RichardDetrich

I’ve been hooked on travel ever since wandering around Europe as a student on my Eurail pass for four months on $4 a day – which included a place to stay, food, admissions, and even TIME magazine. Determined to get back the next summer he earned his passage working as cruise staff on a student ship to Europe. Prices had shot up, and three months that summer cost $5 a day!

Fresh out of seminary, I began volunteering as chaplain on cruise ships and then began taking groups along. With so many cruises under his belt, a local travel agency asked him to start giving classes to travel agents about selling cruise travel. Eventually Nikki and I opened several of the first “cruise only” travel agencies. Fascinated by the growth of the cruise industry, at age 53, I went back to school for an MBA thinking maybe I’d work for Princess or Crystal, both of whom were in the LA area. I detoured into the corporate world, getting involved as Director of Ecommerce for 24 Hour Fitness at the beginning of the Internet Age, while at the same time doing occasional volunteer cruise chaplain assignments and lecturing.

Beginning as a guest lecturer for Celebrity and Holland America, eventually I was invited to join the entertainment departments of Holland America in the then newly created position of Travel Guide. I went on to Princess as an onboard port and destination lecturer. I’ve made two cruises around the world with Princess, and my assignments have taken me to Amazonia, around South America, the South Seas, Australia, New Zealand, Asia,the Middle East, around Africa,the Black Sea, Europe, the Mediterranean, Central America, and the Caribbean. I particularly enjoy longer cruises and cruises with days at sea which provide opportunity to get to know the guests.

Living in Panama, I have an affinity for the Panama Canal, but I’ve also done the Suez Canal, Corinth Canal and Kiel Canal, and the North Sea Canal.

That’s me with the cruise staff waving at the top of the steps on my first cruise ship gig on a Dutch Student Travel cruise on Holland America’s very old MAASDAM. I was just learning to drink and have no idea how, or why, I woke up in my bunk one morning wearing the Staff Captain’s uniform! True story! Guess I was learning to drink with a Dutchman and drinking Dutch genever.