Cruise cabin stewardess reveals what a day in the life of crew really looks like
One of the most important people anyone will ever connect with on a cruise anywhere in the world is the cabin steward. But what does the role involve?
We caught up with Indonesian born cabin stewardess Agustina Kaharuddin from Fred. Olsen to find out more.
42-year-old Agustina is vastly experienced having worked as a cabin steward at Fred since 2006 and now serving onboard their wonderful new vessel Borealis.
She’s worked across the fleet on Balmoral, Braemar and their former ship Black Watch, meeting hundreds of guests during her varied and colourful career.
Though many people will immediately point to the fact cabin stewards or attendants are largely responsible for making beds, producing fresh linen, cleaning the bathroom and generally making your private space a joy to come back to, they do so much more.
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From safety drills to delivering excursion tickets and bulletins, picking up and returning laundry, they really do provide a fantastic service, making lots of new friends along the way. In fact, it’s almost a labour of love for these hard-working and skilful professionals.
Agustina told me: “For many guests, their cabin will be the first place they really take in when they are onboard. It is the place they go to relax and where they retire to each day.
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"It is our job to make sure their cabin is clean, well maintained and a place they can enjoy spending their time when they are not exploring ashore or enjoying the facilities onboard. It really is the best job in the world.
“At Fred. Olsen, we pride ourselves in offering an excellent service to our guests, and this is something I always strive to achieve when I am looking after guests and their cabins. There’s no better feeling than seeing passengers happy and content because it’s all about people having a good time and enjoying the full cruising experience.”
So, for first-time travellers, what can guests expect of their cabin steward? Agustina explained: “I love being a cabin stewardess as I can offer a really personal service.
"A lot of the time, I will be the first point of contact a guest has, and I will always leave a little card in each cabin to introduce myself so that they know my name, and I will make sure I learn theirs too.
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“Sometimes guests will have special requests to make their cabin more comfortable or to suit their individual needs or preferences, and I enjoy making this happen for them. Sometimes it is those small, personal touches that mean the most.
“I love meeting new people, so it is great to be able to meet so many guests and hear their stories. I also love being able to travel around the world, to have new experiences and learn more about different cultures. It also means I can help guests if they ask for any recommendations about places we are visiting during the cruise."
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It’s a demanding job for sure and cabin stewards must always be prepared – so what is the best part about being a cabin stewardess?
Agustina revealed: “Embarkation day is always very busy, as we want every cabin to be perfect ready for when the next guests arrive. There is real attention to detail when it comes to making every cabin up at the start of every cruise. A lot of preparation is involved at the start, but get this right and it makes the job so much easier going forward, especially on a longer cruise.
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“Working on a cruise ship does mean you are away from home for long periods at a time, which can be hard, but it is great to be able to travel to so many wonderful places across the world, and to share the experience with so many friends and our guests onboard.
“Our day is split into two parts. In the morning, we will pop in to make the beds and clean the cabin, so it is fresh for the day ahead. Then in the evening, we will return for a turndown service.
"This means, when you retire to your cabin, you will find a more relaxing lighting, we have done another quick clean and tidy if needed, and of course, we will always place one of our lovely Fred. Olsen chocolates on your pillow.”
With so many tasks associated with the role of being a cabin steward on a cruise ship we wondered just how much training they receive, working for a world-class cruise fleet such as Fred. Olsen.
Agustina said: “Yes, we have special training provided to us to make sure that every guest and every cabin is getting the same high standard and attention to detail. Of course, we can then tailor this to suit every guest based on his or her preferences. Most of us also have experience of working in housekeeping in a land-based hotel too.”
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Going on a cruise for the very first time can make for an unforgettable exciting experience as lifelong memories are created. Good planning and preparation can certainly help make dreams come true. So, what advice does Agustina have for those travellers ready to begin their adventure on the sea?
“Make sure that you have everything you need before you set off, especially when it comes to personal items such as medication. You will be amazed at the things people forget!
“But most importantly, I would say to first time cruisers to look ahead to their cruise and get excited – it is so easy to be happy on board.”
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