Richard Grey

Q&A with Richard Grey – Cruise director

Q. How long have you been working as a CD in the industry, what attracted you and where did you start?

A. I started on the ocean in 2008 with Thompson Cruises. Because of my extensive acting background, this seemed a great venue to continue to improve my craft. Little did I realize I would fall in love with this industry. From acting and entertaining, I was promoted to hosting status. I enjoyed mingling with all the guests, learning about them and finding myself with so many new friends – real friends.

Q. What brought you to Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours?

A. After a few years on the oceans, I was beginning to feel in need of a life shake up. A friend had recently taken a position with Scenic’s sister brand, Emerald Waterways, and was raving about it. So, I took a chance and interviewed with them in 2015, was hired and started working on the Scenic Space Ships in 2016.

Q. What does the role of Cruise Director entail?

A. Pretty much a jack of all trades. As these are small ships with less than 200 guests, we have our hands on almost every aspect of their experience. We need to set the stage for the sailing and make sure guests know that we are approachable and ready to solve problems. Of course, one of the most important aspects, and one that I gravitate towards due to my background, is performing. Guests are more likely to listen and absorb the details of the excursions and other info given during port talks if it is presented in a way that makes them feel like they have a front row seat to a performance. They are entertained as they are digesting the options. We try to make every guest feel like they part of our family – and are genuine about that effort.

Q. You’re the Cruise Director on our National Geographic river cruises, how do those sailings differ from our standard departures?

A. The two experts on board are incredible. One is an expert on the region we’re visiting and the second is a National Geographic photographer. They do lectures and workshops on board that open our eyes to so many things we didn’t know before, plus they are genuinely interested in interacting with our guests and being part of the whole cruise experience. Because they are on board for the entire cruise, you will find them at dinner, on excursions, having a drink in the lounge, doing all the same things as the rest of the guests. This makes them very approachable – which they also make clear they enjoy.

These departures also offer special excursions, most of which provide exclusive access to places such as museums or archaeological sites, giving our guests more opportunities to explore.

Q. What part of your job do you enjoy most?

A. Seeing big smiles on the faces of our guests. It tells us we are doing a great job and the guests are going to go home with a suitcase full of wonderful memories. I really enjoy spending time with guests while they are on tours, particularly on our Scenic Enrich excursions. These special events often come at the end of a busy day of touring and guests are tired. There have been times when we have to cajole them a bit to go see the classical concert in the amazing palace. Afterwards, we see them floating on air as they have so thoroughly enjoyed the experience and they almost always thank us for pushing them to go. How can it get better then to see expectations be exceeded?

Q. What has been your favorite cruise/itinerary on the rivers?

A. Romantic Rhine & Moselle – which sails between Basel and Amsterdam. This is a two-week cruise through one of the most beautiful stretches of rivers in the world. The beauty of the Black Forest, sailing along the Moselle is like being in a trance, plus all the great places to see in Belgium…the list is long. Equally enjoyable are the days we spend sailing on the river without stops. These are the days where the busy guests can sit back, read a book, share a glass of wine with new friends, listen to the Tailormade app and learn about all the castles, villages and sites along the rivers, or just indulging in an afternoon nap. Sometimes not being busy is one of the best parts of a vacation.

Q. And what are the first few things you suggest a guest do when they come on board a ship in order to maximize their enjoyment during their vacation?

A. Attend the cruise overview – this is very important as it can help you develop a plan for your entire vacation. This is where the imagery is given to the guests so they can make informed decisions on excursions. I also suggest chatting with the cruise director to get suggestions on what to do during the cruise. Many of our guests arrive on the ship early. Take the time then, while waiting to be taken to your cabin, to speak with the cruise director.