Cruise Career Coach


Many of us are familiar with the phrase: “knowledge is power.” Cruise Career Coach empowers you by providing practical guidance from experienced professionals on a new topic each month. Don’t miss the interviews with our experts who share important advice so you’ll stand out from a crowded sea of applicants!


Brigid Cotter – Managing Your Professional Online Reputation

After working for Onboard Media, in a variety of positions after starting as an intern, Brigid Cotter packed it all up for New York City, relocating with her sister. In the spring she started at 7th & Wit, the digital-strategy arm of J Public Relations, a hospitality-focused public-relations firm, as an account supervisor, digital strategy.


“They wanted to do something different than having a digital person at J Public Relations. They wanted to make a splash. We’re a small team with just two of us right now. We’ve had up to 15 clients at once, all hotels and travel,” says Cotter, who supports hotels by handling their social media.


With one client—Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa in Montauk, N.Y.—the social-media engagement has doubled due to posts on Facebook and photos on Instagram.


“I’ve always been on the digital side,” says Cotter. “I was at Onboard Media for five years. I started as an intern, doing online marketing for a handbag line.” She later became a social strategist for Onboard Media and worked in the company’s corporate communications division.

Miguel Martinez – Attitude is Everything

He may only be 36 years old and yet he’s already snagged a job as vice president of business development with Philip Stein, a designer and manufacturer of watches and accessories.


Miguel Martinez credits his years onboard cruise ships—with Onboard Media up until earlier this year—that led him to where he is today. As a shopping host onboard a cruise ship, working very intense 24- and 48-hour cycles, he became a top-performing sales representative.


While Philip Stein has an office in Switzerland, Martinez controls domestic and Caribbean business from its Miami office. In some ways it mirrors the autonomy he experienced as a shopping host. “Our job simply was to generate interest in shopping and exploration but we were very independent,” he says. “In one year I became one of the best in the world (in sales revenue). I was very fortunate to have some pre-existing skill sets—my ability to connect with people proved a valuable asset.”

Corinne Lewis – Catering to Cultural Diversity at Sea

For Corinne Lewis, who moved to the United States from France 20 years ago, turning her passion into a career has always been important.


“My passion is food and beverage. I’ve always been in food and beverage. I went to culinary school then did an MBA in hotel management. From there I started working in hotels and restaurants and cruise lines,” says Lewis. She is currently the director of food and beverage development for the Apollo Group, which provides for Oceania, Regent Seven Seas and Island Cruises, and formerly worked for Royal Caribbean.


While her projects vary, one example might be helping chefs—whether it’s a bar or a specialty eatery or an ethnic-focused restaurant—develop a new menu. Working in the cruise industry on the culinary side served as an education about not only ship life, but also about appealing to different tastes for cuisine, with many driven by ethnicity and cultural background.

Bibi Ohlsson – Choices, Chances, and Change

Armed with 30-some years working in a corporate setting—in sales, marketing, customer service and public relations—in 2012, Bibi Ohlsson struck out on her own.


“Personal development has always been important to me,” says Ohlsson, a life coach and founder of Evoking Excellence ( in Siesta Key, Florida. “As I have grown, I wanted to use my knowledge—and my experiences from my professional life, as well as my personal life, to help others think and act more resourcefully.”


Stay on Track (www.StayOnTrackWith.Us) is a program she developed for young adults and career-changers. “I become an accountability partner for people who want to stay on track,” says Ohlsson, who works with clients virtually—through live online classes, and video and phone sessions—on four continents.

Ann Marie Sabath – Corporate Etiquette

With 28 years of experience in coaching about the ins and outs of how to act in a business setting, Ann Marie Sabath—founder of At Ease, Inc.—is also the author of Business Etiquette: 101 Ways to Conduct Business with Charm and Savvy, plus seven other books.


“I believe that what you visualize does come to pass,” she says. “We assist business people in becoming business professionals…going from dorm room to board room.” Her firm has worked with tech companies, law firms and a variety of industries concerned with what Millennials want. “My goal—and what we teach— is to assist individuals in working smarter, not harder, how to make that internship a summer-long interview and how to position yourself for success,” says Sabath.

Karen Maybury-Webb – Networking Tips

Karen Maybury—Managing Director of Karen Maybury Creative Connections—considers herself a matchmaker for those who dream of working on ships. With her background as an onboard employee—in positions ranging from sports director to cruise director—she knows exactly what it’s like to be in their shoes.

Peter Nodal – Relationship Management

Nodal enjoys reflecting on the 34 years he has spent in the cruising industry, including what the experience taught him. “It’s all about working with different personalities and people of all cultures,” says Nodal, who most recently worked as senior shipboard management recruiter at Royal Caribbean International.

Patrick Guertin – Define Your Style

Patrick Guertin has the envious job of styling celebrities and public figures. His goal isn’t to make these people stop traffic: it’s more about defining their personal style as it relates to fashion, and discovering a look that matches their lifestyle.

Jordan Dechambre – Dress for Success

Growing up in a small Wisconsin town, Jordan Dechambre merges those sensibilities with cutting-edge apparel and accessories in her role as a fashion expert. Based in Milwaukee, she’s organized many runway shows in the region and serves as a fashion blogger and featured stylist for The Bon-Ton Stores’ (among the 275 stores are Boston Store, Bergner’s, Younkers and Carson Pirie Scott) events and is also a trend expert for LOFT stores.

Ron Gottschalk – Career Fair Confidence

Ron Gottschalk – a Missouri native – earned a bachelor of art’s degree in radio and film from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He spent a decade (from 1991-2001) working for Royal Caribbean International, as a shipboard Broadcast Manager. Drawing from his personal experiences, Ron settled on land and became a cruise ship recruiter, and worked in Disney’s Orlando office. In his new role, Gottschalk sailed to Italy in 1997 on Disney’s first ship. These experiences paved the way for his career as a human-resources professional specializing in hospitality. From years of experience as a recruiter, Gottschalk shares valuable insight on smooth sailing through your next career fair.


In applying for a job, it’s not uncommon to slave over a resume, scouring for typos or grammatical errors, maybe even rewriting it a dozen times. Next up are mock interviews where attention is paid to speech, body language and friendliness factor. But what if one paid as much attention to personal appearance? The clothes and accessories one wears, along with grooming, are just as important to potential employers.


Jan Melzer-Thomas has a soft spot for those who want to work on a cruise ship. “I want these people to succeed because I had the most incredible experience. I met my husband on the ship. It’s such an outstanding opportunity for young people, the chance to travel and meet diverse people. It’s like being in a special sorority,” she says.


Tips for presenting your best self and preparing for that video exchange. A growing number of companies, including cruise lines, use virtual interviews to screen potential candidates. These online exchanges are virtual gateways to subsequent interviews, so it pays to be prepared. Here are some tips...