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Central America Caribbean » Curaçao
January 28th 2014
Published: January 31st 2014
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Our group meets at 10:30 and we're heading to the stage area, meeting with the Technical Manager, Eric, and two of the performers. The explain the process for getting a gig on board. I was surprised that HAL has it's own agency, Stiletto, and they do the hiring of the core performers. I was also surprised that these folks also have contracts and can be aboard for months. From the dressing room to the garbage disposal area is quite a transition. W meet the Chief Environmental Officer. Everything is either recycled and disposed of on shore or, in the case of food waste, it is ground until it is a liquid and shot into the sea through a tube, like a torpedo. Everything they do is under the auspicious of the EPA and they are monitored often and throughly.

We visit the Laundry where tailors are working on Officers uniforms, all custom made on board. Crew uniforms are provided by HAL and these change depending on the job, and if the staff is doing something special like a Panamanian Buffet. We visit the giant washers and dryers. No one forgets to clean the lint filters. Everyone is conscious of fire risk. The lint is collected and incinerated. Giant mangles press the flat pieces but some items still need to be ironed by hand. There was a neat machine that pressed pants using forced hot steam. We saw where our laundry is received, tagged, inspected for damage, all before entering the process.

Now we head to the food preparation and storage area. Our guide is the Culinary Officer and he proudly showed off his domaine. First is the bakery. Ninety-nine percent of the breads, rolls, muffins, cookies, pastry, and other baked goods are made from scratch. We enter the meat freezer, the dairy and chocolate freezer, the liquor locker, the meat prep and fish prep areas, the soup and sauce kitchen and each step in the process was explained and our questions answered. We ended up in the galley where the Chief Chef continued the tour and preparations were being made for lunch. The chefs and staff operate like a well oiled machine. Finally we returned to the Piano Bar and met with the Hotel Manager. He manages more than half of the people working aboard. Along the way we met all the senior officers as well as tailors, laundry workers, trash recyclers, cooks, stewards all who make the ship run smoothly.

The Hotel Manager offered is a drink and appetizers. He answered our questions both personal and professional. From him we learn that Chief Martin really wasn't supposed to take us down to the engine room. It will remain our little secret. We pick up our totes filled with "crap to pack" as our Cruise Director Hammish calls it and leave with a much better appreciation of ship's operations.


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