Most of my October was spent in a destination that I used to think I would only ever visit for a honeymoon or some equally romantic special occasion. Firstly, because it’s far and very expensive to reach from the UK; but also because it has that far-flung, exotic, once-in-a-lifetime feel to its name: Tahiti. Yes, Tahiti, in the South Pacific. As I think back to just after my interview for this job, the HR Manager was running through a list of possible places I may or may not visit if I was to accept the job offer. When she said the word Tahiti, I felt myself start to grin like a Cheshire cat. I don’t think it would be a lie when I say that this word alone was the deciding factor of my taking the job!
Silversea’s Silver Shadow was doing several itineraries around the South Pacific islands, in and out of Papeete and we had high numbers of guests booked onto each of the three departures. My colleague Alison and I were the lucky ones to be sent out there to oversee that everything ran smoothly for our guests. Looking forward to it was an understatement. It was a mega countdown until we could wave goodbye to dreary England and head for one of the world’s most desirable destinations. We did a little Tahitian-style dance in the lift at Gatwick after we checked in and prepared for the 21-hour journey. Excited much?!
It was everything we’d imagined and more. The ambience of the island was a mix of island life and French culture. It was so laid-back, like an extended version of horizontal if there was one. The concierge staff and poolside waiting staff in the hotels had the lowest maintenance uniform in the world - a pair of shorts only. This made our hospitality desk duties much more interesting than in hotels where the staff are fully clothed.
That ‘wow’ feeling reared its head again when the sun went down each evening. The neighbouring island of Mo’orea was visible from most hotels, engulfed in the prettiest and pinkest of sunsets. With a Mai Tai in hand and the UK a million miles away, the still and calm beauty of this remote gem was all-encompassing.
We couldn’t really complain about the lack of downtime we had on the island, because in our free week we were sent to Auckland and Sydney for some hotel research. We popped over to the other side of the world (as you do!), crossing the international date line and advancing by almost a whole day, for a few days’ work.
Back on the island of dreams, we got down to looking after our last groups. While relaxing in the room one night, another unbelievable thing happened. As if being in Tahiti wasn’t enough, our boss emailed us to ask “if we’d mind doing a last-minute trip to Barbados a couple of weeks after we get back”? We really couldn’t believe our luck. So, after debating it for, oh, three seconds and jumping around the room a little, we emailed back straight away to tell her YES, YES, YES!
[to be continued…]
Check back next Friday for the next part of Gillian’s Diary Of A Tour Ambassador series
Hailing from sleepy Northumberland, Gillian Lowes realised her passion for travel at a young age and always dreamt of glamourous worldwide adventures. Having worked in a variety of travel roles over the years – including as a Front Office and Operations Manager aboard a cruise ship – Gill became an ROL Tour Ambassador back in 2013. At the last count, Gill has visited over 70 countries!