Liv­ing and work­ing on the wa­ter

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TRAVEL -

movies and gave stage per­for­mances in var­i­ous the­aters, such as the Tro­jan House in Bei­jing dur­ing the next four years.

“I wanted to ex­pe­ri­ence the­ater and learn more about Chi­nese lan­guage and cul­ture,” he says.

How­ever, the act­ing jobs were spo­radic and soon he yearned for more steady work. Then, an op­por­tu­nity ap­peared. He got in touch with Princess Cruises through his sis­ter’s the­ater com­pany, which was brought in to do some prepara­tory work and present pro­grams such as talk shows for Chi­nese guests.

At first, he was codi­rect­ing. Then, an open­ing came up as one of the game show hosts quit.

“I had to do one of the game shows,” he says.

His use of Man­darin im­pressed the Princess Cruises of­fi­cials and they of­fered him a reg­u­lar job.

He has now been with Princess Cruises for the past three and a half years, and is in charge of all the en­ter­tain­ment ar­range­ments aboard and train­ing his team.

In his ca­reer at sea, Rob­bins has mainly dealt with Chi­nese au­dien- ces, who, he says, are a lot of fun.

“They are very open to re­lax­ing. Some­times, it means only eat­ing.”

Some of them love watch­ing ac­ro­bat­ics and danc­ing, he says.

“They (the Chi­nese) usu­ally come with fam­ily or friends and they love do­ing things to­gether, such as all the trivia and game shows”.

But work­ing on a ship is hard work.

The work hours are typ­i­cally long and deal­ing with peo­ple can some­times be tricky.

“Peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tures re­spond dif­fer­ently,” he says.

In ad­di­tion, when he goes back to his room he does feel lonely. But, be­ing with the right pas­sen­gers can make things bet­ter. And he en­joys mak­ing peo­ple laugh.

“The other pluses are that you get to travel for free, and you don’t have to worry about rent, food and laun­dry,” he says.

As he pre­pares to take a break and fly home to see his four-month son, Rib­bons says will prob­a­bly con­tinue to sail for one or two more years.

But one thing is for sure. He wants to fo­cus on China and con­tinue to learn more about the coun­try.

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