Hello friends. My name is Sandesh Malekar and I work as an Accommodation Supervisor on board the P&O Cruises ship - MV Aurora. I have been associated with P&O Cruises for 4 years, having joined them in the year 2000 as a Junior Supervisor.
First, a little about my background. After completing a degree in Hotel Management from Mumbai, I joined a five star hotel as a Management Trainee. Housekeeping happened to me by chance, as I always thought that I would make F&B as my preferred department, career wise. However, after working in the Housekeeping department and eventually filling in as an Asst. Manager when there was a shortage of staff, I found that Housekeeping has always been my true calling. I liked the whole sense of order and the aesthetics that went into making a room ready for sale and visually pleasing for the guest. The challenge of managing a large number of subordinates and motivating them to work towards complete guest satisfaction was an added high.
After working in the hotel for four years, I slowly realized that as far as housekeeping was concerned, I have learned all that was there to learn and I started looking for a job that was more challenging. It was during this time I saw an advertisement for the post of a Supervisor in the Accommodation department on board a P&O Cruises ship. I applied for the post and I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call for the interview. Subsequent to the interview, I was selected and after completing all pre-joining courses like STCW’95 and the Foundation Certificate in Food hygiene, I was given a joining date to join a ship called as the MV Oriana in Spain for my first voyage.
Now let me tell you a little bit about life on board a cruise ship. The Accommodation department begins work at six thirty in the morning. I start my day by taking rounds along with the Night Supervisor of all the Public areas for cleanliness and presentation. During the rounds, I discuss all the activities carried out at night and any passenger requests or complaints. The public areas are cleaned at night by a team of Accommodation Assistants headed by the Night Supervisor. After giving various follow ups for the team and briefing them about the next night’s activities, I head back to my department office for a meeting with the the Deputy Supervisors & Deck Supervisors to chalk out tasks of the day. We discuss cleaning schedules, extra cleaning tasks for the day and any passenger requests, complaints etc. Any instructions are passed on to the Deck Supervisors to relay back to the Cabin stewards who work on the decks.
Its nine o clock and it is time to head to the crew mess for a hot cup of tea and some freshly baked croissants and breakfast rolls, along with a cereal and some cut fruits. A glass of orange juice to wash all this down and then its back to the office for a briefing by the Accommodation Manager. The Accom Manager is responsible for the entire passenger cabin inventory and any cabin movements – upgrades etc are discussed.
At ten thirty, I start my morning rounds with the inspection of crew areas. The crew areas are located on Decks 1, 2, 3 and 4 on the bottom most part of the ship. The Accommodation Dept is responsible for the cleanliness and maintenance of the crew areas. The Crew Supervisor heads a team of Accom Assistants who carry out various cleaning activities in the crew areas, namely emptying of garbage bins vacuuming of passage carpets, dusting etc. All pertinent points are discussed with the Crew Supervisor and the Accom Assistants during briefings.
At eleven thirty, its time to head to the passenger decks. During my rounds, I make it a point to meet all VIP passengers and enquire about their well-being and whether they are well looked after. I then inspect some cabins at random and all follow-ups are given to the concerned Cabin Stewards. After inspecting cabins, I head towards the pantry where I inspect all equipments like Dishwashers, Refrigerators etc. I check the hygiene level maintained in these areas and any follow ups etc are duly passed on the Pantry Incharge.
At one, I head for some lunch in the crew mess where an excellent Indian selection awaits. Apart from the Indian selection, we have a host of Continental and Filipino cuisine to choose from. After lunch, I normally head out of the ship, if it’s a port day, for a stroll about town and getting a bit of fresh air. If it’s not a port day, then I usually head to my cabin for a nap before reporting back for the evening shift.
The evening shift is spent in conducting briefing and debriefing. I also conduct small training session for the crew from time to time. The evening is also a very good time to meet passengers as they head towards dinner, especially who you may have missed during the day. I have some meetings with my seniors and with my team to outline tasks for the next day. Its usually dinner by eight pm and end of day by nine.
After I finish off with the day’s activities, I usually do a bit of domestic chores like washing clothes at the free crew launderette, tidying up my cabin etc. I then head to the crew gym for a bit of a workout and a shower after that. Sometimes I call my family in Mumbai from the phone provided in all cabins. Its then socializing with my friends at the crew bar over a drink and to check if any crew are events happening in the crew bar. We have a very active crew club who organize many crew activities such as Disco’s, Quizzes, Sports events etc. They even conduct crew tours on ports such as Port Said(Egypt), Sydney, Cape Town, San Francisco etc. I then pop over to the crew library to grab a book and read it in bed. Bed time is usually around midnight and after a refreshing nights sleep its back to work the next morning.
I can honestly say that I am having an excellent time working on board P&O Cruises. I feel that a cruise ship job offers the right mix of exhilaration and job satisfaction which are difficult to find in a job shoreside.
So if you are motivated enough to join a cruise ship after reading about my experiences go ahead and make that decision. Contact FMSI right now!!