Leadership Blog

Posted By: Eva Grabner | on December 13 2016

‘Tis the season!

Oh Christmas, here you are again, highlighting that we are at the end of yet another year.  Another year older, wiser and busier (we hope!).  As we will all be inundated with Christmas blogs, many about office parties, I decided instead to tell you a bit about Christmas and New Year when you’re in the hospitality industry.

It’s easy to forget the hundreds of people who voluntarily work through the holidays and don’t get to spend it with family.  I have no idea how I did it for so long because now, as a mother, I need to be with family at this time of the year.  However, when you are young and you love hospitality, it’s what you do.  And no, you don’t do it for the money!

For those of you not in the ‘know’, hospitality Christmas parties happen usually in January.  Yes, January.  When it’s all over and no one feels even slightly Christmassy.  Most of us are well done with Christmas by then, but typical hospitality workers, we could party like its 1999 no matter the occasion!

But let me tell you about Christmas on cruise ships. No matter whether you were cruising or working, everyone was in the same boat (forgive the pun!) and the atmosphere was always festive.  Since the majority of our cruisers were from the US and being a US based company we had to say “Happy Holidays” just so we covered as many beliefs as possible.  There were always the grinches who loved to come to Guest Relations and complain that there were “too many decorations”, “too much Christmas music” and even one year we had a guest complain that Santa was on board!

One of my funniest and most favourite memories is when Santa came onboard in a tender (lifeboat), climbed onboard and walked through the centre of the ship with his bag of goodies.  Santa lovers young and old would line up for the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and receive their present.  The faces of the children were magical and what really makes Christmas so special, but the face on Santa when an 86 year old widower with too many eggnogs under her belt decided she wanted to sit on Santa’s lap too, was absolutely priceless!

As crew it was business as usual and we worked hard to ensure our guests had the most memorable and enjoyable Christmas ever, no matter their beliefs around Christmas.  We always found the time to have a few celebratory drinks and the chefs always put on a good feed for us.  It was always hard being away from family but our family consisted of our fellow crewmembers some of which I still consider family to this day.

The one thing I struggled with (and still do) is celebrating Christmas in the heat.  Christmas is supposed to be cold and snowy, not hot and sweaty!  So one year, my good Austrian friend Sascha and I decided we didn’t want to get off the ship in Jamaica so we sat in our cabin, heated up some Glühwein, turned down the a/c, put on our sweaters and celebrated Christmas in the cold!

To everyone working on Christmas day, whether it is in hospitality or any other service industry, we salute and thank you for your hard work, dedication and love for what you do because you sacrifice more than any of us.  I hope you celebrate somehow, no matter how big or small and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I’m off to the snow this year and will post some envious photos on my Facebook page to make you all jealous!

Frohe Weihnachten!

Eva Grabner
Managing Director
Elite Executive Pty Ltd
0409 59 11 88

Ship Photo

Back in the day with my best friends Andrea and Sascha!  🙂

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