Observed Onboard: Would You Switch Lines to Travel with a Crewmember?

January 21, 2014 | By | 9 Comments

Would you switch cruise lines to follow a crewmember? Wit and charisma go a long way in the cruise industry and many cruise ship captains achieve near-celebrity status.
When Captain Dag Dvergastein left Regent Seven Seas Cruises and moved to Seabourn in 2010, for example, he took with him a loyal following of guests who enjoyed the fun and camaraderie of his cruises; he once famously diverted his ship up a remote Norwegian fjord and entertained the passengers in his own garden.
Meanwhile, Cunard’s first female captain, Inger Thorhauge, has built up a loyal following over her three years as Master of Queen Victoria. “Cunard has so many loyal guests and some of them do get very much attached to captains,” she told Cruise Critic. “So people will cruise when they know I am on board, which is very nice. Guests come to see me at receptions and bring clippings from newspapers that they want me to sign, which is a surprise, as I am a very private person.”
Captains have become a selling point for their cruise lines, to the extent that they’ve become part of the overall ‘package’ of a cruise. Fred. Olsen, for example, puts little biographies of all its captains on its website, while Saga goes even further and publishes the sailing schedules of each captain.
It’s not just captains who attract a loyal fan base; a good cruise director can also engender a cult following. Saga recently lost one of its most popular cruise directors, Neil Horrocks, who has jumped ship for cultural specialist Voyages to Antiquity. He had developed a fan base on Spirit of Adventure and later, Saga Pearl II, for his gentle eccentricity and sharp wit, often bringing on local British diplomats in obscure ports to greet guests, or arranging spontaneous talks on board.
“Although I have not made my transfer public knowledge until today, I have been amazed at how the grapevine works,” he told Cruise Critic. “Cruising is clearly a very well-connected world as many passengers I’ve previously sailed with have heard that I’ve transferred and some have already booked cruises with me later this year.”
Similarly, John Heald, Carnival’s famous blogging cruise director, has become such a celebrity in his own right (not least for his self-deprecating and often bawdy humour) that not only do people book cruises around his schedule, but he actually becomes the ‘theme’ of the cruise. The seventh annual ‘John Heald Bloggers’ Cruise’ departs next month, packed with fans and followers of Heald’s blog.
Have you ever booked a cruise purely because of who’s on board? Maybe you’ve followed a maître d’, or even a favorite cabin attendant. Let us know!
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    9 Responses to “Observed Onboard: Would You Switch Lines to Travel with a Crewmember?”

    1. Michael Bridges
      January 22nd, 2014 @ 8:54 am

      Yes his name was Constancio from India he was on the liberty of the seas, He was the best pool waiter that I’ve ever had

    2. Sonya Kaster
      January 22nd, 2014 @ 9:19 am

      Henry Duplon is our all-time favorite bartender. We met him on RCI Allure of the Seas this month. You can find him on the 17th floor in the Viking Crown Lounge. He will be moving over to Quantum of the Seas and we plan on booking a cruise with him late 2014 or early 2015. He is a great example of customer service, entertainment (he makes great oragami animals and flowers)and serves as a great RCI ambassodor.

    3. Theresa Turner
      January 22nd, 2014 @ 10:07 am

      Ray de Castro was one of the wonderful people at the front desk of the ms Noordam when we were on for a month in April 13. He ALWAYS made sure that any and everything we needed was taken care of to perfection….he even made sure that the maitre’d in the Pinnacle Grill knew that we were coming in on our anniversary and he ordered a special cake for us! Ray is now on the Eurodam and we plan on sailing on this ship just to get together with Ray again. Good service means the world!

    4. Judi
      January 22nd, 2014 @ 10:47 am

      We sailed many times with our friend, Captain Charly on HAL’s Volendam. He has since retired, but we would sail again with him if he comes out of retirement!

    5. lucie
      January 22nd, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

      Dumplayne on the NFL Pearl. One of the cruise and activity directors, she seemed to go above and beyond in her work even joining our Zumba class (before Zumba was a class on board) on her own time!!! She even gave us certificates.

    6. Vann Stephens
      January 22nd, 2014 @ 2:09 pm

      Yes I would. We have been on so many cruise that I have lost count. The one person I would change my cruise just to have him as my waiter is Kyaw Swar Soe (Burma) on the Celebrity Summit in Blu. Always had a smile and was ready to talk as well as serve us at all times. He had our “usual’s” waiting every night and pretty much knew what we were going to order. Waited on us hand and foot every day. He took great care of us and even had special dishes made to our surprise.

    7. JP
      January 22nd, 2014 @ 10:07 pm

      Captain Rune Lokling, formerly of RCI.

    8. jeanette green
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 11:45 am

      Garaldo which I believe was on the Valor In 2006 and on the Desinty in 2008 he was the activity director he was so much fun joined in with everyone in the fun he was fantastic. Which was on the carnival cruise lines I sure hope they have kept him!

    9. Jenny Pelton
      January 27th, 2014 @ 11:14 pm

      My husband and I took a cruise last October aboard the Valor where we fell in love with Valentina Petrovic. We’re Platinum members and have been on many cruises, Valentina is a person we will never forget and plan on seeing again as many times as possible!

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