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You'll Be Having the Ginger Cosmo, So Says the Cocktails Manager on the 'Queen Victoria'

July 22, 2011 at 4:55 PM | by | ()

When you think about the people who make a cruise ship run, who comes to mind? The captain...maybe the head chef and cruise director, right? Well, with about 1,000 crew onboard Cunard's Queen Victoria, there's so many others in the shadows, all responsible for making your vacation an awesome one and we'd like to introduce you to them.

Over the last two weeks, we've given exclusive peeks into the (somewhat) secret lives of a ship's officer, a "gentleman dance host," the ship's acupuncturist, the actual doctor and the foodie Saucier. For this final installment, we're all about getting our drink on. Cheers.

Cruises are the ultimate all-inclusive vacation...or are they? What you will have to pay for is all that boozing—wine with dinner, gin and tonics on deck and champagne poolside—so there's a man onboard whose job it is to make the cocktail menu as tempting as possible. For the Queen Victoria, this man is James, the ship's Public Rooms Services Manager.

He may be on a boat right now, but James is head over heels for hotels, using his experience in opening both Manchester's Velvet Hotel and Malmaison to evolve the Queen Victoria's bars and lounges into singular experiences for her thousands of guests. He's been at sea now straight since 2004, also stepping onto the old Caronia, the Queen Mary 2 and even some of the smaller Seabourn ships. Thus, you can bet he knows what to drink if you're feeling the motion of the ocean a bit much: the Ginger Cosmo.

If you can catch Jason, you'll usually find him in our favorite spot on the QV, the Commodore's Club, a lounge with a commanding view over the bow and its own cocktail menu boasting some "molecular" concoctions. So you say you like cosmopolitans? Jason would suggest their most popular drink in that case—the Molecular Cosmopolitan—expertly topped off with a swirl of vodka-infused gelatin mousse. "It's a new experience in the classic drinking passengers have always done," Jason explains.

And there will be theme nights. While you're slipping on a white dinner jacket or a slinky black dress and appreciating Cunard's "formality of service," you can thank Jason for orchestrating an evening of James Bond-themed cocktails, or (if you're up in the Hemisphere nightclub) a late night of Abba-themed specials. The idea is that the fantasy of the sea voyage is there, the opportunity to be someone else and order a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, is perfectly fine and well—even encouraged.

Jason's shipboard fantasy? It's actually quite attainable; Jason is working his way towards becoming Provisions Manager, which would mean being the man responsible for stocking the ship to cater to 3,000 people each voyage. Enough strawberries to make fruit medleys every morning and strawberries & cream each night? It would just take a snap of his finger. Crates of live lobster? Just sign on the dotted line, Jason.

A favorite drink of his: the 'Molecular Cosmopolitan'

What he loves most about the at-sea lifestyle: The advantage is quite simple, says Jason. "I could be doing the same job back at home on land, but not have the opportunity to visit these places."

Favorite port: James really can't narrow it down too much further than the Mediterranean, with particular love going to Livorno (Florence), Barcelona and Monte-Carlo. C'mon...who wouldn't love a few visits to Monaco every year?

Favorite on-land activities: Maybe there's something about being on a ship for days at a time that turns its crew into active lifestyle nuts? James is a cyclist, a runner and a gourmand who more than knows his Black Bellinis from his classic Bellinis.

Disclosure: We traveled to Norway onboard the Queen Victoria as a guest of Cunard, but all images and opinions are entirely our own (or those of the interviewees).

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for Jaunted]

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