Meet Customer Experience Manager, Roshan Tajdini, master of ceremonies and people person extraordinaire! Roshan (aka Ro) has a background in entertainment and recreation that includes an 8-year tenure coordinating entertainment and events for Disney Cruise Lines, which gave him the opportunity to cruise all over the world. Two years ago, he left Disney Cruise Lines at the end of his contract to take an extended break and attend a family wedding. He took some time to travel around Canada and get his land legs back before returning to his hometown Toronto. Ro’s experience and warm & friendly personality was welcomed at Mariposa Cruises, where he has worked for two seasons.
Describe the role of Customer Experience Manager.
My role is to that ensure that guests who come aboard our Scenic Dining Cruises have the best cruise experience possible. That begins with our Hospitality Crew: recruiting, hiring, training and mentoring our staff, and supporting them with the delivery of onboard service on every voyage. I coordinate and oversee the onboard entertainment and activities, troubleshoot and generally make sure that the service on each cruise unfolds as smoothly as possible. My role involves a great deal of interaction with our guests, talking to them, answering their questions and making sure they leave happy customers
No two cruises are alike. Every cruise brings a different crowd with different expectations. How do you gauge the mood of our passengers on a typical voyage?
Our public cruise program offers different onboard experiences, from lunch, brunch and dinner, to our Sip & Sail Cruises and Special events. The type of cruise determines the expectations a lot of the time. Guests who come on board for lunch or brunch want a relaxing afternoon. It’s a daytime experience, an opportunity to dine together, experience the scenery and view, take pictures of the harbour. Cruising through the islands and lagoons is really picturesque and calming. I meet a lot of tourists on my job and enjoy hearing about their travels, if they’re enjoying Toronto, answering their questions. I love Toronto, so I’m always happy to offer suggestions about what to visit, where to eat, what’s happening in the city. Sometimes I can feel the mood and start a trivia game or a giveaway; other times I know the guests just want to be left alone to do their own thing.
Dinner cruises on the weekdays are a little different than on the weekends; the energy is much higher on a weekend. People want to watch the sunset and see Toronto light up at night from the water. They want to enjoy music. There are couples on dates, families, private celebrations. Each cruise brings a different mix, but weekends have a certain vibe, whether our guests just want to keep to themselves or dance, mix with the crowd and participate in the onboard entertainment, I try to meet all these expectations.
Our Sip & Sails are shorter two-hour cruises, only two hours and perfect for the after-work crowd who don’t necessarily want to dine, they just want an alternative to a bar or patio or to experience Toronto in a different way. A special event like our Fireworks Cruise is very high energy, so I communicate with the crowd throughout the cruise, building up the excitement to the Fireworks display, encouraging participation. This summer’s Fireworks Cruise was absolutely electric because of the Canada 150 celebrations. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cruises have a different feel. They are family events, so I have to know how to balance family time with keeping the crowd entertained. Our annual Santa Brunch is one of my favorite cruises because families come ready to play games and have their children participate in the holiday festivities.
Have you ever read a crowd wrong?
No. Not yet.
Not surprising…Ro has a magical gift; there’s always a few tricks up his sleeve. He used to be a magician, and because he’s got a way with the kids, he enjoys dazzling them with his magic tricks. “I remember on one cruise a little boy was so fascinated with seeing me perform magic tricks, he told his parents he wanted to become a magician. I gave his parents tips to help him learn magic and where they could go to get a basic magician’s starter kit.”
What inspires you about your job?
There is always something unique about every cruise. I have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and from all walks of life. I’ve learned to meet what comes with every voyage. We sail rain or shine, and it’s amazing how much impact the weather can have on the mood of a cruise. I’m thankful for those instances when the rain suddenly stops and the clouds clear. That’s when you see the craziest sunsets, and just like that, the mood of the cruise lifts and the energy changes. Moments like that inspire me, because I never know what to expect. No cruise is ever the same way twice on any given day.