some useful links at the end of this post. If you do decide to use an agency, make sure you use the ones that don’t charge you an fees upfront as they will receive a commission from the cruise line when they have secure you a job on a cruise ship.

A Smile Goes A Long Way

One thing you must do to increase your chance of getting your dream job is to include a photograph with your cv. This always goes down well with the cruise lines as it offers something a little bit extra, especially if you are applying for a position that is front of house. A warm genuine smile goes a long way. You would be surprised by the number of people who do not send a photo, so give yourself the best chance of success and include one in your application.

It does not have to be a professional photograph. As long as it is a pleasant photograph that shows you looking smart and smiling, that is all they are looking for. After all, you will be representing the brand as a crew member, so look at it from their point of view.

What Sort of Work on a Cruise Ship Can I Do?

There are so many different jobs to choose from, with so many ships at sea these days. For instance, certain cruise lines will have more entertainment jobs, whereas others will have more hotel services positions available.

Obviously you will be working, but you will also be traveling. To spend as much time ashore as possible, work out schedules with your fellow co-workers. It may sound like a daunting task, but trust me its not a big deal and can be sorted out fairly simply. Some departments get to make their own schedule. Casinos and shops are not allowed to open while in port so if you work in one of those areas you will have more opportunity to get off the ship.

Websites To Apply For Work On A Cruise Ship

Royal Caribbean Shipboard Careers

Carnival Careers At Sea

MSC Cruises Careers

Recommended Reading

You can read my interviews with Marc Walker, Cruise Director for Royal Caribbean and Lee Mudkins, Guest Relations Manager for Fred Olsen, to get an idea of their day to day life.

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An Invitation To The Luxury Travel Fair

First Train Ride Ever

I was thrilled when my VIP invitation to the Luxury Travel Fair popped through the letterbox. This gave me the perfect excuse to take Joshua on his first train journey. The event was held at Kensington Olympia which has a dedicated station.  It was easy from Weybridge with one change at Clapham Junction we were there in no time.

Joshua was fascinated by the train ride, asking questions throughout the journey.

The Luxury Travel Fair

The Luxury Travel Fair was in full swing when we arrived around 11.30.  I was raring to go and meet suppliers of luxury tours and travel.  Joshua was in his pushchair and during the short walk from the station to the venue, he had fallen asleep.

Celebrity Cruises branding for the Luxury Travel Fair, but no sign of the cruise line at the show.

Saint Lucia Tourist Board had a great stand and were running a competition to win a holiday.  As if that wasn’t good enough, once you had entered the competition you were given a free cocktail token.  It seemed rude not to indulge, and after all it is all part of my research as a luxury travel agent.  I took one sip and decided I should take my time with it.  It was strong!

Wandering off, rum cocktail in hand, I spotted Head of UK Sales for Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Paul Beale. The stand was very busy, but Paul kindly made time to say hello to me and we had a brief chat.

Then I saw the lovely Louise Craddock, Regional Sales Manager for Oceania Cruises on their stand. She was busy chatting away to visitors who were eagerly clutching a brochures, so I didn’t stop.

The Champagne Bar, I couldn’t resist a cheeky glass of bubbles.  Just as the bartender popped the cork, Joshua decided to wake up.

Prepared with the distractions of a fruit shoot and a packet of mini cheddars, I knew I had little time to enjoy my Louis Roederer.

As expected Joshua wanted to explore, so it was time to go next door to check out the Spirit of Christmas Fair.

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Crystal Symphony – Family Friendly Luxury

Crystal Cruises offer the small ship ultra luxury cruise for all generations. The all-inclusiveness of Crystal Symphony means there is no need to sign a check every time you order a drink. With a capacity of 940 passengers and staff to guest ratio of 1 to 1.6, there is always someone only too happy to cater to your every whim.

Penthouse Suite with Verandah

Boutique Hotel with a Different View Every Day

Crystal Symphony recently underwent a $15m redesign, so I was invited onboard to see the results. Crystal’s largest ship in the fleet has the stylish elegance of a boutique hotel, in addition to the benefit of waking up somewhere new every day.

Penthouse Suite with Verandah

Crystal Cruises have Something for Everyone

The 19th-century gentleman’s club style piano bar Avenue Saloon, is one of the ship’s most popular venues with its leather sofas, velvet curtains and mahogany woods. Palm Court located at the top of the ship offers breathtaking views and is the perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea.

Palm Court with panoramic views is reminiscent of classic Hollywood glamour.

Crystal Cruises’ Fantasia and Waves programmes for children and teens are divided into age groups 3-7, 8-12 and 13-17.  Onboard activities include, pool games, scavenger hunts, cookie baking, pizza making, fashion shows, karaoke, late night parties, teen discos and much more.  The library offers plenty of children’s books and board games as well as a Sony Playstation and Xbox 360.

Waves – Crystal Cruises Teen Club Hangout

Crystal Fine Dining, Casual and Alfresco

Crystal Cruises serves a range of cuisine to suit all tastes. Enjoy a poolside meal or snack at the Trident Bar and Grill with beef, chicken or veggie burgers, tuna melts, wraps and pizzas is available.  The ice-cream bar stocks a selection of delicious Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, fresh cookies and non-fat frozen yoghurt.

The Trident Bar and Grill has an all weather alfresco feel, with a retractable roof.

For something more formal the Crystal Dining Room offers three menus of Modern, Classic or Lighter Fare.

Full Ship Tour of Crystal Symphony

Where My Passion for Flying Began

A Flying Start

When I was a child, my Dad worked as a baggage handler for British Airways. He used to wear a uniform that, to me, looked the same as the one worn by the Captain.  Sometimes Mum and I would have to drop him off at the BA building at Heathrow.  Seeing the aircraft flying so low and the sound of them, left me awestruck.

My first experience of flying was an 11 hour transatlantic to LAX in a smoke (tobacco) filled British Airways DC10 back in 1976.  I was a proud member of the Junior Jet Club and I would usually get the opportunity to go into the cockpit to meet the Captain and First Officer.  The Captain would fill in my Junior Jet Club book for me to keep a record of the flights I had done.  I still have it all these years later albeit a bit battered and bruised.

Getting My Wings

I didn’t go into the travel industry until 2009 when I worked a 6 month contract flying as cabin crew with bmi.  I had always wanted to work onboard an aircraft and after reading this book by Richard Branson;


I took his advice and it worked!  This was me a few months later.

I loved the training, although it was always shadowed by the stress of wondering if we would pass the final exams.  We had fun and made friends along the way though.  Unfortunately this poor guy didn’t make it.

I remember the first time during my training when I actually got to step on a real aircraft, I was so excited!

I still love to fly, especially take off, and have many friends who are still working as crew.  If you have always wanted a job in the air, here is a great link to get you started. Cabin Crew Jobs

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What’s A Destination Immersion Cruise?

Destination immersion cruises are a great way to see more of a destination. It does not mean a full immersion baptism in the Sea of Galilee (although don’t mention that to Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises, or he will add that to the the list of Azamazing Evenings).  It means seeing the destination come to life and experiencing the myriad of cultures for yourself, creating memories that last forever.
Image source: watch.uktv.co.uk
Wildlife adventurer, tv presenter and film maker, Nigel Marven has recorded a 6 part series for Watch TV which documents his journey to the Caribbean, Scandinavia, Mediterranean, Central America, India and the Antarctic with the crew and passengers onboard Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest.
This is a great opportunity to see another side of cruising and proves that there really is a cruise out there for everyone.  Tune into Watch on Sky Channel 109, BT Vision Channel 407 and Virgin Media 124 or 191 for HD.
The first episode airing 5 May, finds Nigel on Richard Branson’s exclusive resort of Necker Island where he find rare iguanas and goes head to head with sperm wales.
Image source: watch.uktv.co.uk

Recommended Reading Azamara – Cruises For People Who Don’t Cruise

MSC Magnifica Cruise Ship Review

The Med Way of Life aboard MSC Magnifica

This was my first cruise with an Italian Cruise Line and the value for money was incredible.  I couldn’t have stayed in a Travelodge for £105 for 3 nights, let alone take a cruise. We topped up with the Allegrissimo drinks package which was around £25 per person per day.  It included Prosecco, speciality coffee and gelato.

MSC Magnifica

Not A Great Start

After a hellish flight with a wriggly, impatient toddler, an absent A2B transfers driver and a journey to 2 wrong destinations, we FINALLY arrived at the cruise terminal.

It All Changed

As we stepped onto the pavement with our cases, pushchair and bags,  we were approached by a lovely Italian lady who kindly checked our cases were labelled correctly and showed us where to leave them.

We connected with my friends’ friend and her 5-year-old daughter and joined the rather long queue for check-in.  We were given priority boarding having the pushchair with us and checked in.  A handsome young man in a blue blazer greeted us and said “see you onboard”. I was already impressed.

As we boarded the ship, wristbands were put on the children. After the journey we were hungry so we headed straight to the restaurant. The buffet-style restaurant on the MSC Magnifica was by far the largest I have EVER seen. Spread into 2 rooms with fruit and salad stations at each end.  By the time I’d seen everything, I’d forgotten what was at the start. Having said that, once I knew how good the freshly made pizza was……….. nothing else mattered.  The plates are huge as well so you end up putting a lot more than intended on your plate.

Our Cabin

I must admit to looking for the ‘catch’.  I was expecting to find something that would explain the low cost of this cruise.  We went to our rooms to see what they were like. They were lovely, spacious, nicely decorated, nothing wrong with that at all, in fact on a par with the other mainstream cruise lines and better than some.  The bed was comfy, pillows lovely and plump, a good amount of hanging space and drawers for your clothes.

Baby Club

I familiarised myself with the baby club and made sure I checked Joshua in for the drop off times.  For under 3’s they offer baby drop off onboard MSC Magnifica which is one hour at 1 pm and one hour at 6 pm. Perfect for parents to indulge in some time in the jacuzzi in the afternoon or a spa treatment, and an hour to get ready for dinner in the evening.  There is no charge for this and you can access the baby club all day if you want to let your little one run wild.

This was Joshua’s 3rd cruise and I had taken my daughter 4 times prior to that.  As a single parent, you can often feel like you are on the outside watching everyone else have fun.  I do believe that the best holiday you can have as a single parent is a cruise, but there are still some activities you feel you cannot be part of.

Family Fun

As I was walking through the main lounge known on MSC Magnifica as the Tiger Bar, a member of the entertainment team invited me to join them for the sailaway party.  I couldn’t think of anywhere else I needed to be, so I pulled up the pushchair put my bag down, ordered a drink from the waitress standing nearby, took off my jumper and sat down. Joshua took great delight in walking around the lounge, so with Prosecco in hand (mine), I followed him.

People were really friendly and by their friendly reaction, you would have thought they’d never seen a baby before.  One thing I will say about Mediterranean cultures is that they embrace the presence of children which is refreshing.

The entertainment team got up on stage and the music started. People of all ages took to the dance floor, so I picked up Joshua and joined them.  He loved it, I loved it. I couldn’t believe it was 6 pm and the party was in full swing, what a great bunch of people.  My friends came along and we all danced together.  My friend and I both looked at each other and agreed that this was fantastic.

Early Dinner

So now I was in the holiday frame of mind, and I’d danced off the stresses of the day, it was time to get ready for dinner.  We didn’t have long so I figured we would just freshen up, grab dinner and an early night.

We met in the main dining room and did our best to get through 7 courses including steamed mussels, salad, soup, an extensive choice of delicious entrees, cheese and biscuits, dessert and coffee.  Joshua was grumpy as it had been a long day and I was exhausted, so we ate what we could and we went back to our room.

One of the many benefits of cruising is that you end the evening when you are ready rather than have to do everything as a group.

Exploring Magnifica

The next two days were spent enjoying quality time with Joshua, eating whatever I wanted, meeting new people and chilling out.

My three favourite areas of the ship were the pool with its retractable roof, the Tiger Bar and the nightclub, which didn’t start until 11 pm but Josh and I went in during the day and had a good look around.  There are plenty of lounges on board and they all have great and varied entertainment to offer.

 

Tips For Cruising With A Baby

I found it worked best to give Joshua breakfast in the buffet first. Then I would go to the coffee and chocolate bar for a speciality coffee where Joshua could run around safely.  After that I would push him around in his pushchair until he fell asleep. Once he was off I could go into the main dining room for my favourite dish of eggs benedict.

Lunch was in the buffet. After the first two nights, I decided it was better for us and other guests if we also had dinner in the buffet.  The problem with eating at the buffet is that you can go back for more.  But afterwards, I would let Joshua fall asleep in his pushchair and sit in the evening by the undercover pool and read and relax with another glass of prosecco.  My friends always seemed to find me and would join me for a while and then they would go off and do their thing.

To sum up, my short cruise on MSC Magnifica far exceeded my expectations.

You really get the feeling of the Mediterranean way of life. The people are friendly, positive and ready to enjoy themselves.  It’s a place where age means nothing, old people don’t act old, in fact they act younger then the youngsters.  They are living life to the full with the people they love and it shows through. For more information go to MSC Cruises


Recommended Reading  7 Ways MSC Cruises Is Reducing Plastics

Celebrity Infinity Cruise Ship Review

The Ship Tour

Celebrity Infinity is older than the Solstice Class ships I had previously experienced, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. However my day onboard proved to me that Celebrity Cruises can deliver luxury and style wherever it decides.

The grand foyer took my breath away. It was beautiful, gorgeous, welcoming, luxurious and stylish at the same time.  The quality of the decor and furnishings is un-compromised.  The crew are friendly, professional and attentive.

We headed to the Constellation Lounge located on deck 11.  It provides stunning views in a light and airy lounge which comes alive at night.

Constellation Lounge.

Taking a walk outside we saw the jogging track and the pool area with luxurious loungers.

Pool area and Jogging track

Making our way to deck 4 we found ourselves at one of Celebrity Cruises signature features, the Martini Bar.  Located at the heart of the ship, it’s the perfect spot to hang out and mingle, people watch and meet up with friends.

Martini Bar

Dining with a Difference

Qsine is a very different kind of dining experience.  Not only does the interior design give a playful but chic impression, you order your food on an iPad. Dishes include Disco Shrimp andSushi Lollipops.  The dessert menu is presented on its own version of a rubic cube where you can order the popular Strawberry Fields.

Alice in Wonderland meets Heston Blumenthal at Qsine

Qsine

Celebrity Infinity Suites

Celebrity Cruises certainly offer outstanding luxury cruise ship accommodation.  Here are a few photos of the Penthouse Suite.

Penthouse Suite

Penthouse Suite

Penthouse Suite

After a two-hour ship tour it was time for lunch. The Trellis Restaurant is the main dining room and offers fine dining on a grand scale.

Trellis Restaurant

Everyone had an amazing time onboard.  We agreed we would feel confident recommending this ship to luxury cruise guests.