Q&A Session with Boudicca Cruise Director Simon Vickers
Question 1. Tell us some background information about yourself.
I’m 31 years old and from Adelaide, South Australia. I ran a construction company, entertainments’ agency and a fitness studio, before joining Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in 2009.
Question 2. How did it feel going from being shore-based to ship-based?
When I was 18, I saw an advert to work on a cruise ship as a fitness instructor. The advert was on a big billboard and featured a beautiful beach scene, with six girls in bikinis walking along the beach; so I signed up and studied fitness! At the time, I was doing an apprenticeship as a carpenter. However, to make more money to pay for my study, I started working with an agency, doing promotional work and hosting events. Two years later, I took over the agency, and ran it until I went to sea as a fitness instructor in 2009. I joined the entertainments team in 2010 and was appointed Cruise Director in 2015. In my experience, cruising is the perfect combination of travel, fun and challenges
Question 3. What does your job as a Cruise Director involve?
As Cruise Director, I head up the entertainments department, so I am directly responsible for all of the performers, musicians, stage technical team, speakers, instructors and for the publication of the Daily Times, the daily onboard newspaper, which gives guests information on all the activities taking place throughout the day. I have the pleasure of planning the activities during each cruise and for scheduling all of the events to make sure that each day has a wide variety of activities and experiences for our cruise guests to enjoy.
Question 4. The Daily Times has dozens of activities. How do you figure it all out?
I must admit it is a bit of a challenge to ensure that we have a wide range of educational, physical, traditional and Showtime events throughout the day. I love planning a cruise and making sure everything fits together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Question 5. Are all cruises different?
Unlike some of the other lines, which spend six months cruising the Mediterranean and six months in the Caribbean, Fred. Olsen’s ships offer much more varied itineraries, from world cruises to short breaks across to continental Europe; we also offer unique and unusual cruises, such as sailings to north Norway and Russia.
Question 6. How many people are working underneath you?
I head up a team of 28 full-time crew, which includes our resident Show Company, the orchestra, activity hosts, stage team, and administration team. In addition to this are between 15 to 30 short-term staff, such as our visiting performers, dance hosts, speakers and instructors.
Question 7. In your opinion what makes Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines so appealing?
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offers varied itineraries on our four smaller, more intimate ships – Boudicca, Balmoral, Braemar and Black Watch – to really bring more of the world to our guests in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. Whatever part of the world our guests wish to visit, they can do so while enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of a ‘home-from-home’ at sea. Our ships are known for their friendly, attentive crews, and we always receive lots of positive feedback about our on board staff.
Question 8. Talk to us just for a moment about the forthcoming itineraries aboard Boudicca.
I am very excited about Fred. Olsen’s Indian Ocean Islands cruises, where we will be visiting Mauritius, the Seychelles and Madagascar. In early 2018, we will be visiting South Africa and the same year we will also be exploring the Middle East and visiting ports in Jordan, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.
Question 9. Any first-time tips for people who may be considering sailing with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines?
I always recommend people bring a highlighter pen with them, so they can highlight all the activities they want to do in a day.
Question 10. I’m sure you have many stories to tell, but share with us one that sticks out in your mind?
One of the best times in my life happened on a cruise to Greenland, in Nanortalik. I went for a run on a beautiful day and ended up on top of a mountain, looking down into the fjord at our ship. As I was there, a helicopter flew beneath where I was standing. It was very cool!