Unless you have cruised on a ship where Butch Begovitch was the Cruise Director, you’ve likely not heard of him.
In 2005, I “worked” with John Heald’s “cruise staff” for a day, in order to write a “a day on the job” article for CruiseMates. At the time I worked with a young, energetic “kid” who, at the time, had been with Carnival for a year; that “kid” was Butch Begovitch.
You can read that article here: Cruisemates Cruise Ship Feature Articles; Behind the Scenes: The Cruise Staff
Though until now I had not cruised with Butch again, I knew he had gone on to become a Cruise Director on Carnival ships.
When I recently sailed the Carnival Breeze, I knew Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director, and Brand Ambassador, John Heald was going to be on board, bringing out the new Carnival Breeze. So, I was surprised to see the name Butch Begovitch in the ship’s daily Fun Times.
It was exciting for me to be able to touch base, and catch up with Butch, who has gone on to create a very nice career for himself with Carnival.
When we sat down to talk I found out his career with Carnival has gone well beyond only working on the ships as a Cruise Director.
He told me he’s been very fortunate to work on a number of special projects for Carnival Corporation, and the ability to do so has kept him “excited, motivated, and interested” in staying with Carnival for a very long time.
On Monday, when the Carnival Breeze docked in Barcelona, ending our cruise, Butch was also leaving the ship, for a time, to work on a special project for AIDA Cruise Line. He’s involved in the planning and reorganization of all of the AIDA brand’s entertainment.
He’ll be returning to the Breeze toward the end of August, or beginning of September, to work as Cruise Director, when John Heald heads home to Britain for a few weeks, prior to the Breeze repositioning to Florida.
Butch will stay onboard for the transatlantic sailing, doing what he is presently doing onboard; hosting the Hasboro Game Shows, as well as working on implementing the functions of “The George Lopez, Punchliner Comedy Club”, as well as the Punchliner Comedy Club brunch (held on sea days).
After the transaltantic cruise, Butch will take over as Cruise Director of the Carnival Breeze.
For Butch, his involvement, work, and training, with the Hasboro Game Shows began a year ago in Pennsylvania; converting the ideas of Hasboro games to work as a stage show on board Carnival ships.
The final goal is to have each ship’s Cruise Director host the game shows as they are rolled out fleet-wide, which will occur as each ship is eventually upgraded to FunShip 2.0.
To date 5 Cruise Directors have been through the training process in Pennsylvania.
Butch told me, “There’s quite a difference for the Cruise Director to be hosting the Hasboro Game Shows”.
“The game show hosts are very scripted, and that is not what Cruise Directors are used to in their jobs”. “Because of the “branding and licensing agreement” with Hasboro, the name “Hasboro” has to be mentioned, at least, a specific number of times during each “show”.
I asked how the Game Shows are being accepted onboard. Butch explained, “ back in January we ran through the game shows with test audiences in Pennsylvania, and they were very well accepted”. But, to date, after only 3 cruises the response has been even better with passengers on the ship”.
“By then end of the last cruise, people were showing up in the Ovation Theater holding up signs, hoping it would improve their chances of getting picked to play”.
I witnessed the great crowds, and undeniable excitement of the passengers during the game shows; eager to participate, and when not chosen, eager to cheer on the various teams.
Our conversation moved on to the topic of the Punchliner Comedy Brunches, another area of his responsibility (held on days at sea), and I asked Butch how they were doing.
He was very frank; responding “It’s a bit of a tough job for the comedians, coming in to do 10 minutes each in that sort of venue, with people eating during their set. But, we are drawing a 1000 people a day, which serves to ease the demands on Lido Deck food facilities”. (which is likely its designed purpose).
Butch has also been working on the branding and organization of the George Lopez, Punchliner Comedy Club, where comedians alternate performing their shows throughout each evening, featuring both family style sets, and adults only sets.
He was also part of the team, consulting and developing Carnival’s new VIFP Party; the party presently being rolled out to reward past Carnival passengers, who have reached Gold, Platinum and Diamond levels in the repeat cruisers program.
He believes repeat guests should wait and see how much more fun these parties are going to be, with much more opportunity to socialize with the ship’s management.
Butch gives much credit to the new executive team, who took the reins at Carnival 3 years ago, to changing the way shipboard managers communicate with head office.
There has been much better communication, sharing ideas and solutions, rather than reporting issues to the Miami head office for direction, rather than the present system of communication.
In the entertainment department, where Butch works, he has been very impressed with the work of their new VP Entertainment, Adrian Fischer. Under his guidance Butch feels Carnival has a laser focus on their entertainment program, which he finds extremely motivating.
With Carnival’s assistance Butch was able to enroll in a graduate program at UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas), and by next May will be graduating with a Masters Degree in Hospitality Management. And he’s managed to do all of that, while still working on ships, as well as the special projects he’s been invited to participate in.
He is one very busy person, and I asked him how he’s been able to keep up with all of this.
“ I haven’t slept in two years” , he said, with a smile.
In just a couple of months Butch will be 33 years old. It’s apparent to me he is one of Carnival’s rising young stars, and we will likely see and hear much more from him in the coming years.