Hello from somewhere in the Mediterranean. Captain Bill, John McGirl and I are on an extended trip in Europe, visiting Adventure, Navigator and Voyager of the Seas. At one time we never thought the Voyager class would leave Florida, and here we are visiting three in the Mediterranean.
We boarded Adventure in Rome, sailed to Palma de Majorca, transferred to Navigator and sailed back to Rome. We then flew (what an experience that was – with a 6-hour delay, we barely made it) to Voyager in Barcelona. This is the glamorous part of the job!! Then back to Rome we went on Voyager!
All three ship visits were different. It was interesting to see the different nationality mixes onboard each ship, yet the common theme was everyone enjoying the experience in their own way. No matter where people were from, the ice show is still the most popular entertainment around!
Adventure is spending her first summer in Europe after being in San Juan for nine years, so they have had to make some adjustments. We were all impressed with how they have handled the transition and it appears that she has been sailing in the Mediterranean for years. The biggest adjustments were related to ensuring we had the appropriate language skills. We also had to change the entertainment, so it was less about the language and more visual so everyone onboard could enjoy it. Dining times also were adjusted to account for the demand for later dinner seatings.
Only one day during our trip did we get the opportunity to get off the ship and have a few hours in Sardinia. We joined our Captain and Hotel Director for lunch shore side. Our Hotel Director Tony is actually from there, so we went to an amazing local restaurant. There weren’t any menus, and they just kept bringing course after course after course of fish. The guys loved it. I’ve never seen so much food, and was later told that was just meant to be the appetizer. The guys all loved the meal, unfortunately I don’t eat fish, but I greatly enjoyed watching them enjoy the feast and had some very good local cheeses and great conversation. Our Captain on Navigator is only 34 and he is impressive. Many of the crew came up to me and mentioned how much they love Captain Patrick. We are very focused on crew satisfaction, so it is always great to get unsolicited feedback from the crew.
The crew on all three ships are really enjoying Europe and seeing new places, versus the familiar islands in the Caribbean. During our all-crew meetings, they were also very excited by our new TV commercials featuring the DreamWorks characters. Those commercials got the biggest rounds of applause we’ve heard lately. I always ask the crew what they like most about the meetings and they often tell me the videos of Oasis and what is happening with the other ships, so we try to ensure the crew is very aware of all our new programs and what is happening in the fleet.
On Voyager, we actually held the Anchored in Excellence all-crew meeting in Studio B. We’ve never done that before, and it was really great. They opened up with our guest skater performing. That was a real WOW for the crew; sounds like we just found a new way to “Deliver the Wow” to our crew as well. None of us fell on the ice, so that was good news too!
We had an interesting entertainment experience on Voyager also. When we were in Muscat last year, we heard an amazing duo of a piano player and singer called Blisstronic. They were so good that I asked them if they might be interested in performing on a cruise ship. Ironically, their first week on Royal was the week we were onboard for Anchored in Excellence. They were a huge hit onboard. I also think they would be amazing in the jazz club on Allure, so maybe that is where they will go next. You never know where you can find great entertainment. If you ever see anyone amazing, let us know.