Meet the crew: Juan Carlos

Meet the crew: Juan Carlos

We talked to Juan Carlos Montenegro Pedrez, Shore Excursion Manager on board the Celestyal Journey, about what it’s like to organise a huge variety of on-shore trips for many different nationalities across multiple ports.

1. How did you get to your current position?
My first cruise was in 1996, and I’ve worked in several different departments over the years. I began in housekeeping, then gradually moved into entertainment where I was a host for around three years. Then I joined the excursions department, which is what I was doing when I came to Celestyal. I think it’s been really valuable to have experienced what it’s like to work in different departments.

2. Can you tell us about a typical day for you?
I supervise a team of five people, and we work together to make sure our guests enjoy the on-shore trips in every port. We might be helping passengers at the excursions desk on board, in the back office preparing things like brochures, booking forms and passenger lists, or out on the tours themselves.

Someone from our team will go on every excursion, to make sure it all runs smoothly. I’ll go out at least three or four times per week. We keep things running on time, so people have the right amount of time in each place – not too much, not too little – to get the best from each location.

3. What’s your favourite part of the job?
I love meeting guests. I spend a lot of time in the back office now so I don’t get the chance to spend as much time as I would like with passengers, but whenever I get the opportunity, I’ll get out and mingle.

4. Where’s your favourite excursion?
There are so many places to explore, it’s hard to choose. But I really like the excursions based around authentic experiences. They usually involve something to do, perhaps food or wine tasting, kayaking, or painting pottery. They’re really popular with guests because they’re so interactive, they offer an insight into local life, and you might even end up with a totally unique souvenir.

5. What’s your favourite place to eat?
We have a Food on Foot tour in most of the ports. They’re a great opportunity to try something traditional in each place. You’re likely to prepare a dish from that region that can’t be done anywhere else.

6. Where’s your favourite destination?
Rhodes. It’s a charming island. The old town is very well preserved, with cobblestones and beautiful buildings. When you’re in the old town, it seems like you’ve gone back centuries. I love it there.

7. Tell us something surprising about yourself
I speak four languages: Spanish, English, Italian, and a little bit of Portuguese.

8. What have you adopted from Greek culture?
Greek culture is very inclusive and welcoming. So it’s important to me that everyone feels comfortable to join any excursions they like, especially if they’re travelling on their own or want to see or do something that’s not of interest to the rest of their party. We often gather our solo passengers together so they’ve got some friendly faces on the excursions – it makes the trip more enjoyable and they tell us they appreciate it.

9. What does Filoxenia mean to you?
It’s about welcoming strangers as if they were friends. Traditionally it’s about offering food and a place to stay, but, for me, it goes beyond our time on the ship. Through our excursions we share the best of the region with our guests, whether that’s the landscapes, historic sights, authentic food or the local people we meet on our tours. It’s about making sure our guests feel truly at home here.