The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Captain and Crew

Off hand I don't know the size of the crew of this ship. I've seen the figure somewhere but I simply can't recall it. But according to the little pocket map of the ship given to us when we boarded, the ship can accommodate 2,170 guests. It takes a significant number of people to keep all these guests happy and fed and exercised and entertained and safe and moving along from one destination to the next. And despite the long hours and hard work demanded by most of their jobs, all of the crew members we encounter seem to enjoy their work. They are invariably friendly, helpful and focused on pleasing us, the guests. A lot of businesses could learn much about customer satisfaction from some of these cruise lines.

Our captain is Greek, a nice enough fellow who seems a bit shy. He gives us a brief update over the ship's public address system each day at 10 a.m. and occasionally walks through the public spaces, greeting passengers and asking if we're pleased with everything or have any complaints. Today he informed us that we are just about half-way to Nassau, having covered over 1,700 miles since leaving Lisbon. The seas remain relatively calm and the skies clear with only a few fair-weather cumulus clouds. 

Of course, the crew members with whom we have the most contact are our two cabin attendants and the wait staff in our little Aqua Class restaurant. Marcelino (from Goa, India) and Edy (from Indonesia) take care of our cabin, doing all those big and little things that make life aboard ship comfortable. They are real treasures, pleasant young men who go out of their way to keep us happy, although Diane and I are not particularly demanding. I trust we have made their jobs a bit easier.

The wait staff in our restaurant form an eclectic  group, from Serbia, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, India, Nicaragua, Argentina and a half-dozen other countries. They're all wonderful. In no time they have learned our likes and dislikes and recommend menu selections accordingly. A few of them seem to know what I'll like before I've even thought about it. And Maria keeps my coffee cup full at breakfast. For what more could I ask?

Naturally, the cruise line is in business to make money, so I suppose happy guests cruise again and again. And although I have no financial data on this company, I can't help but believe they're doing very well. They have certainly found many creative ways to separate their guests from their money. Casinos, bars, specialty restaurants, spas, shops, port excursions, wines -- all of these things are "extras" and all generate a lot of cash. I'm very fortunate not to be an alcoholic gambler who likes massages, exotic foods, and Swiss watches.

I'm back on our little balcony, but it's almost time for lunch which today will be only a simple plate of fruit. I must get back on the diet and exercise regimen that allowed me to lose 20 pounds in the three months prior to our leaving home. I suspect I've gained half of it back thanks to pub food, good British ale, and a ship that feeds me constantly.


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