Category Archive Tips

ByBill Belew

Diary of a Whimpy Kid, um, Cruise Ship Speaker – West Coaster on an East Coast Cruise

Last evening all the cruisers gathered in the theater for a show and to meet the cruise director.

“By show of applause, where is everyone from? East coast?”


“West Coast?”

“Clap …”

Cruise Ship Speaker - Belew

Cruise Ship Speaker – Belew

I think it was me and three other people.

There were more people from the UK than from California.

I didn’t know it at the time, but unless I wanted to add another day to my trip, I couldn’t get from the West Coast to the cruise ship on the same day as the ship sails.

Get out your calculator and your calendar.

Ship sails at 4:30 pm. Must be on the ship no later than 3. It takes about an hour to get thru the lines. Gotta be in line by 2. Cape Canaveral is one hour away from Orlando. But the shuttle does not sit there and wait for me. I stand around and wait for it. So … aim for noon to be on the shuttle. My shuttle bus driver had to stop and buy gasoline on the way. No kidding. Noon was good. I needed about 45 minutes to gather my bags at the baggage claim in Orlando after landing and get to the shuttle bus pick up. Meaning, I needed to be in Orlando by 11, to catch the noon shuttle to get to the port by two and on the boat by 3.

Head to Expedia and Cheapoair. No direct flights from San Jose or San Francisco to Orlando. Best I could do is about 7.5 hours through Phoenix.

11 am in Orlando minus 7.5 hours equals leave the west coast by 3:30 am! Oh, and there is a 3 hour time difference between east and west coast meaning 12:30 am! No flights. The closest I could find was 7:30 pm the night before that got me in to Orlando in plenty of time to make the connections. Can you say 5:13 am?!

I am smarter now. At least a little.

Point – Taking an east coast cruise from the west coast means adding a day to your itinerary or sleeping on a plane the night before.

ByBill Belew

Diary of a Whimpy Kid, um, Cruise Ship Speaker – The interview

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

I have interviewed a lot of people over the years. I have hired folk and let some go. Going into the interview to be a cruise ship speaker, I had complete confidence.

Cruise Ship Speaker - Belew

Cruise Ship Speaker – Belew

Mostly because from my experience people have no idea how to interview. That means I can usually take control and lead the interviewer to ask questions I want them to ask me. Not this time.

I was on the phone for 45 minutes with one agent. An hour or so with another. And an hour and half with yet another. We went over our cell phone minute allowance for the month. 8-(

“Why do you want to be a cruise ship speaker?”

“Tell me how you gained your expertise in your area?”

“Where have you spoken in the past? What size crowds? Topics? Response?”

“Can you do powerpoint?”

“When are you free? How flexible is your schedule?”

And and and … and I asked a lot of questions, too.

“Great. Mr. Belew. We will take our recommendation to our committee that decides and get back to you.”

” … ”

“Mr. Belew?”

“Great. I will be waiting to hear from you.” = I will never hear from them.

A week later an email came. “Congratulations. Mr. Belew. We are happy to have you on our list of recommended speakers. Please keep in mind that the ship will make the ultimate decision. Please let us know which cruises you would like to be considered for and we will contact the ship on your behalf.”

Uh… more waiting. (I didn’t say this.) But I thought it pretty loudly.

“Where can I see a list of cruises that are looking for speakers?”

“We will send that to you, Mr. Belew. Congratulations again. Glad to have you on board.”

Point – The interview is not a done deal. Lots of waiting. Persistence is key. But still not enough. The ship will ultimately decide.

ByRick Deutsch

Lifeboat drills can save your life; be sure to go.

Standard Life vest

Standard Life vest

When on a cruise, the most important thing you are going to do is attend the lifeboat drill. It’s mandatory, yet many just show up and go through it with glazed eyes. The recent crash of the Costa Concordia off Italy should wake up people to the importance of the briefing. Without a life vest, you can tread for maybe an hour. That is, if you are lucky and in your heated pool back home. Try floating in 55 degree water. Heck even in the tropics, if the water Is a warm 88 degrees – your body is at 98.6 and the heat will be sucked out of you.

So – know where your life vest is. Practice putting it on. Learn how to connect all the buckles and straps. Notice where the light is (it will come on in contact with the water). Notice where the whistle is. If you are floating away from the ship, your voice will only carry a few yards. The whistle will extend your call over several  hundred feet. And rehearse just where your “group” is to assemble.  The life you save might be your own.