From humble beginnings portraying a candy bar in his first school play, to heading up the most exciting cruise ship on earth, Joff Eaton has come a long way during his years as an entertainer. A native of West Sussex, England, and an 18-year veteran of the cruise industry, Joff came aboard Royal Caribbean in 2008. Now with his team of 151, he ensures all the stage shows, skydiving and other wonders on Anthem of the Seas deliver an unforgettable adventure week after week. Read on to learn what he’s most looking forward to in his latest starring role.
The Cruise Director has such a public job — are you comfortable being the center of attention?
My life has always revolved around entertainment. My first acting role was a walking, talking Mars Bar in a school production of “The Hobbit.” To this day, I’m not sure how they tied the two together, but no doubt Ian McKellen would be proud. Organizing events, shows and parties dominated my teenage years, and because I wanted to work on the radio, I volunteered at local stations to get whatever experience I could.
So how did you transition into working on cruise ships?
I saw a newspaper advertisement for a cruise company looking for activities staff. I auditioned the following week and was offered a three-month contract. Three months turned to four, then six, and eight months later, I realized I was doing something I really enjoyed and should continue pursuing. After two years, I took on the role of Assistant Cruise Director.
How did you work your way up to Cruise Director?
About a month after starting as Assistant Cruise Director, I was approached by a guest onboard who said she was a psychic medium and needed to speak to me. She informed me that within months I would be offered a promotion, and regardless of my concerns about it being so soon, I should take it. Less than two months later, I was called into a meeting and offered the position of Cruise Director. I accepted and became that company’s youngest Cruise Director!
Wow — sounds like it was predestined! So, you’ve been with Royal Caribbean since 2008. Which ships have you worked on?
My wife, Amber, and I took residency on Jewel of the Seas for 18 months before moving on to Independence of the Seas in 2009. We spent five wonderful years sailing the Mediterranean and Caribbean on Independence and left at the end of 2014 in preparation for joining Anthem of the Seas in early 2015.
What are you most looking forward to about Anthem?
By day, the views and ambience are incredible, and by night, the shows, performances and events are taken to a new level. Anthem will offer the West End/Broadway show “We Will Rock You,” which has entertained audiences around the world with the best of the music of Queen, as well as another show called “The Gift.” The mind-blowing Two70 venue will be home to a show called “Spectra’s Cabaret.” It’s also great to have bumper cars and RipCord by iFLY as brand-new features. I could go on and on.
What’s your favorite aspect of life at sea?
Cruise Director is an amazing job to have. No cruise is the same, no set of guests are the same, and that’s the magical thing: Anything can happen, it’s live, it’s real-time. To quote my boss, “There’s nothing like it on the planet!”
What performer — dead or alive — do you dream about introducing onboard?
I would have loved to introduce Frank Sinatra. I can just hear the brass section kicking in as he walks out. There’s something very special about a brass section, and our own “High C Horns” group plays for many entertainers and shows — it’s a special sound. Sinatra would have been welcome on a ship with me, and I think he would have enjoyed himself.