What does a personal trainer do on board?

Interview with Stefan Wegener, personal trainer on board the EUROPA.

How do you become a personal trainer?
There isn’t a classic formal training route for a personal trainer, but to work for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises you need a valid personal trainer licence. To obtain this, you need to go through a licence training process with a range of modules and written and spoken exams, demonstrating your knowledge of nutritional advice, endurance and equipment training, regeneration training and prevention training.

When does your working day normally begin?
It starts at 7.00 hrs. I check the gym, fill up towels and drink bottles for the guests if necessary and get things ready for the first class, which starts at 8.00 hrs.

What is your daily routine on board?
On days at sea, there are three to four classes in the morning and three to four classes in the afternoon. The classes last between 30 and 45 minutes, or usually 60 minutes for yoga. When we are in port, there are two classes in the morning and two in the afternoon.
The trainers divide the classes into an early shift and a late shift and rotate them between us. Between the classes, guests can book us as personal trainers to focus on individual aspects such as endurance, fat burning or back strength. We put programmes together or support our guests with their own.
When we have a stop for swimming, the trainers hand out the snorkelling equipment, and we are responsible for the stand-up paddling boards. In the evening, we clean all the fitness equipment and then the working day in the gym finishes at around 20.00 hrs.

What are the best moments on a cruise?
The best moments are those when you can feel the appreciation for the training, when the person doing the sport starts to see that their performance or health has improved.

How many years have you been working at sea?
I have been sailing since April 2017, mostly on the EUROPA 2 or the EUROPA.

When did you discover your passion for this?
My first contract took me to places like the Maldives, the Seychelles and India, and I have been in love with working on board a cruise ship ever since.

You have seen a lot of the world. Which destination excites you?
There are so many special places that I have been able to visit over time. Each of them has left me with great memories: jazz music in the streets of New Orleans, a Halloween party in New York, playing football in Copacabana, hippos and giraffes in South Africa, bicycle tours through Mumbai and Madagascar, no Internet and daylight in the middle of the night at 3.00 hrs in Spitsbergen, a boat tour around Capri or the many evenings with my colleagues on board … the list could go on forever.

The best thing about my job is ...
The easy-going and relaxed interaction between guest and trainer. Working with colleagues from other areas also makes the job special. And it goes without saying that the travel itself is special.

A perfect moment of happiness on board is ...
When a guest who joined the cruise in a wheelchair was able to dance at their last pool party after two months of daily personal training.