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Kate's story …

“I was a personal trainer back home when I decided I needed a change. I heard about a programme which would give me an introduction to the Cruise industry, which sounded great!"

It wasn't quite what I imagined to start with though, and it was tough!

The shock of living and working in such close proximity to my crew mates and discovering I was only earning commission on the products I sold wasn't something I was prepared for.

Looking back, perhaps I hadn’t asked enough questions, or rather I hadn’t asked the right questions. Starting on cruise ships was a totally spontaneous decision for me. I was personal training at home, wanted something different, applied online for cruise ships at 21, but was definitely green around the gills.  I joined cruises a year later, young, enthusiastic and with nothing to lose. It was petrifying at first, travelling alone with no support, but I’m an outgoing person, I love the outdoors, so I made friends quickly.  I had been so sheltered, used to one type of culture and there are many cultures and nationalities on board cruise ships.  A massive culture shock and a steep learning curve, but a very exciting one.

My first role was as link between the spa and entertainments departments, responsible for running motivational classes, encouraging passengers into the spa to book treatments and purchase products.  Some of the spa girls worked 15-hour days, earning commission on treatments and product sales.  You’d have a pre-determined sales target every week and if you didn’t reach it, that target would roll over to the next week.

However, once I got a job with the cruise line Holland America, I was on a set salary so there was much more stability. I spent 3 years on cruise ships in total before meeting my partner (now wife) and making the transition into yachting.

The moral of the story, make sure you ask plenty of questions, figure out what you really need to know and don’t be afraid to ask. Make sure you see, read and fully understand your contract before you start work too.

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