A day in the life
Michelle Jeffries, cruise director with Fred. Olsen’s MV Black Watch, talks to Nigel Heath
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