On board with Nadine Armbrust
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Cruise Director Nadine Armbrust talks to The Luxury Cruise Company about her life and times on board.
Tell us a little about your background and how you came to work on Hapag Lloyd cruises?
In earlier years I did my training working in Hotels and after stations in Germany and Switzerland I started working on cruise ships in 2003. Since then I am totally addicted to working where others spend the most beautiful time of the year - on vacation. Waking up in a different port everyday, getting to know new destinations and sharing the experience with the passengers is a great job. Since 2009 I am with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. I started on MS COLUMBUS, continued with MS EUROPA, MS HANSEATIC and MS COLUMBUS 2. Since 3 years I am now working as a Cruise Director on MS BREMEN and MS HANSEATIC, the Expedition ships of the company.
What’s a typical day like on board for an Cruise Director on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises?
Actually there is never a typical day and every day is different. The Expedition Team are on the Bridge before arrival at a landing site to check out the weather situation and landing possibilities. While the Lecturers and Expedition Leader are going ashore, I am constantly informing the passengers about the actions of the day, weather situation and landing conditions. Then we start disembarking the passengers with our Zodicas. We usually have 4 different colours for the Zodiac groups to take passengers ashore. Especially in Antarctica and South Georgia we are only allowed to take up to 100 passengers ashore at a time so we divide them in 2 groups. I am also going ashore with the passengers then or / and drive Zodiacs by myself. The other duties are coordinating the day with the Captain and Hotel Manager, arranging the daily programme and the activities. I am always around the passengers, so they can ask any question they like.
On the small ships everybody helps each other when needed, so there are many more things you do each day.
How many expedition guides are there on board each ship? Do you all have your own speciality?
Our on-board expedition team has up to 16 members. These include high-calibre experts from various fields, for example biologists, glaciologists, historians, geologists, athletes, and photographers. They are guiding the groups ashore and also give lectures about penguins, whales, history, geological highlights and so on. They also do commentary from the Bridge on interesting passages and so on. They are always the first ones ashore to greet the guests coming outside and to give all the information about the site and what they can see and experience. We have lectures whenever there is time and we also do “Re Caps” before dinner, whenever the time schedule allows, to take up things we have seen during the day and to answer questions.
Tell us about one particular highlight while working as an Cruise Director for Hapag-Lloyd?
Where to start… every day is a highlight and every day is different. Watching whales from the Zodiac or from the ship are definitely highlights, once we had around 20 whales around us, watching them for about an hour. But also when the ship goes through the ice is an highlight.
But visiting new destinations in the South Pacific or cruising the Amazon until Peru, just wonderful and full of highlights! It is very hard to answer this question with just a couple of words, but working on the Expedition Ships is like working in and with a family. Therefore it is a lot of fun and we have a nice time.
Where is your favourite destination and why?
My favourite destination is definitely Antarctica and South Georgia. The huge amount of penguins, whales, ice, snow, mountains, it is just incredible to be able to see this “hidden gem” down south. The nature is stunning and it is so peaceful down there. But of course there are also other destinations like the North-West-Passage, full of history or cruising the Amazon which is also pure nature. It is quite hard to answer that question…
Where do you like to take your own holidays when not working on board?
Honestly… most of the time I stay at home with my family and friends. I am away from home most of the year, so this time is reserved for them. Sometimes I fly out to the UK to visit my friends near Liverpool but this is as far as I could get over the last years.
Finally why should someone take an expedition cruise with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises?
Small agile ships that can access areas that are not reachable for most ships, long standing expedition expertise and very special routing, small number of guests and very personal, familiar atmosphere.