had roadblocks including students’ limited access to the internet; inability to pay for medical testing or travel to ships; and not having an approved medical facility to conduct our testing – so we worked closely with the local government and Monroe College to overcome the barriers, and as a result over two quarters increased the number of Saint Lucians on board our ships by 50 percent. We know there can be ways we can work together to achieve this common goal. Can you explain the potential career path for crew and how to get in more senior roles? AA As Michael mentioned, we have three generations of family members that have been with us, and we have people who retire from Royal Caribbean and start their own successful business in their home country with the skills that they gained with us. When we’re looking for people to join us, what we see a lot is entry level positions such as cleaners, galley, assistant waiters – roles where people can join us and have the ability to learn the skills
onboard our ships and advance with us. A number of years ago, we developed a comprehensive training program to teach our crew members about jobs they might be interested in before actually getting in the position. There are also opportunities for skilled professionals, specifically in managerial roles like hotel operations and marine, and interestingly enough nine percent of our shipboard managerial roles are held by crew members from the Caribbean – so we know when we hire Caribbean crew members, they stay with us longer and advance to these managerial positions, which is what we’re looking to do more of in the future. We also have international partnerships with maritime universities, including scholarships that hire them into the cadet program when they graduate, and there are always opportunities for training and advancement. Why are you looking to increase Caribbean hiring? MB When our guests book a cruise for the
Caribbean, they want to experience the culture and connect with people who are from the Caribbean, which enhances their enjoyment and creates memories. After all, we are Royal Caribbean, and our whole vibe is Caribbean. We have a calypso band on every one of our ships, even in China. It’s kind of our DNA, and being Royal Caribbean, having more Caribbean crew would be fantastic. What’s the game plan moving forward? MB I think we should talk more together. Countries, destinations that are interested in developing a stronger connection for employment should think about it individually as groups. I’d suggest two things: 1. Reach out to Russel Benford, Vice President Government Relations, Americas of Royal Caribbean Group, and start talking how to move forward, and 2. If people are interested, let FCCA know so we can come together to talk it through and see what we can develop for the future as a community.
THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 13