Our amazing colleagues on board our ships work so hard to create unforgettable holiday happiness for our guests, so we’re taking a moment to shine a spotlight on them! Continuing our Holiday Heroes series, find out what makes them shine, hear about their roles, ambitions, hobbies, and what life is like working aboard our P&O Cruises ships.

Next up meet… Hannah Kett, Assistant Youth Manager

Hannah is from Plymouth in the UK. She worked as a primary school teacher before becoming a seasonal youth worker with P&O Cruises and has been Assistant Youth Manager on Iona since April 2023. 

“I was teaching Year 1 full time in an inner-city primary school in Plymouth. I absolutely loved my class, but I knew my heart was at sea and I wanted to travel. I started off as a seasonal youth worker last year and I’m now Assistant Youth Manager on board Iona. 

As Assistant Youth Manager, I get to support and train the team and make sure everything’s running smoothly. I’ve been really lucky to work with an experienced manager, and I’ve learnt so much; in some ways it’s similar to teaching, but it’s all the fun bits really. 

I love that no two days are the same. There is always something different happening in the department; one day I’m helping Shaun the Sheep and making mini plasticine models, and the next I’m down in the galley trying to make 90 pizzas. And it’s amazing we’ve got all this scenery around us. When we’re looking after the children, we’ll look out the window and say, ‘Look! There could be whales or dolphins there…’ Every day you wake up and explore a different place. We’re so lucky in this department that we do get the chance to explore the ports and help on the tours, so there’s lots of opportunity to get to know the local places. 

This is the happiest I’ve been. I love this job and I’m really lucky with the opportunities I’ve had in such a short space of time.

I love the summer season. With so many children on board, we put on lots of new activities and programmes. I get to meet so many families every single week. For a lot of them, it’s their first time on a ship, so it’s nice to introduce them to cruising. We also have families that have been on many cruises with us and there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing families return and be so happy to see me. Even though there are a lot of children on each cruise, you get to know them and their families really well. We had a family with a daughter who had a lot of additional needs; we were told she struggled to  connect with people. But by the end of the holiday she was the first in line at every single session. Her parents  said it meant a lot for her to have those bonds she’d made throughout the week. They’ve booked another cruise already.

We’ve got a core team of permanent staff on Iona. We’ve become really close – we live together, work together and spend time in port together. Then we have a team of seasonal staff who come on during  school holidays; they’re fresh and they bring alternative ideas with them. With our uniforms on it’s like  a sea of orange – everyone on the ship can see us coming!

It’s a really diverse team. There are people who’ve just retired from teaching, and others who have just come out of college and have worked in nurseries. We’ve got team members from all over the world, from Colombia to New Zealand, and we’ve all got different things we bring to the team.

I always loved being outdoors and exploring and I love swimming – in fact, when I was younger I was a competitive swimmer. It’s something I do back home and I try and do it as much as I can. We’ve been going cold-water swimming pretty much every single week here in the fjords… it’s been amazing feeling the water get  warmer and seeing the scenery change as the season goes on. It’s great fun seeing everyone try it. It makes us closer because we all support each other. In my spare time on board I love to go to The Beach House to get their macaroni cheese, and then afterwards we’ll watch a show – maybe Pulse or the band in The Limelight Club.

Thank you Hannah for sharing your story with us!

Want to meet more of our Holiday Heroes? Head over to the P&O Cruises blog.

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