I’ve been a host for shopping networks for 33 years. Periodically, I would take some time away from this business and take on other jobs. One of my favorite positions was that of a Port Lecturer on various cruise ships. Life on a cruise ship is definitely an exciting one! You get to travel the world, eat all the food you want for free, meet a lot of fascinating people and have someone else make your bed and clean your room. Oh, and I got paid for it!
Me and the ship’s photographer Sean while on Holland America’s Westerdam
The job of Port Lecturer is similar to that of a show host. I would present live shopping talks to thousands of passengers and provide information about the various ports of call. During our port visits (while the rest of the crew got free time), I’d walk through town and visit all the ‘recommended’ stores. The store owners loved the port lecturers (most of the time) because we were responsible for advising our passengers where they should shop. In return, we’d receive some nice rewards and gifts from the vendors. My favorite was a pair of clean Columbian Emerald earrings that I gave to my wife. My favorite ports were St. Thomas, San Juan, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, and Key West.
If you do like to shop while on a cruise, I suggest that you only shop at the stores the Port Lecturer recommends. These shops have been vetted by the cruise lines and are the ones that will guarantee your purchases.
Another responsibility of the Port Lecturer was to be a source of information about the ship upon which you were sailing. Simple questions like “Where’s the Lido Deck?” or “What time does the casino open?” are common. However, I enjoyed the questions that I didn’t know exactly how to answer. The following are a few of the actual questions I’ve been asked by a passenger:
“Does the crew sleep on board?”
“What time is the midnight buffet?”
“Does this elevator take me to the front of the ship?”
“Does the ship generate its own electricity?”
“What do you do with the ice carvings after they melt?”
As we were pulling into Nassau, Bahamas, someone asked me if they would need to get a taxi to see the space ships.
And my favorite (I swear this was actually asked of me) . . . ”Can you do something about the rain?”
One day, I was taking a stroll on deck near one of the swimming pools. It was very turbulent that day, with some high seas, so very few passengers were on deck. I noticed an elderly women staring into the pool with a very inquisitive look. Being the conscientious crew member that I was, I approached and asked if I could be of help. She looked up at me and then back down at the water in the pool. She looked back up at me and asked, “Where does the swimming pool water come from?” I explained to her that, two decks below, there is a large pump that simply draws water directly from the ocean into the pool. She said, “Well, that explains it.” “Explains what?” I asked. She then said, “No wonder it’s so rough!”
Private Island Party for our passengers