45 Years at Sea! An Interview with Cruise Director Gary Hunter

For the past month, we’ve been sharing some of our favorite cruise memories from our readers and from the Porthole team. When Porthole Cruise Magazine Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff was working on board Carnival ships in the 1970’s, one of his best friends on board was entertainer Gary Hunter. With decades of combined experience in the industry, Bill and Gary know just about everything there is to know about cruising. They discuss the current state of cruising and how the industry will have to rebound after COVID-19. 

Gary was kind enough to join Bill for an interview about what his experience was like as a ventriloquist and now as a soon-to-retire cruise director for Crystal Cruises. 

Back in 1975 when I started in the cruise industry, I had no idea. I knew nothing about the cruise industry 

Gary explains how he made it from a small variety show in Bradenton, FL to entertaining guests on some of the world’s first cruise ships. 


Gary fondly recalls a few of his favorite bits and performances over the years before introducing us to Mrs. Tweed, his trusty sidekick and friend! 

Send Us Your Cruise Memories

If you want to share any of your own cruise memories, let us know in the comments below! You can also follow Porthole Cruise Magazine on Twitter and Facebook to share your stories there. If you want more Bill, and who wouldn’t, make sure you check out Cruise Control will Bill Panoff on YouTube