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Behind the scenes with our kid’s club Adventure Ocean Manager

By JoTuesday 01st October 2013

Matt-Ducharme Our coffee-loving, Adventure Ocean Manager, Matt Ducharme makes sure all the kids onboard Independence of the Seas have the best time possible. He tells us how working on a cruise ship fulfils his desire to travel, which part of the world is his absolute favourite and how he was lucky enough to have met his fiancé onboard. We asked Matt… Q: What does your job on the ship entail? I develop and manage all onboard programming for children between the ages of 6 months and 17 years. I have a team of 16 Youth Staff and an Assistant Adventure Ocean Manager on my team, who implements the programming for each age group. Our main goal is to make sure that the kids want to spend more time with us then they do with their parents! How long you have been working on our cruise ships? 4 ½ years Why did you choose a career working on cruises? I spent my summers working as a Camp Counsellor while I was at University and I loved it so much that when I graduated, I naturally gravitated to the field. I also had a desire to travel, so Royal Caribbean International seemed an obvious choice. What does an average day look like for you? There is no true average day on ships. Each and every day provides me with different challenges. I spend the majority of my time ensuring that programming is running to standard and that the kids are having the most fun possible. I also make time each day to join in a game or two of Dodgeball. What is the ship you work on like - is there anything that makes it stand out? Being a Freedom Class Ship, Independence of the Seas will always be compared to her sisters, Freedom and Liberty of the Seas, and the amenities are essentially the same, but the stand out aspect of this ship is the staff. The people on this ship make it unique and special. How many nationalities are represented on the cruise ship staff? 71 What are the most important elements in keeping the operations running smoothly? Guest satisfaction. My main concern is making sure that everyone is having the best possible experience while they’re onboard. If you were a passenger how would you spend your day on the ship? Sleeping in until noon and then sun tanning beside the pool before I went to Chops Grill. What do you most enjoy about working on a cruise ship? I met my fiancé onboard and we’re lucky enough to have our contracts line up on the same ship. I’m just happy to be able to spend as much time as possible with her each day.Matt-Ducharme What has been the best experience for you onboard? Getting to know so many people from around the world whom I’d never have had the opportunity to interact with otherwise. I’ve made some really good friends from countries that I’d never even considered visiting in the past, and I count myself lucky for that. How would you persuade people who are unsure about going on a cruise to do it? With so many amazing ships in our fleet, getting people to want to cruise is an easy task. There is literally something for everyone onboard, so no matter what you like, you’ll find it in abundance here. What is your best piece of advice for new cruise ship passengers? Try everything! With so much going on, it’s easy to forget how long it takes to get from one place to another, so it’s important to plan out your day. Check the Cruise Compass daily and make sure that you have enough time to get to your next event. What do you need to pack for a cruise? Whatever you want. That’s why it’s so great. If you want to dress up in the evenings, you can do it every night. If you want to keep it casual, there are so many places around the ship that you’ll feel comfortable wearing whatever you want. Matt-DucharmeWhat are your favourite ports? I personally like the Italian ports. There is so much history in that country at every turn. What do you like to do on a day off? I love exploring new places and I make a point of trying food from each culture I visit. What is the one item you could not live without while at sea? My coffee press. I am a bit of a coffee junkie, but I am very particular about what I drink, so I make my own each and every morning.

Want to get a glimpse into the life of a particular Royal Caribbean staff member? Let us know in the comments below. Which members of staff helped make your cruise holiday extra special? We want to hear your story.

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