What does a hotel manager do on board?

Interview with Tiziana La Rocca, Hotel Manager on board the HANSEATIC inspiration.

How do you become a hotel manager?​
I trained as a hotel manager and worked in this profession for a long time on land. I was also self-employed for several years and was then able to make my childhood dream come true. I got my first job at sea in 2007 - as an assistant maitre. A short time later, I became a maitre on the HANSEATIC and then on board the EUROPA. In 2013, I was promoted to hotel director. So, you need to have some experience under your belt.

When does your working day normally begin?​
Normally at 7.30 hrs. But it of course depends on when the landings in the morning are, when we are arriving in a port or if we are taking guests ashore in the Zodiacs. Then the day can sometimes start at 5.00 hrs.

What is your daily routine on board?​
First I go to my office and check my emails - from Hamburg and from others on board. As we are often in a different time zone to Hamburg, I always answer my emails straight away. Then I do my first round of the ship and check that everything is OK with breakfast. I have a daily hotel meeting with the heads of department at 8.15 hrs. We have a recap of the previous day, look ahead to the current day and do a precap for the following day. We discuss messages and feedback from the crew, upcoming events and much more.

What are the best moments on a cruise for you?
Hmm, that's a difficult one. Our guests are often really stressed when they arrive on board as they've often had a long journey to reach us. It's always nice to see them start to relax and feel at home. It is great when the cruise goes well and when we have a happy and content crew on board.

How many years have you been working at sea?
This is my 13th year on board.

When did you discover your passion for this?
My family comes from Sicily and we always drove down there when I was a child. We used to take the ferry across to Messina. I loved it. And then I always wanted to go by ship from Genoa to Palermo. I was lucky. When I was 13 or 14 years old, I stood at the ship's rail with my dad and said to him: "I will go to sea one day ..."

What has been your most enjoyable encounter?​
Oh, there are so many! But one was with the singer Roberto Blanco on board the EUROPA.

What do you always pack in your luggage?​
My little polar bear "Knut" has been travelling with me since 2008.

You have seen a lot of the world. Which destination excites you and why?​
Antarctica, where I've done twelve seasons now, and the Amazon, where I've done six seasons. Both are very different. But pure nature.

What's the best thing about your job?​
The variety. I manage six different departments but they still all fit together. It never gets boring. Especially not with the crew.

Tell us about a perfect moment of happiness on board.​
When the Antarctic season starts and I see penguins again. And I love beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

What is essential listening on your playlist?
Laura Pausini and Eros Ramazzotti.