September 3, 2012
Guest Blog – Hayley Vandersteen, Voyage Sales Specialist, Queen Elizabeth
Many of you would have met our Voyage Sales Specialists whilst sailing with us on board Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth.
We caught up with Hayley Vandersteen in Southampton recently to find out a little bit more about her life as a Voyage Sales Specialist on board Queen Elizabeth:
Originally from Bournemouth on the south coast of England, Hayley was a Travel Agent after she left school and then went on to become an Estate Agent before deciding on a career at sea.
Hayley joined Cunard in 2011 when she flew out to Guatemala to join Queen Victoria. Since then she has worked on board our newest Cunarder Queen Elizabeth and is about to start her 4th contract.
What does a Voyage Sales Specialist do?
We have a varied role, looking after our loyalty club (Cunard World Club) and future cruise bookings on board. We help guests with enquiries about which loyalty tier they fall into, how many days at sea they have and which CWC benefits they are entitled to. We host cocktail parties on board for our gold, platinum and diamond members, where we also honour our top sailors on each voyage, we recently had a couple on board who had spent 2201 days at sea with us!
We are based in the Voyage Sales Office on deck 1 in the Grand Lobby, next to the Tours Office. Our office opening times can be found in the Daily Programme and in between those hours we also offer private appointments.
What is crew life like?
My contracts are usually 4 months on board then 2 months back at home in the UK. We all work very hard, 7 days a week but we’re rewarded with great social activities out of work.
We often have movie nights in the ward room, which is just like watching TV at home with friends! Different departments host pub quizzes, we have deck privileges so we can go to the theatre or for dinner up in the guest restaurants. Every 6 weeks we have a White Star party, where all of the crew come together with the Captain, there’s live music and a DJ. On turnaround port days we have pizza and wine nights to welcome the new staff joining the ship. In different ports of call crew tours are arranged to coincide with our working hours, so that we can experience some of the highlights in the ports we visit. Sometimes I just chill out in my cabin and watch a DVD, I have my own cabin with a double bed and en suite and a cabin steward who helps keep my room looking spotless!
I had never been at sea before I joined Cunard, flying to Guatemala on my own was daunting but haven’t looked back since! I miss sharing experiences with friends and family, but I have a whole new set on board.
The highlight of my career at sea so far has to be the 5th June Three Queens Jubilee event in Southampton. Nothing normally gets me up at 5am but my friends and I were on the front crew deck waving our flags! We were positioned in front of Queen Victoria – bow to bow, then Queen Mary 2 passed us with music and people cheering, I even got on the South Today TV show waving my flag!
Hayley with James Anderson – Smith Port Presenter & Alison Moore Assistant Tour Manager