I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the cruise. I knew it would be nicer then an average Russian cruise, but our experience went above and beyond our expectations. The food was fantastic, the service fabulous, the tours interesting. Having lived in St. Petersburg for the last two years, we were just looking for an interesting way to see Kizhi, the Golden Ring and Moscow. Instead, we had one of the best weeks here in Russia.
United States - Russia
Navigate a passenger ship is a very responsible task. Safety and tranquility of all our guests and crew members highly depend on the accuracy of my actions. My job is to make a sailing as smooth and safe as possible. I always need to have my finger on the pulse to avoid any dangerous situations.
Each sailing is another challenge. The weather in Russia is very unpredictable - storms, rainfalls, fog, dark nights - all these natural phenomena may influence a sailing badly. Sometimes it means that we have to miss some ports of call as we can’t visit them in time due to the bed natural conditions. In such cases my primary duty is to assess all our risks, and if there is at least 1% that the further sailing may be dangerous, I always decide in favour of the safety.
Fortunately, such situations are exceptions to the rules, and the absolute majority of our cruises pass off without a hitch. When all our guests are happy I feel that I’ve done my job well. Your good mood and satisfaction of the trip is my greatest reward.
I love working with people. Every cruise we have guests from different countries all over the world. Every each of them is unique and has his or her own story. It enriches and expands my view of people and countries. I love all the activities that I’m responsible for, especially teaching our guests the Russian language. I’m so proud when I hear them saying Russian words and phrases to our crew members. I just can’t hold my smile!
Of course not always everything went so smoothly. At the very beginning of my career I tried to do my best, but failed sometimes. I still remember one funny case that happened during my first year in navigation. I was responsible for all the concerts on board our cruise ship. We had English- and German-speaking groups and I conducted the concerts together with my German-speaking colleague. At the concert I made introductions for every song in English and my colleague said the same in German. Every concert was a great success for us and I was very proud of myself.
But one evening something got wrong with one of the musical instruments during the concert and a big pause occurred. To fill that pause my colleague started telling something about the next piece. She was talking 2-3 minutes in German, and I couldn’t understand a word of it. When my turn came, she passed me the microphone and our English-speaking guests turned to me to hear the same story in English, and all I could say firm and loud was - "Polka!". They all burst out laughing and I was standing there smiling and blushing. You can imagine how embarrassed I was! Nevertheless, after the concert many guests came up to me to thank me for the concert trying to cheer me up.
It was a huge experience, but we all learn from our mistakes. And now I understand that even if you have no idea what to do - the best thing is not to lose your sense of humor and optimism. As a Cruise Director I need to be 24/7 on duty. Sometimes it's not very easy, but when I see the smiles and gratefulness of our guests, it always picks me up and I set to work with renewed energy!
I really enjoy each and every moment of my job, doesn’t matter how difficult it can be sometimes. Everything is very interesting for me, I learn so much from our guests, as they come from all over the world. I feel very happy when some of our customers come back to us as they become the part of our big family!
I am perfectionist by nature and my goal is to please our guests 100%. When I can’t do it due to some circumstances, I feel very uncomfortable and can’t stop thinking about what could I do to influence this or that situation. That is why I prefer to do my best to make each guest happy.
This job has shown me how wonderful and unpredictable our life can be. For example, I witnessed a true sign of destiny when 4 travellers from Australia who didn't see each other for several years and didn’t plan this trip together met each other on board the MS Volga Dream.
I really love my job. Of course sometimes I need to cope with different unforeseen situations, for example, when 3 groups of guests ask for a reservation for the same table. But I can’t say that there are any serious difficulties in my job.
I always try to become a good friend for each passenger, and they always pay me back. Their sense of humor, friendliness and broad knowledge turn my job into a great delight. Every sailing is a wonderful adventure, as it brings me a lot of pleasant memories and surprises. Once I was talking to our guest from Panama who asked me where I am from. When I told him that I’m from Macedonia, he started singing a very old Macedonian folk song! I could hardly believe my ears, it was such a pleasure!
Undoubtedly, meeting new people every week is the most interesting part of being a maitre d'hotel. I like talking to them about where they are coming from, about their culture, traditions… That’s how I learn more and more about other countries, and that’s what makes me feel that I’m in the right place.
At first it wasn't very easy to deal with all kitchen issues - calculate and order products, run the work of kitchen staff, and take care of every aspect of the cooking process. But I really enjoy my job.
It's always a great pleasure for me to come up with new ideas for our menu. I want all our guests to taste the most delicious dishes I can only prepare and evaluate traditional Russian cuisine according to its merit.
I consider the whole process from menu composition to course decoration as a small culinary adventure. And when the final result is "excellent", I understand that all our efforts were for a good reason.