Back to main site

Meet the team: James Matthew-Hughes


Our Headliners vocalist loves performing – but finds quick costume changes tricky...

 Headliners vocalist, James Matthew-Hughes

My favourite destination is Croatia. It's absolutely stunning because so much of it is untouched. - says James

How long have you worked for P&O Cruises?

I fell in love with ship life in 2010, while I was working for Headliners Theatre Company on Oceana. Now, four years later, I’m enjoying my first contract on Arcadia.


What does your job involve?

I'm one of five lead singers and part of a cast of 13 performers on board Arcadia, where we perform 10 different shows in various styles.


What’s the most exciting part of working for P&O Cruises?

I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to perform in a theatre called The Palladium. I get such a buzz from being in the shows. Hearing feedback from guests is wonderful and knowing that we have brightened someone's day is the best.


What do you enjoy most about your role?

Performing and singing is what I was born to do and stepping out on the stage every night gives me such a thrill. Not many performers get the chance to perform such a broad repertoire in one job.


What are the main challenges of your job?

Quick changes! Our shows are big productions filled with medleys that cover lots of different songs, artists, genres or musicals – and with each new song there's often a new costume. Sometimes we have as little as 30 seconds to get out of one costume and into another, and I have a couple of shows where I have as many as 15 costume changes.


What has been your favourite destination so far?

Croatia – because it's absolutely stunning. So much of it is untouched and undiscovered, so it’s really picturesque. The water is wonderfully clean and clear and the people are so humble and friendly. Every time I've been to Croatia, the sun has been shinning.


What’s your favourite thing to do on board?

I love keeping fit and healthy, so during my time off you will often find me in the gym. I also love good food and wine, so I'll go to the speciality restaurants such as Marco Pierre White's Ocean Grill on special occasions with my friends.


Describe the exciting things coming up at P&O Cruises.

As we're a fairly new cast, we're currently busy rehearsing each of our 10 shows. I cannot wait to perform our new show, Smokey Joe's Café. It's new to Arcadia and we'll be the first cast to perform it here in the Palladium. In addition to that, we also have a brand new Strictly Come Dancing show, which we are very excited to present to guests in the near future!