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MARLOUS DOMPELING, Cruise Staff Manager onboard MSC Euribia, tells us what makes her laugh every day and why she can’t get enough of life at sea.

Q: Marlous, that is a very exotic name. What is your nationality?

A: I am from Purmerend, a city close to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Q: Can you describe a typical working day for you?

A: Throughout the day there are activities that take place in our lounges for guests’ entertainment. This includes dance classes, games, trivia and shows, such as the Guinness World Record show or MasterChef at Sea.

I make sure everything runs smoothly and is well organised by managing the team, as well as presenting some of the activities in multiple languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and sometimes in Dutch too).

During our days at sea the activities are the most important tasks, but when docked in a port you’ll find me running around the ship first thing in the morning to manage the disembarkation flow of the guests as well as being a point of contact for our guests.

Afterwards I make sure that we still offer games, quizzes and dance courses throughout the day for guests who remain onboard.

Q: What is your educational background?

A: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, which I completed at the age of 21. I have worked as a writer, content creator and PR journalist, which actually has nothing to do with what I do onboard now.

Being educated in communications always comes in useful because for my position I am always in touch with our guests as well as fellow crew members.

Q: What path led you to work on a cruise ship?

A: Since I was quite young and after I completed my studies, I didn’t feel like working in an office job just yet. I wanted to explore the world, dance and work in a multicultural environment, and doing all that while earning money seemed like a great combination.

I love to dress up elegantly, dance, meet people from other nationalities and travel, so there seemed no better choice for me than to start working onboard a cruise ship and waking up in a different country every day.

Q: How long have you been working at sea?

A: The original plan was to only do one contract for the experience, but you can say that I got ‘addicted’ and even turned out to be very ambitious.

I started working onboard as an entertainer (Cruise Staff Team) and I quickly grew into a Cruise Staff Manager, working as a leader of the Cruise Staff Entertainment Team. I did six contracts until the pandemic stopped my dream and we all had to go home.

Because the pandemic took longer than expected, I decided to remain at home and start working in my original profession: communications. But after three years working as a writer, the urge to live a life at sea again became too big.

I missed everything about life onboard: my job, the fact that it makes me laugh and have fun every single day, the people from all over the world and discovering new places.

I decided to return and now I am here for my seventh contract, back as a Cruise Staff Manager on our flagship, the MSC Euribia. Every day proves to me that returning was the right decision!

Q: What advice would you give to someone about working on cruise ships?

A: If you are curious about life onboard, go experience it! Living and working at sea is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience.

You need to be willing to stay away from home for quite some time though, also during holidays or special occasions, and you need to remember that you will work every day. These are just a few things you have to take into consideration, so prepare yourself well.

If you are interested in a life-changing job and experience, working onboard a cruise ship is absolutely the right place to go. You’ll come back a different person!

Q: What’s the best thing about life at sea?

A: Meeting people from all over the world and learning so much about different cultures and traditions. You brighten your horizon as you work in such a multicultural environment.

Because of this, I also picked up new languages. My Spanish, Italian and Portuguese skills were all developed onboard. You also make friendships for life and create very special memories with people that take up a part of your heart as you live and work with them for a long time. They become your family.

Travelling around the world is also one of the biggest benefits of working on a cruise ship. Waking up in a different country every single day is indescribable. You travel the world and get to see places you never thought you would go to in your life or didn’t even know existed.

I have sailed past Lady Liberty in New York, under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, through the crystal clear waters of French Polynesia, watched whales jump along the sides as we departed from Mexico and visited the island of Tonga, which I couldn’t even point out on a map.

Those are just a few examples… I am on country #77 and counting!

Q: What’s the funniest thing that happens in your job?

A: As I work in entertainment, something funny happens every day. Along with my team I am responsible for all the fun stuff that there’s to do onboard and to make and see people dance like nobody’s watching, smile, scream and sing, enjoy the games where they are participating with everything they have got, makes me smile every day.

There is not a day that goes by without me crying from laughter! And no, that is not exaggerated…