(This is the fifth in a six-part series about my first cruise. I sailed on the Carnival Pride from August 4-11. It started and ended in Baltimore, making stops in Port Canaveral, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; and Freeport, Bahamas. The other parts of this series are scheduled to run over the next couple of weeks).
Do you ever sit back and think about all the people you’ve met in your lifetime?
Whether it’s on a personal level or a professional level, it’s amazing how many people come in and out of a person’s life on a daily basis. Some people might be a passing glance, others may be an in-depth conversation or more.
You just never know.
I think about the cruise and it’s mind-boggling how many people I met that I’ll likely never see again. Ever. From the wait staff in the dining room to our room steward to other travelers you may have shared a table with or had glancing chats with as you passed one another.
This post is covering those people. But I’m going to talk a bit about the staff on the boat, then mention some other travelers at the end.
As a people watcher, I always am interested to see how those who work with many customers react on a daily basis. After all, it can’t be easy to follow the “customer is always right” edict, especially when on a ship for a week, right?
The people who work on these ships, at least the ones I dealt with or came across, are amazingly friendly and accommodating. They were quick with answers or would find what you needed.
I tried to interact with as many as could so I could actually know them a little. They weren’t just people working on the ship, they were somebody with a story.
Try this one on for size — there were 920 crew members on the ship, making up 58 nationalities. There were only, if I remember the number right, 14 Americans working on the ship. That total number basically means there were about two to two and half staff members per guest.
How’s that for a melting pot?
I do wish I wrote more things down, such as names. But I’ll try to remember some of the people who really made an impression on me. These folks ranged from the entertainment staff to the normal everyday workers, which made the experience that much better.
Let’s start toward the top. I met the cruise director Josh on the second night. After a brief chat, I mentioned I collected pins during my travels and that I was shocked there were none offered in the stores on ship. After talking about baseball, he excused himself for a moment and asked me to wait where I was. He returned with a couple of pins for me, special ones given by the trip.
I was impressed right off the bat with how he went the extra mile. I spoke with Josh a few more times during the week and really enjoyed getting to learn a bit about him. He also wasn’t afraid to put himself out there with his entertainment shows. In fact, in one of them, he dressed as Dolly Parton.
Josh was a solid host during shows and kept things entertaining and flowing. Given this was my first cruise, I feel lucky Josh was the cruise director as he really went out of his way at times to work with people.
His assistant cruise director — known as Sassy — was an incredible person on ship, too. Outgoing, readily available to chat and with a personality the size of the ship, he was fantastic to deal with. He, too, was an excellent host. I never played bingo on the ship, but I popped in one day to watch something following bingo — and he even made that fun. That says something.
But where he took the cake was in the Carnival Quest. Between him and his co-host Autumn, they did a wonderful job in making an adult-only scavenger hunt an absolute blast. It didn’t hurt that the team I was on took second, either.
Speaking of Autumn, I enjoyed a few other things where she was a host. Same with, I believe, Jess, who was excellent with the music trivia shows. Chris — the head of the comedy club — was solid as well as he was funny and the other time I interacted with him, I was impressed.
As I said, the entertainment staff was top-notch all around and they should be commended.
One thing I loved was having an assigned dinner time. Though I would have rather eaten earlier, I liked knowing the table I was at and who our wit staff was. Even better was how they remembered our names after the first day. Amazing. To think these staff members are contracted anywhere from 6-10 months and turn ships around weekly — and remember names. That’s talented.
But the three who waited on us were incredible. They were friendly, funny and knowledgeable. They helped and made sure everything was perfect.
And, of course, when they performed, it was quite entertaining. See for yourself:
One of the people who really impressed me — and I regret not writing the name down because it’s a hard one and I’ll skip trying — was the person in charge of the Internet cafe. I had a couple of chats with him through the week, about life, photography, the Internet and living in different places. Talk about incredible. He has a wife and a young child and plans on only being in the cruise business for another year or so. In fact, he noted this was his last run (though like November) with Carnival, which he was disappointed about as he said it was a great company for which to work.
His vision for his — and his family’s — future was outstanding. It’s people like that where you wish your connection didn’t end after a week. I would love to know 10 to 20 years from now how his business and life ended up. I can only hope it works out to a great level.
The staff in the food court were great. The people who roamed and cleaned were always friendly and smiling. It truly seemed like it was a good place to work.
I leave one of the best staff members for last.
Edy was our room steward. At the end of the week, he mentioned he took care of 26 (I believe that was the numbers) rooms. But he was always around, always smiling and always looking to help. His “Mr. P.J.” greeting is something I’ll always remember. He even took a request for a towel animal, making a hanging monkey the final night on the ship.
I feel we were lucky to have Edy as our steward as he was everything one could hope to have in that position.
Realizing they are in a business where they need to help or please customers, I understand they need to put on a good front. I’ve worked in industries where I needed to interact with the customers on a regular basis. Though you can put on the front, sometimes it can be tough. These people seemed genuine. Though I did see a few people who may not have always been in the best of moods, those I interacted and talked with made me feel like I was a king — and for that I am highly appreciative.
If you’ve read along with these reviews and other posts about this cruise, you already know I was on the ship as the photographer for a wedding. Going in, I knew Dave (the groom), Kim (the bride), Ben (the groom’s brother) and I had briefly met Gurney — the person I was rooming with — a cousin of the groom. That was it.
So I was going into this basically as a solo traveler.
I’ve traveled solo many times, but usually that is mixed in with some sort of an event, such as a geocaching event where I’ll have interaction. Still, I don’t have an issue striking up a conversation with somebody in a random situation.
Besides the crew, the people I met and chatted with were incredibly friendly as well.
Those traveling with the wedding party were a lot of fun and made the trip better. I enjoyed hanging out with some of them throughout the week, whether it was during dinner, random meetings on the boat, getting yelled at from our neighbors (Amy and Dave and their kids), or playing air hockey with Jonny at 1:30 in the morning, the people were great. When I was walking around alone, I met a bunch of people and just struck up conversations. The people were from all over and had different stories. It was also just nice to sit somewhere and people watch.
It seemed like once you met them, you’d see them again, though.
Why wouldn’t you be happy, though? On a boat, being treated well and having a good time. I would hope you would smile!
I also liked meeting people at breakfast. With no assigned seating, you were seated in different places. That meant being seated next to different people. On all but one of the days I did that, I got to meet some really cool and fun people. I had the chance to meet different people from all over. The one day was a port day. I was getting seated next to an older couple, who decided they wanted a two-seat table. So I sat alone for much of the time. Then some others were seated with me and they weren’t much for conversation. No worries though as I soon finished, bid them a fine day and got out of there.
In the end, the people really made this cruise amazing. I made some friends I’ll hopefully keep through my life and I met others who, despite likely never seeing again, had an impact on my life. I look forward to possible future cruises and having the chance to meet many more people.
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