Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

A Look Back After 42 Years at Royal Caribbean

Hi — My name is Jeannie Newton and I’m a Staff Accountant in the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Accounts Payable department. After 42 amazing years with Royal Caribbean, I am planning to retire this summer. While I’m very excited about my retirement plans, it is truly a bittersweet experience for me as I have grown up with this wonderful company.

I came to Miami in 1970 from Delaware and began working for Royal Caribbean about a year later.  My first job was in the Accounts Receivable department and I was quickly promoted to the Assistant Controller position in Accounts Payable.  In 1971, Royal Caribbean’s Accounting department consisted of five employees and was located in a trailer on Biscayne Boulevard.  There were probably a total of only 40 shoreside employees at that time.

Song of Norway

At the beginning, as you can imagine, everything was done manually. I typed checks on a manual typewriter and then had to leave our building and walk down the pier to another building just to have the checks signed.  We had a huge NCR Accounting Machine that we used to post all receivables onto large ledger cards. Each time a ship returned from a voyage, the ledger had to be reconciled down to the penny. If it didn’t reconcile, we had to go back and do it again as many times as it took to manually reconcile the report. Of course, we had to have that done before the ship arrived back into port because we had to ensure that all cruise fares had been accounted for. The one thing I remember about that machine was how big and loud it was. Sometimes, we’d open the windows to the trailer to get some fresh air which created more of a problem as the manual stacks of papers sorted by vendor name blew around everywhere. We laughed a lot in that trailer. Who would have ever thought that by 2013 we would be almost “paperless”?

In January of 1972, our office moved to our first new small building at the Port of Miami. We didn’t have assigned seating and were told to find a spot on the floor and they eventually put our desks there.  For the first time, all shoreside employees were together under the same roof.  The company was still relatively small and it truly felt like we were a family. Back then, there was only one ship, The Song of Norway, and we worked Tuesday to Saturday each week since we were responsible for going onboard to recount the money by hand. We also counted all the coins in the slot machines, bagged it up and prepared it for a secure pick up, which was fun. Can you imagine thousands of dimes in a bag and then the bag breaks loose from the coil counter and ends up on the tile floor? Yes, many times we ended up recounting. As more ships were added to the fleet, the job became much more hectic. After we got off the ship we were never too tired to watch the ship set sail — we always waved to the guests and the crew before heading back to the marina for a cold drink.

While I have always challenged myself professionally when it comes to speed and accuracy, in the early days at Royal Caribbean, I was continually challenged with many different things. Everyone did much more than their “job description” required by doing anything that was needed. We all put in a lot of late nights to make sure all of the work was done. The individual job responsibilities were broader back then which is why we all seemed to have our hands in everything. This made each day go by much faster than if we’d done the same job day after day. Thanks to caring and having my hands in everything, I am today considered the “go-to person” by my colleagues, because if I don’t have the answer I will, at least, be able to direct you to the person you need to speak with. I take pride in being able to assist others in the office, shipboard and outside of the company.

In 1986, I was told that I needed to work in Norway for one week as we were moving all of the accounts payable functions for foreign currency to Miami. I was in charge of this “move” and was told to sit with our Norwegian colleagues to make sure I understood all of it. I have a fear of flying, and incidentally I’m not too fond of water, so I was terrified. Once on the plane from New York to Norway, I was in tears. I had to remind myself that I was the first female employee sent to our parent company in Norway and I was the person in charge, so I could not fail my company! I’m happy to share that I went on the trip, learned a lot and had a great time. Thanks to my Norwegian friends, I even learned a few words; for example “god dag” meaning good day. Wow! I really thought I now could speak the language — until I began getting letters in Norwegian. After having “letters” of fun, my friends finally sent me books to help translate.  Now they really put me to work when they sent all correspondence in Norwegian.

I had completed only one year of college when I came to work for Royal Caribbean.  Once I was promoted to a Manager, I was required to go back to school and earn my Bachelor’s degree. So at the age of 39 I went back to school, which was yet another challenge. I went to school every night during the week except Friday. One semester, I was going every other Saturday, as well, and after a few years I earned my degree. The day I walked across the stage and received my diploma was the proudest moment for me.  It proves that when you work hard for something, you learn to appreciate it.

Today, my main responsibility is the issuance of checks, including accounts payable and refunds, and I audit the address book setups, which control the funds distribution. I also took on another responsibility which pertains to locating crew members that are on vacation or have left the fleet and have payments due to them. Many crew members provide a mailing address when they apply for positions and when they are hired but by the time they end their contract with us their permanent mailing address has changed.  Verifying addresses in foreign countries is difficult and I’m currently working on a plan to streamline this process before my retirement. Thank goodness for e-mail, as it makes it much easier to locate many of our crew members when they are off the ships. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I’m able to take care of the crew.

All in all, I am so happy to be part of this great company and serving our ships over the last 42 years.   I’m happy to say that I’ve also grown a lot, appreciate all of the fine contributions I have made through my tenure with RCL and most of all the friends both shoreside and shipboard that I’m still friends with today, which is one of the things I am most grateful for and will truly miss.

37 responses to:
“A Look Back After 42 Years at Royal Caribbean”

  1. Michael

    Gratulerer (Norwegian for Congratulations) Jeannie on your retirement

    There’s an old shipping farewell

    There are wooden ships and there are steel ships but nothing is more stable than your Friendship.

    Wishing you safe seas into your retirement.

    From a loyal Diamond Plus Member who im sure counted hundreds of thousands of my dollars !
    MC

    • Adam

      We appreciate your kind words, Michael. Thank you for your comment.

  2. adrienne robson

    Hi Jeannie

    You certainly worked hard for RCI. I really admire you learning Norwegian, and then at 39 doing all that night school work. I think these days you would have ended up on the Board of Directors with that work ethic & company loyalty. I used to have a pal that was Hotel Manager in those days George Katz.

    Good luck and have a long and happy retirement. You deserve it.

    • Adam

      Thank you, Adrienne.

  3. Robert Sagendorf

    Congratulations on your retirement. My family has discovered Royal Caribbean and we appreciate all the efforts -both on the ship and behind the scenes. Looking forward to our next cruise in January with my youngest son’s family (their first). Good luck in your future endeavours.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your kind words, Robert.

  4. dan

    My wife is a Accounting manager, any chance she can have your job because she’s hating the 80 hours a week she’s puttin in now.

  5. Evon M. Rumley

    Thanks for all the hard work. The Royal Caribbean is our favorite ship. We have been on (7) seven cruises, but people like you and the crew members make it special

    I hope you have a wonderful retirement. I too started back to college when I was 39 years of age; received associate degree then Bachelor Degree in Business.

    I know this company appreciates people like you serving with them all the 42 years of services. May God be with you and have a good life.

    Your friends,
    Leon & Evon Rumley, Sr.
    Mayodan, NC

    • Adam

      Your message is greatly appreciated, Leon & Evon. Thank you.

  6. Diane Bean

    What a remarkable life you have shared with us. Thank you. Our 1st cruise was on the Nordic Empress in 1996. Since then and many cruises later we now sell the expereince we love so much. We are always ask, hopefully like you “what was/is your favorite cruise?” Every cruise we experience has memorable pieces and joyful occasions. Three of our 7 grandchildren have been conceived on one of your ships. ha So now Jeannie, I have to ask the question after 42 years,..What is your favorite cruise?/or better yet what is your favorite destination?

    Thank you again for sharing your story and thank you Royal Caribbean for keeping Jeannie in the family.

    Enjoy retirement…another stage of a good life

    • Adam

      Thank you, Diane. Your message warmed our hearts.

  7. Sue Bromley

    Jeannie Newton, Congratulations on your upcoming retirement. What an exciting career you have had with a wonderful company. Best wishes in all that you hope to achieve in the upcoming years.

    • Adam

      Thank you, Sue.

  8. Betty Huff

    Wishing you many years of blessings as you retire. I have been so fortunate to have cruised on Royal Caribbean four times and loved every minute. Could not ask for a better vacation. I am 75years of age and certainly hope for more
    good times cruising with Royal Caribbean. God Bless You.

    • Adam

      Betty, thank you for your message.

  9. Jim Munkittrick

    There has been a dynamic shift in many corners today…..always assuming all corporations are evil places…..But, in reality, they are opportunities. Opportunities for individuals to grow, support a family and help provide a quality good or service. Jeannie, is the prefect example of that!
    Thank you for that “walk” through your career.

    • Adam

      You’re welcome, Jim. Thank you for reading.

  10. stacey

    That is awesome! Congrats on your retirement. Keeping an employee for that length of time speaks volumes of not only the company but the person who stood by them. :)

    • Adam

      Absolutely, Stacey. Thank you.

  11. ralph julia

    I also have been in the hospitality industry for 30 years as a controller. The kids today have no idea how tedious & time consuming manual accounting had been at the time. Congratulations on your retirement hope you have along & healthy
    one. I am a loyal rcl customer and would not sail any other line.

    • Adam

      Thank you for staying Loyal to Royal, Ralph. We appreciate your comment.

  12. Jeff Hassinger

    Jeannie, that’s a great story and good for you. I just retired after 37 years at same place. You will love it! As far as RCCL, they to me, are the ONLY cruise line we go on. We’ve been on several others, but for oil last 10 cruises, it been Royal. It seems they are a company that really knows how to keep employees as well as customers SATISFIED,

    Good luck in your retirement and Royal, can’t wait to get on that Quantum!

    Jeff Hassinger
    11 times

    • Adam

      Thanks, Jeff.

  13. Donna Schlag

    What an awesome career! I’m curious–how many cruises have you taken?

  14. Mary K Newman

    Jeannie, Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I am sure you will be missed. Enjoy your retirement. Royal Caribbean is my only cruise choice now and remember those early ships well. The Allure of the Seas is now my favorite ship. I just returned from the April 28, 2013 sailing and I am booked again on the November 17, 2013 sailing.
    Again, thanks for sharing,
    Mary K Newman (Diamond Plus Member)

    • Adam

      You’re welcome, Mary. Thank you for reading.

  15. Sally

    Congratulations on your retirement and many years of service! Thanks for sharing these interesting comments. Best wishes in the years to come. Now you’ll have time to cruise with us!!! ; )

    • Adam

      Thank you for your well wishes, Sally.

  16. Hannah

    Ms. Jeannie Newton: Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful, inspiring story. I wish you the best as you embark on your new adventure, Retirement! -Hannah

    • Adam

      The next adventure indeed, Hannah. Thank you.

  17. Fred Waterman

    Thank you for sharing your story and experience. I have only sailed on RCL, with my first cruise just a short 4 1/2 years ago at the age of 33; but that didn’t stop me from taking 6 more after that first one in the time since. I have enjoyed everyone of them, and am excited each time I am about to step aboard again. Its because of the dedication of the employees, both shoreside (such as yourself) and aboard the ship, that make each and every vacation an enjoyable one. I have to say that I can tell that employees feel like they are part of a family. Enjoy your retirement!

    Fred (Diamond Member)

    • Adam

      We appreciate your comment, Fred. Thank you for continuing to sail with us.

  18. Christine Anne Mitchell

    Ms. Jeannie Newton: Thank you for sharing your amazing life story. I started in the Travel Industry in 1996 and I still work for the same Travel Company. I love Royal Caribbean about as much as you do. I am a Diamond Plus member and counting. You have shown inspiration, and excitement for your work. I know you will be truly missed. Enjoy your well deserved retirement.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your loyalty and your kind words, Christine.

  19. Jerry Hyacinthe

    I personally known Jeannie for a few years now. She is an amazing person. She is dedicated to whatever she does. Anytime I needed some encouragement, she has been the perfect person to talk with. I wished you the best with your new journey in life. I am sure Royal Caribbean will miss you. Your experience with Royal Caribbean deserves to be shared with many because it truly demonstrates commitment. Love you much.

    • Adam

      Thank you for sharing, Jerry. Here’s to dedication and commitment.

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