Dave: Thank you. If I may have your attention
everyone, I would like to tell you about some of the
activities. The Reggae band will be playing calypso
music poolside at the sail away party. After dinner
tonight, our fantastic dancers will be performing for
you in the theater. Tomorrow, anyone who does not
wish to go ashore will find plenty of activities to
do onboard. Be sure to read the daily program
delivered to your room every morning, enjoy your
Donita: Our luggage has been delivered; Iím going to
Sandra: Why donít we do that later? Letís get our
cameras and go up to the Lido deck. I want to enjoy
the calypso music!
Donita: Good idea. We donít want to miss any of the
Sandra: Iíd like to find time to explore the ship from
top to bottom. The ship is just like a small city.
(They lock the door and walk toward the elevators.
They meet one of the officers who introduces himself
Manager: Good evening, ladies. Iím the hotel manager,
Firmin van Walle.
Firmin: Yes, the Maasdam is a floating hotel. There
are rooms for 1800 people. How is your room?
Sandra: The room is very nice, especially the huge
window to look at the ocean. How did you become
manager of such a huge ship?
Firmin: Itís a long story; are you sure you want to
hear about it?
Hotel Manager Firmin van Walle
I was born and raised in Antwerp, (world Capital of Diamonds)
Flanders, Belgium. Iím celebrating 28 years in the cruise industry.
I started as a cook apprentice in 1961 in restaurant Pere
Mouillard, Brussels. I continued to go through some of the best
restaurants and hotels in Belgium, France, Germany and the Middle
East. It as when I was working in Germany when I met a lot of hotel
staff who had been working at sea. I was curious and signed on my
first vessel in San Francisco in 1979. I went from working in
Provisions, Dining Room, Bars, Purser, Controller, Food and
Beverages and ended up being Hotel Manager.
Sandra: Have you been to many countries?
Firmin: Iíve been on several ships sailing Europe, the
Baltic and Mediterranean, New England-Canada, the
Far East Mexico, Alaska, and the Caribbean.
Donita: What do you like about working on ships?
Firmin: I like the challenge, the camaraderie, and the
Sandra: Are you able to go home very often?
Firmin: Yes, (he laughs). Iíll be going home soon and
my wife already has a ďhoney-do list waiting for me!
Donita: Where do you live?
Firmin: My wife, Fernanda, four grown children and 4
grandchildren live in Ichtegem. Itís a small country
village in Flanders, Belgium.
Sandra: It must be difficult to be away from your
Firmin: We are very fortunate on this ship; there are
many computers for the staff and crew to use
everyday. And my family loves the gifts I bring home
from all the different ports.
Donita: You sound like you really like your work.
Firmin: As I tell other people, you donít spend 28
years on a ship if you donít love it!
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