As we’re in the midst of our enabling conversation window, it’s important to remember that we should keep up focus on our development throughout the whole year in order to make the most of opportunities as they arise. That’s why we caught up with Peter Van de Pas, Senior Manager, Guest Experience, who’s done just that…

Making the most of opportunity

“While working in Guest Experiences, my line manager mentioned a Director role in Cunard’s People Services team was becoming available to cover a maternity leave. I discussed the opportunity with my line manager including the pros and cons. Based on my previous work experience I was granted the chance to fill the role!

In my previous time at sea I always made sure my line managers were aware that I was looking for development opportunities. This gave me a wide variety of work experiences, a transferable skill set, and some wonderful opportunities to take on project work across fleet and shore.

I think it’s important to make things happen, discuss your development needs with your line manager and when the opportunity arises, go for it! I’ve been lucky to have had supportive line managers over the years who clearly understood how to help their team and allow members to grow to the benefit of the individual and the business.

Bringing my knowledge and skills to the secondment

In my new role, it was great to be able to take on more responsibilities, to lead a team, to coach individuals and it was rewarding to add value with my years of ship experience. I had a deep understanding of the product offering, and built great connections within the wider Cunard team.

My new peers had many years of knowledge within their working field, which was slightly daunting. However, I was able to fall back on my business knowledge and the experience I had gained from all those opportunities in the past. Being a fresh pair of eyes and having a team around me was a great combination.

My time with People Services led to a better mutual understanding of challenges and opportunities and it also allowed the team to grow their appreciation for the impact they have on the employee life cycle and the crew experience. We ended up with a more engaged team who had a good understanding of the operational requirements. In addition, we laid the foundations for an improved way of communicating with relevant fleet stakeholders.

What I’ve brought back to my current role

In my current role in the Guest Experience team I have continued working with the People Services’ team on a variety of people focused tasks. The opportunity also allowed me to move the goal posts when thinking about future opportunities and development.

The most valuable lessons I’ve learned is to stay true to yourself, to not be afraid to take on new challenges outside your department, and where possible turn difficulties in to a positive lesson learned.”

Thanks for sharing, Peet!

As Peet mentions, asking for and making the most of opportunities can help you go far. But being open and asking for what you need isn’t always easy. Are you holding yourself back without realising? Take yourself through the Confidence toolkit on Good Practice. If you haven’t already, you just need to sign up with your Carnival UK email address.

We know it can also be tricky to come up with the types of activities that will help you get ahead. Why not download our 5 step plan for some fresh ideas? 

We want to hear from you. If you have your own development journey story or some tips and tricks to share with our colleagues please let us know at

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