Barry woman stars in new fly-on-the-wall cruise documentary

Barry And District News: CRUISING: Sam Hawker-Thomas CRUISING: Sam Hawker-Thomas

SETTING sail for the small screen this week, a Barry woman is cruising for a ship-shape career in reality television.

Sam Hawker-Thomas is one of the crew members taking centre stage on ITV's new primetime documentary show The Cruise Ship.

As cruise director on the Royal Princess luxury liner, Sam is featured heavily in the four part Friday night TV show which documents the lives of staff and passengers aboard the ship's maiden season.

Thirty six-year-old Sam, from Cadoxton, began working on ships after finishing college and has climbed the ladder from working in onboard shops to cruise director in 13 years.

In the second episode - which airs on Friday, July 18 - Sam and her deputy Dan are the stars of the show.

"I don't know what to expect," she said. "We haven't seen any of the episodes yet so I'm quite nervous."

Although Sam has spent time in front of the camera previously, on the ship's internal television broadcasts, she said she initially found being followed by a camera crew every day for six weeks an understandably strange experience.

She said: "I'm used to being in front of a camera but having them with me when I'm getting ready in my room and things - it was weird at first. They capture everything

"After a while you kind of forget they're there though."

Sam, who lives in Barry with husband Denis - the two met in January 2013 while working on a cruise and married four months later - said that primarily she hoped that the show would give people a chance to see exactly what her job involves and to show off the incredible features of the Royal Princess.

"There are 3,600 passengers and 1,350 crew members," she said. "It's a floating hotel but it's also like a small village. You have to have everything there, shops, medical facilities, cinemas.

"I tell people I'm a cruise director and they say 'what is that?'

"I'm excited to showcase my role and the crew and our pride in what we do."

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