Karen Spencer, regional sales manager at MSC Cruises, talks Sophia Loren, dressing up, and why Canada, New England and New York are on her bucket list.
Why is your cruise line the best?
MSC Cruises is a family-owned company and when you work for us or travel on one of our ships, you feel part of that family.
From the build of our ships and the uniforms to the ports we visit, everything receives the seal of approval from our owners, the Aponte family. It means no detail is ever forgotten and makes for a truly unique cruise experience.
If your cruise line was a famous person, who would it be and why?
It has to be Sophia Loren. She is the godmother to all 15 ships in our fleet. She is simply stunning, gracious, very chic and sophisticated – just like our ships.
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you on the road?
During a recent ship visit with agents on MSC Meraviglia, I volunteered to dress up as Lego man, one of our kids’ club mascots. I was stood at the top of the stairs to disembark when a group of Chinese guests wanted to get off and they all wanted a photo with me. Suddenly, one guest pulled me to the stairs to assist me, but I lost my footing and could not move. I had to be rescued by security. At the time it was hilarious.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked about a cruise?
People are always keen to hear about the crew, including if they eat on board and where they sleep. Guests often ask if members of the crew get off at night and fly to the next destination.
Which is your favourite on-board restaurant and why?
It has to be Teppanyaki, which can be found on our newest ships. It is the most fantastic two-hour interactive culinary experience. It has a great atmosphere, topped off with the most sumptuous steak, lobster and wine – perfect.
How many of your cruise line’s ships have you sailed on and which one do you prefer?
I love them all, but if I had to pick one it would be MSC Meraviglia. She has an incredible atrium and promenade area, with 12 unique dining venues, great pool areas and an array of different types of cabins to choose from, some of which have a whirlpool bath on the balcony. You can also see Cirque du Soleil at Sea on this class of ship.
Which port would you most like to disembark in?
In the Mediterranean, it has to be Valetta. We port just by the lovely marina and all the historical sites are just a short walk from the port. For the rest of the world, I’d go for Yokohama. Asia is a relatively new area for us, and sailing from Yokohama would enable me to visit Tokyo, and then experience the amazing sites of Japan and further afield.
Which cruise is on your bucket list?
Canada, New England and New York. MSC Meraviglia has a 10-night round trip from New York setting sail in October 2019 that I’d love to get on. This starts in New York and visits St John and Halifax in Canada, before moving to Portland and Boston.
If you didn’t work in the cruise industry, what do you think you would do?
I have always been in travel, but if I had to choose another industry, I would love to own my own restaurant and serve amazing food from all around the world, as well as a hundred varieties of gin.