When Wollongong singer Jennifer Gray boarded Norwegian Star in Auckland on Saturday for its maiden voyage to Wollongong the first thing she did was speak to the cruise director. Not only was the conservation about when and where she would do her show. It was also about Wollongong.
Husband Tim Gray spoke to his wife on Monday. She told him she was performing two shows that night on Norwegian Star and then giving a talk in the ship’s theatre about Wollongong on Tuesday. “She is very excited to be able to promote her home town. I’m very proud of her and very excited she has this opportunity,” he said.
Mum Louise Doughton also spoke to her daughter by phone just as Norwegian Star was leaving the Bay Of Islands “she had just had a lengthy conversation with the cruise director and he was extremely interested in the Destination Wollongong program and how great it was that the Gong was her home town. As they don't have anyone from Wollongong on board to give a port talk he has asked her to do on Tuesday in the Stardust Theatre,” Mrs Doughton said.
It was advertised in the daily news-letter distributed to every cabin. And after her two shows most passengers knew who she was. Mrs Gray spoke to her mother and father Alan Doughton about what passengers could expect from the volunteers when they arrive because they have both been ambassadors welcoming visitors from the first three Royal Caribbean cruise ship visits to Port Kembla.
“I spent 10 minutes madly giving her as many details about what they can expect from our volunteers from the time they get on the shuttle bus at Port Kembla to the support and information available from our volunteers near IPAC. She intends to spend a few minutes speaking about all the positive points on each of the shore tours. For those not taking an organised tour she will then explain what passengers can expect when they get on the shuttle to town and to make the most of the support and help of volunteers and the free bus. She will talk up our beautiful beaches/harbour/lighthouse/cafes etc. And she will take questions from the floor. It will be all ad-hoc but she's a clever girl and will do The Gong proud. Thursday is going to be a great day for Wollongong,” Mrs Doughton said.
#cruisewollongong project manager Stuart Barnes described Mrs Gray being on the first Norwegian Cruise Lines’ ship to visit Port Kembla as a “happy coincidence”. “I have worked with Jennifer ever since I arrived in Wollongong. She will l do the ambassador role really well. She is a credit to the Gong”.
Mrs Gray has been an entertainer on cruise ships for six years. She does up to five cruises a year because she has a young family and also likes performing in musicals and other shows around the Illawarra and beyond. She said the next cruise she intends to take her husband who is the managing director of Net Worth Financial Planners but also does a great jobs looking after their children when she is at sea.
Norwegian Star is due to arrive in Port Kembla on Thursday around 7.30am.