Showing posts with label Jamie Petts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jamie Petts. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Or is there?

We celebrated Thanksgiving in a most untraditional way this year a couple of hundred miles off the coast of northwestern Africa aboard the Celebrity Constellation.  

And you know what? We had a feast and ‘family’ and football. . .so did we really need to be home?
Thanksgiving dawned a blue sky sea day during which we traveled between Gibraltar and the Canary Islands. It was easy to leave our Pacific Northwest traditional celebrations.

Food and Football

DSCF2144But when it came to the food and football fest usually associated with Thanksgiving, I can assure you, we had both. Just not in their usual trappings.

Turkey with stuffing and giblet gravy, glazed ham, seared ahi,  and penne pasta were among the entrĂ©e's on the dining room menu.

Jamie Petts, the ship’s Hotel Director, explained during my later interview with him, that because the ship’s roster is made up weeks in advance of the sailing, the passengers’ ages and nationalities are known and staff can plan on-board celebrations and special meals accordingly.

In our case, there were many Americans on board, so Thanksgiving menus were in order.  (Similar consideration is given to other holidays and national events in other countries, such as Canada Day and their Stanley Cup games, or even world-wide events like America’s Super Bowl.)

DSCF2217Food orders for our sailing had been made eight weeks in advance and shipped to the Constellation by container from Florida.

The ship’s staff made sure we had televised American football. But time zones put those games at the end of the day instead of the start, so kick-off for the last of the games was after midnight.

And  our ‘Family’


We had opted for ‘select seating’ on this voyage which allowed us to chose the time we ate dinner. Each night we sat with different folks who’d also selected this independent dining option. 

On Thanksgiving we were seated at a table for six. . .a group that hit it off so well, we dubbed ourselves ‘the family’ and made plans to meet again during the cruise to continue our conversations. (The ‘family photo’ above was taken during our second, more casual, get-together).

Our Thanksgiving family was made up of a couple who split their time between the United States and Ukraine and a generational trio of ladies from California, whose family’s roots are in Jordan. Our conversations covered world history, politics, culture, travel, food and was mixed with plenty of laughter.  I hope we keep our vows to keep in touch.

DSCF2276And we had two bloggers in its midst! Galyna Tate, (pictured here with her husband, William,) writes about her homeland, Ukraine.  I’ve been following her blog since our return – it’s entertaining and informative.  Just click this link and see for yourself: Galyna's Ukraine

We don't feel the need to be home for holidays. How about you? Where have you found yourself celebrating holidays?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

So, who runs the hotel on this ship?

Think cruise ship. Think floating hotel.

While our  Captain got us to our ports of call and ultimate destination, someone else was taking care of the hotel side of operations. On our recent  Celebrity Constellation cruise that person was Jamie Petts, our Hotel Director.

DSCF2192 We’d seen Jamie several times on deck and at functions aboard our transatlantic cruise, and each time he was answering what seemed to us to be an endless stream of questions.  (As he was doing in this photo).

So, I almost felt guilty about my lengthy list of question as we sat down in  his office, just off the lobby’s Guest Relations counter, for an interview that I’d arranged prior to sailing.

I really didn’t expect to have the interview as he’d been rather busy the first few days of our cruise dealing with the ship’s sanitization after an outbreak of gastrointestinal virus on the cruise before ours. But he’d assured me that he had some time available. . .
Sure enough. The ship’s Events Coordinator called on one of our sea days and told me that my appointment with Jamie was set for 7 p.m. that evening. . .as in, long after an ‘8-to-5’ day would have ended.  But that’s not the way cruise ship life goes.

“You are on a ship for four months and off for two,” he said, acknowledging  that while on the ship he was basically on-call 24/7.   So a 7 p.m. appointment wasn’t unusual – for him, it was part of his work day.

DSCF2239As Hotel Director, I was surprised to learn, that he’s responsible for: Food and Beverage, Finance, Data systems, the Cruise Director, the Guest Relations Manager, the Assistant Hotel Director, the On-Board Marketing Manager, Restaurant Manager, Bar Manager Executive Chef and the 850 crew members who work in those divisions.

He assured me that I wasn’t alone, as most cruise passengers have no idea the scope of the job, “One of the funny things is that when the Hotel Director is introduced people  always say, ‘The cabins are really nice’ and there really is so much more than just the cabins,”  he said, with his ever-present grin.

He left his home in Canterbury, England, where he still lives, and joined his first ship 14 years ago in Sydney Australia. He’s worked for other cruise lines and held a number of on-board positions along his career path. Three years ago he joined Celebrity.

DSCF2334“This is a fantastic job!” he says, “Each morning I get up and I never know what my day will bring.  I love my interaction with guests and I am working with my family, my Celebrity family.” (Here Jamie was representing the officers in a bean bag toss competition with passengers.)

He’ll be leaving the Constellation soon. He’s starting his shore leave but don’t think he’ll be sleeping in when he gets back home. He’s about to become a dad and that will certainly make for some 24/7 days!


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