What’s the best thing about river cruising, where are the greatest places to visit, and how exactly do you become an Emerald Waterways Cruise Director? We ask Cruise Director Darren Collins all that and more.
1) Where are you from?
I am from the South East of England in Essex near the port of Tilbury - I have grown up near the sea and rivers so I feel at home around them. Having worked on both Sea Cruises and River Cruises, there is a real tranquil element to them and I guess that reminds me of home and why I enjoy being part of that constant movement both metaphorically and in reality!
2) How long have you worked for Emerald Waterways?
This is my first year with Emerald Waterways, but I have worked within the cruise industry and have been involved in travel my whole working life.
3)How did you become a Cruise Director?
I had worked on Sea Cruises before and also as an Entertainer and Entertainment Manager in Hotels across the Mediterranean and North Africa, when an ex colleague of mine suggested I come to Emerald Waterways, as they felt it would suit me and my skills.
4) What are your main responsibilities?
My responsibilities are to ensure that all excursions and itineraries run smoothly. I organise guests, suppliers and guides, offering support and advice. I also manage embarkation and disembarkation and provide an insight into what to do in each location.
5) What do you enjoy most about your job?
Variety is what the job is all about and no cruise is the same. I also like the fact that I move ships and destinations regularly which enables me to see each destination again with a new vision.
6) What’s the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part is looking after people when they need a doctor or become unwell. Avoiding mistakes in order to keep the whole experience smooth and seamless can be a challenge on the rivers due to traffic, locks, delays and high or low water. This can completely stop you in your tracks. You have to think of a Plan B, C and even D!
7) Which is your favourite Emerald Waterways itinerary?
It’s hard to say which itinerary is my favourite. France has been exciting this year as I speak French and have really been able to immerse myself in the whole experience. But I have a soft spot for Danube Delights, cruising from Nuremberg to Budapest. It’s exciting and builds to a marvellous crescendo for the guests as we finish in the realms of the Austro-Hungarian Empire - Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. Guests say Vienna is their highlight, until they see Budapest, which takes your breath away.
8) Which included excursion from this itinerary would you advise guests don’t miss?
I would advise not to miss out on the Coffee and Cake with the locals in Slovakia. It is a chance to meet real people and share information about their lives, families and hobbies. Every family has a story to tell and part of the fun is the interaction between guests and hosts.
9) How would you best explain the river cruising experience to someone who has never tried it?
River cruising is a great way to get a taste of numerous wonderful locations at once. We also dock centrally in the heart of each destination, allowing our guests to have the most in-depth experience possible.
10) How is river cruising different from ocean cruising?
With river cruising you become a family for the time you are on-board and everyone gets to know each other which makes for a friendly and fun atmosphere.
11) How do you relax while you’re on-board?
I relax after the cruise. If I’m going to do the job well, I need to be fully focused on making sure our guests have everything covered and all is prepared as well as possible. I have to be actively involved even when I’m not dealing directly with the guests.
We’d like to thank Darren for taking part in Cruise Director Questions, and hope you’ve enjoyed seeing Emerald Waterways from a different view. If you’d like to find out more about our luxury river cruises, visit the homepage or call us today on 0808 159 8422 and our friendly team will be happy to help you.