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“It caught me slightly off guard,” admits Chloe Loddo. “I was offered to go back as Cruise Director, which would of course have been lovely, but I’m happily back home now, settled in and enjoying my work in both my full-time day job and involvement on radio and TV with GBC.”

It’s no secret that performance adrenaline has run through Chloe’s veins from an early age, dancing with the Gibraltar Academy of Dance and on stage also in am-dram plays with the late Leslie Zammit. Off to university she went and four years later came away with two degrees in English Literature and, yes, Drama, following her studies at the University of Manchester. 

Meanwhile, it’s true that childhood sweethearts sometimes live on, and this one has. Local boy Chris Shoesmith was also also into dancing and performing, so they already had very much in common. “Why don’t we try this?” Chris asked. And so it came to pass, Carnival Cruises was evidently the future for them both. 

Chris joined the team of dancers on board first and Chloe, rather than travelling for a year or so – not to mention missing him so much – joined the ship soon after and became a member of the Entertainment Staff (those are the individuals who play bingo, betting at bettingcompare.co.uk and all sorts of games with you in the lounges during the day and sometimes dress up for other events). “Apart from it being a job I thought I would enjoy, it would look good on my CV,” Chloe tells me.

On another very sad occasion we had a ‘man overboard’ situation.

Clever Chloe obviously made an impression on senior staff onboard and Head Office in Miami also, no doubt, and was shortly after promoted to Assistant Cruise Director – a post she held for four years only interrupted two years in, by flying over to Gib to get married. Now a Mrs, promotion came her way yet again: she became Cruise Director on board her ship Carnival Dream, but also moved around others in the fleet – Carnival Splendour, Conquest and Spirit to mention just three, but busily hopped on and off about half of the 22 or so ships in the fleet during her 10 years at sea, directing the entertainment for the thousands of cruise passengers on each one. She was in charge of all entertainment on board…  “Yes, although there are standard ideas to follow you need to be creative and come up with new ones. It’s always important to be aware of your audiences. American cruise passengers like events and game shows etc which are different to what you need to offer when on an Australian cruise.” 

Having been on a number of cruises myself I can appreciate the Cruise Director is the ‘face’ on board that passengers can relate to and want to talk to about any number of things, even making you something of a welfare officer at times! So entertainment comes under the Cruise Director’s charge although the singers, dancers, musicians and soloists have their own routines to follow but the running of the nightly shows are the responsibility of, and presented by – in this case – Chloe Loddo, Cruise Director Extraordinaire!  “That’s true, you have to be up for it every night spending some time on stage presenting the show and interacting with the audience, but it was great fun. The audiences were always very warm.”

“It’s hard work, you are at it seven days a week.”

However, all is not fun. There were some tough times too as Chloe recalls. “On one particular cruise we had some engine trouble which meant we were ‘dead in the water’ for five days! Food had to be hauled on board box by box from one of the other Carnival ships. We formed a chain which included the Captain and all the officers as we brought it all on board from the tenders. I remember even looking up online to see if there was some way of making our own toothpaste of all things, as we were becoming so scarce, but it all turned out fine in the end. On another very sad occasion we had a ‘man overboard’ situation where a young man in his 20s was lost, despite the search going on for many miles, whilst at the same time not forgetting other passengers who needed to be entertained.” 

the thought of going back was tempting to say the least.

Then there was the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and Chloe was the face to depend on again for much of the time, having to deal with a salvo of questions from anxious passengers requiring answers. “We were on an Australian cruise and all of our passengers had to be let off there to get back home, then we needed to head onto Indonesia and the Philippines to disembark most of the crew who were from those countries. There we joined twenty odd other cruise and cargo ships for 58 days just floating and waiting to move on at some stage.” Life on the ocean waves is clearly not all as hunky dory as it seems, not to mention riding Hurricane Irene out at sea on the east coast of the States, as coming alongside could cause more damage to the ship.

There’s no doubt it’s been an interesting 10-year career for Chloe. “But it’s not really a forever career in my opinion; it’s hard work, you are at it seven days a week, but it’s been wonderful. At just 26 years old I was one of only three, female Cruise Directors in the company. I’ve travelled all along the west and east coasts of the United States including Hawaii and Canada, been to all of the Caribbean Islands and Mexico, Australia and New Zealand and most of the Pacific Islands and now I’m back home where I want to be. Do I miss it? Of course I do. I’m still young and the thought of going back to cruising and my old job which I loved – after having had a break – was tempting to say the least, but I refused. Sad in a way, but I want to move on, raise a family and try something else.” 

And it doesn’t look as if it takes her long to get started again! After a bit of a chill out when she returned to the Rock, she did a bit of writing for the Panorama newspaper. Now, she’s happy in her job and has her sights on perhaps pursuing a broadcasting career. “I would love that. I enjoy doing my evening and early morning Sunday shows on Radio Gibraltar – I’ve even had contacts from former cruise passengers from Australia and California who now tune into the station – and presenting the lottery results on GBC Television. I really love that work and would like to do more!”

Well, with all that presenting onstage experience on board cruise ships facing thousands of people week in week out, I would think it a natural progression for her to become one of our regular, local presenters on GBC – on radio, TV or both. She’s certainly made a fresh start and is, at least for now, here to stay. So welcome back Chloe, to Terra Firma!

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