Catch Up With the Crew: Meet Justin, Art & Craft Instructor

Person holding colorful activity paper in front of window, with green landscape in background.

When you embark on a cruise adventure, you may be excited about the sights you’ll see, the shore excursions you’ll experience and the endless cruise activities you’ll enjoy, from live music to pickleball. What you may not expect is Justin, one of our art and craft instructors. He’s an artist by trade and a comedian at heart, and he ensures guests have a great time discovering their artistic side, from watercolor painting to origami. Oh, and if you think you aren’t creative enough, Justin is up for the challenge. He’ll show you just how creative you can be, even if it means helping you make a 101-fold dragon origami, or a fully painted canvas creation.

“Most people are more artistic than they think they are,” he said. “They end up making interesting creative decisions along the way – decisions I wouldn’t always think of. I see them and say: ‘that’s a really good idea, I’m going to take that!’”

Justin is passionate about helping people discover the beauty of art and what they’re capable of. He lights up in the Art Studio, nestled in the Crow’s Nest on the upper deck, where he’s an art instructor, coach, and class cheerleader. You’ll often hear him say “awesome sauce,” “genius,” “amazing job,” and “lovely” while he makes his rounds to ensure nobody is left behind during the guided instruction. If you’re stuck on a step, don’t sweat it. “I’ve got you,” he says reassuringly, and he means it.

White table covered with colorful paper origami creatures and designs.
Learn how to make origami during an art and crafts session.

Born and raised in South Africa, Justin grew up with a passion for art and photography. He studied both at his local university before becoming a wildlife photographer. Soon after he craved worldwide adventures – professionally and personally. Seven years later, he has cruised to Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Canada, the Caribbean and Alaska.

“I wanted to travel and see the world, and then I became quite used to the lifestyle. I enjoy the idea of getting to see a whole bunch of places, and I still have a lot to check off the list.”

Justin initially joined Holland America Line as a photographer before becoming a member of the entertainment team. Though he teaches art and crafts, you’ll also find him hosting game shows or hitting the dance floor at the Orange Party. When he’s not entertaining guests, you may find him diving into a good book or enjoying a hike with his camera in hand.

Table covered with art sketches and colorful canvas paintings.
Bring color to canvas with the stroke of a brush.

Recognizing the importance of photos in documenting vacation adventures, we asked him to share a few tips.

“While you do need to develop your skills with a quick trigger finger and good eye, the tool does make a difference,” he said. “For example, if you’re in Glacier Bay on an Alaska cruise, you’re surrounded by a lot of great wildlife. If you don’t have a 200 mm lens in front of your camera sensor, it’s going to be difficult. You’re going to end up with some really beautiful pixels though,” he said jokingly.

His first tip is to have the right camera equipment for the photos you plan on taking. Next is knowing the basics of getting a good shot, from lighting and angle to photo style. If it’s a still shot with wildlife, patience is key. If it’s an action shot, which is the photo style he enjoys the most in Alaska, then a good lens will be important.

“The eagles are really enjoyable to photograph. If you have a good-sized lens, you can get some really nice shots of them flying around, but that’s a completely different animal to photograph, so to speak, to something sitting out there in the middle of the savannah,” he laughed.

As much as Justin loves the arts, there’s one thing he loves more: people. Whether it’s meeting guests or bonding with the crew, he cares about helping others make memories that will last a lifetime.

“The best part is the travel and the friends you make, and I’ve made a lot of friends along the way.”

Now for a Quick Cruise Q&A with Justin:

Favorite art and craft activity: Origami.

Favorite wildlife: “Bears in Alaska – it’s always exciting when you see them.”

Favorite onboard event: Live music.

Best part of celebrating Holland America Line’s 150th anniversary: “I’ve always found it really enjoyable to watch Origin Story,” a presentation guests can view at the beginning of our cruises. “We’ve got a cool history, and it’s interesting to see where we’ve come from. I also love a good excuse for a party, and what better excuse than that?!”

Thank you for sharing your Holland America Line story with us, Justin. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey to your next destination. Stay tuned for more Catch Up with the Crew stories, featuring incredible team members and their fun cruise jobs.

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