What’s the best thing about working as a Cruise Director with Emerald Waterways? Which of our wonderful itineraries has won your heart? And, how would you advise an aspiring Cruise Director to succeed? Patricia Muhardjo tells us everything we need to know.
1. Where are you from?
I grew up in the Czech Republic, but since my twenties, I have lived in Vancouver, Canada.
2. How long have you worked for Emerald Waterways?
I’ve had three great seasons as a Cruise Director. However, I have been privileged to work for the company as a Tour Director in Canada and the U.S for nine years.
3. How did you become a Cruise Director?
I took a year out from my career in banking to work and travel around Australia and upon my return I decided to pursue tourism, specifically outdoor adventure. Needless to say, I’ve never looked back. Becoming a Cruise Director was a natural progression after years of guiding through North America, appreciating the quality of the product, enjoying our clientele and being confident in the company’s forward-thinking approach. Having a European background, I was very excited when Emerald Waterways launched European River Cruises and before long, I’d joined the team.
4. What are your main responsibilities?
I am responsible for the overall smooth delivery of the cruise program, ensuring guest expectations are met and exceeded to make their holidays memorable. I organise embarkation and disembarkation, coordinate shore excursions, liaise with suppliers and on-board staff, plan and execute on-board entertainment, port talks and lectures, provide bridge commentary, address and resolve customer questions and concerns, to name just a few.
5. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy interacting with our guests, hearing about their highlights, seeing their smiles and reactions as we sail past some of the gems along the way and, naturally, sharing their passion for travel.
6. What’s the most challenging part of your job?
The unpredictability of the ship’s timings when going through locks and having to reschedule the program. I embrace the challenge, nonetheless, as it keeps things exciting..
7. Which is your favourite Emerald Waterways itinerary?
Although I enjoy all of the cruises for various reasons, the Danube Explorer from Passau to Budapest is my favourite itinerary. There’s plenty of opportunity to participate in all of the excursions and still have free time to explore each place on your own. The river meanders through some breath-taking scenery and the Sun Deck remains open for the duration of the cruise.
8. Which included excursion from this itinerary would you advise guests don’t miss?
The evening cruise in Budapest is the cherry on top! No other city boasts such a magical panorama with all the bridges and monuments lit up. In addition, I would also recommend an optional half-day excursion to Bratislava since the ship doesn’t stop there on this particular itinerary. The capital of Slovakia is often overlooked, yet it is usually one of the guests’ favourite cities. It’s a great opportunity to visit another country and experience a different culture.
9. How would you best explain the river cruising experience to someone who has never tried it?
River cruising is like being on a floating hotel that takes you through the heart of Europe and offers you diversity of ports, countries, cultures and topography. One can participate in various excursions, explore on their own or stay on-board and watch the scenery pass by as our friendly staff look after you.
10. How is river cruising different from ocean cruising?
River cruising is a much more intimate experience. Due to the size of the ship, guests have a chance to really get to know both their fellow travellers and staff in a short time. There’s a feeling of coming home when returning back from shore. There’s always something to look at (since there’s no “at sea day”) and no concern about motion sickness.
11) How do you relax while you’re on-board?
I love sitting at the front terrace, watching the sunset and reflecting on the day’s events when guests go to dinner. When in ports, I enjoy zipping around on one of our bikes and visiting new places I could later recommend to our guests.
We’d like to thank Patricia 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.