By LARRY VAUGHT
As much fun as I’ve always had on a cruise, my enjoyment level doesn’t get close to how much Crown Princess assistant cruise director Son Eunmee of South Korea likes what she does.
“I am always happy and I really like this job. It’s a really, really good job and I have fun doing it,” said Eunmee when she took a rare break during our recent 11-day cruise in the Caribbean.
She was seemingly everywhere doing a little bit of everything from instructing line dancing to getting contestant to audition for the “The Voice” to just greeting you going into a show.
Eunmee joined Princess in 2013 when the cruise line started going into the Asia market.
“I was one of the first crew members hired when they hired Koreans and Japanese who could speak Japanese. They came to South Korea to interview us and I had a little bit of a background with a microphone and little bit of skills of speaking Japanese and Korean and was hired,” she said.
“So many people applied and fortunately I got hired. I still don’t know why. It was the first cruise thing in South Korea and no one knew what it was because we don’t do cruising. We don’t have long holidays for cruising because we work so hard. We only have a couple of days of break or vacation a year. We don’t know how to relax and have a vacation. It’s a new thing.”
Maybe it was because she had worked in the broadcasting station in South Korea doing radio and translation jobs. Yet even with that experience, she says there’s nothing easy about having the microphone in her hands so much on a cruise ship.
“You have to think about everything you are going to say. I might think it is okay to say that but it is not for some people. I have to be very careful when I say something. It’s never easy,” Eunmee, age 36, said.
While she enjoys the non-stop travel her job provides, she likes working in the service industry.
“I don’t mind having a microphone but I like meeting people and giving good service. When they are happy, I feel like I am doing something good so that is why I chose this job,” she said.
Her energy level never seemed to stop and her smile was non-stop and contagious to anyone around her.
“When I see happy people I feel happy. If they see me when I am happy, they might be happy and I want to give the same energy to them because they are on holiday,” she said. “Some guests are not happy and I want to give happiness and nice energy so they can be happy on holiday. Not everyone is on holiday for a good reason. Some are on cruises for different reasons and you have to think about that. When they see me happy, maybe they think life is beautiful. Sometimes people can think negative things and I want to give out that life is happy, beautiful and we can be happy all the time.”
Cruising is a different vacation and can be seen as too expensive by some without considering all that a guest gets for the price paid.
“First of all it is different environment than land. You want some new things, yes. You can get it here. You can meet different nationalities. You can do amazing shows and games with all kinds of nationalities and all ages in one venue. You can see a South Korean hosting, American hosting, Englishman hosting, Japanese hosting,” Eunmee said. “When you wake up most days you are in a different country.
“Of course, we provide everything. Everything is done by our crew members. It is just easy and fun. The best part to me is sunset and sunrise on board. When you see sun rise in the middle of the ocean it is amazing and same with the sunset. We also have stargazing that is very unique experience that you can only have in the middle of the ocean.”
With the talent performing in various venues along with a full spa and a friendly staff, she says it is “like heaven if you are on board.”
One thing that has always impressed me is the way cruise staff members not only seem to enjoy their work despite the long hours but also always get along so well. Eunmee says part of that is because Princess treats employees with respect and management listens to requests from staff members.
“I have so many good friends on board. Everybody is family. We work together, sleep in the same venue, work and eat together,” Eunmee said. “We have the same break and go to the crew bar together at night and we have a good time. Not every day but sometimes you want to chill out after the big show and have a couple of drinks. We relieve stress that way
“For us in entertainment we can actually go ashore every couple of days. If you are not lazy and not on duty you can go on shore but sometimes you just want to relax onboard with your friends.”
Many young South Korean girls are schooled to be professional golfers or figure skaters.
“I tried skiing but I am not a sports person. I like to watch but I am a people person,” Eunmee said.
That’s not likely to change any time soon, either. She loves what she does and wants to keep helping someone like me enjoy my “holiday” even more.
“Any job if you are happy can be forever. If you are happy, you can just keep doing what you do and that’s what I plan to do,” she said.