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About Aaron Saunders & FTDC
Or, how I gave up a career in film to focus on the cruise industry
I started From the Deck Chair in September 2009 because I was disappointed in how many cruise sites focused on the same ships doing the same old itineraries. There’s a sea of unique, interesting and fantastic ships out there that are deserving of as much attention as the big newsmakers like Oasis of the Seas and Norwegian Epic.
I also started this site as a way to share my cruise photography and interest in the interior design of cruise ships, which I am extremely passionate about, with a wide array of readers.
Because everyone asks, and in the interest of full disclosure, I do tend to cruise for free, or almost free. It is a responsibility I take very seriously. No one ever tells me what to write, or how to write it, nor am I ever paid to write something. Everything published here represents my own personal thoughts and opinions. (the flip-side: I spend an ungodly amount of time in airplanes, taxis, and nondescript airport hotels. Have you seen Taken 2 ten times on an airplane? I have.)
I am invited, from time to time, to experience a particular ship, itinerary or cruise line, and to report honestly on it. It’s the same courtesy afforded to many travel writers, and even writers who cover other products. Unless there really is some poor guy out there wtih every copy of Microsoft Office ever produced sitting on his bookshelf – which there isn’t.
Sometimes, I do make the occasional typo or mistake, which I do correct (usually, readers spot it long before I do!) I never edit reader comments and I don’t shy away from negative comments, but I do reserve the right to remove any comments that are vulgar or obscene.
If there’s something wrong on a cruise that poses a significant issue, you’ll know about it. If the cruise line doesn’t deliver what it promised, you’ll hear about it on my Live Voyage Reports.
On the flipside, I don’t believe in being negative just for the sake of it, nor do I believe that every positive must be countered with a negative. I will champion the ships, sailings and lines that I like, simple as that.
Believe me, I have a great time on any cruise – but unlike most passengers, I am up at 5:00am most mornings taking photographs, in order to showcase public rooms when most people are still asleep. I make a point to experience as much as I can, and then write my thoughts and observations down that day. Which means I spend a good two-to-three hours each evening with my laptop open, writing.
Which means I’m not just cruising, I’m also working – usually until 2 or 3am. Then rising at 5 or 6am. Relaxing, it’s not. Rewarding? Amazingly so.
When I dislike something, I try to make every effort to offer constructive criticism. Simply coming back here and writing “it sucked, I’m never sailing (insert cruise line here) again!” doesn’t do anyone any good. If the situation is particularly worrisome, I try to involve the cruise line in order to get their opinion. Sometimes, bad things happen on good cruises, and it is important to get all the facts first.
On the flip side, when I find something I am passionate about, I tend to champion it. I make no apologies for this. If I am excited about an itinerary, ship, or line, I’ll shout it from the rooftops.
So what did I do before this? Well, I worked in the animation industry in Vancouver as an offline editor, delivering 75 episodes of this, 52 episodes of this, 13 episodes of this, 52 episodes of this, and most recently, 13 episodes of this new show. And when I wasn’t doing that? I’ve been cruising – since my parents got me hooked on it in 1998.
One thing that has always driven me nuts about mainstream “print” travel writing is that there has to be an angle. Often, this deals with food or wine and concentrates very little on the cruise experience itself. Articles like that bore me very easily, and I make every attempt to concentrate on the actual cruise.
And isn’t that what we’re all here for – the cruise experience?
Stay tuned to From the Deck Chair, where the focus is always on the most important aspect of your cruise: your ship.
Aaron Saunders | firstname.lastname@example.org
Aaron writes every Sunday about the cruise industry in The Vancouver Province newspaper, British Columbia, Canada’s second-largest daily news source.
His first book, a coffee-table work on the history of modern cruising, will be published in late 2013 by Pen & Sword Publishing.
Photography and Video Services
Aaron offers a complete array of professional photography and video production services. Email him for additional information.
- In 2012, Aaron narrowly escaped both Hurricane Isaac in Florida, and Hurricane Sandy in New York aboard Queen Mary 2. He is hoping for a hurricane-free 2013.
- The worst storm at sea he was in, in March 2000, featured 34 foot seas and was severe enough to destroy an entire shipboard gift shop, a show lounge, and lodge a Baby Grand Piano down a staircase.
- Aaron is proud to have slept in everything from a traditional, single-bunk berth on a sailing schooner to a 1,300 square foot Grand Suite on a luxury ship. As nice as both of those were, he still loves Inside Staterooms. If only they came with Bvlgari toiletries…
- A budding aviation nut, his favorite airplane to fly on is a tie between the Airbus A330 and A340. He won’t set foot in an MD-80 again.
- He can’t stand bees and wasps, but he’s getting better after nearly falling into the water in Olden, Geiranger, Staffa, and Amsterdam trying to avoid the little devils.