A day in the life

Michelle Jef­fries, cruise di­rec­tor with Fred. Olsen’s MV Black Watch, talks to Nigel Heath

EADT Suffolk - - INSIDE -

Michelle Jef­fries, cruise di­rec­tor

Reach­ing new hori­zons is mostly an ev­ery­day oc­cur­rence for Michelle Jef­fries. Michelle, from Ip­swich, is cruise di­rec­tor on board the Fred. Olsen cruise ship MV Black Watch, re­spon­si­ble for all on board so­cial ac­tiv­ity and en­ter­tain­ment ser­vices for around 800 guests. When not busy on a host of or­gan­i­sa­tional and meet-and-greet tasks, she’s front of house and on stage, in­tro­duc­ing guest speak­ers and the evening cabaret shows.

It’s a far cry from 2008, when Michelle first went aboard one of Fred. Olsen’s four UK-based cruise ships as a beauty ther­a­pist. She was well and truly bit­ten by the ca­ma­raderie of work­ing in a team and the ev­er­chang­ing ship life scene.

She spent a year at sea, then went ashore for a spell, re­turn­ing to the MV Brae­mar as one of three guest hostesses. She was pro­moted to se­nior host­ess, then deputy cruise di­rec­tor, be­fore step­ping up to her present role, then on MV Brae­mar, in 2016.

“Af­ter eight years of a pretty hec­tic life that has taken me all over the world, I can still hon­estly say I love my job,” said Michelle. Most work­ing days start be­tween 9am and 10am and she doesn’t turn in un­til 11pm or later. A typ­i­cal day on a re­cent cruise from Liver­pool to the Azores and Madeira, saw the first hour spent meet­ing with of­fi­cer col­leagues on the pend­ing op­er­a­tion of the new 12-guest high-speed RIB boats that Fred. Olsen is in­tro­duc­ing to the fleet, as an ad­di­tional cruise ex­pe­ri­ence.

Then it was back to her of­fice to sign off the fol­low­ing day’s edi­tion of the ship’s on board Daily Times guest in­for­ma­tion bul­letin, be­fore a quick lunch.”

“Af­ter that, I had over 50 emails to at­tend to, be­fore go­ing on a walk­a­bout, touch­ing base with our lec­tur­ers and seek­ing feed­back from guests on their on board ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Michelle. “Then, be­fore I knew it, I had to pre­pare for the first of the cap­tain’s two wel­come aboard cock­tail par­ties, fol­lowed by din­ner with guests. Then back to in­tro­duce the cap­tain to guests at the sec­ond evening party.”

“Later, I was chat­ting to guests dur­ing the ship’s first and sec­ond show times in the main lounge, hosted on this oc­ca­sion by my deputy, un­til fi­nally it was time to call it a day!” says Michelle.

“A cruise di­rec­tor’s role is pretty full-on, but meet­ing the daily chal­lenges, chat­ting with guests, many of whom are re­turn vis­i­tors, and hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to sail to all parts of the world, make it all very re­ward­ing,” she says.

“When I get back home, I spend the first week un­wind­ing and do­ing do­mes­tic things, and then it’s time to meet up with fam­ily and friends.” Michelle works two months on and one month off.

“But af­ter about three weeks, I start get­ting itchy feet and sim­ply can’t wait to get back on board and start all over again!”

‘Af­ter eight years of a pretty hec­tic life that has taken me all over the world, I can still hon­estly say I love my job’

ABOVE: Michelle Jef­fries, cruise di­rec­tor with Fred. Olsen CruisesLEFT: Michelle’s ‘of­fice’, Fred. Olsen Cruises’ MV Black Watch

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