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What is a Cruise Escort and What Do They Do? 🚢

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Ever wondered what the role of a cruise escort is?

Well here’s my guide based on doing the role several times over the course of my coach holiday career.

It may be a bit different from what you think!

What is a Cruise Escort?

What is a Cruise Escort?

A cruise escort is someone sent on a cruise on behalf of a holiday company to make sure the cruise is delivered as per their brochure and contract. They are there to assist guests and liaise with the cruise ship manager and crew.

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The Role

A cruise escort is there to just accompany the cruise on behalf of the holiday company. In theory, there is little for them to do because everything should be organised and resolved with the cruise ship company, who will be arranging all the excursions, activities, accommodation, entertainment, and meals.

How the person operates the role will depend on the cruise and whether the ship or boat has been exclusively chartered for the holiday company or not.


If The Ship or Boat is not Exclusive for Holiday Guests

If the ship or boat is not exclusively chartered for just one holiday company the person may set up a desk for a set time each day so that guests know where to find them.

It may work out that there are several groups on the cruise and each takes separate coaches for excursions. This depends on the language of the people spoken, whether the excursions are included or optional etc.

If the cruise is not exclusively chartered this limits what the person can actually do, as the cruise company will be dealing with other groups and other passengers. If the holiday group is a small group then that reduces influence even further.

In such cases, the cruise escort is really there to ensure that the cruise is delivered as per the brochure. Any queries relating to the cruise program, cabins, meals, or excursions would be dealt with by the cruise manager and onboard team.

Guests can sometimes be frustrated because of the perception that the cruise escort isn’t doing anything to help them but actually, in these situations the cruise escort is limited. Their pay is also lower to reflect the lack of responsibility.


Exclusively Chartered Ship or Boat

If the ship or boat has been exclusively chartered by the holiday company this gives the cruise escort a bit more bargaining power in the event of any issues. This is because they effectively become the onboard holiday company representative.

That said the pay for a cruise escort is generally much lower than being a Tour Manager.

This is to reflect the fact that the role really is just to escort, or accompany the group, rather than get involved in any management or operation of the cruise.

However, with an exclusively chartered ship or boat it can be difficult to step back when there is a problem that needs addressing.

Pay Rates

The pay is much less to reflect the difference in workload and responsibility.

Cruise escort work is pitched as exactly that – you escort or accompany the group and the cruise ship deals with everything related to the cruise.

I have worked as a cruise escort and have been paid £45 per day. Out of this, I needed to pay for drinks, optional tours, and any other cruise expenditure over and above meals which are generally included.

The Reality of the Role

I have worked as a cruise escort a few times and won’t do the role anymore.

The last time I was a cruise escort was for a holiday company that chartered a whole boat to do a cruise between St Petersburg and Moscow.

There were over 130 guests on board the cruise ship and just me as the holiday company representative.

There were lots of issues, including two people hospitalised on the first day of the cruise, one of whom had to leave the holiday. There was then an outbreak of norovirus on board the ship in a remoter part of Russia which was very difficult to deal with.

In Moscow, two more people needed hospital treatment.

It was a difficult and stressful situation all around with guests thinking that I was the cruise manager and becoming frustrated that I was so busy sorting out medical and other issues.

I did all that for £45 a day plus paying for all my drinks. It was some of the hardest work I have ever done and as a result of that trip, I won’t be a cruise escort anymore.

Cruise Escort Conclusion

  • A cruise escort is just there to accompany the group, their role is to experience the holiday not run it.
  • The responsibility for operating the cruise lies with the cruise manager and team.
  • A cruise escort has limited bargaining power in the event of any issues with a cruise.
  • The pay is much lower to reflect the supposed light workload and lack of responsibility.

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You can find lots more articles on my Coach Holidays page

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