This is the beginning of a love story about change.
FROM THE PURSER'S DESK.….
Well this is amazing, this time last month I was working in a hotel in England worrying about the bad weather, filling room nights, demanding stakeholders and an unhappy girlfriend. Thirty days later, I am standing at the bows of the largest cruise ship on the planet doing my best Leonardo DiCaprio impression sailing out of Port Everglades waving to happy strangers and listening to Enya through the outside speakers. What a difference enthusiasm, willingness to learn, and a well-prepared CV can make. I have been extremely lucky to be onboard for a three-week training course, which has been an amazing help, I could not imagine working on the front desk without that invaluable training, even though many people do. I now feel fully equipped to deal with passengers and answer their questions in a calm, confident, and convincing manner.
Of course, my new life at sea as a Junior Assistant Purser is not without its pressures. There is the art of balancing a $15,000 float, lost luggage reports, angry passengers that tell me that I have ruined their cruise because there is a lifeboat in front of their porthole and getting used to the rocking of the ship.
Nevertheless, the pros far outweigh the cons and life on the desk is fast, busy, enjoyable pressure and promotes comradeship amongst both passengers and crew. Being new to sea, I am finding it far more social than I first imagined, from the regal atmosphere of the Commodores cocktail parties to cheering on Keegan’s army on the big screen in the crew bar.
Our cruise ship will be soon crossing the Atlantic for an exciting itinerary of five days at sea, which is supposedly best suited for the hardest seafaring passengers and crew. Never has there been a better time to test out those sea legs. This will be followed by deploying to the Mediterranean and the many fresh challenges that will bring in our role. But all of these experiences are character building, I am learning something new every day and the fact of the matter is that we are all in the same boat - sorry cruise ship.
Already in my brief time at sea, I have seen so many changes especially to the shape of the crew. This seems to be the only sad part about cruise ship life thus far, the building of very powerful relationships in a short period of time, and then having to say goodbye just as swiftly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tobias Biddick first experienced cruise ship life at the turn of the millennium and spent five happy years at sea. Following ship life he then enjoyed many equally blissful ‘post ship’ years as a Shore Excursions Cruise Executive based in Southampton, claiming the Global Seatrade Environmental Initiative Award in 2011. He currently finds himself in the role of Cruise Manager based in Australia.. This series has been over a decade in the making, due to being ‘slightly lazy, a bit scared and busy with other stuff’. These amusing and mostly almost true memoirs have now finally come to life, due to being ‘in touch of his own mortality’ (midlife crisis) and wanting to share at least some small legacy of many memorable years at sea.