Working Vacation ® Inc. got its start in 1981 when Lauretta
Blake's interest in people and travel evolved into her new partnering
concept. A growing focus at the end of the 70's was health, fitness
and nutrition. Lauretta envisioned balancing the fine dining and
limited exercising facilities on cruise ships with the fun and
benefits of a well-rounded health program.
prior cruising experience or cruise industry associations, Lauretta
presented the "Be Fit" marketing plan to two
well regarded cruise industry executives who also realized the potential
of the burgeoning of the health industry. Mr. Hanns Hahn, then with
Commodore Cruise Lines, Mr. Aleco Fotilas, then with Epirotiki Cruise
Line, and Lauretta launched active shipboard fitness programs. Soon
afterwards, Sun Line Cruises and the Home Line Cruises, Inc. joined
in and also commissioned her Presenters' and Speakers' services.
Over the years, the Working Vacation ® Inc.'s. Presenters', Speakers'
and Gentlemen Hosts' credits have grown to include American
Hawaii Cruises, American West Steamboat Company, Celebrity Cruises,
Crystal Cruises, Delta Queen Steamboat Company, Epirotiki Cruises,
Oceania Cruises, NYK Cruises, Orient Lines, Pearl Cruises, Regency
Cruises, Renaissance Cruises, Royal Cruise Line Company, of Radisson
Seven Sea Cruises, Royal Viking Line, Silversea Cruises and Uniworld
River Cruises. She gratefully assisted many lines in various categories
and consulting on enrichment services for guests.
In 1984, The Working Vacation ® Inc. name was officially established
dedicating itself to the quality selection of shipboard Presenters,
Speakers, Dance Instructors, and Activity Leaders were chosen to
be volunteers with a greater emphasis on professionalism with personality
while performing their specialized skills. Then as today, all enhancement
volunteers’ responsibilities encompass becoming front line
ambassadors of the cruise lines.
Relocating from the east coast to the west coast in 1987, where
Lauretta Blake began her work with Royal Cruise Line. Mr. Bruce Good
and Mr. Bruce Setloff included The Working Vacation ® Inc. in
the introduction of the "New Beginnings" Program, one of
the many innovations of the President, Mr. Richard Revnes, who is
also renowned for fathering the very first Host Program. A significant
recognition for The Working Vacation ® Inc. was the privilege
of being selected to administer the Royal Cruise Line's Host
Program. In June of 1995, The Working Vacation ® Inc. was given
management responsibilities for the acclaimed Royal Cruise Line's
Blake - on Sky TV in London
Cruise Line's Host Program leadership began in 1982 by pioneering
the idea. 1988 marked The Working Vacation ® Inc.'s
initial involvement in the Host Programs of the cruise industry.
Lauretta began with the second Host Program to emerge, which was
with Royal Viking Line and the third Host Program with Regency Cruises
when theirs started in 1989. The Working Vacation ® Inc. is very
grateful to Mr. Paul McEvoy of Regency Cruises and Mr. Peter Johnson
of Royal Viking Line who requested Lauretta's assistance. Along with
Mr. Bruce Good of Royal Cruise Line, who also supported The Working
Vacation ® Inc.'s efforts to develop the importance of hosting.
Mr. Michael Day of Silversea Cruises and there are many other contributors
to be credited with the evolution of Host Programs, but no one can
overlook the community minded, dedicated gentlemen who have honorably
served countless guests and all the cruise companies. These Gentlemen
Host® Volunteers must be sincerely thanked and generously praised
for their exemplary efforts to the "magic of cruising" and
the value of cruise ship hosting.
Working Vacation ® Inc. has been a public voice for the
cruise industry to the media in countless press releases and interviews.
The Working Vacation ® Inc. has generated numerous articles,
has been discussed on many radio shows, as well as being featured
on several TV programs, such as CBS-TV The Morning Show, CBC-TV in
Canada, The 50 Up Show, SKY-TV in England, Deborah Norville's, "America
Tonight" and Harry Smith's, "Travels with Harry." The
Working Vacation ® Inc. had the unique experience of assisting
writer, Bob Jacobs, and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation with
background information for the Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau film,
OUT TO SEA in 1997. The movie served to broaden the awareness of
dance hosts worldwide.
The unique human interest factor of The Gentlemen Host ® Program
has been featured on ABC's 20/20's News Magazine when
ABC News spent six days observing and interviewing ten Gentlemen
Host®. NBC's Power Lunch with Bill Griffeth and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera
interviewed Lauretta. The popularity has grown in Europe as was seen
with BBC's Radio 4 - Excess Baggage broadcast, the BBC One
South Inside/Out Television Programme, which focused on the Gentlemen
Hosts® from the UK and German documentary 37º - Die Gentlemen
bitten zum Tanz produced by Vanessa Nöcker from Vincent Television
in Hamburg. In June 2003 The CBS Early Show with Melinda Murphy christened
the Gentlemen Host® as "Sea- Worthy Fred Astaires". In
2004 60 Minutes CBS NEWS did a "Farewell To The Queen" reported
that part of the ship's ballroom dancing and Gentlemen Hosts®.
Lauretta Blake of The Working Vacation ® Inc., created the original
term "Gentlemen Host®" and trademarked The Gentlemen
Host ® Program. Lauretta Blake The Working Vacation ® Inc.,
a member of the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), founded,
established and selects Gentlemen Hosts® for several cruise companies
and consults with many businesses related to travel, social dance
and social programs for mixed group.