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15 oktober 2015
It’s my grandma’s birthday today! She’s celebrated this yesterday with family and friends, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to come, because we were in Basel this weekend. But I did give her a present, two sparkling sticks (the kind you use for New Year’s Eve) in the form of a 9 and a 2. Small ones that would fit on a cake or a plant in this case! She liked it very much!
So last Saturday we said goodbye to the big group of 128 guests again. The week went pretty well, but of course we’ve had our “weird things”. This time there was a lady who had a glutenfree diet, which in itself is no big deal, but this lady literally send back every dish they gave her! Up to the point where the husband even got embarrassed by her! Chef and Maitre were not very happy with her I can tell you that! Especially because this lady with her glutenfree diet did ask for pretzels in the bar every night….huh?? Isn’t that a big no no for someone with a glutenfree diet??
Anyway, before the cruise started we got an email from a daughter of a couple staying with us last week. She asked us if we could help her give a big Thank You to her parents. I checked with the Chef and our Pastry chef made 2 plates and wrote Thank You on them in chocolate and decorated the plates with chocolate, making leaves and flowers on them, to give them with their dessert. It worked, the couple was very surprised and very moved by this gesture, they even took the plates up to their room! The Maitre said that he was almost crying down there with them!
Last Thursday I was able to go to the city center of Strasbourg. In all this time we have done this trip, I have never been there. This time the CRD offered a bustransfer to the city so I asked if it was okay for me to go too.
No problem, so I got on the bus and he dropped us off at the Place de la Republique. This is a big park-like square, with grass, flowers, trees and benches. Then there was also a big statue of a mother holding two sons, one was facing France and the other was facing Germany. This was a war memorial to commemorate all the people that have fallen in wars that France and Germany were involved in.
Then I headed into the city. Which was ok until I got to a square with a huge tram station, it was big and noisy, so I left very quickly. Then I walked to the Kleber square, which had a statue of Kleber, a huge fountain and a bookstore, where of course this being France, didn’t sell any English books! Then I found myself on the Gutenberg square with a statue of Gutenberg and a carrousel. I love carrousels and this one was pretty interesting, because it had a double layer. Never seen that before!
And then I ended up in the Cathedral, amazingly enough also called the Notre Dame….people actually confuse this one with the one in Paris!
It only had one spire, I don’t know why, either because they never finished it or because it had been destroyed and never rebuild. Inside there was a teacher singing with her class….too bad!!! I should have walked out right away, but the Astronomical clock they have in the cathedral was very interesting to see. And of course I had to light a candle for my family and friends!
Other than that I didn’t like the city at all!! It had the same atmosphere as Mannheim has, just dirty and filled with creepy people! Even though the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, it just didn’t appeal to me at all. But then I could have gotten a taste of it already from the part where we are docked every time we go there.
Remember in my last story I told you about me writing an application letter for an HR job in Cyprus. Well, it took a while before that whole thing was out the door! Christian wanted me to change something every time I asked him to take a look at it! But he send it out on Wednesday and then Thursday morning they already called me from the office to talk to me about my application!!! (Yes the very day I went to the city of Strasbourg in the afternoon!)
Christian let me borrow his office where we had just a short talk about the job and my application, they wanted to make sure that I realized I would have to move to Limassol, Cyprus for this…and I had to speak a little German, which didn’t go all too well. I have had German lessons in school, even took and passed an exam in it, but it has been a while and I’m not speaking German every day…still trying to get through my German book at the moment!!
Anyway, we agreed that I would let them know a convenient time for them to call me again and we would have a longer conversation.
Wednesday October 7th 2015
And that day was today!!
I had written them an email that today would be the best day, because Csilla had her half day off, after 9am we would be sailing through the Rhine Gorge, where people would listen to the narration done by the Cruise director, so it wouldn’t be too busy. Plus I wasn’t supposed to tell anything to other crew members yet and to find a place to be alone on a ship is a hard thing to do.
If they see me in Christian’s office for a long time, of course everyone is going to wonder what I was doing in there!
So I asked them to call me around 9:30am, we would be sailing, all would be quiet. In the answer I got from them, they told me that they would call me around 8:30am their time. Then around 7:30am the phone rang and it was the HR office! So I asked them if we weren’t supposed to be talking at least 2 hours later for me and that they would call me around 8:30am their time.
Turned out that it was already 8:30am their time, but that it was an hour earlier instead of later for us…So I checked with Christian if it was alright to have the conversation now and it was fine with him!
So I was in the office for about an hour, talking about the company, the job, salary and so on. The company has about 15 people working for them at the moment, next year they will have 40 ships in their database. They want to add two more people to their team who can take over the transfers of all the crew of all of the ships, so the other HR officers can concentrate on interviewing and hiring new crew members.
They have a real estate agency that can help me find an apartment in Limassol. Which I think will be furnished, because I don’t want to bring my own stuff! Not for the first 3 months anyway.
At the end of the conversation we agreed that we would all think about it, there was a lot of information to process and that they would call me again on my cellphone next Friday between 12 and 2 pm. They had more interviews for the rest of the week, so they would decide if they would want to invite me to come to Limassol for a couple of days, to meet the team and see what Limassol is like.
When I finally came out of the office, both Christian and a corporate from Fleetpro were standing at the desk keeping their fingers crossed for me!
Because the day before I had my end of season evaluation, with Christian and the corporate. It went very well if I may say so! Christian was very happy with me as his Senior Receptionist and he thinks I would do well as a Hotel Manager also, he has already started giving me some training for this purpose! It was a great evaluation and the corporate agreed!
Since I had already applied for the HR job, we were going to wait and see what would come out of that, then in the beginning of next year they will decide if they want me to come back as a Hotel Manager.
It is all very exciting at the moment!!! Am I going to Limassol or will I stay on the ships and come back as a Hotel Manager?? Even so, will I be ready to be a Hotel Manager?? I’m not really worried about the administrational part, that’s what I’ve already been doing this season. Especially when you have a good Senior Receptionist, it will not be very hard. But as Hotel Manager I will be managing about 33 crewmembers, including 4 heads of departments…which of course will be a lot different from the 2 crewmembers I have now! But some things you can only learn while you’re doing it!
I went into Koblenz this afternoon, just walked around and I found some nice, but expensive little shops. Someone was practicing on an organ in one of the churches, which was really great!
Friday October 9th 2015
Last Monday I went with the guests on an excursion again, to Heidelberg this time! I had been there once before, when I took a guided tour through the castle ruins. This time I wanted some more time in the city, so I hopped on the bus that would take me directly there. There was a guide who would talk a little about the city, to make sure we knew where to meet up again and then he would set us free to roam.
We had docked in Mannheim that morning, because the water level was too low again to dock in Speyer. Which for the excursion is really good, because Mannheim is closer to Heidelberg then Speyer. Plus I really don’t like Mannheim, so it was great to be able to get away!
It was cloudy, but dry and later on we got a little bit of sunshine. Heidelberg has the longest shopping street in Germany, if not Europe. It was nice, I walked around, browsed some shops and looked in some of the churches they have there. And of course I looked up a lot, they have great buildings with statues and so on.
Later that afternoon I had some tea somewhere, with a little pastry of course. So I sat there drinking my tea and reading my book, which of course I bring everywhere!! When one of our guests saw me sitting there asked me I really came all the way down there to read a book, it must have been a really good one according to him…well it was actually, but I always bring a book everywhere I go, you never know when you have some time to read!
Then around a quarter to 6 we drove back to the ship in Mannheim. Of course there was the guide again….I don’t know if it is just me, but what the hell is the deal with these people??? Especially the men, I’m sorry, but they all think they’re very funny and they just keep on talking!!! This guide actually started playing old songs from Paul Anca and actually the Lullaby song from Händel (or is it Brahms?), I mean come on, really??!!
Alright, they are hired by the company to make sure the cruise director doesn’t have to go with the guests, to make sure the guests see something of a city and to make sure they come back to the ship on time and then while they are making sure this happens it is nice to get some relevant information about the city we’re visiting. With the emphasis on relevant….
My god, I really think they need to get a refresher course of when it is time to speak and when it would be best to shut up! And then this music…ok I knew most if not all of these songs, but please…when people come back from a city, they want to talk to each other about what they’ve seen, done, what they had for lunch or something like that and then it would be nice if the guide would shut up long enough for people to be able to do this!!! Unbelievable!!!
Anyway, it was nice to be there again, it really is a nice city. Next time I will go there by myself, without any guides to bother me!!!
The closer we are getting to the end of the season, the more stupid our guests seem to be. Last week we had someone who had made a deal with himself that he would ask us at least 100 questions every day. Which he was pretty good at, because he asked one stupid thing after another. And on embarkation day this gentleman and his wife were complaining that we didn’t have any sheets on their matrasses…I think I’ve told you about this before, but for some reason people don’t understand that we have sheets with elastic in the corners, so it is easier to put and keep them around a matrass. Now I’m sure you all have seen these sheets before, I know I have seen them in the US on my travels, so I don’t understand why people don’t know about them. But no, he wouldn’t listen to our nighty who tried to explain, so she had to call the Housekeeper to help her out. Which meant that I was awake also, because we share a room…
Also we had a couple who had gotten one of those bags on the plane that contain a mask, earplugs and socks for the trip. They had two of them and used these as a doorstop for the bathroom door. Then one night she came up to complain that one of them was missing, housekeeping checked everywhere, but couldn’t find it. Then on the questionnaire they couldn’t give the crew a very good, because of this missing item, which shouldn’t happen to anyone…excuse me??? Over a bag you get from your airline??? I’m sure they have gotten 2 new bags when they took the plane back home! But actually implying that someone had stolen one, why??
And this week is really great!! We have a lady who is on her own in the 100 corridor and she has been coming up to see us every day to ask for a new key, because she can’t remember what she did with the last one. Completely lost!
Then we have a couple on board that are so called VIP’s, you know the ones that will bring us a group for the upcoming season. The first night they were in the Back Lounge with a group of people and they were pretty drunk. So drunk that the husband of this couple fell over and took a pretty heavy flowerpot down with him! So of course the nighty called the Housekeeper again to help clean up the mess he made. Fortunately the flowerpot wasn’t broken!
But of course it can be better! We have a couple of which the husband has to walk around with a walker and he uses the elevator to go to the different floors. No problem, just wish he wouldn’t slam the door into the wall every time he comes out of it! Then on Monday when we were in Mannheim, there was no other place for us to dock then next to a quay wall. Which meant that guests had to go up to the skydeck in order to reach the shore. In the afternoon was the excursion to Heidelberg, which they had wanted to do, but couldn’t because he couldn’t do stairs…. So they were really upset and angry, demanded their money back, because no one had told them about this! She said she wished her travel agent knew about it and that they would have known about it so they wouldn’t have come. In the US they had all kinds of adjustments for disabled people…Then they proceeded to tell other guests that we had held them locked up on the ship….
But wait it gets better…in Rudesheim on Tuesday people are always transported to the museum by mini train. The Crd had made at least 2 announcements that they were going to leave 15 minutes earlier than scheduled, because we managed to get there earlier. The lady comes up to the lobby around 2:30pm wondering where everybody is…So I call them a taxi and I call the Crd to let him know that they are coming. He told me that there were steps in the museum, so I told them, but they went there anyway. Not 10 minutes later they were back on the ship…they couldn’t go into the museum, because there were cobblestones in front of the museum and the walker didn’t work on cobblestones…later the Crd told me that they didn’t even come to the museum door! They got out of the taxi and went straight back in to go back to the ship!
But no wait, it still gets better!!! In Koblenz we are unfortunately also docked like we were in Mannheim, next to the quay wall. So also here the husband couldn’t get off of the ship, but the lady went out for a walk. Now in Koblenz between the ship and the quay is always a set of stairs, which are for sailors use only. Of course we put a rope at the top of the stairs so people don’t use that stairs to come down to the ship. Guess what???? Yes, she did, she actually did! Csilla was here and told me that she saw the lady coming down those stairs, then she was yelling that she wanted to come in, accusing Csilla of locking her out!!!!!
How stupid can a person be?? First of all, we never allow people to use those stairs, hence the rope at the top. Second, how did she leave the ship and why couldn’t she come back the same way?? Because also when she came down those stairs, the railing of the ship is closed, which Csilla had to open for her. She could’ve fallen between the ship and the quay and then where would we be??? It was really unbelievable! We didn’t get their questionnaires back at the end of the trip, but I’m sure they will be reporting something back to Avalon through their travel agent! Really, some people….
It’s almost pathetic if it wasn’t so damn funny!
This cruise we have a couple of which the husband has Huntington’s, which is sad. They had asked their travel agent for a room close to the lobby, because he has trouble walking. And they ended up at the end of the 300 corridor. Then they brought a motorized scooter, which I thought would be one of those big things, you know the kind my grandma had when she was alive. But this was one you could fold up flat, so that was good. But then someone had told them that they could use it on the ship, but due to safety reasons and the fact that we would like to keep the hallways nice and smooth, it is not allowed. We did have one of our suites empty, but the Crd didn’t offer it to them. So the poor man had to walk the hallway back and forth to get to the restaurant and the room and so on. We kept the scooter in the lobby to charge it and then whenever they went out on an excursion we helped them get it off of the ship. So it is what it is and they go out whenever they can, they appreciate the help and really enjoy what they are doing, so that is nice to see.
That’s it for now!
19 oktober 2015 01:59 | Door: Michelle