Cruise Director Richard Grey has years of experience under his belt managing river cruises along Europe’s greatest waterways. We caught up with him to discuss what his daily work program looks like, and what he enjoys about working alongside National Geographic.
How would you describe your role as a Cruise Director?
“My job is to focus on exceeding the guest’s expectations, so they go home with such great memories and, hopefully, a whole bunch of new friends. I am required to have a good understanding of the ports, so guests wishing to do any independent touring can rely on us for good advice and guidance.”
What should a guest expect from a Cruise Director, whether on a Scenic, Emerald Waterways or any other ship, large or small?
“Every guest should expect to be treated with respect and interest. Guests should rely on the cruise director to help them sort out any questions they may have about their cruise experience, directing them to the right person should it be an issue that has arisen. A good cruise director must have a good sense of humour while also able to show empathy, reassurance and a willingness to listen. They should be hyper-organized, friendly and personable.”
How does working as a cruise director on a Scenic and National Geographic cruise differ?
“We need to be familiar with how they do their lectures and with their involvement during excursions. We do this by working with their staff beforehand. This gives everyone an advance understanding of each role and the expectations. We also spend time doing webinars with the National Geographic experts, so we can assist the experts when on board. This improves our own knowledge, which in turn gives us the opportunity to better guide our guests on non-National Geographic itineraries.”
What is different on National Geographic cruises?
“Special excursions are added so guests can have even more opportunities to explore than they do already. The experts – usually one is an expert on the promoted topic and a second one is a National Geographic photographer – are incredible. Not only do they have the ability to open our eyes to so many things we didn’t know before on a litany of subjects, or learn photo techniques that are used by top ranked professionals so the guests can really wow their friends and family back home with their photos, they are genuinely interested in interacting and being part of the whole cruise experience. Because the experts are on board for the entire cruise, you will find them at dinner, on other excursions, having a drink in the lounge, doing all the same things as the rest of the guests. This makes them very approachable – which they also make clear they enjoy.”