Recently we hosted an in-home Airbnb guest whom we learned is also in the cruise industry. Christian, a 41 year-old from Cologne, Germany, leads tours for river boat passengers. He often focuses on the old town and the city’s fabulous cathedral. He also leads this and other tours on his own.
Between drinks and hearing Chris describe the fun things he found to do in Phoenix, we sat down with him to ask about his work. It didn’t take much urging! He sat in our living room dressed in his customary black, being his handsome and enthusiastic self while extolling the virtues of traveling in America and his love of being a guide.
MMOB: What do you enjoy about being a guide?
Chris: I enjoy being self-employed, being in charge of my own schedule, being outside and talking to people, mostly Americans. You two know I like talking, and could even say I have a hard time listening as I’m a little bit on the ADHD spectrum. Walking around and being 50/50 teacher on a school excursion/stand-up-comedian is the perfect job for me.
I love America so I kinda naturally get along with Americans. in general, Germans aren`t funny, I’m the one funny German! It makes me happy, when I’m able to crack people up while I’m showing them the old town of a 2000+ year-old city.
What makes for a good tour group from the perspective of the guide?
Chris: I work with tourists of every english speaking country and let me tell you that Americans are my favorite. They’re the most polite, they have the best sense of humor and they tip the most. It may sound shallow but it is what it is.
The best groups are the ones that come from Amsterdam and have their first stop on German soil, so they are the most excited. I hate when people don’t listen or chat with people who want to listen and the ask questions that have been answered a minute earlier. Luckily that rarely happens. If it would occur all the time I would have to ask myself, why I can’t get people to care about my presentation/performance? Groups shouldn’t be bigger than 30 otherwise it’s just crowd control.
What should cruise and river boat passengers know about tipping?
Chris: In bars and restaurants 10% would be considered fair. As far as guides are concerned, tipping is very much appreciated. I do tours that include tip but the amount is set so low that this is a fair number only for the worst guides out there.
This has been installed by two major cruise ship companies probably two years ago as some (bad) guides complained that they never got tipped. They will tell you on the ship that tip is taken care of but it may be $15 for 30 people, which would be 50 cents per person. Notice how great I am at math?
I’m always happy when I can convince people with my work to still give me something after the tour because they really enjoyed it.
What ignited your own passion for travel?
Chris: I never traveled a lot until my thirties, and that only in Europe. In my younger years I was really into American culture, I mean REALLY but I never had the money or at least I thought so. I always found reasons to not do it.
Finally I started coming to the US in 2013 (to NYC). America is my favorite country. It’s big, there is so much to see there, you have every kind of weather every day, and everybody understands me!
I’ve been to Israel since going to America, but otherwise I might never visit another country outside of Europe than the US. So one could say, the USA and its diversity ignited my passion for travel.
Our MMOB readers can believe Chris when he says he enjoys America. He rented a Mustang Convertible to drive to nearby funky Bisbee, Arizona. On his first day he bought a case of his favorite beer…Budweiser!
We’d heartily endorse Chris to our members interested in a tour in or near Cologne. He has exactly the right skills to do this work and he loves working with people. We’ve already promised ourselves we’ll book a tour with him and make a special effort to get to Cologne to do so.
Our sailors can reach Christian Schneider at email@example.com.