I was an employee until recently more exactly until 19th of April 2008 when the General Manager Michael and the Chief Housekeeper Klaudia Lazar decided to fire me for the simple fact that I changed duvet covers one day before embarkation just like the whole housekeeping team does.Or was it just because the General Manager did not like me?? Maybe you can decide…
But let me just tell you the facts
I embarked on Nautica on the 25th of February,2008 in Singapore, fresh and happy after three and half months holiday looking forward for a new contract. If only I had known what was waiting for me there..
The very first shock came when I saw which section they assigned me to. It was section 6.3 which is a section for new joiners, for people who had never worked on ships before, a transit section which is never being cleaned, because stewardesses never care enough knowing they will change sections anyway. Let me just point it out that on my previous contract I had worked on deck 8, a section that has penthouses and demanding guests, a section that I handled well. So this for me was really a big disapointment. I did not say anything because I went there to do my job and get paid for it. I don’t think I have to mention in what shape I found the section, completely dirty, the stewardess before me had not done much in her six months contract, never removed the beds, or tv, so you can just imagine how much dust it was everywhere. It looks like she never got inspected, either by supervisor or by chief housekeeper. When I reached the ship one of the stewardesses, Nadia, just got promotion as housekeeping supervisor. Most probably she was under a lot of stress because her behaviour was not the one of a professional supervisor. And the bad thing was that she was shouting at me since I reached. At the beginning I kept quiet, but when things didn’t get better and she kept on shouting I told her to be so kind and stop shouting at me and talk to me a little bit nicer because she is not allowed to shout at people in the first place and then she makes me feel bad and unwanted. She apologized, admitted that she is stressed and she should not have shouted at me, so we made peace, or at least I thought so
The chief housekeeper was a Hungarian woman and I was happy to have her as my head department because from time to time I could speak my mother language with her. There were no other Romanians in the housekeeping department, only me and the chief housekeepers’ husband one butler.
Things were going fine until one day when because of some flyers my supervisor came to my section and started shouting at me, and she called me STUPID. That was the last drop. I told her that she should apologize for that but she told me she does not want to apologize and she left I went down to the office and we had a huge fight in front of the housekeeper. I kept on asking her how is it possible to call me stupid, supervisor or not she has no right to say something like that. After two and half hours she came to my section to apologize more than sure because the chief housekeeper made her to, after she realized that what happened was totally wrong and if I take it further and report it it could get messy. But it was already too late for apologies, the harm was already done, I just could not accept her apologies This fight turned out to be the end of my career at oceania cruises, because since then things went from bad to worse. We were not in good terms anymore, everything I was doing was wrong for them, according to them I was the worst stewardess in the fleet
Most of my colleagues and not only were telling me to go to the crew resource manager and report it but I was just hoping things would get better.
Then on one embarkation day another unfortunate thing happened. My pager fell out from its holder and fell down from deck 4 to deck 2 and broke. Of course the office thought that I did it on purpose that I stepped on it. Thanks God I had a witness, but anyway I had to make a statement how exactly it happened .Funnily my statement was changed , the chief housekeeper made another one in which she wrote that I destroyed the ships’ property on purpose
No matter the witness confirmed how it happened
Because of this pager another argument occurred they called me to the office and very harsh words were spoken to me. Among many other things the head of department threw it to my face that nobody from the housekeeping department thinks that I am nice….this was like a cold shower for me. I could not believe my ears, and I could not believe how unprofessional Klaudia can be. Later on we were discussing this issue with my colleagues and they also agreed that even if it true a chief housekeeper just can not say things like this, because it is unprofessional, it hurts peoples feelings, and again they told me to go and speak with the CRM. But me again I said no, because I was thinking that she is Hungarian, the husband Romanian so why hurt the ‘paisanos’…how wrong I was, because in the end the ‘paisanos’ hurt me.
Because of all these I started to be very tensed and stressed, I was having difficulties concentrating on my job.
After one and half month of being onboard they called me for the evaluation, that was the proper time to talk to them. I explained them that I am very unhappy with the way they are treating me, that this was my 7th contract in housekeeping altogether and I had plenty supervisors and chief housekeepers but nobody ever treated me and talked to me like they did, and that I am even willing to put behind me that my own supervisor called me stupid if they stopped with the insults. I even told them that they if they disliked me that much they can send me home but pay my ticket because I hadn’t made enough money after 1 and half month to pay for my ticket.
During our talk it came about embarkation day and the Klaudia asked me about the duvet covers if I am changing them one day before embarkation. I told her that I am a straight person and I would not lie to her, that yes I changed in a few cabins. She asked me why, and I told her because everybody, every single stewardess is doing it so why shouldn’t I. This duvet cover change day or night before embarkation exists since the very beginning, not only on Oceania cruises but on every other cruise line, and everybody knows it is happening, all chief housekeepers, all supervisors everybody.
So Klaudia kept on telling me that this is bad, and not hygienic and so on, and I asked her why she is doing so much case out of the covers when there are some stewardesses are changing pillow cases day before embarkation, what about that, that is not hygienic But she did not say anything to this. There were plenty things going on on the ship that were not correct but she had no idea about them because she was never around cheking like other chief housekeepers.
Days were passing and in the meantime I made peace with my supervisor, we apologized to each other and started a new professional and personal relationship. We even became friends with Nadia.
On the 19th of april, around noon time Klaudia came to my section and asked me to follow her. She did not tell me where. We went up to deck 8 to the captain’s meeting room and when I entered and saw that everybody was there, starting with the captain, staff captain, food and beverage manager, general manager, chief security, crew resource manager and of course Klaudia, I realized that something was wrong. The GM told me to sit down and very shortly he let me know that they decided to fire me because I did not respect my supervisor and that I changed the duvet covers. I was shocked, I could not say a word, it was like having a nightmare. How come I did not respect my supervisor? was it me who called her stupid or the other way around? And what about the duvet covers? If he is fireing me because of this then he should fire the whole housekeeping team. And I was wondering how come he even knew about it, because nobody ever caught me doing it…and then I realized. Klaudia of course. She told him in her desperate need of getting rid of me. She was just looking for a reason to send me home. I looked at her but she just could not look at my face, and then I looked around in the room, everybody’s hed was down, nobody looked into my eyes. The Crew Resourse Manager was sitting right next to me, and I looked at her and thought my God she is the person that is supposed to be there for the crew, fight for our rights, how come now she is not saying anything, how come she is not even looking into my eyes…Because everybody new that this was not a reason to fire somebody
Then they let me know that my pick up was in less then 5 hours, that I was flying the following day, and I had to PAY for the ticket and hotel even though the company fired me. How is this possible, Is Oceania the only company who is doing this? Fire you but make you pay for the ticket? And just for your information we were in Singapore that day, not in Europe, from where the ticket cost 800 dollars plus the hotel, plus the transfer plus, plus….And let’s not forget that I had to pay for the ticket even when I joined the ship, ironically in the same place, Singapore. So for me this 2 months trip to Asia cost me more then 4000 dollars. Then they passed me 2 warnings to sign, I do not even know for what reason, and wished me safe trip home
So there I was surrounded by all the important officers on the ship, wondering how easily they can break your contract and your life just because the GM does not like you. Another fact that I know from the same Nadia whom I disrespected so much that she was crying when she saw me after the big meeting, who hugged me and kissed me and told me she was very sorry because it was not fair what was happening. She told me that Gm came to the section on embarkation day opening my beds and everything, looking for a reason to let me go.
The purpose of this letter is to let you know how deeply disappointed I am and how disgusted with your company, your five star company who is treating the personnel worse than animals.
The last thing I want is to work for a company that cannot appreciate my values, or anybody else’s. I really feel sorry for you for employing as head departments people who have no clue how to be professional and talk and treat the personnel in the proper way
My only reproach is that although you fired me you made me pay for the ticket, fact that left me with only 800 dollars in my pocket after two months of hard work and full humiliation. I really think that the least you could do after all the harm you did to me is to return the money for the ticket, hotel and transfer
P.S. A similar letter will go on all the public sites like Cruise Forums, Cruise Addicts etc…I think that the guests are entitled to know with what kind of company they are cruising, and also all those people who would like to work for you should know who Oceania really is, and think 20 times before they choose to come to work for slave farm