Greetings from 35,000 feet. We are just on our way back from an amazing visit to Brilliance of the Seas in Dubai. The three of us John Mc Girl, VP Human Resources and Captain Bill Wright, Sr. VP Marine Operations (also known as Captain Storm by me from his time on Oasis) continue our travels to all 21 of our ships.
This weeks Anchored in Excellence Program (AIE) was to Dubai to visit the leadership team and crew onboard Brilliance of the Seas. Brilliance began her 7 night itineraries three weeks ago, and we wanted to see how this new itinerary for our brand was being operated and received by our guests.
We held an all crew meeting, and then any crew member that wanted to meet with us 1:1 came by to visit to share their feedback, suggestions or concerns. The biggest number of crew feedback is really around our career “pipeline.” We had a number of defined positions with specific career tracks. Our crew is always anxious to get promoted, so they do the interviews and qualifications for the new position they want, and then they go into the pipeline for when a position becomes available. They usually come to see us too because they want us to know that they are anxious to grow with the company and want to know “how much longer?”
We also met with the hotel and marine departments and got business updates on all the areas of guest satisfaction, and key operational challenges. One of the items that surfaced was the need for some countries to have multiple visas, as the ship re-enters the UAE three times during the week, so the degree of complexity for guest services to ensure everyone has the correct documentation was quite an experience. We also did an overnight in Dubai, so our staff is working 24×7 with guests checking in at all hours of the night and early morning. As a result, we had to add additional staffing. Lots of lessons learned early in the season!
Personally, I had never been to Dubai or any of the United Arab Emirates before, and can’t wait to go back. What an amazing cultural experience. This is true both in the ports and onboard. We had guests from 35 different countries onboard for this sailing, with the majority from the UK, Germany and US. Everyone I talked to onboard was just in awe of the overall experience – both onboard and the experiences in the ports.
Key things that really impressed us was how clean and pristine everything was and how everything is new in Dubai. The warmth and hospitality we experienced was consistent everywhere we went. This was especially true in Muscat, Oman. The people are so friendly and welcoming and we always felt very safe and welcomed everywhere we went.
I came away from this trip truly feeling the globalization of our brand and how exciting it is to be able to offer these familiar Royal Caribbean experiences in very far away places.