Airlines & Airports
Ask A Cruise Director: Carnival's Matt Mitcham Tackles Your Questions
PHOTO: Carnival Breeze cruise director Matt Mitcham with legendary singer and Carnival Live! performer Smokey Robinson. (courtesy of Instagram/mmitcham_1985)
So, it seems you enjoyed getting to know Matt Mitcham as much I did. We received a big response from our first Cruise Director Confidential piece, so much so that we've sent Matt a bunch of your questions that I received on the Carnival Breeze during my trip and via social media and email since the article ran.
It's time for the current Carnival Breeze and future Carnival Vista Cruise Director to tackle your questions about cruising, life at sea and the things we'll do for love.
Seems like every cruise line is trying to one-up each other with attractions. What’s the one cool attraction (bumper cars, flight simulator type stuff) you’d like to see on a cruise ship?
- Terry D., Fayetteville, N.C.
I’m really excited about the SkyRide attraction that will be featured on the new Carnival Vista, which debuts next year. Pedaling a hanging bicycle as you race your friends around an 800-foot track with beautiful views all around you is going to be something else. I can’t wait to try it out for myself when I head to Europe as the Carnival Vista’s cruise director next year!
If you had just 50 words to sell people on taking a cruise, what would you say?
- April T., Grand Rapids, Mich.
For me, personally, I honestly don’t think you can beat the breathtaking views you get from sailing around the world. The natural beauty of the ocean creates those magical moments for me! Having said that, we literally have something for everyone, whether it’s a peaceful relaxing afternoon in our adults-only Serenity areas or a vibrant fun-filled atmosphere on Lido deck with yours truly. The nighttime entertainment is amazing, too.
We have everything from Motown Playlist Productions shows to our world class comedians and variety acts. One thing you won’t be is bored ... Don’t let me get started on the food, your mission is to try and gain at least 40 pounds over this cruise — and believe me I’ve seen some good attempts! We have everything you need to have a good time — all you need to do is bring yourself and an open mind! Most importantly, remember you will never see these people ever again so if you want to wear a Speedo, wear it with pride.
I’m guessing this is more than 50 words. :)
What’s the craziest weather you’ve ever faced at sea?
- Tracy J., Houston, Tex.
Although I’ve faced some rainstorms during my day, by and large our captains do everything they can to avoid bad weather by tracking the storms and staying out of harm’s way. We want to make sure our guests are having the vacation of their lives onboard and that includes enjoying the beautiful weather!
What made you want to apply to work on ships in the first place?
- Izzy P., Seattle
To be honest, I never ever thought about applying to work on cruise ship. Coming from the U.K. it’s so easy to just jump on a plane and travel around Europe. I went out to Turkey when I was 21 with my family and met a young lady. She was from the U.K. also so we continued to see each other once we returned back home. Prior to meeting she had already applied to Carnival as a social host.
I was young and in love so I followed her out to sea and signed my first contract. I thought she wanted me to follow her but she was actually trying to get away from me. Who doesn’t tell someone that? LOL!! Our relationship lasted three cruises. She ended up going back to the U.K. and I stayed on the ship. This was eight years ago. You never know where life is going to take you.
Are there any married American people that work the ships? Seems like a young international person’s gig.
-Francine E., Flagstaff, Ariz.
Yes, we have some Americans working onboard, mainly in entertainment and the youth department. We have crewmembers from more than 100 countries from around the world fleetwide, including some from the U.S., of course. There’s an old saying that a cruise ship is a mini-United Nations and it is 100 percent true!
What’s the one restaurant at any port of call you’d say we absolutely have to visit, and why? (I know you risk outing one of your hidden faves here, but hook us up.)
- Debbie G., Titusville, Fla.
In St. Thomas, you simply have to try the chair lift up to Paradise Point. It’s called Paradise Point because the views are absolutely phenomenal.
The food is fantastic and they have a famous drink called a ‘’Bushwacker.’’ Let’s just say the trip down on the chair lift is a lot more fun after one of them. :)
What’s one great advantage to cruising people might not think about?
- Brian L., Ames, Iowa
The wonderful crew. On the Carnival Breeze we have more than 1,400 team members from 60 different nations on board. These are the people that really make the difference in your vacation. You literally meet people from all over the world and it’s a great opportunity to learn about new cultures and ways of life.
For me personally, cruise ships have given me the opportunity to not only travel the world, meet my nine ex-wives but also make so many amazing friends all over. This also comes in handy when taking a vacation.
So much is said about norovirus. I know it’s even more a hotel and restaurant thing than a cruise thing, but cruises seem to always be the ones in the news for it. How do you as a cruise director quell people’s nerves about it?
- Jamie A., Dublin, Ireland
You’re right, norovirus happens much more on land than it does on a cruise ship. We have strong sanitation protocols in place and are constantly advising our guests to wash their hands — which remains the most effective way to avoid getting sick.
Our ships undergo unannounced inspections by U.S. Public Health twice a year and these inspections are more thorough than on land. Our ships have earned six perfect 100 UPSH scores this year which is quite an achievement!
If we’re comparison shopping to find a cruise, what do you think is the No. 1 thing that we should think about in picking our first cruise? (And don’t say the cruise director. HAHAHA)
- Petra T., Mexico City
You took away my first answer! First of all, make sure the cruise line you pick starts with a C and ends in L. :) Secondly, while we have lots of great things to do on board, the ports are important too, of course. We have so many amazing destinations we visit whether you want to relax on a beautiful beach in the Caribbean or go sightseeing in Alaska. I guess it comes down to what you want to do with your time off the ship.
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