David Indge tells Ben Ireland how life at sea on the 50-berth Hebridean Princess enables him to combine his love of travel and people.
I start the day with . . .
A quick walk around the ship, meeting guests and crew. Every three weeks I set off from my home in Lymington, Hampshire, and fly to Scotland to spend a night in a hotel, before boarding Hebridean Princess the next day. Once on board, I do a handover with my opposite chief purser, who fills me in on all the goings on, then I settle into my cabin.
My daily duties involve . . .
Liaising with the captain and senior pursers, dealing with daily itinerary changes, being there to create the house party atmosphere for all the guests, and being a central point of contact for the guests and the crew. I accompany the shore tours and host tables in the Columba restaurant, not forgetting my hilarious after-dinner entertainment, which I love to provide.
I’ve been in my job for . . .
Twelve years. I started in 2005 as food and beverage manager and became chief purser 18 months later. Prior to this I was at Princess Cruises and P&O Ferries, working in various hospitality roles.
I became a chief purser because . . .
I love the daily challenge of travel and people, and this job combines both.
The most rewarding part of my job is…
Keeping the guests and crew happy. I love to see guests leave the ship saying they’ve had a wonderful holiday and returning time and time again.
The most challenging part of my job is . . .
Scotland’s ever-changing climate and being at sea. It’s challenging, but also one of the things I enjoy and means no two days are the same.
My favourite destination is . . .
The Shiant islands. The bird life is abundant and the isolated location is truly breathtaking.
Your wife Pat sometimes joins you on board. How did that come about and does she help out?
Pat joins me on river ship Hebridean Royal Crown. She used to work on cruise ships, so having an extra pair of hands on board and an assistant in escorting guests from the UK has been well received. We enjoy working together.
Without giving too much away, which is your favourite out of all the stories you tell on the ship?
The hilarious Fuzzy Flies or American Farmer – more details are available on booking…
How important is it to have a personal relationship with the guests, and can you tell who wants to talk lots and who wants to be left to their own devices?
I treat everyone the same – it’s something you pick up with experience. But I can usually get a conversation out of even the quietest guests by the end. I’m very persistent. Or annoying, depending on how you look it at.
The most common thing I’m asked is . . .
What’s the weather forecast for tomorrow?
The worst thing that’s happened at work is . . .
Two years on the trot we went to Iona for the Easter Service in the Abbey and due to unforeseen weather conditions were unable to land. The guests were disappointed and that is hard for everyone on board. We like to deliver and sometimes it’s just not possible.
To relax I like to . . .
Watch my beloved Bristol City play football and spend time at home with my wife, gardening and walking Rocky, the dog we
co-own with some friends.
The one thing I would take to a desert island is . . .
Close family is all I would need.