Our Cruise Directors are a vitally important part of your holiday. Their role is to manage the entertainment teams on board our cruise ships as well as many other important aspects of your cruise. Often you will see them getting involved in daytime activites, and of course, at the evening shows.
Michelle was born in Hutton, Brentwood but moved across the Essex-Suffolk border to Ipswich at a young age. Growing up it was always her dream to work on board cruise ships and in 2008 this dream was realised when Michelle joined Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines as a Beauty Therapist aboard Braemar. Michelle then enjoyed a spell as a Hostess in 2010 before stepping up to Deputy Cruise Director – a role which suits her bubbly personality perfectly.
Michelle feels very lucky to have travelled the world on board our ships, discovering spectacular destinations and meeting thousands of guests along the way. The most memorable experience from her time with Fred. Olsen so far was being part of the massive ‘4 Ships in Bergen’ event in 2015; and her favourite destination is the incredible Norwegian fjords. Michelle also enjoys taking in the sunshine, beaches and vibrant, happy atmosphere of the Caribbean too. New Zealand and Asia are destinations she would like to explore in the future with Fred. Olsen.
In her free time Michelle likes to keep fit at the gym and enjoy relaxing spa days with her family and friends.
Simon “Skippy” Vickers – as you may have guessed from his nickname – hails from Adelaide, South Australia. In his homeland he worked as an entertainment agent, and also ran a construction company and fitness centre before finally embarking on a career at sea in 2009.
After a short stint with Saga Cruises, Simon joined Fred. Olsen Cruises Lines as a Fitness Instructor in January 2010 and was quickly promoted to Cruise Host in July 2010. Since then, “Skippy” has worked his way up to the roles of Senior Host, Deputy Cruise Director and Cruise Director, and has enjoyed time on board all four ships in Fred. Olsen's current fleet of ocean-going ships. He says the most rewarding thing about having ‘the best job in the world’ is being able to work with a great group of people and enjoy the company of our friendly guests on board.
Fetching ice from icebergs in Greenland, witnessing the Northern Lights, meeting D-Day veterans on board and swimming with turtles in Barbados are just a few of the unforgettable experiences Simon has enjoyed during his time so far with Fred. Olsen. He always enjoys visiting Germany’s Christmas Markets too – a far cry from the beach-based festive fun he’s used to back home!
Simon is an avid runner and often competes in Commando Course events in his spare time – you may even see him out running along the port when he’s in training! He also has a passion for cars and enjoys building and re-building full-size replica cars and kit cars.
Formerly an Entertainments Manager for 10 years, Allan joined Fred. Olsen Cruises Lines in 1997 as a member of Cruise Staff aboard Black Watch. Moving up to the role of Cruise Director was an obvious progression for Allan, and during his long career with Fred. Olsen has worked on board all four of our ships, covering almost every corner of the globe along the way.
From the hustle and bustle and beautiful beaches of Vietnam, to the breathtaking Norwegian fjords and the pretty landscapes of Britain, Allan has experienced it all while working as a Cruise Director on board with us. He says he will always remember his very first world cruise on board Black Watch and the first time he discovered the wonders of Spitsbergen; while being a part of the fantastic ‘4 Ships in Bergen’ event in 2015 will live long in his memory too. Interviewing Lord David Steele, The Duchess of Northumberland and Betty Boothroyd on board are also among his most memorable cruise moments.
While working Allan enjoys meeting new guests and working with first class cabaret performers; and during his time off he likes to spend as much time with his daughter as possible. When he isn’t exploring the world’s waterways on board our ships, Allan is often spotted on the terraces at his hometown football club, Alnwick Town FC. Allan also plays the guitar in his free time.
Allan has taken a few minutes to give us some answers to questions you'd like to know!
Born and raised in the Devonshire town of Torquay, Nick grew up wanting to work in the entertainment industry and spent many of his early years training and working as an actor. He took on his first role with Fred. Olsen in 2012 as part of the Balmoral Show Company, then – after a short time away from the company – re-joined the fleet in 2015 as a Host. Nick now loves leading a team of fellow entertainers as Cruise Director.
Nick often moves between all of the vessels in the fleet, and is always excited to meet new people and discover new experiences on each ship. His most memorable Fred. Olsen experience so far is cruising around the world in 2013. He feels privileged to have been able to take in the untouched natural beauty of the stunning South Pacific – a region only accessible by sea – and would like to explore the American west coast on a cruise in the future. What Nick loves the most about working on board our ships is being able to make friends with the fantastic crew and friendly guests; and having the opportunity to see the world while working.
When Nick isn’t on board entertaining our guests he can usually be found watching the rugby or strumming his guitar. He also has an interest in photography and enjoys capturing his most memorable moments on ‘film’.
Marina has spent her entire career at sea so far with Fred. Olsen. She joined us in 2009 as a hairstylist on board Black Prince and has since worked in various roles on board three of the four smaller, friendlier ships in our fleet – Balmoral, Braemar and Black Watch. Braemar is Marina’s favourite ship in the fleet.
In her current role as Cruise Director, Marina loves working closely with the rest of the Entertainment Team to provide our guests with memorable experiences throughout each day they spend on board with us. She enjoys working on board our intimately-sized ships as she is able to engage and interact directly with our guests, welcoming people to the Fred. Olsen ‘family’ and building lasting relationships with them as they return to cruise with us time and again.
Marina feels extremely lucky to have experienced the thrill of cruising around the globe on incredible World Cruises aboard Black Watch – memories that she will cherish forever. Another highlight of her time so far with Fred. Olsen was sailing European rivers aboard Braemar, cruising directly into stunning cities such as Bordeaux, France and Seville, Spain. She hopes to have opportunities to explore Alaska and the Far East in the future.
When on leave, home time is family time for Marina. She treasures every moment she spends back home in Serbia with her husband, son and close friends, and particularly enjoys ‘movie nights’ with lots of popcorn and ice cream!
From a young age Elliot has had a keen interest in travelling and in his college years achieved a diploma with merit in Travel & Tourism, which helped him realise his dreams of working in the travel industry.
Elliot became part of the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines family in May 2010, joining Braemar as a member of the crew before moving on to the Boudicca – his favourite ship in the fleet – in March 2013. In his role of Cruise Director, Elliot currently moves from ship to ship across the fleet and enjoys the challenge of working on all of our vessels throughout the year.
Spending 9 months of the year on board his ‘second home’, Elliot enjoys the camaraderie of the crew, building a rapport with our guests and of course, discovering some of the greatest destinations and experiences on earth. His cruise highlights include glaring at the inspirational scenery of the Norwegian fjords for the first time, experiencing the thrill of the Monaco Grand Prix and being part of the unforgettable ‘4B’s in Bergen’ event. Elliot also loves visiting the Caribbean – his favourite cruise destination – and is hoping to tick the Dubai, Australia and New Zealand off his ‘must-visit’ list.
During his time off, Elliot returns to his home in Bournemouth to enjoy spending time with his friends and pursue a further passion for travelling and entertainment, as well as his beloved football team, Everton.
Ritchiel feels incredibly honoured to be a part of the Entertainment Team. She began her career with Fred. Olsen on board Boudicca, working as a Guest Services Assistant and Cruise Directors Administrator, before transferring to Black Watch to become a Hostess. Since then she has continued to progress, taking on the role of Senior Hostess before being promoted to her current position of Cruise Director's Assistant. Ritchiel knew she was destined to be part of the Entertainments Team as she has a love for performing and entertaining guests on board the ship. When she’s not entertaining guests directly, Ritchiel works incredibly hard behinds the scenes to assist the Cruise Director with planning and creating the entertainment programme.
Originally from the Philippines, Ritchiel loves working for Fred. Olsen as she gets to visit so many incredible countries around the world, a simply once in a lifetime experience. She also loves being able to develop a rapport and create friendships with guests who return year after year; and enjoys the strong bond she has with the rest of the crew. Ritchiel feels that her shipmates are her second family and that the Fred. Olsen fleet are her homes away from home.
In her spare time Ritchiel enjoys sunbathing on the beach and spending time with family and friends. She also has a passion for great food and shopping.
Brendo has been with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines for many years, working on board Balmoral in various roles such as Cruise Administrator, Host and Senior Host before being promoted to the role of Cruise Director’s Assistant – the highlight of his Fred. Olsen career so far. In his current role, Brendo particularly enjoys helping to organise the entertainment and community events on board, such as the popular country fayre, street parties and the charity crew marathon.
What Brendo loves most about working for Fred. Olsen is being able to spend time with ‘family’ even while he is away from his home in Gerona, Tarlac in the Philippines. He feels privileged to be able to see the world in the company of his fellow crew members and our guests, and lucky to have discovered some of the greatest destinations on earth. Cruising into the Norwegian fjords for the first time and visiting Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Cebu in the Philippines in 2015 are among Brendo’s many highlights. He hopes that his adventures will lead him to Alaska, California and Machu Pichu in Peru in the future.
When he isn’t working on board Brendo makes the most of his time at home, relaxing and enjoying life with his wife Michelle and his three boys, Brendo Jr, Brent Mathew and Brandon Miguel.
Suzanne Gayle - Cruise Director
As a child growing up in Doncaster, Suzanne knew from a very early age that she wanted to be on the stage. While at school, she took every opportunity to perform in choirs, plays and musicals, and after studying music and drama for several years began her professional career as a cabaret singer in clubs across England.
In 1994, Suzanne had her first experience of working abroad as a guest act for Thomson Holidays, flying out to their Sun Hotels in Spain and Greece. In December 1995, she then made her debut on a cruise ship with Airtours Sun Cruises, and hasn’t looked back since. Having previously worked aboard Black Prince in 2000, Suzanne returned to Fred. Olsen in June 2018 and is enjoying sailing the world's waterways with us once again.
At home in Lincoln, Suzanne often spends free time watching rugby union – her father instilled a love for the sport in her at a young age. In fact, she was once ‘the only female cabaret singing rugby referee in England’. Suzanne also has a passion for scuba diving, and has been lucky enough to explore the 'underwater worlds' of some of the most incredible places on earth.