Paul Ludlow: Looking ahead with rediscovery on the agenda
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Get to know Kieran, Agus, Sam, Melvin and Megan; the crew working hard to bring our guests holiday happiness.
As senior mixologist, it’s my job to maintain the quality of the cocktails on board and make sure all the bartenders are mixing the drinks correctly and taking cocktails here to the next level. I’m also a host. I talk to guests about the cocktails and the history behind them. I’m always smiling and joking with the guests.
As a mixologist, you can put your own twist on a cocktail. It’s my passion. It’s like a representation of my life, myself and what I have in my heart. I like inspiring people with my work. I like to make guests happy with new cocktails.
Many of them are inspired by the journey… in the Caribbean, many have a rum base. My favourite is Silent Temptation with three types of Caribbean rum. My hobby is flair bartending: throwing some bottles – and sometimes breaking some glass! My father taught me how to do it. He was a bartender in one of the most famous hotels in Bali. In the beginning, I broke almost everything… but I was patient, and that hobby is now what I do. I love to travel, and I love the Caribbean. The islands and the beaches are beautiful. And the rum punch is beautiful! But my favourite place is Barcelona. It’s the best port – a unique, romantic place. In some ways, the Caribbean reminds me of Bali – it is a paradise island… I recently married my beautiful girlfriend there.
The ship is like my home. My team are my family. I like to create a nice, positive atmosphere and have fun. So far, they love me because of this way of working together.
I joined P&O Cruises three years ago as chef de partie on Iona. When I heard about Arvia, I didn’t know that there would be a sushi restaurant but when I found out, I knew I had to go for it as it had been a dream of mine for a while.
We try to display our creativity, our art, and our skills so that the guests will be amazed. There’s a lot of love and passion in my food. I really enjoy that sense of performance and interacting with the guests. We cooks are always at the back, and we’re so busy hustling and bustling just to get that product out that we don’t have time to sit down and interact with the guests; but here in Mizuhana, I get the opportunity to really talk to them and find out how their day is.
Training in sushi arts was the hardest thing I’ve done in my entire life! It takes plenty of discipline. But it’s been an amazing journey. If you have that passion and drive, there are no boundaries. I love the fact that I get to really talk to the guests and find out how their day is and their experiences. It’s a good experience for the guests to ask questions and I get the opportunity to share what I know, and also learn from them too. I’m just amazed at all their comments and messages and posts on Facebook. There has been such a positive reaction! I’m beyond proud of what we have here. I can look back and say, “Yes, I did something amazing!” When I’m not working, I love to spend time with my daughter and watch Japanese anime. And I love to sing. That’s my hidden talent. Don’t tell anyone!
In the interview, they asked me: “Why you?”. I said, “Because I’m the best person. This is my niche. This is my strength. This is what I learnt to do and what I love doing.” And here I am! It’s been an amazing journey.
I grew up in Southampton. My mum was in the company years ago, my dad still is. It’s nice to work for a company that operates from your hometown. I think in Southampton, with its maritime history and cruise terminals, it’s more common than anywhere else in the UK to go into the maritime industry.
My favourite part of the job is mooring. It’s hands-on and satisfying and I really like the camaraderie that comes with it. When I went from being a cadet to a third officer, I gained responsibility. There’s real job satisfaction involved in that.
It’s really nice working on the bridge because you’re a proper team. Working as a big team is really satisfying and I think it only bonds you better as a department. After this contract, I go back to college for eight months to do my chief officer exams. Then I’ll come back and hopefully become a second deck officer. Then the journey keeps going to hopefully, maybe, one day become a captain. You’ve got so many friends on board and can do so many different things. In the Caribbean especially, there’s so much going on ashore, and so many groups of people to socialise and explore with.
Every day is different so you can’t ever really get bored of the job. It’s constantly changing. I’m proud of what I do. Seeing a ship being floated for the first time, or the first time having passengers on, or going to a new port… It’s an amazing experience and I’m grateful to have ended up here.
Bearing in mind I am the first distiller in the world to work at sea, I am very, very proud of what I do. There’s no one else doing this at the moment. I used to work for a French wine company back home and I started my career washing pots and pans. I took every day very positively and stepped up every rank. Now I am doing what I do best, and that’s making the spirits on board. I was chosen to make the gin on Iona, and I think I set a benchmark, as I was then asked to join Arvia. I decided to do it because I wanted to learn something new. I feel so privileged to be here because apart from being the world’s first gin distiller at sea, now I am the first rum distiller at sea as well.
The guests have all been very positive about the rum. Everyone’s interested in the still – they have to stop by while they’re passing Anderson’s bar to see what’s happening. I have the privilege of choosing my own team for Anderson’s bar, and they’re doing a fabulous job.
I love travelling, and that’s the reason I’ve worked on board a P&O Cruises ship now for almost 20 years. When I’m not on board the ship, I am a daddy back home. I’ve got a six-year-old and that’s the happiest place for me at the end of the contract. When I’m at home I give all my time to my family.
One of my hidden talents is card tricks, which I learned to do when I worked behind the bar. I usually keep two packs of cards behind the bar, and I show people tricks to make sure they always come back for more!
My favourite places are the Caribbean and Central America, because everything there is so chilled out. I love everything about the Caribbean – the colour, the music… even as crew member, you feel you’re on holiday.
As third engineer officer, I’m watchkeeping the engine room for around six hours, doing full rounds of the engine spaces, making sure everything is maintained and running smoothly. It’s a big responsibility, especially for my age. It’s quite a big achievement. I’m definitely excited to progress my career. I love the responsibility that I have.
The engineering technology on board Arvia is top of the range. It’s the newest type of technology. And there’s always somebody watching – from the bridge or the engine control room – so things are always monitored. One of the most important parts of the job is using your senses – your sight, sense of smell and hearing to make sure the machinery is running fine. You know what the engine room sounds and feels like because you’re there on watch every single day. If something seems different, you know to report it.
We have such a good engineering team on board. We all get along, we can talk to each other and as a working environment, this is a really good place to be. We all socialise together, too – there weren’t that many people to talk to on tankers! P&O Cruises offers such a good progression scheme. You can work closely with second engineers and with seniors, get different experiences and different types of machinery and everything. And there’s always a lot of support – the seniors are excellent in that way.
My favourite destinations would be Iceland or Greenland. They’re amazing places. Also the Amalfi coast… and St Maarten is one of my favourite ports. There’s a crew beach area there, which is also open to guests. It’s where all the crew from the ship come together. We can also go on crew excursions – swim with turtles, ride jet skis…
Everyone here is from different backgrounds and there are so many different nationalities. It’s a really good mix.
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