Category Archive Blog

ByBill Belew

Diary of a Whimpy Kid, um, Cruise Ship Speaker – Making Friends at Dinner and Elsewhere

Continuing on in my log on how to become a cruise ship speaker.

I am generally not a sociable person. I don’t not like people. I am just not as outgoing as I used to be.

Cruise Ship Speaker - Belew

Cruise Ship Speaker – Belew

Still, Rick told me that it makes sense to be friendly, strike up conversations, meet new people. So, I tried.

Since I traveled alone this go round I decided to sit at the table where you didn’t know who was going to sit with you. The meet new people table or something like that.

Other people looking for others to chat up or just chill with show up.

It was a good thing I did.

Half of the people who showed up at my second talk were people I had eaten with. One big reason was there we so few people at the second talk. I was really disappointed.

The first time was a full house. I was expecting everyone to come back, tell their friends and bring some of them as well for an even bigger crowd.

Didn’t happen.

Later the cruise activity director told me why. It was the time slot. The first time I spoke was at 2 pm. The second time was 4 pm. He apologized. He said, people just don’t turn out at that time. Still I had more than a dozen people. But not like the first time with nearly 50 people or so.

And of the dozen, half were people I had met at dinner. And they came back for the remaining talks as well.

Point: Be friendly outside of your talks. The people you meet might be all that show up.

ByBill Belew

Diary of a Whimpy Kid, um, Cruise Ship Speaker – The First Talk – Part 2

Continuing on in my log on how to become a cruise ship speaker.

I don’t usually get nervous before I talk. But I did this time. Not antsy or anxious. But with high anticipation. The ship is full of young people. Lots and lots of families. I couldn’t be sure who was going to show up. People my parents age. People my age. People with teenagers. College kids. Teenagers. All of them. None of them.

Cruise Ship Speaker - Belew

Cruise Ship Speaker – Belew

Would there be the 2 people I met at dinner who promised to come? (They didn’t.) Or others? Or nobody?

Not to be disappointed people starting showing up early.

“You here for the talk or to get drunk?” I asked.

“Not sure yet. I will let you know.”

More people. Then more.

“Yay!” I shouted to myself.

Then more.

I gave late-comers a 2-minute grace period and then started right off.

Nearly all the seats were taken by 5-8 minutes into my talk.

Then the aisle behind the seats started to fill up as people were wanting to get a head start to get into the show. They were quite noisy, so I stepped up the level of my voice a bit. It worked. I got their attention, too.

They were there to get in early to get good seats for the ice show. But I not only got their attention. I kept their attention.

On Social Media?!

Yeah, on Social Media.

What can be so interesting about social media that you can grab the attention of people on vacation?

Why would people interrupt their vacations to hear some old guy talk about something they really don’t know anything about? Why? How? Really?

Yeah, really. You should have been there.

“Wow. I wasn’t expecting that.”

“When is your next one?”

“How many more do lectures do you have?”

“Only two more? How come?!”

“You really are a teacher, aren’t you? I can tell.”

Point: Throw your heart out there and the rest of you will follow. No matter what it is you’re talking about. Or who you are talking to.

ByBill Belew

Diary of a Whimpy Kid, um, Cruise Ship Speaker – Meeting the Cruise Activity Director

My first mission after getting on the ship and getting settled into my stateroom was to find the cruise activity director. S/he was going to tell me my schedule. I was more than half expecting to find some sort of welcome package on my stateroom desk or on my television.

Cruise Ship Speaker - Belew

Cruise Ship Speaker – Belew


I headed to the guest relations where I met somebody whose name I couldn’t pronounce.

“Oh, you need Jamie. Let me call him for you.”

“Hello, Jamie. I have Mr. Belew here. He is one of your speakers. Oh? Oh? Um. Oh? Okay. Okay.”

“Jamie, says he’ll get in touch with you first chance. Enjoy your cruise.”

8 hours later back in my stateroom. The message light is blinking.

“Hmm… I don’t know anybody on the ship. Jamie!”

“Your first presentation will be on Day 3 in the On Air lounge at 1 pm. Please be there by 12:45 to set up. One of my staff members will meet you there. We will only need you for 3 presentations instead of the 4. The others will be on Day 6 at 4 and Day 7 at 2.”

“Works for me, Jamie. I can do less than you asked. I also brought a couple of extra presentations just in case you need more than you had planned on, too. I am here to serve you and the ship’s passengers.”

“That’s great, Bill. That’s really great. Thanks. Let’s meet when we get a chance.”

And that’s that.

I scouted out the On Air Lounge to get a feel of the place. It’s a lounge. With 4 chairs to a table and a bar on one side, disco lights and quotes from Elvis, Stevie Wonder, Cher and other artists on the wall written in silver on a dark blue background. Lots of LCD screens for when they do karaoke in the evenings.

Point – Be ready for anything. I am ready.