Yes, I’m on another cruise. This week it’s on the Norwegian Dawn from Boston to Bermuda. But I’ll talk about that experience next week.
As some of you 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 almost 1,100 staff.
Elsie is a hostess in one of the restaurants. She works on the ship with her husband and they’re saving money for a home back in the Philippines. Ryan is a waiter working his standard 10-month contract thousands of miles away from his wife. Ask Ryan when his next two months off are and his face lights up. This year will be the first time in a decade with Norwegian that it falls over Christmas and New Years, and he’ll get to spend it with his family back home.
Elin is one of the room stewardesses who all work a split shift, cleaning your room in the morning, and again until well past 9 PM each night. She actually has her diving certification and really wants to take her diving rescue courses back in Columbia on her next time off. Gina from the Philippines works in the casino. She’s always smiling and friendly. But then, yesterday was a good day for her because she got to phone home and speak to ‘everybody,’ as she calls it: Her mother, as well as her 11 and 5 year olds. 10 months away from her kids has to be one of the hardest sacrifices any mother can make in order to provide a better life for them in the future.
Lauraine is one of the hostesses in the casino. This is actually the fourth ship she’s been transferred to in the same year. That has to be hard, but it’s the price she pays of being one of the best at her job. In fact, when I walked into one of the receptions she greeted me by name at the door. I’ll never figure out how she knew me. I meet 6,000 people a year at my seminars and I’m very bad with names. But it’s part of what makes someone feel special, and almost made it OK that I lost the first two days in the casino.
On a cruise ship, most people will meet the omelet chef at the buffet station, one or two of the wait staff in their favorite 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 holiday 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 74,000 plus hello’s and thank-you’s in the week make up for a lot of loneliness, being so far away from their families, 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: vantageseminars.com
George Boelcke, CCP is the author of It’s Your Money – the Spanish, U.S. and Canadian bestseller book on borrowing smarter, paying it off quicker, and spending less money. In addition to his books and radio program, George also teaches seminars on teambuilding and relationships all over the world. He can be contacted at www.yourmoneybook.com or www.startfightingback.com