Forget Julie McCoy: Meet A Real Cruise Director, Rachel Quinn

meet a real cruise director


When talking to cruise directors, there's no escaping images of the infamous "Love Boat" - and all the inevitable jokes that follow. And, who could forget Julie McCoy, the perky, blond cruise director from the 1970's TV show, who helped passengers on the Pacific Princess enjoy their vacations and sort out their romantic problems all by the time they reached Puerto Vallarta?

Rachel Quinn is another lady of the Ledo Deck - blond, cheerful and British - who's a cruise director in real life. She took a few minutes off duty from the Disney Dream to tell us what it's like to have the most fun job on the ship.

We've all seen Julie on "The Love Boat". Is that an accurate depiction of your job?
Funny, I still get called Julie. To be honest, its nothing like the real world, but Julie will always be a legend!

How about romance on the ship? Is that at all like on "The Love Boat"?
We have had many guests get engaged on on board over the years. Then they come back for their honeymoon... and then again with their children; it's wonderful to see. We also have a lot of weddings on board and on Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

What advice do you have for passengers on getting the most enjoyment out of their cruise?
Don't leave your stateroom without your Personal Navigator [a daily activities newsletter], everything you need to know is in there! Especially on the Disney Dream, it's a big ship with so much to see and do, the schedule of on board activities is critical.

What is your favorite part of the cruise?
Pirates Night, fireworks and the stage shows - they are spectacular and the entire family can enjoy together. On Pirates Night (there's one every DCL sailing) guests get to have fun and become pirates for a night, plus Pirate Mickey, Captain Hook and Captain Jack Sparrow join in the fun. And, of course there's the fireworks – Disney Cruise Line is the only cruise line to do fireworks at sea.

Kevin Smith Southwest

Disney Cruise Line

What made you decide to become a cruise director? What did you know about the job before you did it?
I've worked on ships for 22 years in various roles from main stage performer to assistant cruise director. I watched and learned from many cruise directors along the way.

What are the main duties of your job and what personal spin have you brought to the ships you've worked on?
I am responsible for the Entertainment department, Production Shows, Family & Adult Events and Youth Activities & Port Adventures. My goal is to give the guests the best experience possible so I stay involved with every aspect and guide the guests through their cruise. The latest "personal spin" would be the online videos for that I hosted, featuring the final preparations of the Disney Dream. I cannot believe how many guests saw the videos and told me they feel I am part of the family now, as they watched me every week bringing a sneak peek of our newest vessel right to them. Many thought I was an actor and were excited to see I really was the cruise director.

Was there any kind of nautical training you had to do?
[I've had] no specific no nautical training. Theater was my background.

What are the challenges in keeping a boatload of passengers happy and having a terrific time?
Reaching everyone and, when the weather isn't the best, keeping their spirits up. Luckily, at DCL we have so many events, activities and the beloved characters. There are always fun and exciting things to do on board the ship.

Do you try to remember faces/names of the passengers?
I remember faces and I do not forget the children, they are my favorite part of the job. I met many small children when this DCL adventure began and now I see them again on board and they are teenagers... amazing!

Do you get to enjoy the amenities of the Disney Dream or is it all work for you?
Most of it is work, so it's good I love what I do. There are a lot of amenities on board for the crew and officers. The gym is what I love the most so if I have spare time that is where I go.

Do you have the same stateroom all the time and do you do anything to personalize it?
Yes, I have the same room. I do not spend a lot of time in it but I do have photos of my loved ones.

Is it hard being away from your family and friends while you're at sea? How do you deal with that?
This has been my way of life for a long time; I do miss my family and friends but it is much easier to stay in touch with them now than it was 20 years ago... although I do miss those letters arriving in the post! This lifestyle is not for everyone, but we work hard then have a lot of time off, which means real quality time with our families while back on land.

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