On the Job with Alila Purnama’s Cruise Director

  • The Alila Purnama cruises through the Komodo Islands.

    The Alila Purnama cruises through the Komodo Islands.

  • Cruise director Mario Gonzalez.

    Cruise director Mario Gonzalez.

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Sailing through the eastern Indonesian islands of Raja Ampat and Komodo National Park, the Alila group’s five-suite phinisi schooner Alila Purnama allows its passengers to explore these remote waters in luxury. Here, the vessel’s Spanish cruise director, Mario Gonzalez, talks about his love for the sea and other things that float his boat.

I’m from the Canary Islands, and as a kid, I would snorkel for hours. I was an architect for 12 years, but it was only a matter of time before I was drawn back to the ocean.

Taking care of a wooden boat is a never-ending job, as there’s always something that needs repair. I work my hardest when there are no guests around!

Raja Ampat is a wonderland, and our itinerary there can be tailored to guests’ wishes. We’ve dived with Minke whales, dolphins, and mobula rays. We’ve gotten up at 3 a.m. to find rare birds and watch the sunrise, and speedboated through limestone seascapes at sunset.

Personally, I find sharks and mantas unjustly treated by the media. They’re wonderful animals, and I haven’t known a diver who wasn’t rid of their fears after diving with them.

Living with guests on a 46-meter boat means I get to know them very well, and many remain friends afterward. I think this is also because memories are attached to emotions, and we do everything we can to create the best memories possible. —Gabrielle Lipton

This article originally appeared in the April/May print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Cruise Control”).

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