Last Word: David Klooster, Cruise Director for Norwegian Jewel
How did you get your start in the industry?
I began my career on ships as a professional dancer. Growing up in Australia and training in Sydney, I attended an international audition and I was thrilled to be selected from over 300 dancers. I completed 4 contracts as a production cast member for various lines and then decided to work in land based theatres for a time. When I was ready to move on, I retrained and acquired my master’s degree then entered the corporate sector for a while in Sydney, but eventually the call of the ocean proved too strong. I decided to return to the high seas and here I am today with one of the most fulfilling jobs for one of the best companies as a Cruise Director.
As the Cruise Director for Norwegian Jewel, what are you mainly responsible for?
Primarily I am responsible for running and administering the onboard entertainment. This includes, the daily activities schedule, the coolest youth programs at sea, the incredible music program and of course the theatre which includes the technical aspects of running the nightly shows. I am also the “face” of the ship so to speak, being the main master of ceremonies and ensuring that our guests are having a fun time. Towards this, we are very proud to provide award-winning production shows as well as our partnered branded entertainment such as Burn the Floor. We have a creative production team in Tampa and agents in Miami that create and source the phenomenal nightly acts for our guests to enjoy.
What is the best part about your job?
I love the versatility of the position. Nothing is more exciting to me than having the creativity of crafting an entertainment program to satisfy the needs of the demographic. Also, I thoroughly enjoy being part of a team of over 80 talented individuals on the ship that are definitely the industry leaders in entertainment. We have the best musicians, performers and collaborators and it is truly an honour to work with them. The amazing travel is an added bonus too!
When putting together the entertainment program, what do you look for?
We look to target the program to suit the needs of the demographic. Factors that are taken into consideration when planning the entertainment include the average age of our guests, their nationality, length of cruise, number of children on board and the number of latitude guests we have sailing with us (repeat cruisers). We try to be as varied as possible, but flexibility is the key. On numerous occasions we have added or altered the program based on guest feedback during the same cruise. This flexibility and freedom to be able to “read the crowd” affords tailored entertainment programs suited to the needs of the guests.
How would you describe the Norwegian Jewel cruiser, and what are they looking for?
We have many types of cruisers. In Australia, there are those that are new to cruising completely and those that are trying out Norwegian for the first time but have sailed with other lines before. I strongly believe however that the Freestyle cruising concept is exceptionally suited to the Aussie cruiser. This philosophy allows guests the freedom to do what you want when you want without the constraints of being told such things as when to eat or what to wear. I believe this concept appeals the easy going nature of the Australian market. Being a Sydney boy myself, I can attest to this. Our product offers the complete spectrum for our cruisers from young families to retirees that are all looking to share amazing new experiences.
What is the best thing about cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line?
The people that we have working for us are simply world class; not only in entertainment, but throughout the ship. Everybody that has cruised with us always say the same thing – ‘the staff are so friendly!’ This is because Norwegian Cruise Line is a fantastic company to work for that takes care of the crew. There is a real family atmosphere and a comradery between the crew which of course is shared with our guests. We welcome all of our guests into the Norwegian Cruise Line family with open arms.
Norwegian Jewel will undergo a refurbishment before returning to our shores for the 2018 summer – what can we expect from her fresh new look?
As of now we expect to have a fresh new look throughout the ship. I can’t reveal too much of this yet, but definitely watch this space for exciting developments!
What can we look forward to in terms of on-board entertainment and activities for the 2018-19 season?
Some exciting contracts are still in negotiation but after such a successful inaugural collaboration with Burn the Floor, we can expect this to be continuing next year. There will be some exciting developments for the Youth Programs and the teens centre on board programming and we are in preparation for some exciting new themed parties. You can be assured however that next year we will continue to offer the expected world class entertainment that you have witnesses this year with the added indulgence of newly renovated ship!
What are some of your favourite spots on the ship?
This is an easy one – the theatre! Our shows are second to none and are full of talent and energy every night. Also, the kids and teens centre are the best on the seven seas. Our bars and lounges are also varied. Sometimes I enjoy listening to our piano man and enjoying a lovely martini which is as special as partying the night away at our high energy White Hot themed party.
Any tips for first-time cruisers?
Do your research, plan ahead and don’t be afraid to ask questions. We are here to help so if you are unsure of anything then please let us know as soon as possible so that you can enjoy yourself as much as you can. Maybe have a chat with myself or one of the crew on the first day to find out what kind of activities and entertainment you would be interested in. Also, don’t be afraid to get involved as new friends are made on cruises and Aussies are ultimately super fun and a very friendly bunch.