Sushi and shopping addict Hayley Thompson, regional sales manager, Royal Caribbean International tells us about her role and a heroic act of kindness
Why is your cruise line the best of all?
I believe Royal Caribbean perfectly blends the old with the new. It has created the most technologically advanced cruise ships in the world, complete with unparalleled entertainment and still manages to maintain the class and elegance of traditional cruising. There truly is a holiday to suit everyone.
If your cruise line was a famous person, who would it be and why?
Kristin Chenoweth (Godmother of Quantum of the Seas). She’s award winning, glamorous, young at heart and is so memorable (for her laugh) – just like a Royal Caribbean holiday.
How long have you worked for Royal?
I have worked with Royal Caribbean for six years – time flies when you’re having fun!
What was your very first job?
I was a travel consultant for Saga Holidays.
Which geographical area do you cover?
I proudly represent my home region of London and south-east England.
What three things can you not get through the working day without?
BBC Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw breakfast show, my morning coffee and our ‘Team Royal’ WhatsApp group chat.
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you on the road?
Probably chasing a lady on a mobile scooter around the streets of London to return the handbag she had dropped… it felt like a high-speed cop chase but I’m sure it looked less impressive to bystanders.
What’s the strangest question you have ever been asked about cruise?
When I worked onboard, people used to ask me if I went home for the weekends!
How many of Royal’s ships have you sailed on?
I’ve sailed on 13 ships and my favourite has to be Harmony of the Seas. Not only is she the biggest cruise ship in the world, she has so many innovative onboard features. Central Park is my favourite spot.
Which is your favourite onboard restaurant?
Definitely Izumi! I’m addicted to sushi and can truly say this is some of the best in the world. The Teppanyaki chefs put on a hilariously entertaining show when cooking your dishes right in front of you, which adds to the experience. I can’t recommend this enough to anyone sailing with Royal.
Which port would you definitely disembark in?
Villefranche-sur-Mer; France is heaven. When I am there, I like to take a walk through the old town shops followed by a nice lunch on the waterfront.
And which port would you opt to stay onboard – and why?
There’s no port where I would happily choose to stay onboard – all of our destinations are beautiful. However, as a keen shopper (and if I’m trying to avoid credit card damage), then it would have to be Falmouth; Jamaica because it has amazing shopping! My tactic is to enjoy a cocktail poolside as a distraction.
Which cruise is on your bucket list?
Cuba. I would love to experience the legendary art, music and culture of the island. Hopefully I will be doing just that sometime soon.
If you didn’t work in the cruise industry, what would you do?
It would probably be a role within childcare. At Royal Caribbean, I love seeing the faces of adults having fun on holiday, and with children you would have this type of experience almost every day.
If you could name a ship, what would you call it?
I like glitter… so it would have to be Shimmer of the Seas!