Meet the team: Helen Skoins
Playing matchmaker is all in a day’s work for P&O Cruises Hotel General Manager, Helen Skoins
Are you excited about joining Iona?
This will be my first time on Iona; there’s so much I’m looking forward to. Her SkyDome, the Creativiva aerialist performances and the stunning Grand Atrium, the incredible food at The Quays and live music at The 710 Club – of which Gary Barlow is the Musical Director... it’s all so exciting.
Which destinations are you keen to see?
I’m looking forward to seeing the contrast between the breathtaking scenery of the Norwegian fjords and the fascinating ports of Spain and Portugal later on in the year, especially Lisbon, which is one of my all-time favourite places.
What’s the most unusual request that you’ve had from a guest?
Around 1996, I helped a gentleman who was on ship for part of the World Cruise to send a gift to a lady he had met on board. He later came back to tell me that they had become friends. After a few years, he got in touch to tell me they were married. I was so pleased to play a small part in helping them get together.
As Hotel General Manager, how do you bring so many teams together?
It’s all about respecting the knowledge, experience and cultural differences of the teams. Once you recognise people's strengths, you can empower or support them to succeed in whatever they do. I take great pleasure in seeing them move up the ranks.
In your role, what’s the first thing you do each day? And the last?
On a port day, I meet the port officials to go through the ship paperwork before we’re granted clearance for guests and crew to go ashore. On a sea day, it’s all about the guest and crew journey. On the way to my office, I walk through the atrium and open decks and witness the ship coming to life. At the end of the day, I visit the dining and entertainment venues to make sure all is running smoothly and to see the guests enjoying themselves.
How do you switch off on ship?
I’m a big reader and, if I have the time, I get out my Kindle. I try to visit the gym, but I always find an excuse not to go!
Who is your dream dinner date and what would you treat them to on Iona?
I’d take the Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex to The Glass House for a fabulous glass of wine chosen by Food Hero Olly Smith. They’re both fantastic ambassadors for the UK and the royal family and they seem so down to earth. I’m sure they would both be inspiring and captivating company.