Leon De Ste. Croix
00:00:03 My name’s Leon de Sainte Croix, and I’m the Cruise Director for P&O Cruises, or one of the Cruise Directors for that company. Well as Cruise Director you’re in charge of the overall entertainment product on board the cruise ship. So I have overall responsibility for all the production shows, cabarets, guest speakers, the Youth Department and its activities, the musicians, lecturers, the Entertainment Officers. Basically all the Department. How it’s run, when things happen, what people wear when they’re at those things. It’s quite – it’s quite an important role aboard the ship, because for our ship our cargo is passengers, and my job is that, you know, I’m there to make them happy and make them enjoy – well help them enjoy themselves.
00:00:46 I actually started off, and you wouldn’t believe it to look at me now, but I actually started off as a professional dancer. Danced from the age of two and a half, three years old, hence the tap shoes, first things that I put on my feet, probably before a pair of Clarks went on my feet, a pair of tap shoes went on. And I danced at the local Dance School for – till I was 16. Then I went on to a Stage School full-time, 16 to 18, although I left a little bit early, ’cause I got lucky with a job. And I worked as a dancer that sang a bit, from the age – professionally – from the age of 17 to 35.
00:01:21 A decision had to be made, you know, I had to decide in which direction my career was going. Was I going to stay ashore and struggle, which inevitably I would have done, or go onto a cruise ship, work hard but enjoy myself, and push things there. And I decided because I’d had my fill of the business ashore, and felt that I’d done as much as I could have done, I decided to play a safe card. And for me, working on a cruise ship was a safe card, because I wouldn’t be travelling around the country in a suitcase, you know, going from job to job, and auditioning, and phoning agents. I had one employer, and I didn’t have to worry anymore, which is what I wanted at that age. I was 27 at the time, and I’m 39 now. I danced in the evenings in the production shows, but also during the day, ’cause I could at that point, I worked as an Entertainment Officer in the day and worked my way up through the ranks, with a view to becoming the Cruise Director one day. Which I did.
00:02:22 I’ve reached the highest rank that I can go into. I can’t actually go any higher in rank as far as my role on board the ship is concerned, so it’s an interesting question. Keep developing the product as best I can while I’m at sea. I think the interesting time would come along when I had children, and then I’ve have to think about whether I wanted to be at sea for such extended periods of time, or not. But that’s a decision I’ve not got to make yet. But I will one day, hopefully.
00:02:51 Going down to Antarctica, I did the circumnavigation of Antarctica, from Ushuaia in Southern Argentina, right underneath to McMurdo Station, and then up to new Zealand. That was quite an epic journey, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed, because I love seeing incredible scenes of nature, and there was plenty of that watching whales, and leopard seals, and vast amounts of penguins, etcetera. So yeah that was a – I think that was one of the real highlights. I’ve been most places in the world that have got a port, but I’ll never forget – never forget Antarctica, because it was so beautiful.
00:03;26 People can often feel guilty about, you know, when you’re going to sea – guilty about leaving their environments, leaving their homes, leaving their friends, you know, and people won’t do it because of that. But deep down they do. You know, as far as we know you only get one shot at it so just seize the day, get out there and do it. Whatever you decide to do, you know, in life, go out there and do it. Don’t sit around thinking about well if this, if that, because time is going (CLICKS FINGERS) and it goes all too quickly. So you’ve really got to make up your mind and go out and be selfish for once and just grab it and do it.