The most visible person on the Emeraude is not, as you might think, the Captain. He’s busy in the wheelhouse, steering the ship, or down in the engine room, ensuring propulsion. The person you’re most likely to see is the Chief Purser, and this month our Chief Purser is new to the Emeraude.
His name is Michael Dunbar. He was born in the United Kingdom, but he’s worked the greater part of his career in Asia, from China to Taiwan, Russia to Thailand and now Vietnam. He’s worked in city hotels and resort hotels, for companies as illustrious as Six Senses, Hilton and Le Meridien. Most recently, Michael worked for Abercrombie and Kent, running a cruise ship on the Yangtze River.
We don’t know, maybe it’s his British blood, but Michael’s got a thing for boats. And he’s getting plenty of that with us now on Halong Bay. Michael’s ship on the Yangtze was bigger than the Emeraude, and they had to pass through lots of lochs as the vessel descended to the sea (better a loch than a run through the rapids!), but he prefers the Emeruade’s size.
“It’s smaller and more personable, and therefore more fun,” he says.
As Michael gets underway, he’s working on a number of new things for the cruise. The boat is introducing Internet cards, and a new personal guest photograph initiative so that passengers can, if they’d like, debark with an image of themselves before one of Halong Bay’s icons.
He’s also working on plans for Emeraude Classic Cruise’s annual Wine Cruise, which doesn’t launch until May. In the meantime, he’s planning a special cruise for Tet, with a special menu, a singing duo and a Times Square-like countdown to the New Year on board.
Michael has lived on the boat since he started with the Emeraude in November. He’s learning Vietnamese. He’s putting a lot of years of training to work with his crew, and he’s enjoying their company.
“They are largely cheerful and happy, and I always feel this encourages and motivates leadership,” he says. “If all are positive, this will be felt by the guests and will certainly enhance their cruise experience overall.”