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Meet the team: Liam-Jay Beck

22/02/2016

Oceana’s Entertainment Manager Liam-Jay Beck on his love of all things theatrical

P&O Cruises Entertainment Manager Liam-Jay Beck at a Sail Away party

P&O Cruises Entertainment Manager Liam-Jay Beck at a Sail Away party

How long have you worked for P&O Cruises?
Just over six years, and I still love it as much as the day I joined. With the exception of Britannia, I have worked on all of the ships in the P&O Cruises fleet – in fact, in the past year alone I have worked in on board entertainment on five ships.

Have you always been interested in theatre and entertainment?
Yes! From a young age, I would always take part in plays and productions, and as soon as I was old enough I studied drama, musical theatre and theatre studies. In fact, my mum always said that she’d be surprised if I didn’t end up on a stage. Despite the fact that I spend every evening on stage, I still love to spend my spare time going to the theatre and enjoying musicals – it’s in my blood.

 

How did your career path lead you to becoming an on board Entertainment Manager?
I started in the industry back in 1997 when I finished studying Musical Theatre at college and became a ‘Coat’ Entertainer for a large, well-known UK holiday company. I spent 12 years there, progressing through the ranks to Entertainment & Retail Manager – a role I performed for nine years – as well as a Production Show Vocalist, performing up to five shows a week. Then, six years ago, I decided that a career at sea was calling, so I joined P&O Cruises as an Entertainment Officer. Progressing in the role to manager level, I have now been Entertainment Manager on Azura, Arcadia and Oceana. 

 

What might you do on a typical day?
The great thing about working at sea is that no day is ‘typical’; every day brings not only new experiences but also new challenges. However, I usually arrive into the office just before 9am and start the day off by checking emails and then possibly attending meetings. Then, if it’s a sea day, I make a morning announcement across the ship outlining the day’s events, before taking a walk around the decks to see how things are running and to say hello to the passengers who are joining in with the activities. After that, it’s usually back to the office to do planning and scheduling for the upcoming cruises and touch base with my Line Managers to ensure that they have everything they need. In the afternoon, I host the interviews or chat shows, which are scheduled into the programme.

 

And night?
It’s time to get changed into my evening wear and head up onto the decks to greet the passengers on the theatre doors, host the evening’s shows, and walk around the venues checking that things are all running smoothly. I have a great team of Entertainment Hosts, Production Team, Musicians, Theatre Company and Youth Staff, so things are always in good hands. Of course, days in port are slightly different – I may get a few hours off to have a wander ashore or go for lunch, and then back on board I host the popular Sail Away parties.

P&O Cruises Entertainment Manager Liam-Jay Beck and his team

What’s the best thing about your job?
I’d say two things: first, the travelling – what other job enables you to wake up in a different country each day? And secondly, the people. I’ve made some great friends since doing this job, who I regularly spend time with when I’m at home on shore-leave. Plus, each cruise brings new passengers onto our ships – new people to talk to and get to know. I really enjoy this aspect of the job. I also love the challenge of catering to the tastes and interests of up to 3,600 passengers. There really is something for everyone on our ships.

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve been involved in with the on board entertainment this year?
I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in three Strictly Come Dancing cruises since we began our partnership with the BBC Worldwide, but I have to say that the one this past year on board Azura was by far my favourite. Working with the Strictly dancers and celebrities, and hosting the various events is always a pleasure. This year, there was even more sparkle and excitement; the cruises seem to get better and better every year.

What’s your favourite port of call you’ve visited since working for P&O Cruises?
There are too many to mention. I’m a big fan of Croatia – Dubrovnik is absolutely beautiful. I also love to visit Barcelona as there is so much to see and do there, and the tapas is amazing. But further afield, I’m very lucky to have visited some great ports in Asia as part of World Cruises. Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are places that you can only dream of visiting all in one cruise.

What do you love doing on board in your free time?
Eating! We boast some of the best dining options at sea and work alongside some of the greatest celebrity chefs in the UK, so there really is a huge choice and variety on board. When I have a spare hour or two, I love nothing more than taking advantage of these great restaurants. The only trouble is, I then have to go back to work afterwards, which is never easy on a full stomach!

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