Meet the team

Discover what it is our team love about Emerald Waterways  

At Emerald Cruises, our passion for river cruising is echoed within our team. We believe that the right people are integral to creating the exceptional experience we promise, from the moment you book your holiday with us, to every minute you spend on board our Star-Ships and exploring the wonderful destinations we visit.

From our reservations team and marketing department, to our knowledgeable Cruise Directors and chefs on board, each department is integral to providing the award-winning service that our guests can expect from every Emerald Cruises cruise.

We’d like to introduce you to a few members of our team, so you can gain an insight into what attracted them to the river cruise industry and hear what they love most about working for Emerald Cruises. Find out about the people who work behind the scenes to create each wonderful travel experience, just for you, in our insightful Q&A series.

Cruise Directors
Balaz Varga
What’s the best thing about being an Emerald Waterways Cruise Director, and which is the most exciting itinerary? We ask Cruise Director Balazs Varga for his thoughts.
Darren Collins
Cruise Director Darren Collins reveals the best thing about river cruising, the greatest places to visit and how exactly he became an Emerald Waterways Cruise Director.
Jana Pakstaitis
Jana Pakstaitis explains the most enjoyable part of being on the river, and which itinerary guests simply cannot miss. Learn a little bit more about Jana in this installment of Cruise Director Questions.
Michael Ondrus
We thought we’d ask Cruise Director Michael Ondrus what it is exactly that he loves about working for Emerald Waterways, and why he views river cruising as the best way to see Europe and Asia...
Nina van Loon
How do you become and Emerald Waterways Cruise Director, what’s the best thing about working on Europe’s rivers, and which itinerary would Cruise Director Nina van Loon advise, we ask her all that and more, below.
Patricia Muhardjo
What’s the best thing about working as a Cruise Director with Emerald Waterways? Which of our wonderful itineraries has won your heart? And, how would you advise an aspiring Cruise Director to succeed? Patricia Muhardjo tells us everything we need to know.
Wesley Peeman
In this instalment of Cruise Director Questions, we’re chatting to Wesley Peeman, about life at Emerald Waterways HQ and the most challenging part of his job.
Activity Managers
Brett Bonds
What can guests expect from the new EmeraldActive program?

Guests can expect so much variety from our EmeraldACTIVE programme. As well as the wellness activities, we have a variety of fun sports games- including golf putting, soft pétanque, Nordic walking and dance classes. In addition, we also have quizzes to keep the brains on top form and a little healthy competition for prizes. 
To keep improving the activities we offer, I am currently training in Tai Chi, so that I can also offer this as a special addition to the programme. 
On an evening guests will be kept entertained by many different events and activities, no evening is the same, which keeps it all fun, fun, fun!
You will see us on the hikes and biking tours, and around the Star-Ship too for a good chat.
Drazen Drazic
What do I enjoy most about the job?
The most fulfilling part of the job is to interact with my guests & taking them to the places that otherwise they wouldn’t go. The most rewarding part is the enthusiasm that I manage to wake in our guests for a certain activity, like yoga for example. I love to hear the feedback I receive once the guests have arrived back home informing me that they have continued with the exercises in a local studio or a gym.
Harry Jordan
What does your typical day involve?
I would normally start the day with an active wellness class, such as morning stretch or yoga, to get the body warm and limber for the day to come. Most days this will be followed by an EmeraldACTIVE hike around one of our many beautiful destinations. If we happen to be sailing in either the morning or the afternoon, I will hold games on the Sun Deck, such as golf putting and soft pétanque, possibly a dance class in the lounge after the afternoon tea.
After dinner I will always host a fun packed evening of entertainment. Whether it be an entertaining interactive gameshow, live entertainment either performed by me or one of the incredibly talented local performers, or simply a brain teasing trivia. Whatever our guests like to do, there is always something for everyone to enjoy.  
Jamie Sommers
What is your favourite destination and why?
A difficult question, each river has so many gems dotted along them. If I’m sailing The Rhine, I would have to say Amsterdam, such a diverse city with a different language being spoken with every step you take. It has so many beautiful buildings and so much to experience, by far the best city to get lost in. As I’m currently sailing The Danube, I can’t forget Vienna, a city I’ve recently fallen in love with. With music being a major part of this cities history, it’s hard not to love this place; it’s friendly locals, beautiful food and wonderful shopping areas.
Sarah Spilsbury
What is your background and how did you become one of your new Activity Mangers?
When I was a child I always used to go on holiday to Spain and to our caravan in Wales with my family and always used to love joining in the Kids Club, watching the shows and dancing the night away so I think that’s what inspired me to join the entertainments and leisure industry as I remember these happy memories.
As soon as I graduated  from Theatre school at the age of 21, I applied and auditioned for the role of host and lead singer for a hotel in Fuengirola, Spain and ever since then I have caught the travel bug and went on to work for various British cruise liners for the last 12 years as a host and lead band singer, travelling all over the world.
We have introduced Activity Managers to all seven of our European Star-Ships sailing the Rhine, Main, Danube, Moselle, Rhône and Douro rivers.

Not only will they organise our EmeraldACTIVE program, these dedicated and entertaining staff members complement our onshore EmeraldACTIVE program by coordinating on board yoga classes, trivia games, friendly competitions, local performances, and disco evenings. 

As part of our EmeraldACTIVE program, guided city walking tours and cycling excursions will be coordinated by these dedicated and entertaining staff members, as well as coordinating a wealth of on board activities and events including yoga classes and Pilates and a host of evening entertainment such as trivia games, card tournaments and traditional performances from locals. 

Read all about a day in the life of our Activity Managers in the interviews below and discover all the ways they will enhance your holiday experience.

Your cruise experts
Darren Birch
Today, we’re chatting to Marketing Executive, Darren Birch, in a bid to discover what he gets up to at Emerald Waterways HQ, and what he loves about working in our fun and dynamic team.
David Winterton
We chat to David Winterton, our Global Brand Manager, about his role, his favourite Emerald Waterways experiences and much more.
Lewis Quigley
In this instalment of Discover Emerald Waterways, we chat to Trade Marketing Executive, Lewis Quigley, about his experience of working for us, and pick his brain for top tips for the first-time river cruiser. 
Luke Hunter
We talk to Digital Marketing Executive, Luke Hunter. We’ll ask him all about his day-to-day role, what you can look forward to on your trip, and why he loves working here so much.
Rebecca Turner
We chat to graphic designer, Rebecca Roche, about her work at Emerald Waterways, and find out more about some of the incredible experiences you can look forward to as an Emerald Waterways guest.
Sophie Pearson
Here, we talk to Reservations Specialist, Sophie Pearson, about life at Emerald Waterways, and pick her brain for advice for first-time river cruisers.
Victoria Wallman
In this instalment of Discover Emerald Waterways, we’re chatting to Product & Content Co-Ordinator, Victoria Wallman, about life at Emerald Waterways HQ.

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