One More Very Personal Cruise Story & A Challenge For You

Greetings from Los Angeles!

Yes, I’m still in LA, having just finished my Mexican Riviera cruise on the Norwegian Epic that we talked about last week. If you missed it, the texts of the programs are always posted on Just click on the radio stories button and you’ll find last week’s story, and the most recent on the Norwegian Epic from November, as well as the other 300 or so programs.

As some of you may know, in addition to my books and radio program, the largest part of my life is my purpose and passion in teaching team building and leadership seminars all over the world. What always drives me crazy is companies who promote “our people make a difference” on their web site – and only their web site – because they don’t actually mean it in real life.

Yet, the cruise industry, and (from what I’ve observed) Norwegian in particular, has created a culture where their people do make a difference – in actions and not just slogans. You’ll find the staff to be totally attentive to you, incredibly professional, and more than patient; sometimes with passengers who wouldn’t treat their dog the way they treat some of the 1,100 staff.

Christopher is from a small town in Indonesia and only six months into his first ten-month contract on the ship. He actually starts work at 1 AM doing clean up and prep work, so he’s not exactly on a shift where most passengers would ever see him or meet him. Kerthney is from St. Lucia in the Caribbean. She is the keeper of the soft ice cream machine. While that might not mean much to you listening to me – it means a lot to not only the kids, but the adults on any Norwegian ship…you’ll see… This week, Kerthney is celebrating her third month on the ship.

Those are just two of almost 1,100 staff from dozens of countries. Most of them don’t have fancy titles, and their cabins are below the water line, shared with three other crew members. They work for very little money when compared to North American wages. Sure, it’s often a lot compared to the average wages of their home country, but it’s also very lonely and incredibly far from home. Their shifts can be more than half the day, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be offered another return contract at the end of each 10 month period.

On a cruise ship, most people will meet the omelette chef at the custom-order station, one or two of the hosts in their favourite restaurants, a couple of the bartenders, and their room stewart – but that may be it. However, it’s the other one thousand plus staff who are just as invaluable to making your cruise a memorable experience. So the next time you go on a cruise – any cruise – make it a point to make eye contact and say a quick hello and a thank you…to the ‘non-obvious’ people. If every passenger on the average sized ship did that just five times a day, those 85,000 plus hello’s and thank-you’s for the week make up for a lot of loneliness, hard work, and long hours.

You know this in your own life at work: Being appreciated doesn’t replace your income, but sometimes it’s just as important. In fact, until you book a cruise – and you should – start practicing closer to home: In the restaurant, while you’re shopping, or anywhere else. It matters a lot – to a lot of people.  If you want to understand more about the people part of your life at home or at work, cruise through my web site at:

Next week, we’ll get back on the financial track and talk about the dangers and downside of debt consolidations. But I’ll give you a hint: What word do the first three letters of consolidation spell?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *