GROWING UP, Erin Avis was the quiet one, she says.

Certainly not the classmate or family member likely to be tipped to be living an exciting life sailing the world’s oceans.

Now Erin is the envy of those left back ashore in Southampton where she grew up, as she lives the dream as a member of the sports team on board one of the most amazing cruise ships afloat.

This summer saw Erin test that new-found sense of adventure to the full as a crew member on board Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas.

Whether she has been helping guests to scale the ship’s enormous climbing wall, bounce themselves into virtual reality on the newly-installed Sky Pad, or testing herself on the surf-simulating Flo-rider, it has been a summer she will never forget.

“To be honest, I never even saw myself ever doing something like this when I was younger,” said Erin, 28, from Park Gate.

“I was always the quiet one. It didn’t occur to me that I would be doing all these things and meeting so many new people and visiting such great places.”

“I’ve now got friends from across the world and some great memories of the ports we have been to this summer and the people I have met onboard.”

Erin’s love of sports grew when she was at school, starting with Botley Junior School, then Itchen College where she studied Uniform Public Services with a possible career in the Royal Navy in mind, before choosing Hamble Sports College.

There followed a degree in Sports Therapy at Chichester University and five years working at Virgin Action at Southampton’s West End before she spotted an advertisement to join the sports team at Royal Caribbean.

“I read what was on offer and thought that sounded a fantastic career and why not give it a go.

"I applied and was accepted and my first ship – Jewel of the Seas - was in the Caribbean.”

When Erin’s six-to-eight-month contract was completed she was able to take several weeks off before joining Independence of the Seas at the start of her season in Southampton this year.

The summer has been spent visiting the Mediterranean. Days at sea have seen Erin working with guests on the large number of sports facilities on board, including hosting cricket, football, basketball and bowls tournaments, as well as the thrill-seeking climbing wall, Sky Pad and Flo-rider experiences.

“It hasn’t mattered what ages people are, there is always something they can do. I’ve loved working with everyone on board,” said Erin who had experience supporting young people from her time as a senior leader with Bursledon 7th Cubs in Southampton.

Days in port have seen time for relaxation when Erin has been able to be off ship and explore with new found friends from the crew.

“Barcelona. Malaga and Lanzarote have been my favourites.

"It is great being part of the crew. Royal Caribbean really look after us.

"There are events laid on for us, nice food and plenty of support.”

As the summer season comes to an end Erin will be able to enjoy a break with her family – mum Derren and dad Mark along with brother Reece.

And what advice would Erin have for anyone contemplating a career at sea with Royal Caribbean?

“Know that it is hard work and you are very busy, but there are plenty of rewards, you get to see some amazing places and meet loads of people from across the world.”

Independence of the Seas completed her season in Southampton in the autumn but will return in spring 2019.

For more information on careers at Royal Caribbean visit: