If you have ever been to an event where Game of Thrones actor James Cosmo has spoken, you will remember it. Or Olympian Derek Redmond, or stuntman Stuart St Paul or ballet dancer Wayne Sleep. The Winter Olympics and Olympics each year provide us with new gold medal winners who enrich another group of fashionable speakers who will be addressing events. But who are asked to talk and lecture on cruise ships and why? Most speakers will be booked via an agent, who talks with the bookers on a regular basis.
Two of the main agendas a cruise ship has:-
- to find guest stars who are entertaining (enrichment lecturers)
- to inform guests of the locations they are visiting (destination lecturers)
When travelling to Iceland you may well have a guest star or lecturer on board who was in Game Of Thrones hence performing star and location function in one. Many film people have tales to tell at locations, like Stuart St Paul jumping off the Statue of Liberty in American Werewolf…
It is like selling a TV show on the planner when you say what is on, you need to have a great title and a great story, and then the question most people ask when referring to film – who is in it? What are your star credentials. If you are a local School Governor, member of the local council planning authority and trustee of a charity, who is also a published author, then these will be your credentials. TV credentials are always good. Your top credential may not be the one you value, Stuart St Paul was an attached expert advisor to Emmerdale for 26 years and worked on much of Mrs Browns Boys, but he has other things he cherishes more. It is however what the audience want and every ship is different. West End Actress Jean Heard (and Doris Visits main presenter) does an in-costume series of five enduring monologues that just went down brilliantly on the Britannia in the Baltic. That route will have an audience who like stories on Royals.
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Next to the location experts are used especially in places like the Panama Canal, the Amazon, the Arctic Circle, for history or animals. Then there are additional lecturers that have interesting backgrounds like the police or military. It is important to note that all of these guests cost the cruise operator the very minimum of cabin, so all guests and lecturers have a cost even if they are not paid, whether a suite or a crew cabin. Many guest speakers are not paid, only the stars get guest cabins and maybe a fee. In brief, if you are a star who is paid to be a guest on land, you may stand a chance of being paid at sea. If not, you may find it hard. As we say in our working at sea brief, Zeebrugge is the gateway to Bruges, just as agents are the gateway to ship bookers. If you are not represented by an agent for paid speaking engagements it is unlikely you will be paid at sea. Take a look at a recent list of various celebrities that have been employed by the Cruise operators and others and you will see what they are looking for.
- Sherrie Hewson (actor, broadcaster and novelist)
- Edwina Currie (former MP, novelist and broadcaster)
- Marty Kristian (former singer with The New Singers, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing)
- Linda Gray (actress, Sue Ellen in Dallas)
- Pete Best (former Beatles drummer)
- Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards (former British Olympic skier)
- Wayne Sleep (Real Marigold Hotel ballet Dancer)
- Tim Collins OBE (Various)
- Derek Redmond (Olympian, motivator)
- John Virgo (snooker commentator and former player)
- Harry Redknapp (former football manager and footballer)
- Beverley Callard (actress, Liz McDonald in Coronation Street)
- Stuart St Paul (Movie director and stuntman)
- James Cosmo (actor, Braveheart & Game of Thrones)
- Jimmy McKenna (actor, A Touch of Frost and Hollyoaks)
- Paul Burrell RVM (butler to Diana, Princess of Wales)
- Matt Kennard (Actor, Hollyoaks, Doctors & Freight)
- Nick Pickard (actor, Hollyoaks)
- Ashley Taylor (actor and singer, Hollyoaks, Strictly Come Dancing)
- Matt Kennard (Actor, Hollyoaks, Doctors & Freight)
- Carol Klein (Expert gardener, columnist and TV presenter)
- Jane Asher (actress & baker)
- Jean Heard (West End actress, Grange Hill, cruise TV presenter)
- Ingrid Visser (marine biologist who studies orcas)
- Dame Zandra Rhodes CBE (fashion designer)
- Fiona Armstrong (former ITN and BBC news presenter)
Many agents charge. Some charge heavily. Some charge a yearly fee and you may never get a job. Most speakers have an agent, and most speaking agents can be found using a search engine. Because of the nature of the theatres they are normally required to use a film or powerpoint presentation, which they must own or have permission to use the copyright material. They use their own computer on most ships and plug into the VGA video and mini jack sound via their own adapters. Most speakers are asked to have a minimum of 5 x 45-minute lectures and they must not go over time. The technology is advancing and those who can make use of the stage will be the future.
Star speakers are guests, on some ships the ordinary lecturers are classed as crew and as such have lifeboat duties, which can also mean an alcohol restriction as they may be called on to stand station on a ship emergency and as such under maritime law can be breath or drug tested randomly at any time. The stars normally travel with total passenger guest status so do not have such duties.
- Speakers Agency
- Cruise Ship Enrichment
- Speakers Corner
- Gordon Poole agency
- London Speakers Bureau
- PEEL Entertainment
- Sixth Star Entertainment & Marketing
- Posh Talks
- Tim Castle
- To Sea with Z
So before you apply, look at the huge competition in agents and talented performers who do not have to read from scripts. Test yourself and get credits on land. Then ask yourself, do you have 5 really stand out lectures that will make you above the cast of the UK soap operas who are also after that free holiday? Or are you going to be a hopeful at a X-Factor audition who is remembered for the wrong reasons. You are likely to have to audition.
Jobs have an allocated cabin normally. As one worker leaves, the replacement worker takes the cabin. Some jobs cabin share, some don’t. Rarely can you dictate if ever your cabin and it is likely to be below the passenger cabin level. Do your research, test yourself with audiences like Women’s Guilds, and have video on YouTube of your performance. Make sure none of your work is copyright work that you cannot use. Know your ships back to front.
It is best to know what cruise lines are looking for what. Disney rarely uses people who have not worked on a Disney film or Animation and can talk about Disney films or other media. Some cruise lines like Silver Seas, Crystal Cruises and Cunard use people of note that are in the media or have expertise in world affairs. Princess Cruises like media, football and TV stars. Gardening experts from TV and radio are often used, but chefs not, they have their contracted chefs who offer premium dining programs. Police, crime and forensics are huge, astronomy is good in the Pacific. Take a look at the Posh Talks site or the Cruise Ship Enrichment site then make your tube films for all to review.
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