My invitation arrived unannounced. Just as I was rushing out to a meeting, an email came in from my client, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL). I started reading and right at the end of the message, there it was: “I want you to know how much I value your partnership … I’d like to invite you and a guest to join me in November onboard our newest ship — the beautiful Allure of the Seas!!!” Incredible, I thought and kept reading: “You would be my guest onboard for a 2-day inaugural sailing out of Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale. Please be on the lookout for an email from our Special Events team with the details … ”
Naturally, I’d followed the press on Allure of the Seas — world’s largest cruise ship, a first of its kind collaboration with DreamWorks for onboard entertainment, a 3-D theatre, a skating rink, an Aqua Theater, a carousel, a garden, fabulous restaurants — in short, a magical playground on a cutting-edge cruise ship.
I mentally started packing my cruise-wear.
Understandably, I was excited about this unexpected invitation but I must say, nothing could have prepared me for the extraordinary two days that lay ahead. The Allure of the Seas is truly majestic. There was a sense of glamour and excitement from the moment we boarded — “we” being my 28-year old son and myself. But what struck me immediately was the profound feeling of fun in the air.
Everyone was there to celebrate the launch of this amazing ship. And when Richard Fain, CEO of RCCL, demonstrated his surfing skills on the FlowRider®, he sent a very clear message.
To understand how this wave riding technology works, think of a thin sheet of water flowing over a static form to simulate ocean waves. It combines the thrill of surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding in the safety of a pool. And speaking of thrills, I had my very first zip-line experience — thanks to encouraging words from my son!
The entertainment was sensational with DreamWorks characters, up close and personal. This was a truly star-studded cruise. And along with all this excitement, the cast and crew of the movie, Jack and Jill, were onboard filming. I had heard about the location shoot but really didn’t think much about it till I stepped into the elevator and saw a man wearing tights, a crinoline and full make-up. Not just any man, but Adam Sandler! Cool guy that he is, he looked at me and said, “Sorry about the dress.”
Hindsight is a wonderful thing because after the fact I thought of all kinds of things I could have said. “I’m an image consultant and this is not your best look.” Or “OMGosh! You’re Adam Sandler — I am so thrilled to meet you.” Fact is, I said and did nothing. A missed moment. But it got me thinking about the protocols of meeting celebrities. Meanwhile, I was having a perfectly marvelous time — the proverbial kid in the candy store. Thank you Royal Carribean!
On the flight home, I collected my thoughts about meeting celebrities. Here are a few guidelines for every celebrity category: top chefs, actors, dancers, opera singers, rock stars, master architects, best-selling authors …
1. Famous men and women should always be addressed as Mr., Miss or first and last name, as in Adam Sandler. A first name only suggests familiarity and even though you may be more than familiar with the person, he or she has never set eyes on you before.
2. These same men and women are absolutely off-limits when surrounded by family members. Stay your distance.
3. If the famous person doesn’t appear to acknowledge you, same story. Keep moving.
4. When your smile is returned following a brief introduction, it’s probably best to make tracks. Autograph and photo requests could turn a memorable moment into a forgettable one.
5. Think before you make your move. If the celebrity is known for edgy, high-strung or nervous behaviour, don’t intrude. Respect a sense of privacy.
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