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Old August 31st, 2004, 02:44 AM
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Hello, I've just finished my first (yes, first, implying more to follow) contract on the Norwegian Sky/Pride of Aloha. I'm back home in the Midwest & have had a week to process my experience, since I never had time to blink onboard.
Believe me when I say there is little pride other than the name. The crew and most of the management is embarassed at the product we've given to you so far, & realize we have a long way to go. That being said, we aren't giving up, we're striving to make this a first class ship, if only to rub it in the face of all you naysayers.
That includes the presidents of several major cruise lines. Not only do they want us to fail, they've started a pool, with $20,000 buy-in, to guess the actual day we throw up our hands.
All you have to do is find 850 crew members, Right? Well, I dare you to find 850 Americans with no criminal background (USCG requirement) who will leave home(they can't all live in Honolulu) for five months and work atleast twelve hours a day, with a cruise director who never misses a chance to tell pax we are compensated, therefore don't need to be tipped.
Did I mention it takes six weeks for background checks and off-ship training, MMDs and physicals, plus you spend two weeks onboard before you're even acclimated to the ship and aren't in everyone's way?
If people haven't quit by then, they might be able to contribute. During thier acclimation period, they might enjoy half a beer in the crew bar. Only half a beer, because anyone with a bac of .02 or higher will be terminated. That might explain the shortage. Help is on the way. Or so management says.
What I've heard since I came aboard in April. "Things will get better when we leave the caribbean." "There will be no more 15 hour days when we reach San Francisco." "Things will be easier when we are an American flagged ship." "It will be much better in Hawaii." "Just wait until we are fully staffed." NCL finally sent some corporate types from Miami a couple weeks ago to observe. They came in believing it was an incompetent crew, just like most of you. Now they send e-mails everyday to Miami saying NCL needs to do something to alleviate the workload.
I'm not naiive. I didn't expect a vacation, I expected to work. I just didn't expect to put up with so much verbal abuse from pax. I'm sorry your vacation hasn't worked out, but what do you expect your waiter to do about it? If it involves a hot meal, or a cup of coffee, you got it, come to me. If you're mad because you were supposed to be on the Pride of America, tough. Guess what, so was I.
Sorry about the tangent. The last few weeks really calloused me. I'm refering to the Festival at Sea charter cruises, and the August 15 cruise. I'd never put up with so many snide remarks, and in-your-face cursing as I did on those voyages. Crew members were physically assaulted, ice buckets were thrown at cabin stewards, and my maitre 'd was spit on. (one side note to the caveman who spit on Guy; you picked the right person to spit on, anybody else would have cut you by that point in the cruise.)
I'm sorry this rambles so much, I just needed to vent. I'll be back on board in a few weeks, ready to prove everyone wrong again. Those of you who have cruised so far and have been understanding, I thank you.
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