Cocktail pianist Hanna Gerandas

Editorial Team


1. Richard Chillcott, Hotel General Manager, Aurora

Aurora’s Hotel General Manager Richard Chillcott has been with P&O Cruises for two months and has worked at sea for 19 years.


I grew up in Dorset and went to Miami when I was 21 to work in hotel hospitality. I worked my way up the ranks and eventually started working on board cruise ships. As the hotel general manager on Aurora, I look after the whole hotel department, including the revenue outlets, food and beverages, housekeeping and anything to do with the cabins themselves.


Working on land is very different to working at sea. On board, we must maintain extremely high levels of health and safety because we’re living in a close-contact environment. There are more safety concerns, and we think about the environmental impact of the places we visit a lot more. 


I did my training on Ventura and Iona, and now I’m working on Aurora on her Norwegian Fjords cruises. Aurora is a very warm and homely ship; I think it’s just the right size to deliver a more personal experience to the guests. 


I met my wife while she was working in the casino on board. She’s retired now and she lives in the Philippines with my daughter and our dog, a French Bulldog named Tyson. During the pandemic, we self-built our house there. Normally when I get home, I’ve got a long list of things to fix but I enjoy it. I work three months on ship and then have three months at home, so it works out quite well. When you work on a ship it’s nice to go home and do ‘normal’ things like walk the dog. 

Richard Chillcott, Hotel General Manager
Richard Chillcott, Hotel General Manager
Richard Chillcott, Hotel General Manager
Richard Chillcott, Hotel General Manager

2. Chris Kennedy, Deputy Captain, Iona 

Cruising is in Deputy Captain Chris Kennedy’s blood – both his parents and sister have worked for P&O Cruises. He has been with P&O Cruises for 16 years. 


What I love about being at sea is the sense of camaraderie and friendship; being part of something bigger. Delivering fantastic holidays for the guests will always be a privilege. People have chosen to spend their holidays with us and that’s an exciting part of the job. Whenever people come up to the bridge they’re always surprised at how calm and quiet it is. I think they expect it to be a hive of activity but it’s generally a very peaceful environment with everyone focused on the task in hand. The bridge is a fantastic place to be – it’s a window to the world. We see whales, dolphins and turtles when we’re out in the Caribbean. The most impressive thing I ever saw was the bioluminescence in the water off the coast of South America. It was a very dark night, but there was a huge number of dolphins playing around the ship. Because of the bioluminescence they were lit up as they swam, like glowing green torpedoes. 

3. Jukka Kavén, Production Manager, Aurora

Jukka Kavén is from Helsinki in Finland and has been working on Aurora for just over a year. Jukka has been in the entertainment industry his whole working life, doing everything from performing to teaching and working as a sound engineer. 


My role as production manager is to simplify. The whole ship is a venue with several complex shows going on at the same time. The technical team has an important job; it’s our responsibility to make sure that the entertainers on stage give their best show, and for that they must feel comfortable, confident and safe.


I like Astonishing. It’s different because it has magic and is made up of individual parts. Recently, Neil Lockwood from Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) was a guest entertainer on Arcadia, and I got to meet him. I had goosebumps. I really appreciate British musical theatre; I think we have such talented people on board.


I love Portugal. The atmosphere and the people are friendly, and they have a great lifestyle. Maybe I was Portuguese in a previous life. I am a coffee drinker and Portuguese people know how to make coffee!


I recently went to Rio de Janeiro for the first time on Aurora and I was amazed by the city. Christ the Redeemer is much better than you see on the postcards, and I loved to explore the neighbourhood around Copacabana Beach. The beach itself seems endless.

The small ships are my thing. It feels like a family here, from the captain to everybody else. We sit on the same tables to eat, and we meet up every day. It doesn’t matter what your job is, we are all family.

Jukka Kavén, Production Manager

Jukka Kavén, Production Manager
Jukka Kavén, Production Manager
Jukka Kavén, Production Manager
Jukka Kavén, Production Manager

4. Jude Rodrigues, Cabin Steward, Aurora 

Jude Rodrigues has worked at sea for more than 30 years. Originally from Mumbai, India, he now works as a cabin steward on Aurora, where he loves the food, particularly the chef’s lasagne.


I love my job. We get to meet different people every day and interact with them. As a cabin steward, guests get to know me very well. We have conversations on a daily basis. I check in with them, have a laugh and help them with requests to improve their stay. The small things make a big difference.


When I’m not at work, I play the ukulele and the violin. When I want to unwind, I sometimes organise a karaoke night with colleagues on board. We have a bit of a sing song and have fun. I like AC/DC and songs by Scorpions, Guns N’ Roses and my favourite band, Def Leppard. I like rock music! That’s my speciality.


One of the best places I’ve travelled to on Aurora is Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. I love going to the top of the statue at Corcovado. It’s breathtaking standing on Sugar Loaf Mountain and seeing that view. Copacabana beach is also great.


The best part of the ship for me is the food in the crew mess; it always has a wow factor. I come from India, but my mother is Italian so I’m very keen on Italian cuisine. The chefs on board cater for all tastes, but they make great lasagne. Mamma mia!


I’m the happiest man at sea! Trust me, it’s a great feeling.

5. Hanna Gerendás, Cocktail Pianist, Arcadia 

Cocktail Pianist Hanna Gerendás grew up in Hungary in a musical family and has been playing the piano from a young age. As a cocktail pianist on board Arcadia, she combines her love of music with her love of travel, seeing the world as she plays to guests on board. 


The best part of my job is when I see that it moves people. Once, when I played a particular song, a couple started dancing, then they started crying and said it was the song they shared their first kiss to and later got married to. I get chills just talking about it. Another time, I was playing ‘As Time Goes By’. A man came in and sat down with a glass of red wine. And at the end of my set, he told me he booked this cruise with his wife, who had since passed away, and that was her favourite song. He said it was a sign for him that his wife was with him in spirit. Such times make me think how lucky I am to do this – to travel and to move people and share something in common with them. When you play music, you put your soul into it. When people listen, and they appreciate this, it feels amazing. 

6. John Dmello, Chef de Cuisine, Arcadia

Chef de Cuisine John Dmello has been with P&O Cruises for 20 years, working his way up the ranks across every ship in the fleet.


As chef de cuisine, I’m in charge of the kitchen galleys and where all the chefs are stationed. Here on Arcadia, that’s over 100 people. I report to the executive chef, and with him we make decisions on everything from menus to ordering to storage. I also do the tasting – the chefs will cook, and we’ll taste the dishes and give them feedback.


After university, I went to catering school. Then I worked for a few years before joining P&O Cruises, and I’m now in my 20th year with the company. I’ve opened every ship from Artemis to Arvia. I enjoy moving around different ships because I get to know different people and cultures.


We spend so much time on board together that we come to feel like a family. As a team leader, I’m here to mentor and be a guardian. I guide the team and coach them, like the head of a family would.


When I’m on shore, I love to try every country’s street food. And when we’re back on board, we try to recreate it. Recently, we tried making street food from the countries our crew is from – there were dishes from Indonesia, India and the Philippines.


I'm from a place in India called Belgaum. I was born and raised there. We have a farm that grows sugarcane, rice, peanuts and sweet potatoes – when I go home, I spend time there.


Working on the farm has taught me about the quality of food as a raw material. When I see a vegetable, I know straight away if it’s good.


John Dmello, Chef de Cuisine
John Dmello, Chef de Cuisine
John Dmello, Chef de Cuisine
John Dmello, Chef de Cuisine