'When you are on the ship you are always on duty, especially now that I am a captain. I have my office hours but I am on call 24 hours. Unlike other jobs, where you can leave work after a shift, at sea you can't because you are both working and living on the boat. The captain of a cruise ship is like the mayor of a little village. You have your own medical department, you have your maintenance department and stores and groceries. I am not sure movies give a realistic picture of ship life; it can be very lonely, especially when you become a captain. You have to rely on your own judgment. When I leave the boat it feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. But there is always the chance the telephone will ring in the middle of the night if something is wrong. I was born in a little village in Norway called Nevlunghavn, which has about 500 inhabitants. My family has been living there since the 15th century and most of the people there are sailors or [maritime] pilots. My parents had a shipping company and my great-grandparents built sailing ships. I was very fortunate that my great-grandparents were alive as they told me stories about sailing to the Far East and South Pacific. I have always been an adventurous person and I always wanted to explore the world. I also picked shipping because Norway, in the past, had only two major industries - shipping and fishing. And also shipping is a business in which anyone can succeed. A lot of tycoons in the business started from scratch. My workforce is like a tiny United Nations because they are usually from at least 20 countries. I always try to 'activate' people to enjoy their lives on the boat but as most people who sign onto the boat do so because they want to make money, they do not really mind working and forgoing their off-duty hours. Of course, they have time to eat and sleep, and we have exercise rooms and ping pong tables. We are not talking about having slaves on the boat, but say, if you want to buy a new car or a new apartment and I say you can work as much as you want, of course you will work more. I think most people on the boat like to work as much they can. And then they enjoy their free time when they are off board. I was a bit different when I started - I liked to explore what different countries had to offer. I think it's a pity to travel to all these countries around the world but basically know nothing about them. Besides earning money, I think many crew members treat their jobs as a chance to experience the world. They won't necessarily treat it as a long-term career but they can travel around the world gaining experience. My crew members socialise after work and I do not care about what they are doing and will not stop them. Of course, some of them end up starting a family with each other; after all, there are a lot of dark corners on the boat. A lot of people actually worked for places like hotels before coming to work on board. I think the boat is a good school and it's good for your resume because it indicates you are able to live and work in a confined area for a number of months - it says a lot about your psychology. Imagine you are working as a bartender at the Hotel Miramar and yet I keep you in the basement for months, even after work - that's the idea of working on a boat. I think one has to have a stable mindset if they are to work on a boat. You have to have an open mind but also be able to follow orders. Of course, there are people who cannot take this - they disappear and resign one day. But they are only a small proportion. When you see captains of a ship in movies, they are always standing on the bridge as if they are there all day. In real life, it is not the same - we are like the managing director of a company. I still go onto the bridge but most of my day is spent on management these days. I wake up at about 7.30am and I will usually take a walk. At about nine I will have a 30-minute meeting. Then I will go back to the office to do my office work. The boat will usually depart at around 5pm or 6pm and I have to prepare for it an hour before. At about 8pm, I meet with some passengers for dinner. Then I will go to the bridge at around 10pm, before I rest. I eat with passengers all the time - last year, I invited my passengers to my home in Norway when the boat reached there. We all had champagne in my garden. I celebrated my 50th birthday in Australia earlier this year. When my boat reached there, they invited a lot of school kids on board to celebrate with me and we all ate hot dogs together. Then they set up a live feed in Norway so my two children could say happy birthday to me. It was really quite a day. Normally the [main] challenges we encounter are technical problems and delays. If we deviate from the schedule, there will be a long-lasting impact. I think one thing people would want to ask themselves when they are deciding to take a flight or a boat on holiday is, 'Do I want to live life as fast as I can?' When you have decided to get on a boat, all you need to do is buy your ticket, pack, then go on board, unpack and that's it - we take care of the rest. If you fly to different cities instead, you have to pack and unpack everywhere you go. We tend to say that travelling on a boat is like having your hotel room following you everywhere you go.'