Credit: Celebrity Cruises/Dave Monk

How I became a high-flying cruise ship acrobat on Celebrity Cruises

Author: Dave Monk

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Celebrity Cruises attracts many top performers to entertain travellers - but what is life really like for these stars? One cruise acrobat has spilt all.

She was a girl who always loved dancing - now a young Briton has taken her career to new heights by becoming a cruise ship acrobat with Celebrity Cruises.

Megan Craddock is one of the high-flying performers in Eden, the three-storey entertainment and dining venue on new ship Celebrity Apex.

She joins contortionists, singers and musicians in nightly shows that draw in the after-dinner crowds.

Speaking to me as Apex sailed from Athens to Barcelona, the 26-year-old from Bedfordshire said: "I’ve been dancing since I was young. I went to a musical theatre college in Kent between the ages of 16 and 19 and I’ve been on ships ever since.

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"They would do auditions in the college and when I was a first or second year I would say I’d want to do a cruise ship as my first job because I thought I could travel then do the West End when I’m older. Seven years later I’m still on ships!

"I also used to do gymnastics as well as dancing but when I was 12 my parents said it was going to have to be one or the other. One day I went to them crying saying I can’t do gymnastics any more because I want to dance. They said good, because we were going to tell you you had to choose. Now I combine them both and it’s great!"

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Megan worked on Norwegian Cruise Line ship Norwegian Jewel for five years and did a brief stint on Norwegian Gem before moving to Celebrity Summit in November 2019. She transferred to Celebrity Apex in April this year ahead of the ship beginning service in June.

She told me: "I’ve always done dancing and on one of my ships I did some singing, but just background. I did aerial work a few years ago, just the rope, and then when I was offered this job I got a phone call asking if I could leave in two days and fly to Barbados. I said yes, I’ve been waiting for this moment for a year and a half, of course I can pack in two days and leave!

Megan Craddock is one of the high-flying performers in Eden venue on Celebrity Apex. Credit: Dave Monk

"When I arrived on Apex I did the two-week quarantine then an aerial coach taught me to do everything. I’d never done silks before, it was so cool. My role is as a dancer with some aerial skills but that’s something I’d like to develop more."

More and more cruise ships are featuring acrobatics in their shows. Just this year there have been breath-taking acts on P&O Cruises’ Iona, Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady and another Celebrity Cruises ship, Celebrity Silhouette, among others. MSC Cruises, which built special theatres for Cirque du Soleil shows, is now bringing in replacement performers.

- READ MORE: Virgin Voyages new ship Scarlet Lady review -

On Celebrity Apex, though the theatre shows also feature some acrobatics, the cast is completely separate from the Eden artists.

Megan says she loves being at sea for six months at a time. "I just like having a coffee and being able to watch the waves go past, it’s gorgeous."

Entertainment abounds onboard Celebrity Apex. Credit: Celebrity Cruises

Between contracts, she lives with her parents. "There have been times I’ve had two or three months off and then I go travelling, I don’t stay at home.

"I speak to my mum every single day. I don’t know how I could do this if I couldn’t call home."

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Megan, who is single, said: "It’s hard to have a relationship onboard because if you have a partner they might be here for four months then gone. They come back then you’re gone.

"After this, my plans are to do another ship but I’m not sure what yet. I want to be at sea for as long as I can, or until I meet someone and we decide it’s time to stay on land. I did one job in Turkey two years ago for three months and it was great, it paid well. It was nice to have an apartment and be able to go around."

Megan says she loves being at sea for six months at a time. Credit: Celebrity Cruises

The job is risky but safety is the top priority. Megan joked: "If I ever got injured I’d turn up at mum and dad’s house and say can I come home!"

To keep fit enough to do the strenuous movements, Megan works out three or four times a week. She said: "I don’t want to do it every day because I don’t like working out. Sometimes I think I’m just lazy! On a sea day I feel like watching movies all afternoon."

But, with that, it’s time to leave. There’s a show tonight and Megan needs to change.

Her career is hanging by a thread… in the best possible way.

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