For me, a highlight of any cruise is getting to know the backstories of some of the crew members, who frequently come from lots of interesting places around the world. Often, if you're lucky, you'll find yourself aboard a floating mini-United Nations.
That was the case last week when Cruiseable was given a tour of Celebrity Infinity, whose crew members hail from 16 different countries. I got to sit down with Celebrity Infinity's hotel director, a stateroom attendant, a waiter, the food and beverage director and the head of housekeeping. Our Q&A’s touched on everything from a crew member with a saint's name to the popular onboard competition Dancing with the Officers. I also spent time on the bridge and did a short video interview with the ship's captain.
In this series:
- Part 1: Q&A: Stateroom attendant and head of housekeeping (below)
- Part 2: Q&A: Director of food & beverages and a Celebrity Infinity waiter
- Part 3: Video interview with the ship captain of Celebrity Infinity
- Part 4: Q&A: Hotel director of Celebrity Infinity
Q&A: Stateroom attendant
What's your name?
St. Elmore G. Moore, or St. Elmo for short.
There must be a story behind your name.
My mother, she has eight kids. She said she gave me this name because in the hospital there was something different when I arrived. I was so quiet, that even when the doctor tried to make me cry, I just kept smiling. She looked up and said, “Just call him St. Elmo.”
Where are you from?
St. Vincent in the eastern Caribbean.
What’s your job on the ship, and for how long?
I have been a stateroom attendant for the past six years now.
Why did you want to work on a cruise ship?
I have always had this dream about the ocean — it keeps pulling me. It was coming pretty often, and so one day I decided that I’m going to go to an agent and apply. He asks why. I say, I don’t know, I just feel that I need to go. He calls back two weeks later and said, “I may have something with Celebrity.” I was surprised it came up so fast. But I took it, and that was almost 15 years ago.
That’s pretty impressive. So, what’s the best thing about your job?
I love meeting people. Whenever I meet guests, it feels like heaven. It uplifts me like I can touch the sky. I know I can’t, but I’m going to try anyway.
In a typical day, how many rooms do you make up?
For me and my assistant, we have about 26 rooms. We start around 8 o’clock in the morning and finish around noontime.
Are you the guys who make up those little towel animals? Tell us about that tradition.
When you go and leave for your dinner, you come back and there is a little bunny on your bed, waiting. You didn’t expect that. It's very creative and makes the guests feel very happy. I had an experience one time, I made an elephant for a guest and she comes up to me crying. She said, “You don’t know how that makes me feel. At home, I have all different types of stuffed elephants and here you are making me one more.” She was literally shedding tears of happiness.
What other towel animals do you make?
Rabbits, monkeys, other surprises.
What's your favorite activity on board when you have some free time to yourself?
I like to watch movies or play pool.
Where do you like to go when the ship is in port?
If the ship is in the Caribbean, I like to go ashore and eat some local food. My food, so to speak. In Alaska, I like to go to KFC and have fried chicken.
Do you have a favorite port?
In Alaska, I like Juneau. You don’t have to walk too far, everything is right there.
Sounds like you like your job with Celebrity. What do you see yourself doing in five years?
In five years, I could see myself as the boss, as head of housekeeping. I really enjoy my job. It makes me feel good. It's my livelihood. There is a pride in everything we do in housekeeping.
So it’s not just a job to you.
I like to go above and beyond for guests so that they have a great time and so they'll come back to a Celebrity cruise.
Q&A: Head of housekeeping
What's your name?
Where are you from?
I’m from Ukraine.
How long have you been with Celebrity?
Almost six years. I joined in 2009 and since then, I never regretted a single day.
Tell us what you do.
I’m a ship housekeeper on this beautiful ship, and I’m in charge of staterooms on board, for all the public areas, all the pool areas, for the night shift to keep the ship maintained during the night for 2,539 guests at full capacity. That’s my kingdom downstairs.
What does that involve on a day-to-day basis?
Keep the ship clean, maintain company standards. Make sure the department is manned properly and that everybody has all the tools to work with and that they're happy. It involves a lot of things on a daily basis, you have to put the pieces together.
What attracted you to cruising?
I was a schoolteacher, and my father was a chief engineer on a ship. When my father retired, I asked him, do you miss it? And he said, "I miss the sea. I miss the ship. I miss people." I said, OK, maybe I should try, so I applied for a job with one company when I was 28, and I've been on cruise ships for almost 18 years.
What’s the best thing about working on a Celebrity ship?
Celebrity is unique. I know because I worked for four other companies. I hope I stay here. I love this company. They are very flexible with crew, they are very flexible with management. On board, you get to see the different people and different managers all as a family. When you come back, it doesn’t matter which ship you are assigned to. When you come on board, everybody is so helpful and supportive. So you feel this is your home away from home.
What about Celebrity Infinity specifically?
This is my second contract on Infinity, and I love everything about this ship. We are the No. 1 ship in South America and it’s a challenging itinerary. The team on board, that’s what makes a difference. You wake up in the morning and you want to do it again.
Do you have any favorite ports?
I love Alaska. And Norway is one of my favorite places. I like fjords.
What's your favorite activity on board in your free time?
With my friends, after we finish work, we can play ping pong, watch movies, we can just go to the parties together. In ports, we try to get out together and just enjoy some views. We go on tours sometimes. It makes for a nice memory.
Are you allowed to interact socially with passengers?
All the officers, we participate in activities. For instance, I take part in the Dancing with the Officers competition, every cruise. It's very exciting, usually 10-12 officers dancing with the guests and everyone is very happy. It is something crazy you will never see anywhere else.