You Can’t Make this Ship Up

Business Strategies, Life Lessons and
True Stories From Forty Years at Sea


All Aboard!

Could you or your company survive if you had to live with your customers, clients, and coworkers?

Thousands of officers, staff, and crew spend months at a time on board a cruise ship in close quarters, with a short break on land with our families, then we’re back at sea to do it all over again. And our customers are sailing right there with us every day. It’s a life we love. I know I do.

As a Cruise Director for the last thirty years, I have learned many lessons about management, leadership, sales and marketing, driving revenue, and, most of all, respect for the crew members, passengers, and the people who inhabit the places I have visited all over the world. A ship is a microcosm of society and the lessons learned at sea are easily translatable to life and business on land. In fact, I am a frequent speaker and trainer for many companies on how to use the strategies I’ve developed over the years to improve employee engagement and retention; increase sales; and create not just repeat customers or customers for life, but generational customers.

In my latest book, You Can’t Make this Ship Up, we’re going to sail through business implementation strategies like:

  • How to Hire Effectively
  • Personality, work ethic and values fit your company’s culture
  • Shaping your Team Up, or Shipping them Out
  • Upholding Solid Gold Standards
  • How Loose Lips Literally Sink Ships
  • Throwing off the bowlines to take some risks
  • Implementing International naptime

And so many other lessons that I’ve learned during my 40-plus years of working on Cruise Ships.

Get your sea legs, and let’s go on a journey.






About Paul Rutter

After spending over 30 years in the hospitality industry, Paul Rutter has discovered how to go beyond a “perfect” customer experience. Originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Paul has a Bachelor of Science in Education from Boston University, and spent years as an educator before joining the hospitality industry. His time in the classroom gave him the skills to command a room and conduct productive and efficient workshops.

Over the past three decades, as a Senior Executive, Paul has managed and guided some of the largest and most luxurious cruise ships in the world, taking him to speak on stages all over the globe where living with his customers, clients and co-workers was a way of life. His time on the high seas has taught him that through approaching customer service with the intent to exceed his customer’s expectations, rather than just meet them, higher levels of customer satisfaction, retention, loyalty, and repeat business can be experienced. Through teaching his audience to stop viewing perfect as an end goal, and instead see it as a starting line, Paul encourages companies to stop settling for delivering merely “perfect” service.

Smooth Sailing Communication has been Paul Rutter’s passion and mission for the last decade. He is now taking his years of customer service expertise in hospitality, his travels on the high seas, and his work with organizations to implement his signature program More Than Perfect™ Customer Service. Along with his business, Paul delivers keynote presentations and acts as an event emcee for various company events.

Paul is author of Repeat Business Inc: The Business of Staying in Business and Advanced Communicator in Toastmasters International, and a member of the National Speakers Association.

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