She’s worked for the Mouse on Disney Cruise Line and P&O Cruises ships for more than four years, has led a group via helicopter to explore a glacier on a shore excursion in Alaska, and has visited more than 15 countries just from cruising. She has plenty of valuable cruising tips for your next cruise vacation. Meet our Cruise Expert, Helen Easton.
1. How many times have you been on a cruise?
I’ve worked on board for over four years in the shore excursions department with Disney Cruise Line and P&O Cruises.
2. How many countries have you visited just while cruising?
I would say over 15 including countries such as Vatican City, San Marino, and Martinique.
3. What is your favourite cruise line and why?
My favourite cruise line is Disney Cruise Line – and not just because I worked there. The cruise really is amazing for people of all ages. The magic is onboard for everyone to enjoy! From their outstanding service from the crew to their award-winning Broadway-style shows every evening to their spectacular fireworks show during the pirates deck party, there really is nothing like experiencing Disney Cruise Line.
4. What is your favourite thing about cruising?
The ports of call. There is such variety when cruising in the way of seeing many different countries, cultures, foods and people. Being able to visit multiple ports is always very exciting.
5. What was your memorable cruising experience/trip and why?
The one experience that stands out for me was when I was working in Juneau, Alaska. I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to escort travellers on one of our most popular tours by helicopter. We took the helicopter up to the Juneau Icefield, landed on the glacier, got out and walked around on it. It really blew my mind!
6. What’s your favourite port and why?
It has to be Skagway in Alaska. It’s certainly one of the smallest ports I have been to but I love it because it’s steeped in history dating back to the 1800s and the Gold Rush era. Year round, Skagway has 800 residents. During the summer, the cruise season, the little town booms to over 2,000 including all of the guides, tour operators, and specialists that come into town from the months of April to September!
7. What are your top 3 cruise tips?
1. Get out and see as much as you can! You’re only in these ports for the day so get out and see the best of it!
2. Do some research on your ship. A lot of people often cruise for seven days and it’s surprising the amount of people who didn’t know about a bar or restaurant or show on board. Use your ship’s daily newspaper to find out what is going on on board and when it’s going on. Also, it’s useful to listen to the captains 12 o’clock announcement on sea days to find out some interesting maritime facts!
3. Meet the other passengers! It’s amazing who you meet on board cruise ships. I’ve known people to meet at dinner on the first night and by the end of the cruise they have booked up their next cruise with their new friends! It’s lovely to meet new people and potential future travel companions!
8. What cruise destinations would you recommend and why?
The Baltic is becoming more popular, with overnight stays in ports such as St Petersburg, Lithuania, and Estonia. It’s certainly something different for those frequent cruisers.
9. Big ship vs. small ship. How do you help a client decide?
Big ships are great for those who want a lot of activities on board and superb for families who want to have a lot on-the-go. Small ships are great for those who prefer to enjoy the service on board and to get into those smaller ports-of-call that the larger ships can’t get into. For people who really want to learn and experience the cultures in these ports-of-call.