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Royal Caribbean will begin hiring crew members from India again later this month

08 May 2021

Royal Caribbean will once again start hiring crew members from India.

Less than two weeks after announcing the cruise line would temporarily halt hiring crew members from India, later this month the policy will revert back.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley posted on Facebook that the hirings will once again commence, beginning on May 21st.

"We are starting crewing from India on May 21st," Mr. Bayley announced in his post, and said "enhanced protocols" will be used for these crew members.

Crew coming from India will undergo a rigorous set of testing and quarantine procedures to ensure they can safely join a ship:

  1. PCR Test
  2. 14 day quarantine
  3. PCR Test
  4. Charter flight
  5. PCR Test
  6. Given a Covid-19 vaccine
  7. Quarantine
  8. PCR Test

Mr. Bayley said these protocols will be in place at least for a "short time", although these sort of enhanced protocols will be used for crew members coming from other countries where new Covid-19 case counts are surging.

Since the additional quarantine requirements will take up more time than the usual onboarding process, crew contracts will be extended by 2 months.

Large scale vaccinations for crew

In addition to vaccinating crew members coming from India, Royal Caribbean has been systematically bringing ships to PortMiami to get crew members vaccinated there.

In less than a week, crew members from Explorer, Liberty, Navigator, Freedom, Independence and Mariner of the Seas have all received their first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Reports are more ships are to arrive soon as well for their jabs.

Mr. Bayley also celebrated the World Health Organization approving Sinopharm vaccine, which is China's vaccine option that is more easily available in China and other nearby countries.

A WHO emergency listing is a signal to national regulators that a product is safe and effective. It also allows it to be included in COVAX, a global program to provide vaccines mainly for poor countries, which has hit supply problems.

The WHO had already given emergency approval to COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and, last week, Moderna.

Royal Caribbean begins vaccinating crew members in Miami

04 May 2021

More Royal Caribbean crew members are getting vaccinated so they can get back to work onboard.

Already two Royal Caribbean cruise ships have made stops in Miami to get some of their crew members Covid-19 vaccine shots, and two more are scheduled for today.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley shared photos of crew members stopping in for the vaccine.

So far, Explorer of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas have had some crew members get the vaccine, along with Celebrity Equinox.

Mr. Bayley posted on Facebook the importance of getting crew ready so cruises can begin again soon, "It is going to be extremely important our crew are vaccinated."

"We are working to help make this possible and have been assured vaccine availability will significantly improve in the coming weeks and months globally."

"I encourage all crew to get vaccinated at home if possible and to be guided by their national health authority."

Photos shared by Michael Bayley

He even said that letters of employment "will be coming soon. Crewing is starting up".

Miami is one of at least three ports now welcoming cruise ships in so that its crew members can get vaccinated.

It was speculated, but never confirmed, that Odyssey of the Seas began getting its crew members vaccinated during a brief stop in Israel two weeks ago.

Photo by Omar Israel G S, Human Resources Specialist

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees approved an expansion to vaccine eligibility in Florida to include individuals who are in the state for purpose of providing good or services for the benefit of residents and visitors of Florida.

Not only does Royal Caribbean need to vaccinate crew members, but it needs to get more of them back onboard before any cruises can begin.

Mr. Bayley told one crew member on Facebook that Pfizer is the vaccine being distributed to crew.

Currently, most ships are running at minimal staffing levels in order to keep costs low while there are no cruises, but more crew members need to be brought back (and subsequently vaccinated) for a ship to truly be ready for cruises again.

Royal Caribbean said in February 2021 that it would staff its ships with vaccinated crew, and Mr. Bayley's comments encourage crew to get vaccinated at home if possible to speed up that process.

In addition, cruise ships can restart faster if at least 98% of the crew members are vaccinated, along with 95% of passengers.

Report: Royal Caribbean temporarily halts hiring new crew members from India

26 Apr 2021

The latest impact the global health crisis has had on the cruise industry is now hiring.

The amount of new coronavirus cases in India continues to climb, creating a major health emergency in the country. 

India's health ministry reported 352,991 more infections, taking the total past 17 million. A record 2,812 deaths were confirmed Monday, taking the total to 195,123 since the pandemic began.

India set a new record daily cases for a fourth straight day on Sunday.

A new report indicates Royal Caribbean has paused hiring crew members from India due to the rapid escalation of cases there.

The Crewcenter website shared the contents of a letter sent by Royal Caribbean that the company has decided to "temporary cancel all assignments for shipboard employees from India or people who reside in this country".

Royal Caribbean's letter to crew members reads as follows, "It’s always unfortunate when we must cancel assignments but we believe this is a prudent decision at this time. We know how much our crew look forward to returning to work after waiting for so long."

"We also understand how tough it can be to have to make last minute travel changes. It’s not the way that we want to operate, but it is the reality of the quick changes we need to make based on different reasons that are often unplanned and beyond our direct control."

"Those crew members who are currently at hotels pending joining a ship or are currently en route (already flying) will be notified and accommodation will be provided under quarantine guidelines till further notice. They will be kept informed by the HR ops team as needed."

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reached out to the Royal Caribbean Group for confirmation of the new policy, and a spokesperson indicated there has been a shift in hiring from India.

"We continue to monitor impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world including travel restrictions to and from areas with a high rate of cases."

"To ensure the continued health and safety of our crew, guests and the residents of the destination we visit, we are currently exercising extra caution in the movement of any crew from India to our ships due to the recent surge of COVID-19."

Royal Caribbean is in the midst of preparing a few of its cruise ships to restart sailings this summer, and getting crew members back onboard is a critical piece to resume sailings.

Royal Caribbean's cruise ships have been manned by skeleton crews during the industry shutdown, and any vessel that is going to offer sailings this summer would need to get back enough crew members to support the guests sailing.

Based on posts seen on social media, Royal Caribbean is in the process of hiring back at least some crew members to its ships. 

Many are in various phases of quarantine to prepare them to join the ship in a few weeks.

Five cruise ships are expected to restart sailings this summer outside of the United States, including Adventure, Vision, Odyssey, Anthem and Jewel of the Seas.

The top questions people want to know about crew members on a cruise ship

11 Mar 2021

There is something intriguing about the crew members that work on a cruise ship and what it's like to live and work on a cruise ship for months at a time.

Many cruisers are curious about what life is like for crew members onboard, as well as the nature of the lifestyle and daily routine for a crew member.

Just like everything, people will search the internet for answers to these questions, and I have assembled the top questions about crew members on a cruise that people are searching for on the internet.

Keep in mind that it is impossible to give an answer that encompasses all crew members' experience, just like doctors, mechanics, postal workers, teachers, and CEOs do not all make the same income, or work exactly the same way.

Do cruise ship employees get free food?

Yes, crew members receive free food for working onboard a ship, along with a cabin to sleep in (more on that later).

Similar to the guests, crew members have their own buffet style restaurant to get their meals from throughout the day.

Known as the crew mess, this restaurant offers prepared foods, ready-to-go foods, and ways to heat up food that crew members already have. There is seating provided as well in booths or tables.

Often there will be regional dishes from the crew members' home countries.

How many dining venues and where they are located, will vary from ship to ship.

Read moreTop 10 things you didn't know about what it's like working on a cruise ship

What are the highest paying jobs on a cruise ship?

Just like any job on land, how much someone makes doing their job will vary depending on a person's experience, what their employer is willing to pay, where they live, and other factors.

As you might imagine, the best paying jobs on a cruise ship are going to generally be held by the highest ranking crew members onboard: officers.

Just like a job on land, everyone's salary is not public information, so I have to rely on job recruiting websites for some insight.

According to BestHospitalityDegrees, the top five jobs on a cruise for salary are:

  1. Executive Chef
  2. Cruise Director
  3. Chief Purser
  4. Hotel Director
  5. Human Resources Manager

ZipRecruiter also notes that Cruise Ship Physician Assistant and Cruise Manager also rank well in terms of salary.

Do cruise employees hook up with passengers?

Despite what you may have seen on the television show, "The Love Boat", crew members are strictly prohibited from any kind of relationships with passengers onboard.

Royal Caribbean's cruise contract states guests are, "prohibited from engaging in physical relationships with crew members. Guests are not permitted in any restricted or crew area of the ship, including crew staterooms and corridors."

In fact, crew members are not allowed to go into passenger cabins unless there is an official reason.

Any crew member that is caught engaging in any kind of a personal relationship with a guest can be terminated immediately.

Do cruise ship employees get days off?

Crew members work very hard onboard, and their schedule is different than the 9-to-5 schedule many Americans think of when it comes to a work day.

Rather than getting full days off, crew members get large gaps in their schedule, but they work every day of their contract. This is because crew members work around the schedule of the cruise ship.

As an example, a stateroom attendant will work the morning to go through all of his/her cabins, and then take a few hours off in the afternoon, before returning for work in the evening.

Often crew members will disembark the ship while it is in port during the afternoon for a break to visit the port of call. Others may simple enjoy some downtime back in their cabin.

Read more8 cruise ship tips from a former employee

Do cruise ship employees share rooms?

Many crew members do share a room with another crew member, although it does depend on their rank or title.

The most common scenario is two crew members will share a cabin together, although on some ships larger cabins can accommodate a third crew member.

Crew cabins are basic and typically smaller than guest cabins, and offer the basics: bed, desk, closet, shelves, and a small bathroom.

Bunk beds seem to be the norm for crew cabins, as it maximizes the space available for them.

Officers, higher ranking crew members, and temporary crew may earn themselves a larger room, or even the opportunity to not share a cabin with someone else.

This may actually change somewhat once cruises begin again. One of the 74 recommendations of the Healthy Sail Panel is "Crew should be placed in single-occupancy crew cabins whenever possible to minimize extended periods of close contact with other crew members."

Do cruise ship employees pay room and board?

Cruise lines cover the cost of food and a place to stay for crew members working onboard.

On top of their pay, crew members on a ship can expect to receive a variety of benefits, such as:

  • Accommodations
  • Meals
  • Medical care

A contract ranges anywhere from three to approximately eight months, depending on the position. Most senior management roles have 4-month contracts while most of the rest of the positions have 6-8 month contracts. Employees live onboard for the total length of their contracts.

It looks like Royal Caribbean will vaccinate its crew members

11 Feb 2021

It appears Royal Caribbean will be the next cruise line that will vaccinate its crew members.

An email was sent to crew members to inform them that Royal Caribbean expects to vaccinate its crew once sailings restart.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog was able to confirm that emails had been sent to various crew members to inform them that vaccines would be required for them.

"So far, several vaccines have shown to be effective at preventing both mild and severe symptoms of COVID-19, and we intend to make them a key component of our healthy return to service," the email to crew members states.

"Therefore, we expect vaccinations will be required for our crew as part of our plan for your return to working on our ships."

The cruise line does not yet know how or when the vaccine would be distributed to crew members, as it may depend on the country of residence, the timing of the next contract and whether the crew is already on board or traveling. 

Royal Caribbean's decision to vaccinate its crew members follows Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. decision to do the same.

The email did not mention at all if guests would be required to get the vaccine.

The decision was originally reported by Crew-Center after they shared the contents of the email.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reached out to the Royal Caribbean Group for confirmation that crew members will indeed be vaccinated. They shared this statement.

"We have been working in collaboration with government authorities, medical professionals and experts to continue to develop our plan to keep our guests, crew and communities we visit safe. The new COVID-19 vaccines present a new opportunity to do just that. The vaccines are a way to build protection for everyone involved and we continue to look into all options that will assist in keeping people safe. "

Whether or not guests will have to be vaccinated is a decision that Royal Caribbean will look to the Healthy Sail Panel to make.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain shared a video update in January 2021 that a decision on that should be made "reasonably soon".

Mr. Fain's response put the decision on if requiring the vaccine is a good idea on the panel of experts so that the cruise line can make the best decision based on the panel's guidance.

"We have the experts and we'll let them guide us."

Reader opinions

RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers have already begun sharing their opinions on the crew being vaccinated on our message boards.

Twangster wrote, "No surprise really.  Personally I think they'll leave guest requirements to public health agencies but ultimately vaccines will be required."

"I can see many countries around the world establishing a vaccine requirement for international visitors.  Pick a popular ship destination.  If this vaccine requirement becomes real even for one stop of a cruise itinerary that will mean guests and crew are required to be vaccinated. "

Monctonguy thinks this is part of many changes the world will undergo, "Vaccine cards/passport will be the norm in the next couple years for flying, cruising, hotels stays concert events."

Top 10 things you didn't know about what it's like working on a cruise ship

20 Jan 2021

The crew members on a cruise ship are extremely hard working people that bring smiling faces to the services they provide, but working on a cruise ship is anything like a job on land.

Some crew members elect to work on cruise ships for many years, and repeat cruises often keep an eye out for their favorite bartender, Adventure Ocean staff member, or Guest Services officer so that they can say hello.  

In order to get a better idea of what it is like to be a crew member on a cruise ship, I reached out to some former crew members to get their thoughts on what many guests may not not know about working on a ship.

They really do work hard

While everyone knows that crew members are not on vacation, they put in a lot of time and effort to make the guest vacation amazing.

Ceri Jackson noted some guests overlook that fact and think crew are almost on a kind of "working vacation".

Hickdale James said simply, "Working on ship was damn hard but I must admit, I miss it sometimes."

With that, they make good money while not having to pay for food, rent or utilities.

Crew love to have a good time when not working

It is cliched to say "work hard, play hard", but it is very true of the crew too.

Alana Campbell added, "How hard they work is pretty well known.... but crew members generally party much harder than the guests."

Depending on the ship, different facilities were available to crew to unwind, but so-called "hall parties" would always work in a pinch.  These are parties when a few crew members in nearby rooms would open up their doors and hang out in the hall, similar to a neighborhood party on a street somewhere.

Long contracts means time away from home

Unlike a job on land, you don't get to go home to your family after your work is complete.

Working on a cruise ship means many months away from loved ones, and that can take a toll on some crew who are not prepared for it.

Radu Cosmin said, "This job is not for anyone. You must to have this in you... I'm away from home for 6 months."

Some guests plan cruises around crew members

The old saying, "good service is hard to find" may be why some people who book a Royal Caribbean cruise actually try to figure out which ship a certain crew member is on before booking it.

NJ Cole said there were times where guests would try to figure out where he was working, "I had a number of families that would make sure I was going to be on board when they were planning their cruises.

"And, there were even a few families/individuals that I went to visit when I was off the ship and some who came to visit me."

Natalie King also enjoyed meeting guests who later became friends, "I have also meet some really nice guests whom I am friends with on Facebook. I even meet a few persons born in my country but living somewhere else."

Read more8 cruise ship tips from a former employee

They really do live onboard

There are some guests who are surprised to hear the crew members live onboard the ship.

Evidently there are some guests who think perhaps crew members come and go somehow on and off the ship, perhaps through the different ports the ship visits.

Natalie King said she had to routinely confirm to guests, "we actually live onboard".

As mentioned earlier, crew contracts range in duration, but they are all many months and that time is spent living on a ship.

Crew do not eat the same food as guests

Many people who go on a cruise think the crew are eating the same food as passengers, but it is not the case.

Crew members have separate dining rooms with less glamorous cuisine.

Certain crew members are allowed to dine in guest specialty restaurants during their time off, such as officers or performers.

They love the travel opportunities

I asked these former crew members what loved the most about working on a ship, and many responded the opportunity to see the world is something they really enjoyed, and still miss today.

Pippa Madden said the travel working on a cruise ship affords you is something she misses a lot.

NJ Cole added, "Life on land does not remotely compare to life on ships."

Licinia Ferreira commented, "We earn very good money and have no expenses. Travel for free, meet different countries and people! I didn't regret leaving after 10 years, but sometimes I miss it."

Read moreWhat happens to the crew members onboard during the cruise suspension?

Crew members don't usually get full days off

Unlike working on land, where you get a day or two off here and there, crew members have longer work days that are broken up with breaks.

Ian Forbes noted crew members do not get full days off, but instead get a few hours break here and there. This is to work around the daily schedule of the ship.

While it sounds bad to say there are not full days off, the crew do get regular breaks throughout the day. Many crew members will even go as far as to get off the ship and explore a port for a bit during one of these long breaks.

Crew are forbidden from having relationships with guests

Certainly crew members and some guests form friendships, but crew are absolutely not allowed to take their relationships with guests to anything beyond friendly.

Cruise lines prohibit crew from engaging in any kind of personal relationship with guests, and if discovered, is grounds for immediate termination.

The rationale of this rule is mostly centered around ship security and avoiding workplace problems of any kind.

While the crew are usually very friendly, do not assume their intentions are anything more than platonic.

Read moreThe top crew members to find if you have a problem onboard your cruise

Even crew get seasick

You may think getting seasick is something that only happens to first time cruisers, but it can happen to just about anyone, including crew.

Crew members told stories of instances where on their first few weeks at sea it would unfortunately happen to them.

Alissa recalled her first run on a cruise ship, "When I first started working on ships, I would get seasick all the time and trust me, I've tried every remedy — ginger, green apples, wrist bands, ice. It is something you definitely get used to though, and now, I rarely deal with seasickness unless the water is particularly rough."

Kate added, "I remember laying in the fitness studio on a mat for an afternoon. I kept some ginger snacks around to help out."

Royal Caribbean CEO warns crew members of e-mail scam

19 Oct 2020

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley took to social media on Monday to warn crew members not to fall for an email scam going around that targets private information.

Mr. Bayley posted on Facebook the warning that scammers are trying to get crew members to fill out information in order to get crew member's personal information.

Furthermore, Mr. Bayley emphasized crew not to click the links, and that all information will be shared via the Royal Caribbean employee portal.

"We will never ask you for your personal information via e-mail," he warned.

The scam email even went to the length of copying Royal Caribbean email letterhead and Mr. Bayley's email signature in order to convince employees it is legitimate.

Phishing scams not uncommon

Unfortunately, scammers using emails that look like the real thing are an all-too-common hack that works equally as well as it is prevalent.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that people lost $57 million to phishing schemes in one year.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says the scammers are trying to steal someone's passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers.

Phishing emails like this one are designed to look like they are from a company you know or trust.

Carnival hit hard by similar hack

While this scam seems to target personal information, Carnival Cruise Lines was recently the victim of a similar attack, where ransomware ended up stealing personal information about the cruise company’s guests and employees.

The attack accessed an encrypted portion of technology systems for one of the cruise line's brands and certain data files were downloaded, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

While Carnival did not divulge how the hackers were able to install the ransomware, quite often legitimate looking emails targeted to employees are the preferred vector of attack.

7 hints & updates from Royal Caribbean on what's next

14 Oct 2020

Six Royal Caribbean executives answered questions from travel agents during a webinar on Wednesday that touched upon a number of changes, initiatives and plans for the future.

The potpourri of questions were on the topics of new ports, crew members, cruises restating and so much more, which provided some insight into questions many cruise fans have had for a while.

Some of these answers were hints, and others gave good indications of what to expect.

When will the 2022-2023 cruises be released?

Many cruise fans want to know when the new set of itineraries will be released for 2022 and 2023.

Royal Caribbean Director of Revenue Strategy, Brittany Briggs, said that typically new itineraries are released in November and December, and others in the spring.

"I don't expect that will be too much from that this year. So I would stay on the lookout for something and some communications next month on our opening."

When will the new cruise terminal in Galveston open?

We all know that the new cruise terminal in Galveston, Texas that will be able to accommodate an Oasis Class size cruise ship is delayed by a year, but is the terminal still on track for completion?

 Josh Carroll, Royal Caribbean's Vice President, Port Development, confirmed it will be opening in 2022.

"We were on target to have that terminal up and running in 2021, due to COVID that has been delayed and will now be opening the following year in 2022. So we're very excited to bring Oasis class to Galveston and that's on track."

When will Royal Caribbean cruise on the west coast of the United States?

Perhaps the longest running constant question among cruise fans is when will Royal Caribbean return to the west coast for cruises.

The exact question posed was about cruise ships visiting ports in Western Mexico, but the answer gave us a glimmer of hope that we might be closer to cruises returning to the west coast than we might have thought.

Mr. Carroll said the growth of cruises in Alaska will offer Royal Caribbean the opportunity to sail from the West Coast when the Alaska cruise season is complete, and it sounds like sooner than we think.

'We are always evaluating different homeport options, as you can see, we're growing dramatically in Alaska, which in Alaska is only a summer product. So we're looking at a number of different options for the winter."

"And we think that pretty soon we may have something exciting to announce."

Will Royal Caribbean add any new ports to visit in the Caribbean?

Many cruise fans are eager for new ports of call to visit to help spice up the choices, and it sounds like more itineraries are on the horizon.

Mr. Carroll said more ports are coming, including stops at Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic as part of the 2022-2023 deployment schedule for Oasis Class ships.

"You'll also see us start going to places more that we don't necessarily visit often today as we partner with those government and port operators to expand the infrastructure and guest experience capabilities,"  Mr. Carroll explained.

"I saw a question come through, for example, on Grand Turk, and we are looking in the Turks and Caicos and have some some opportunities there as well to be able to add those to our itineraries."

Will the Future Cruise Credit expiration dates be extended?

As of June 30, 2020, Royal Caribbean Group reported they had approximately $1.8 billion in customer deposits, which means there is a lot of future cruise credits floating around.

Every future cruise credit has an expiration date associated with it, and the question was asked if those FCCs would be extended.

Ms. Briggs said there are no plans right now to extend FCCs, "At this time we don't have any intention of extending the global suspension or Cruise with Confidence FCCs."

"However, any other FCC that's not related to those that have either already expired or they are expected to expire by the end of this year, we are extending those through March 31st of 2021."

"So you can book by March 31st 2021 for any sailing that is open through April of 2022."

How long to train returning crew members for cruises to restart?

With regards to cruises restarting, how long will it take to train crew members so that they can get up to speed on the new regulations and policies.

Mark Tamis, Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, said there are already crew members in the training phase, especially as it relates to cruises from Singapore on Quantum of the Seas.

Mr. Tamis explained how the digital training works, "We really digitize a lot of our training. So the crew, whether they're at home or on the ship in their own time, can get the training on their own handheld device."

"We have all these training modules that are being delivered to our crew right now. So they're already getting up to speed about how they'll be bringing to life all the new protocols."

What was the original name of Perfect Day at CocoCay?

This was not asked specifically, but Mr. Tamis mentioned while answering a call about the success of Perfect Day at CocoCay that the island makeover had a very different name.

"I joined the brand maybe a week after Michael [Bayley] did when he moved over from Celebrity, I think the first conversation we had was about, and this is inside baseball information, was originally called Adventure World."

Could crew members returning be a sign Royal Caribbean is serious about cruises restarting?

10 Oct 2020

If cruise fans are looking for an indication that cruises might be resuming, the return of crew members is a good sign.

With Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines hinting at the possibility of cruises restarting before the end of the year, crew rehirings could be a sign of what is coming next.

CNBC's Seema Mody reported cruise operators are in the process of "bringing back a lot of their crew that were sent overseas" so that there is staff available to set sail if the CDC allows cruise lines to resume sailings.

All over social media, there have been postings by crew members that they are hearing from colleagues of being hired back, or even evidence they have been rehired. As with any social media posts, it is important take these claims with a grain of salt, but every day there seems to be more evidence of crew reporting they are going back.

One such post provided detailed instructions for other crew members on what to expect when they report back for duty, and the many quarantine and testing procedures they will need to follow.

In addition, crew hiring opportunities are even popping up online that could possibly indicate that the cruise line is serious restart plans.

Royal Caribbean does not usually announce crew movements or hirings, but there seems to be a lot of ancillary evidence that a general strategy is in place.

The game plan for cruises to restart

Royal Caribbean has been very transparent about how it sees cruises restarting in the United States.

The basic plan is to have a few test cruises that involve crew members and Royal Caribbean employees only that can simulate a real cruise in order to gauge the effectiveness of all their new policies.

Following those test sailings, short cruises to a private destination only would be offered. If all goes well, Royal Caribbean could then start adding back longer sailings.

This game plan follows the recommendations of the Healthy Sail Panel, as well as what cruise line executives have said over the last few weeks.

As it relates to hiring back crew, Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said recently that they will need crew back in order to start up the test sailings.

"We propose to start slowly by training our crew and embarking on a series of non-revenue test sailings, where we can rehearse and we can validate the new protocols."

Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are currently at minimum manning, so in order for any test sailings to occur, they need crew back to simulate as closely as possible real-world scenarios.

The top crew members to find if you have a problem onboard your cruise

15 Aug 2020

While you will likely have a great time on a cruise without running into any problems, occasionally something happens that needs attention of someone who can quickly remedy the issue.

Just like when at a resort, casino or theme park on land, cruise ship guests can sometimes run into a problem.  Rather than just chalking it up to bad luck, you can (and should) let Royal Caribbean know about the problem to get it rectified. 

You should start with the front-line crew member you have easy access to first, but if things are not moving, then it may be time to escalate.The key is knowing who to contact onboard to get things solved, so here are some important people you can reach out to during the cruise for results.

Head Waiter

When you are in the dining rooms, the woman or man who can make special requests happen is the head waiter (sometimes known as the Maître D). 

Your waiter can handle most requests, so be sure to start with him or her, but if it requires special coordination between the dining room staff, galley or even other departments, the head waiter can step in and assist.

Often the head waiter will visit your table during the meal to introduce themselves, but you can always ask your waiter to speak to the head waiter to address other issues.

Suite Concierge

If you are staying in a suite stateroom, you absolutely want to get to know the concierge early during your cruise.

It is the job of the suite concierge to make sure everything is going well, and they are the problem solver for suite guests.

Part guest relations, part dining guide, and part event coordinator, the concierge is empowered to do a lot, especially when problems arise. In a lot of cases, the concierge may have inside information on changes occurring onboard and know exactly who to reach out to about most situations.

The suite concierge will have regular hours they are available in the Suite Lounge, so be sure to stop in and say hello on the first day to not only meet them, but get a copy of their schedule.

Hotel Director

The hotel operations is a massive component to a cruise ship, and at the top of the chain is the hotel director.

A cruise ship hotel director is in charge of all aspects of the hotel-type operations, including everything related to your cabin and housekeeping.

The reason to reach out to the hotel director is for something your stateroom attendant cannot easily handle, such as mechanical issues that are not resolved quick enough or even issues with other guests.

While you want to start off with your stateroom attendant for nearly every issue, if a problem lingers or the resolution is not up to your liking, be sure to reach out to the hotel director.

You can always call down to Guest Services to get the extension of the hotel director and quickly get in touch with him or her.

Cruise Director

You might wonder why you would need to get a hold of the cruise director, but if you are anything like me, you do not want to miss out on any of the fun activities onboard.

The Cruise Director manages the activity and sports staff onboard, and she or he are the person that can answer questions about scheduling, as well as who to talk to about special requests.

With so many things to do on a cruise, it is easy to miss out on something. It is a good idea to speak to the cruise director if an activity is not running well, or if you want to inquire about an event you had on another cruise.  Heck, if your group wants a space to do an activity, the cruise director may be able to assist in getting space for you.

Guest Services

When in doubt, the catch-all is to contact Guest Services for any issues you run into.

You would be surprised how many issues Guest Services can directly assist with, but if they cannot, they will put you in contact with someone who can.

Do not hesitate to reach out, even just to ask if what you are seeing is a problem or not. Don't be shy that you are asking a "dumb question" or are being a bother. They are there to help, and odds are they have seen it all by this point.

Guest Services is your go-to call during late or early hours, when other crew members may otherwise be unavailable.

Don't forget your travel agent

If you think the job of a travel agent ends once you get on the cruise ship, you are very mistaken.

Travel agents can be a great resource while you are on a cruise to answer questions, especially if you are seeing a discrepency between what you expect and what the crew onboard are telling you.

Missing onboard credits, stateroom assignment information, gratuities and more are problems your travel agent can address with the shoreside team while you enjoy your cruise.

A quick email to your travel agent to clarify something is a great tool to keep in your back pocket if the need arises.

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