In conversation with Captain Evans Hoyt
Shall we dance?
"May I ask you for a dance?" These words are music to the ears of many of our guests - especially those who are single or have a partner with two left feet, as well as for tour groups who have left without their loved ones for a cruise on one of the Queens.
On a journey with the only true ocean liner of our time, Queen Mary 2, there are up to ten dance hosts who make the dance floor glow. For many of the guests on board, dancing in the regal-looking Queens Room is one of the "must-dos", because the way to the dance floor and the common movement to the music reinforces the feeling of joy of being free from the usual everyday obligations.
When you walk to the Queens Room in the evening (Queen Mary 2's is the largest ballroom at sea) and the nostalgic sounds of the swing band fill the room, it won't be long before you spot one of the Cunard Dance Hosts. They are usually dressed identically in white shirts, with red ties, dark trousers and navy blue jackets with metal name tags.
In elegant restraint, the dancers are ready for a joint dance or a refreshing conversation. But don't worry: If you prefer to watch the action with a glass of champagne first, the hosts will of course not hold this against you – according to the motto "everything can, nothing must". In your role as a silent observer, you will soon notice that the hosts never dance twice in a row with the same woman to avoid possible discrimination. They dance with ladies of all ages or nations, with the reserved lady and the dance-hungry party lioness in a dazzling sequined dress. From the indecisive woman to the dance beginner who insists on leading to the professional dancer – on the edge of the dance floor the most diverse characters gather, all of whom have one thing in common: the desire to dance.
But it's not just about dancing, because the hosts are also excellent conversation partners. The fact that the activity as a dance host is a really serious one is already shown by the selection process. Thus, the interview (e.g. at an acting agency in the United Kingdom) testifies to the high demands on the potential dance hosts. For about two hours, applicants are interviewed here to test their communication skills – these are even more important than dance skills.
But not only for the guests, but also for the dance hosts, the evenings in the Queens Room often hold unforgettable moments. "One evening, about two years after my time with Cunard, I had a magical moment. I did the Quickstep and when it came to the Lock Step, my dance partner knew even before I told her when to stop and when to continue; that was thought transfer, and we were really dancing on the same wavelength." – a Cunard Dance Host. While Cunard Dance Hosts enjoy all the amenities our guests get as part of their trip, a typical day can be challenging.
A (sea) day in the life of a Cunard dance host
10.00 am: Morning coffee in the introductory group for solo travelers. Here, guests traveling alone can get in touch with other guests and get to know each other.
11.00 am: Dance lessons in the ballroom. These vary from line dancing to ballroom or salsa, and are included in guest cruise fares. Lessons are led by two professional dancers and the hosts act as dance partners for those in need.
3.00 pm: Afternoon tea time with dancing in the ballroom (once a week).
5.00 pm: Further dance lessons in the ballroom.
7.45 pm: Sequence dancing (all dancers dance the same step sequence at the same time).
9.45 pm - midnight: Dancing in the ballroom.
In addition to numerous amenities and advantages, there are also some restrictions associated with working as a dance host. For example, any intimate relationships are contractually prohibited and a breach of contract results in immediate termination. But true love always finds its way: A dance host and a passenger fell in love so immortally during one cruise, that the host immediately quit their job and a few weeks later the wedding bells rang!
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