Princess Cruises’ hit ITV programme The Cruise is back for a second series, with the cameras following the usual faces and some new ones. Narrated by Hugh Bonneville and taking place on Royal Princess, the show gives a fascinating insight into life at sea. Lauren Corston, a new bridge officer, is in the thick of the action right from the beginning. We caught up with her to find out more about the show and what it’s like working for Princess Cruises.
Can you give us any previews of what’s in store next series?
We had lots of fun in the Med! It was a busy contract as all the ports are very diverse, every day is different. We even had a search and rescue situation which was very well followed by the film crew onboard when we found a small capsized boat adrift. Wild (the production company) tried to film crew members from every department onboard, so viewers have a chance to see life on the ship from all angles.
Does having the cameras around put added pressure on your work relationships?
At first it was very strange having the cameras around, especially getting used to a new ship with new operating systems. After a little while it became almost normal having the crew with me, and you learn how to phrase things so that it would make sense coming across on TV.
How long have you worked for Princess?
It will be nine years this summer – I have no idea where the time has gone. I was a 17 year old baby the first time I stepped onboard. Now I look at my new incoming cadets and wonder if I also looked quite so shell-shocked being away from home for the first time in a totally strange environment.
How did you come to be an officer on board?
I followed the footsteps of my seagoing Grandfathers and joined the company as a cadet at 17. I was born and raised in Plymouth, so spending my childhood around ships and the sea fueled my fascination with travel via the oceans. After just over three years studying as a cadet I obtained my Officer of the Watch license and was promoted to Third Officer. I went back to college in the past couple of years to obtain my Chief Mate license, at which point I was further promoted to Second Officer. Next on the list is my Masters license!
Describe the typical Princess customer…
The Princess guest profile is really diverse. We have people travelling with us from all over the world. Couples, families and groups.
What’s the best thing about working for Princess?
Travelling the world and being part of family atmosphere onboard. The crew really does look after each other. I have often joined a ship knowing absolutely no-one onboard, and by the end of the day will already have new lifelong friends.
What’s the worst thing about being at sea?
The hardest part is being away from your family for such a long time. I am lucky that my husband works onboard with me too, but we have missed some family events. The internet does make things easier though as we can keep in touch with social media.