While I enjoyed my 4 days of cruise from Dubai (UAE) to Kochi (India) aboard the Majestic Princess, I came across staff of many nationalities working as one despite the difference in cultures, languages, values, habits and personalities. The staff lives away from their families and nation for months on end. They have no option but to forge new bonds aboard the cruise. They invent alternative families to satisfy their natural urge to socialize. It was sheer pleasure to see all of them working as an effective team, sharing camaraderie unique to cruise. Being a hotel management student, I have many people who have served in cruises in different departments. They had told me how exciting it is to work in cruise and interact with people of so many nations. They had told me that working in a cruise changes your world view, allow you to see many countries for free, polish the personality.
It sure is a challenging but exciting job. I came across many Indians amongst the staff. There was a Delhi boy Ranbir who worked in F & B service department since 11 years now. He spends 9 months in the cruise and 3 months in Delhi every year. He told us how he can’t wait to be in Kochi, India. He had promised a local friend to show him around the cruise during the halt in Kochi. The staff from Goa showed a clear preference for Housekeeping since all of the Indians in housekeeping turned out to be from Goa. One of them found a way to the kitchen though.
Bradley, who belongs to Goa and works in the bakery section, has been working on the cruise since 7 years now. As I returned from the pool area and headed to my room, I saw him managing the bakery section around midnight. I happened to strike a conversation with him where he revealed,
“I have been working on cruise since a long time now. It has been an exciting journey. I have seen so many countries. Australia was my favourite. I stay on ship for more than 6 months at stretch every year. The pay is good here. However, it was not a problem earlier when I was not married and had no responsibilities. I married recently and now I feel like returning back to land and find a job there. My wife misses me and I want to spend time with her. In fact, when the ship will halt in Kochi, I will meet her. She is flying all the way from Goa to Kochi just to meet me. I will spend quality time with her and then move on to the routine and of course my next destination (China).”
Another Filipino women who worked in a specialty restaurant had similar emotions. She told us she has been working in a cruise for the last 20 years. She looked visibly tired when I asked her how the journey has been till now. She has her kids and husband in Philippines and of course she yearned for a stable life on land. She will one day find her foothold on land but many others will continue to chase their dreams aboard a cruise, maintaining their smiles and checking the calendar every few days, perhaps. Only they know how it feels to live away from family, friends and their nation for months on end. The cruise is full of such individual stories if only we dig deeper and care to look beyond those faultless smiles.
The view from my #SoulWindow is poignant!
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