This is life on the high seas for a Papua New Guinean cruise line officer


Kevin McQuillan meets a globetrotting cruise line officer, Papua New Guinean Christina Aule.

Officer Christina Aule. Credit: Paradise 

Cruise line officer Christina Aule is on board a ship on its way to Jamaica as she tells Paradise about her childhood growing up on the 28-hectare Samarai Island in Milne Bay Province.

Near Alotau, the island is tiny, beautiful and peaceful, she says. ‘As a child growing up, I would sit and gaze out to sea when the old-time cruise ships would sail in, the Fairstar and Crown Monarch for example,’ she says.

‘My mother had a traditional thatched canteen made out of sago walls and a tinned iron roof. Whenever cruise ships sailed in, she would sell out her fresh pawpaw or the famous local tala’ utu [a mix of pineapple and coconut], while Jimmy Buffet or local Milne Bay music played in the background.’

By the age of 16, Aule was working part-time on dive boats for pocket money and was introduced to the hospitality business through the locally owned Masurina Lodge.

‘It was great as you could own shares with the company then. I sold my shares to pay for a few distance learning courses, including an international Diploma for Tourism and Travel Agency Management.’

Aule then won an AusAid-funded scholarship for a six-month course in tourism operations in Vanuatu. She moved back to Milne Bay briefly before winning a European Union scholarship to study tourism and hotel management in Austria. She learnt German at the University of Salzburg, but ended up leaving Austria for the US.

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‘European winters weren’t for me,’ she says.

She planned to return home but then the urge to travel and discover the world set in. She ended up working as an intern for a year at a casino in Mississippi. ‘I lived 30 minutes away from Graceland in Memphis, the home of Elvis Presley.’

‘The destinations are beautiful. It’s a privilege to travel while working onboard  – no rent, no traffic jams.’

Towards the end of her casino contract, she saw a Canadian recruitment agency advertisement for shipboard positions for purser/guest relations jobs and applied.

‘Next thing I knew, I was planning a flight to Chicago to have an interview. I got offered the job right away. There were 27 Americans at the interview and I was the only Papua New Guinean.’

Her one-year plan is now in its sixth year. She’s part of the management team on board the Carnival Glory, holding a supervisory level and leading a team of up to 12.

Her onboard status is that of an officer and a key role is that of evacuation officer, which means in an emergency she would be in  charge and responsible for about 400–500 guests and crew. ‘We do a lot of training and regular boat drills,’ she says.

Her travels have included England, Germany, Canada, Bermuda, St Kitts, Antigua, Jamaica, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, Hawaii, the Bahamas, Alaska, New Zealand, Australia and South Pacific islands including New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and French Polynesia.

‘The people you meet are from different walks of life. The destinations are beautiful.  It’s a privilege to travel while working with all expenses paid onboard – no rent, no  traffic jams.’

‘We include fun in everything we do, despite times where it can be challenging especially with bad weather or sudden medical emergencies. I love a challenge and the nautical world gives me that.

‘I think each and every port has its own unique setting, but I love Key West in Florida. It reminds me of growing up on Samarai. It’s laidback, historic and peaceful. You even see chickens walking around town,’ she says.

Aule is the first and – so far – the only Papua New Guinean with Carnival Cruise Lines, which has about 26 ships in its fleet.

This is an excerpt of the story ‘Life of the high seas’, which was published in the January-February edition of Paradise, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini.


  1. Masorie says

    Always a joy to hear a success story from PNG. God bless you young lady!

  2. Barbara Simeon says

    Congratulation young lady, you are a true Ambassador for PNG, God’s blessing be with you always. Cheers! Barbara

  3. Priscilla Bona says

    We are given another day everyday because someone needs us not because we need it. I thank God for his goodness upon your life to tell someone who dreams just like you that it’s possible to achieve anything in this walk of life and that nothing is impossible. Congratulations to you for holding on through those hardships to get to this far! God is with you just take care and keep shinning for God. Love Priscilla Bonarua

  4. Inspirational story from a determined young woman following her dream – all things are possible once you set your mind to achieving your dream – well done Christine!

  5. Silvestre Vasolin says

    Amazing PNG woman, you make PNG proud. Congrats Christine.

  6. Thanks Christine you are a tremendous example of exploring beyond limits. If you have not tried, you would not discover the potential in you. I wish to have an interview with you for my youtube channel.

  7. Inspiring story nothing is impossible to GOD. Jeremiah 1:5 Before you’re born into this world you were pre-planned. He raises you from no way to someway. Glory to GOD and continue praise his name. PNG on the World Map

  8. Immanuel Sawan says

    Beautiful story of an amazing Papua New Guinea woman. Keep on representing us, your storying is inspiring.

  9. Eric Johnson Komang says

    Excellent coverage 👍👍👍

  10. Christine Tuam says

    Congratulation Christine and you make PNG proud. I am previleage to meet you in Alotau in November last year.

  11. Olive Sakiasi says

    As family we are so proud of you.

  12. Bill Seneka says

    Wish you more of life’s goodness and hospitality to every walk of life in your journey. Amazing and uplifting of a simple dream become real through shear determination and finding yourself exactly where you saw. God orchestrated every move to go from Samarai, Austria, the Americas to Jamaica. Awesome PNG story. God be with you Christine.

  13. Wendy Habitein says

    Wow! Im in awe. It is so amazing knowing PNG women are out there in the world doing the unbelievable, once upon a time, impossible.
    Congratulations young lady and God bless!
    Cheers! Wendy

  14. Very interesting to read about someone from Png working in classic Cruze liners. Cheers to you. Bk

  15. Galo Dagi says

    Owesome, achievements.

  16. Norbert Lawrence says

    Interested any help to board this cruise?

  17. Wow! Great inspiration for young Papua New Guineans. Having just recently partnered with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia as an Independent Consultant, I hope to visit places mentioned. I hope to meet her sometime in one of the cruises with this company.

  18. Renagi Kaile says

    Well done Chris✌. Hard work pays of.
    A good inspirational story for the young PNGeans that nothing is impossible to concure your dreams…

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