5 Questions with a Cruise Travel Guide

5 Questions with a Cruise Travel GuideIn my opinion, Ian Page has an enviable job for a travel buff.

To sum up just a few of his duties: Travel. Learn about travel, culture and history. Teach about travel, culture and history. Repeat.

While aboard Holland America’s ms Eurodam, Ian agreed to spend a few minutes answering my questions about what could possibly be the best job in the world … or at least on the seven seas.

1. What do you do as a cruise travel guide?

I pull together all the port information for everywhere the ship travels. Some people aren’t interested in taking a cruise-planned shore excursion and would rather travel independently, so I find out all the nuts and bolts on how they can do that. I find out how much it costs to take a taxi or how people would get somewhere to do their own activities. Sometimes people ask me if they think certain tours are suited for them, and I have to know enough about the activities to provide information so that they can make that decision. Before the ship docks anywhere, I hold presentations about the different ports with information about the history and culture of a place. In Europe especially, people are interested in learning about the cultural-related aspects of a destination. I also have office hours if someone would like to talk one-on-one about their travel plans. Once the cruise ship is in port, I wait right off the ship as everyone is leaving to answer last-minute questions people have before spending the day on shore.

2. How did you become a cruise ship travel guide?

I started traveling in college. When I heard about a job opening with another cruise company, it seemed like the ideal way to see the world. I worked for them for one year then took a job with Holland America. I’ve been working here for the past three years. I work for five months then take three to four weeks off before coming back on for another contract term. During the time I have off, I do a lot of research. I read guidebooks and visit new places because things change all the time. I’ve been to all of the places I recommend. My real passion is travel, and I hope I share that passion with other people.

5 Questions with a Cruise Travel Guide3. Where have you traveled to and where would you like to go?

I have been to 82 countries. I’m holding out on some of the smaller countries like Lichtenstein for when I’m closer to hitting 100. I want to go back to Argentina some day and I would like to do a more extensive tour of Africa. I also want to spend more time in India.

4. What travel destination is a must-see?

There are actually four places that people have to visit:

  • New Zealand is a fantastic country. I would recommend people go by ship the first time and rent a car the second time they visit.
  • Vietnam has the friendliest people. People should visit the beach and try to get up into the mountains. The country has amazing hotels. I’m especially fond of Ho Chi Minh.
  • Santorini, Greece, is stunning. People should visit Oia; it has the best baklava. There are a ton of tourists here but it’s just too beautiful to pass up. I recommend people get a cappuccino and enjoy the scenery.
  • St. Petersburg, Russia, is best discovered with a walking tour. The Singer House has one of the best coffee shops in St. Petersburg. It’s on the second floor.

5. What is the best travel secret you can divulge to travelers?

Ask questions and do your research. Things change all the time, so don’t be afraid to ask. People might read about sites or places in guidebooks or see something on a TV show that is outdated. It can be frustrating for people to discover that something they read about in a book or see on TV doesn’t exist anymore.

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5 Questions with a Cruise Travel Guide
JoAnna is a globe-trotting, idea-inventing, culture-collecting creativity connoisseur with big dreams and a desire to touch all seven continents. You can also find JoAnna at joannahaugen.com and at The 52 Letters Project.

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14 Responses

  1. There are some really great jobs in the travel industry, and often the turnover is high as people move on to other life obligations, so anyone who loves to travel and has the freedom to do so should definitely consider it.

  2. JoAnna says:

    @Trisha ~ For what it’s worth, Ian told me that Holland America is looking for a couple more cruise travel guides. He told me to pass along interested and qualified parties. I admit, I considered throwing my name in.

  3. What a great job! I always wondered who took care of all of the itineraries for cruise ship guests. Thanks, JoAnna.

  4. Gray says:

    That does sound like a great job. If you could get used to being on a cruise ship all the time. I think I could live with it for awhile.

  5. Abbie says:

    I love this post! I would’ve never thought to interview a tour guide… things to keep in mind ;)

  6. Jen Laceda says:

    Seems like a great job! It’s probably a job I’d love to do in another life (lol!) But in this life, I chose to have a family, and I reckon it’s difficult to maintain a ‘normal’ family life with such a career — lots of travelling! So, kudos! to Ian for making his choice in life, following his dream, and sticking to it!

  7. Mary R says:

    JoAnna,
    Go for it! Then let us all know how it goes living and traveling on a ship.

    It’s appealing to me too, but I prefer to spend long amounts of time in one place. I need to make a home for myself, even if it’s as short as a week or two.

  8. brian says:

    Dream job is right! The fact that he get off 3 – 4 weeks before another contract is a plus. Amazing how people just fall into the most incredible opportunities.

    Office hours, I like that…

  9. I don’t think there’s a better job than this. Of course it takes hell lot of responsibilities but at the same its an opportunity to travel across the world with you being paid.

  10. JoAnna says:

    I can tell you that Ian really loved his job, and I have to admit, it sounds a little bit like a dream to me.

  11. Carlo says:

    Great interview…just goes to show you there are so many avenues to pursue that have a travel slant. You just have to be creative. Although, I respectfully disagree about Vietnam!

  12. James says:

    @JoAnna I have recently applied to an open position as a Travel Guide with Holland America. Is there any information you would be willing to help me with? If I could get in contact with Ian that would be fantastic. Thanks!

  13. JoAnna says:

    Hi James ~ I interviewed Ian while I was on the cruise ship and have no contact information for him. Sorry!

  14. Don and Cheri Briggs says:

    JoAnna,
    We have cruised two Transatlantics on the Eurodam. Ian Page is a great wealth of information. He has advised us on every Port and even met everyone who has questions as we leave the ship.
    We found this plaque last week in Daytona Beach and had to put it in our room of “Trip Pictures”. We always pick two pictures from every trip and put them on the wall. They are the moments that “Take our breath away”. Please forward this to Ian. I cannot find an email for him.
    Thank you, Don and Cheri Briggs

    I can’t attach the picture to this, send an email address please.

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