Sometimes the best vacation memories aren't of the places you've been but the people you've met. My family and I met Ievgeniia on our first night aboard the Celebrity Solstice as we sailed around Alaska. Ievgeniia was the sommelier for one of the restaurants on the cruise ship, and ended up being one of the highlights of our trip.

My parents (wine enthusiasts themselves) enjoyed swapping favorite wines with her while my brothers and I loved hearing her stories of the various countries she’s visited both through working for Celebrity Cruises as well as on her own adventures. We ended up avoiding the (slightly terrifying) all-you-can-eat buffet for Ievgeniia’s restaurant just so we could try to get her to sit with us for a bit and chat. 

Recently, I reconnected with her over Facebook, asking if she’d like to share her experience working for Celebrity. After all, her job is pretty awesome, and someone who loves both traveling and wine might want to know they can make a living with their passions. So, if you’re into that sort of thing (or want to find out if you are), here’s Ievgeniia’s take on working for Celebrity Cruises.

A little background info about yourself?

pizza, coffee, beer
Photo courtesy of Ievgeniia Kedrovska

"I'm from Kyiv, Ukraine. I adore wines, beers, traveling, reading and indie music."

How did you get into wine?

wine, beer
Photo courtesy of Ievgeniia Kedrovska

"I started to work with wine and other liquors as a first year student. In the beginning it was just a part-time job. But very soon I realized that I really enjoyed it a lot. 11 years [have] passed since then and I’m still in love with wines."

Where did you study to become a sommelier? How long did it take?

"The best way of studying is practice. I learned a lot on my own, but of course I've completed a course back home and [attended] a couple of seminars in Spain."

What do you do at Celebrity Cruises? What’s your job like?

coffee, wine
Photo courtesy of Ievgeniia Kedrovska

"I'm sommelier onboard Celebrity Cruises. At the moment, I'm on Eclipse and I enjoy this ship a lot. As a sommelier, I serve wines, give recommendations concerning food and wine pairings, and participate and conduct wine tastings for guests. And of course, enjoy wine."

How did you find out about Celebrity?

bacon, pizza, beer
Photo courtesy of Ievgeniia Kedrovska

"I have a couple of friends of mine working onboard ... To join Celebrity, I've passed a couple of interviews. After the first one, I received my hire confirmation for the position of sommelier and a few months later I got my letter of employment with the name of the ship and sign-on date.

By the end of my first contract, I received LOE [Letter of Employment] for Eclipse and after five months of amazing vacation, I've joined this wonderful ship. Normally, the contract lasts about 6.5 months and vacation is two months length, but you can request to change the terms."

What parts of the world have you visited while working on Celebrity Cruises?

chicken, meat, barbecue
Photo courtesy of Ievgeniia Kedrovska

"Now I'm in the beginning of my second contract and I enjoy Caribbean, Netherland Antilles. On my first one, I visited Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, Bora-Bora, Hawaii, British Columbia, Alaska."

What’s your favorite cruise trip you’ve worked on?

"I enjoyed Alaska and New Zealand a lot... because nature is gorgeous there, the sceneries are breathtaking. Moreover, I've visited Hobbiton in New Zealand, the place where Lord of the Rings was filmed. Now I'm looking forward to the Baltic states and Scandinavia."

What’s your favorite part of your job?

"Telling my guests about wines, finding nice food pairings."

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

"It depends. All the cruises and guests are so different."

Where are you currently?

Photo courtesy of Ievgeniia Kedrovska

"[I'm in the] Caribbean [on the] Celebrity Eclipse."

What do you do when you’re between contracts with Celebrity?

white wine, wine
Photo courtesy of Ievgeniia Kedrovska

"I travel Europe and then work back home."

Your top five red wines?

"Tignanello, Burgundian Pinot Noir, Malbec from Mendoza, Nero d'Avola, and Garnacha"

Your top five 5 white wines?

"Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Sancerre, Riesling from Alsace, Friulano, and Champagne"

With all that in mind

If you love wine and visiting new places, maybe you’ll want to do as Ievgeniia does, and become a sommelier for a cruise line. Maybe you’re thinking about booking a cruise for vacation, which is also cool. If you do, take the time to talk to your sommelier. Not only can you learn a thing or two about wine, but they might also have some good stories to share.