Catch Up With the Crew: Meet Lauren, Sports Director

Person in gray jacket holding blue and orange pickleball paddle on court with netting in background.

Are you a sports enthusiast that enjoys a good game and friendly competition? Would you like to explore fun sports activities on a cruise ship, like pickleball, ping pong, shuffleboard and more? Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, Holland America Line has plenty of onboard cruise activities to help you break a sweat and try something new, and we have amazing sports directors like Lauren to cheer you on along the way. From Tai Chi steps and morning walks to double bounces and tournament tallies, Lauren is your onboard guide to a good game. She loves what she does, and it shows. 

“I love traveling. I love the company. I love interacting with guests,” she said. “I grew up playing sports, so I knew this would be a fun position.” 

Lauren’s day begins before 7 a.m. when she heads to the upper deck to guide guests through a sunrise stroll or Tai Chi.  

“I absolutely love Tai Chi. I got really, really invested in it thanks to our guests. Sometimes they’ll share feedback based on their own experience with Tai Chi, and I try to incorporate their recommendations to make the learning experience even better.” 

After a sunrise activity, she heads to her first pickleball lesson followed by a tournament. Then the afternoon is packed with other sporting events like cornhole, shuffleboard and ping pong. Later she’ll host a dance class and another event, closing the afternoon with more pickleball lessons. During the evening, she helps with game shows and other entertainment activities. It’s a packed day that keeps Lauren on her toes. 

“I love the job. It’s fun. It’s a lot of physical activity, and it makes me feel like I don’t have to go to the gym at the end of the day!”  

While there are so many options to choose from to stay active, Lauren has noticed the popularity of and passion for pickleball. Holland America Line is the exclusive official cruise line of the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA), and our crew and guests can’t get enough of it. Whether you’re taking complimentary lessons or playing in a tournament on board, you can enjoy a good game at sea with the ocean or incredible landscapes as your backdrop. 

“What I like most about pickleball is how welcoming everyone is for those who want to play. I’ve hosted tournaments where new people are convinced to play by the other players. People are willing to help and teach each other. The community is quite friendly.” 

Four people playing pickleball on blue court with ocean in background.
Guests have a friendly pickleball competition during their cruise. 

We asked Lauren what tips she would offer to newcomers, and she said it really comes down to “a few things outside of the basic rules associated with net games, like what is considered in court versus out of court.” 

“The most important thing to know about is the non-volley zone, which is also known as the kitchen. The kitchen is the area closest to the net. You can’t stand in that area and hit the ball without the ball having bounced first. That’s why sometimes you may hear people say, ‘get out of the kitchen.’ The other main rule is the double bounce rule. The first two times the ball crosses over the net, it has to bounce before someone hits it. It then has to bounce when it’s returned to the serving team. After that it’s a free-for-all, and you can just hit it without it bouncing, except in the kitchen.” 

To serve, Lauren said you stand behind the base line and then serve diagonally across the court into the back block as an underhand shot. You can either drop it and let it bounce before serving or serve the ball without it bouncing at all.   

In addition to sports, Lauren loves photography. She has captured many spectacular moments while cruising Alaska, from wildlife to icy-blue glaciers.  

Glacier Bay is stunning, especially when surrounded by snowcapped mountains in the early season. I also get excited whenever there’s an animal nearby because I know it’s a photo opportunity.” 

The other thing she loves most is working with the crew.  

“I quite like the people I work with here. They’re really happy and everyone cares a lot about the experience. That makes everything enjoyable and fun.” 

Now for a Quick Cruise Q&A with Lauren: 

Favorite meal on board: “I love the soups, like pumpkin soup. That’s my jam!” 

Favorite game to play: Sjoelen (Dutch Shuffleboard) 

Favorite port to visit in Alaska: Skagway 

Thank you for sharing your Holland America Line story with us, Lauren. 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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