I started my sea based career as a Training & Development Manager, this role was essentially the second in command position for the shipboard HR department. After serving as T&D Manager onboard the Serenade and then Grandeur of the Seas I was looking forward to returning to the Serenade for my second contract.
Early September 2015 and then suddenly, BOOM. My shoreside boss contacted me and offered me a permanent T&D spot on the largest cruise ship in the world! the Allure of the Seas. I asked her if this was something that people turn down… “You don’t turn down the Allure…” I was told. September 19th I arrived in Civitevechia Italy to start my new role on the worlds largest cruise ship.
To go from a ship of 74,000 tons to the Allure at 225,000 tons was at first overwhelming. I had previously been responsible for the training and development of 835 crew members and now was on a ship with 2200, my previous ship only carried 2000 guests! The Allure would be home to around 6500 guests. We often refer to the Allure (as part of the Oasis class) as a different company within the company and it is true. The way we operate this class of ships is very different than their smaller cousins.
I had to adjust to the faster pace and higher volume, the number of classes to teach was quadruple and the interview process that we carried out for onboard employees was immense. Previously on the smaller ships if I was interview bartender candidates I might have 4, on the Allure, it is not uncommon to have up to 50 candidates requiring computer based assessments and interviews.
In early October, with the encouragement of my shipboard HR Manager I took the daring step of applying for the position of HR Manager. A huge step up, this executive position is responsible for the entire HR operation onboard the ship. Then, only two weeks later I learned that my role as T&D Manager was being reorganized and that after November 15th would no longer exist. But! the company was introducing a new elevated position of Learning & Development Consultant. Despite my short time with the company I was one of a select few selected from the T&D ranks to move up to this new position in L&D.
The best way I can summarize what an L&D does is to say “my dream job” coach, mentor, leadership development, organizational development. The L&D role is the “fun” side of HR. I was thrilled. Fast forward to January 2016 and there I am with all my new L&D colleagues in Miami for our kick off conference. In Miami my application for HR Manager came up and essentially was still in process. Due to our rapid growth the application process was taking a bit longer than usual. In fact, I did not have my HR Manager interview until March.
I signed off the Allure in April and was focused on enjoying my time off and preparing for my next contract back on the Allure as an L&D Consultant. Then, on May 9th I was offered the position of HR Manager aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas! I would be returning to the Allure for 1 week to prep my replacement then joining my new ship on May 23rd. So here I am, in in seat 38C on the second leg of my journey. I started off this morning in Cozumel Mexico flew to Houston Texas and am now on my way to Frankfurt Germany, final destination? Venice Italy. I am excited to return to a smaller ship, they tend to be more intimate, more nautical and I cannot argue with the amazing itinerary (Italy, the Greek isles, Croatia, Montenegro and Turkey).
As I have said to many of my friends and co workers, if you told me in March 2015 that in May 2016 I would be an HR Manager I would not have believed you. Our corporate HR mission statement is “We make our employees dreams come true so that they can make our guests dream vacation a reality”. So far, my dreams have been well exceeded and I cannot be more excited for what the future has in store.
Dream big, and never stop chasing your goals.