As Chief Concierge aboard Crystal Symphony Diogo is responsible for ensuring excellent guest services, handling guest requests and inquiries, making reservations, providing local information, and coordinating various services to enhance the overall guest experience. Diogo often acts as a point of contact for guests and works hard to anticipate and fulfill their needs during their stay.
Originally from Recife, Brazil, Diogo studied Tourism in Sydney before moving to cruise ships. He joined us in December 2015 and qualified as a professional affiliate of Les Clefs d’Or – the internationally recognized symbol of excellence for concierges – in 2016. When he is not working, he and his wife, Eri Kimura, also a crew member aboard Crystal Symphony, like to spend their free time traveling and visiting their families in Brazil and Japan.
What’s the story behind your journey into becoming a ship concierge? Was there a particular moment that sparked your interest in this unique profession? What would you suggest to those who want to become a Concierge?
The idea of becoming a Concierge grew slowly on me. The first time the thought came to mind was when I was a Bellboy working in a 5-star hotel in Sydney, Australia, 13 years ago. The Bellboy team and the Concierges worked very closely, and I had the chance to learn about the position and the prestigious organization Les Clefs d’Or.
I did not have enough experience to become a Concierge then, but it was the first time I thought about the possibility. Concierges are passionate about serving guests and colleagues, which immediately resonated with me. We get genuinely happy when we help the guests and see a smile on their faces, be it because you resolved a challenge the guests were facing or because you organized a particular shoreside activity that turned their day into a memorable one. Therefore, the primary personality trait a future Concierge must have is a genuine pleasure to serve.
We all have those heartwarming moments in our careers. Can you share a time when you felt a genuine connection with a guest and knew you made a difference to their cruise experience?
A few years back, a very regular Crystal guest was at the beginning of a long voyage with us when she received some very disturbing news that her mother had fallen ill and she needed to go home as soon as possible. One can only imagine how distressful such information can be, and naturally, the guest was in shock. She approached me with difficulty, telling me what she was going through and feeling lost about what to do next. She was in a foreign country that she did not speak the local language and knew very little about, and suddenly, she needed to fly back home on that very same day; otherwise, she would possibly never see her mother again. I had to act fast and used all my resources to get the guest a flight, transportation, and packing to go within hours. It worked, and that same afternoon, the guest flew back home. Months later, she came back on board, and when we saw each other, she hugged me and told me that she arrived back home just in time to see her mother one last time.
You’re clearly very outgoing and a great life lover. Beyond the official duties, what’s something personal you like to add to make a guest’s time on board memorable? Are there any unique touches that reflect your personality?
In a word, connection. I love traveling, discovering new corners of the world, and trying out different experiences. That would make it easy to connect with our guests, understand their feelings, and provide a service on a more personal level. I am very positive and can share that positive energy with our guests.
We all know that Crystal has its values. Which one resonates with you the most on a personal level? How do you incorporate that into your day-to-day interactions with guests?
Even after all these years, the top-notch service we provide at Crystal still amazes me, and we pride ourselves on it. Indeed, there are other beautiful cruise ships and hotels out there, but the human factor puts us among the best in the hospitality and travel industry. And that starts from the corporate level down to the crew. Crystal is not just one of the best cruise lines to travel with but the best to work for, and that shows naturally in the service we provide onboard. No wonder over 80% of us came back to the new Crystal!
What made you come back under the new management?
My wife and I were already missing the crew lifestyle and our sea family, so when we learned that most of our friends were coming back, we got very excited. I am also very interested to see Crystal’s new direction under the A&K umbrella, as I believe these two brands are a great match with so much potential for both companies. Finally, I love start-up projects – I have been in shipyards with Crystal before, and I enjoy taking the vessel out and getting everything ready for the return of our guests.
Sailors often have fascinating tales. What’s one lesson or insight you’ve gained from your maritime journey that you carry with you?
Since I stepped in on my first cruise ship, my personal life was affected in a profound way I never expected. It is a very different lifestyle from anything you can do on land, which involves much learning and growth. On board, we live in an international community with dozens of nationalities, and I appreciate the most in this environment the tolerance and respect we have for each other. On board, it does not matter your race, religion, orientation, color, or political view – we are treated equally, and all respect each other, something that the real world could have a bit more of.
Every cruise line has its own vibe. What’s the one thing about Crystal Symphony that you believe makes it stand out in terms of hospitality and service from our competitors?
The crew's dedication undoubtedly stands out, and our guests notice this within the first few hours on board. We do so much more over here that when guests decide to try other cruise lines, they always come back saying how much they missed Crystal. Even when we receive unusually challenging requests, we will go above and beyond to try and make it happen. This is not due to some policy or training we had; it is a personal commitment to perform the best job possible.
Simply put, this is the most beautiful job in the Hospitality Industry. We don’t just work as Concierges; we are Concierges.
Work-life balance is crucial. Outside of work, what’s your favorite way to unwind or a hobby that keeps you grounded?
When not on board, most crew members prefer to “slow down” and stay home after months of traveling and working. I must say, I have an addiction to traveling, so I keep moving and combine that with a long-time hobby: travel content creation. During my time off, I like visiting destinations that deserve a slow travel approach, perhaps countries I visited as crew and want to get to know better and stay for a few weeks – I did just that in Peru and Greece, and I highly recommend the experience. I also love visiting new countries we cannot go to with the ship, so I have been to some unusual land-locked destinations, such as Macedonia, Mongolia, and Nepal, each special in its own way. This way, I have visited over a hundred countries and have documented my travels in photos and videos published online. I have been sharing the world with millions of people on YouTube for 17 years, helping others plan their trips, discover new destinations and experiences, and show how beautiful our planet is.
What have been your favorite places and countries so far?
That is a tough question after so many countries. But when comes to countries, I would say Japan, Portugal, and Scotland. There is one place, however, that we went with Crystal and will forever be on our favorite list: Antarctica.
Is there anywhere that you would like to visit that you haven’t been to yet?
Yes, a few! But my top 3 right now are Greenland, Galapagos, and Maldives.
When a guest walks away from interacting with you, what do you hope they feel or remember about the experience? What’s the lasting impression you aim to leave?
Concierges prefer to have a discreet participation in the guests experiences, so our goal is to assist them with creating unforgettable memories, and that is what we want them to take home, not just as a Concierge, but as a Les Clefs d’Or affiliate professional. Les Clefs d’Or is an international prestigious association with thousands of Concierges in over 80 countries. We pride ourselves on fulfilling an infinite variety of requests, from the every day to the extraordinary, based on the pillars of service and friendship.
Not only does Diogo work tirelessly to go over and above his duties as Chief Concierge, but he is also a travel content producer, keynote speaker, and educator. He has co-written a book about life on board and created an online training program that forms new cruise ship crew members. He has an audience of 250k on YouTube, with millions of video views. Follow him on Instagram at diogokyrillos.