Marina (Oceania Cruise Line)
Dottie was born and raised in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. She has a BA in Journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
After graduating from college, Dottie worked for 7 years as Director of Public Relations at McKeesport Hospital but says “I took a cruise during a winter break and got hooked on cruising. I began my cruise career as a Hostess on a ship, then I was promoted to an Assistant Cruise Director after my first year and I have worked as a Cruise Director for over 17 years. This is my 22nd year working in the cruise industry.”
Dottie has an assistant cruise director and 30+ people reporting to her. She says “The Cruise Director on the Marina is responsible for all the entertainment onboard, scheduling performers and performances, planning daily activities which need to meet a wide variety of interests and planning the dance band sets for every night (big band, 50s, etc.) for the cruise.” During the day, she is the hostess for the trivia quizzes and at night she also acts as MC for the entertainment acts. Her cruise schedule varies but she usually works 3 or 4 months and then will have 1 or 2 months off.
“The most enjoyable part of the job is that I get to travel all over the world, meet interesting people and work with talented entertainers.” Some of the other cruise lines that were fortunate to have Dottie are Norwegian, Holland America, Princess, and Celebrity. Her favorite places to visit are Edinburgh, Scotland, Venice, Italy, Oslo, Norway and Shanghai, China. “Shopping in Shanghai is the best.”
One of the biggest challenges for the cruise director is weather uncertainty. Sometimes shows have to be cancelled because of rough seas or if the guests cannot get to shore for excursions because of bad weather, other plans need to be scheduled. Also, trying to please everyone can be challenging.
Dottie says “the qualities that make a good cruise director are liking people,
being flexible, and organized. My seven years in Public Relations, prior to working in the cruise industry, were extremely helpful.”
Today more administration duties are required than when Dottie began her career. Also in general most cruise lines are not as formal as many years ago.
When not cruising, Dottie loves to spend time with her family, knitting, and cooking. If you love clothes the cruise director wears something different each day and dresses up every evening.