Prosanta George Podder
Corporate Chef
Portuscale Cruises
As a Corporate Chef, I arrange all the menus for each cruise for all meals and snacks, tea time etc.. When designing the menus, I have to keep in mind the nationalities of passengers who will be sailing on the cruise. For example, if we will have many Swedish passengers, the menu will be designed for Swedish tastes. If we prepare the menu well, and the guests find, within the multi-cuisine menu, something from their own country, they are very happy. After designing the menus, I then go back to the kitchens to order the supplies according to what is needed for the menus, and I train the culinary teams to make the dishes according to the tastes of the passengers. I also have to prepare all of the documentation so that the operations run smoothly.

Before joining cruise lines, I worked in many different places. My first job was in a small restaurant in Kolkata. When I came to Bombay, I worked in small restaurants and then got a job as an assistant cook on the opening team of the Ramada Palm Grove. After that I worked in Saudi Arabia for nine years in various types of companies and rose from the level of assistant cook to catering manager. I felt that I needed to work everywhere, so I got a job with Carnival, and, after a year, I transferred to Costa and then worked with Ligabue, Classic International Cruises and now Portuscale Cruises. In between,
I also worked at the Taj Lands End, Mumbai, and with Ambassador Sky Chef flight kitchen.

Except for my first placement with Carnival, I have always been placed through Airborne - for the past 22 years!

I enjoy sailing more than anything else. It gives me a chance to discover different countries, and places, and I have made many great friends. Now, with my senior rank, sometimes my family is able to accompany me on cruises. Of all the places I have visited, the place that is closest to my heart is Lisbon, Portugal. I enjoy the local culture, and, most of all, the people are very warm and friendly. Sometimes they can be aggressive, but the next morning they will be your best friends again...“Bom dia!”

My advice for people who are starting their cruise line careers: If you have the theoretical background and are obedient and good at following instructions, you will go forward and grow. It is not necessary to know all the jobs when you first join – you will learn. If you work from your heart, and your focus is to grow, I guarantee you that you will grow. There will not be obstacles. I am an example of this. I started as a 1st cook/CDP and am now working at the corporate level with crew of various nationalities working under me. I feel that Indians are especially able to cope with all sorts of situations and succeed. For me nationality has never been an issue. You work with different nationalities of people and they become your friends.

Pravin Shetty
Demi Chef de Partie
AIDA Cruises
After passing HSC, I completed a one one-year cookery course and then worked in hotels for five years, finally as Commis 1. In 2013 I was selected as Demi Chef de Partie with AIDA cruises. I completed Airborne’s culinary training in Goa in February 2014 and then joined AIDAmar in June 2014. I am home on vacation now (June 2015) and will join AIDAmar again in July.

Training was a nice experience in Goa. Both the practicals and the orientation were good. During training, I also met AIDA’s training manager for Asia, Mr. Walter and our corporate chef. Mr. Geunther.

When I first joined the ship, I was a bit nervous. But as the days passed, I started adjusting as I got to know my colleagues. It took 15 to 20 days to setting in and make friends. The training was helpful because I knew what to expect. It was a great experience, because it was my first time going abroad and meeting people from various countries. Onboard everyone is allocated their work, and we have to finish it off. If your work is good, nobody is against you. The managers were friendly and helpful.

My favorite place to visit was Portugal because of its beautiful scenery. On AIDA, the onboard entertainment is good, and during dry dock we saw some good shows. We can go to the guest areas using the leisure pin, and we can also use the guest gym. Onboard there are some ups and downs, so you have to face these challenges. How you face them depends on the sort of person you are and your way of working.

Jessica Renthlei
Spa Therapist
The Onboard Spa
by Steiner
As a Spa Therapist with the Onboard Spa by Steiner I have had lots of fun experiences seeing the world and meeting and working with different people. It’s amazing, and I have enjoyed myself during my contract.

I have learned many lessons on board, like punctuality, hard work, having an understanding mind, originality, and more. Lastly, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE and there's always a way forward - if you failed once, try again until you find SUCCESS.

Sujit Rana
Housekeeping Manager
Costa Cruises
I started my career with Costa Cruise Lines in 1992 as a Housekeeping Steward and progressed through various positions: Room Service Attendant, Room Service Supervisor, Asst. Housekeeping Manager, Chief Crew steward, and now Housekeeping Manager. In my current job I lead a team of more than 150 people covering all housekeeping responsibilities onboard.

It’s a great industry because you get to work with people from all around the world and visit destinations that you may have only dreamed of visiting. The opportunities and career prospects are good. Overall it has been a great experience working with Costa for more than 21 years!

If you have a burning desire to succeed and accordingly deliver performance with excellence, sincerity and honesty at whatever levels you maybe, you will surely have a bright and promising future ahead. There are many examples of personnel who have started from scratch and made their way up, in their career, to management positions. With Patience and Dedication, do the best in your current assignment and keep learning for development ahead. Wishing you all the best.

Wilson Suraj Pais
Demi Chef de Partie/
Smoke Master
AIDA Cruises
I have been working on the ship AIDAdiva since 2008 (a total of 6 contracts), and I will join again this month (June 2015). My present position is Demi Chef de Partie Smoke Master. I first joined as Utility Galley. Earlier the Smoke Master position was only held by German crew, but they trained me on how to operate the oven to smoke fish, veggies, and meats. I work in a show galley in front, so I meet many guests while working. Most of the guests are from Germany, so I have learned a bit of German - how to greet the guests. Sometimes we also work in other areas. For example, if someone is sick that day, we fill in for them and we learn other jobs in this way. The managers are friendly with the crew, and we can work easily without tension. If the manager is good then the work is easier.

Life is good onboard, you can learn different things and visit different places. There are many activities onboard like gym, sports (volleyball, basketball), live bands, and crew who have talents can showcase them. We can also visit guest areas. There is no problem with the food onboard – Indian food is available in the crew mess (every day there is one item). We also try the other cuisines and now this is our habit. At first it takes some time to get used to things onboard. Some new crew have sea sickness if there are rough seas during the first couple of months, but then they are okay. I don’t get sea sick any more. Normally you don’t feel like you are on the sea and it is smooth.

I have visited Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Rome, Barcelona, and so many other places. On my next contract I am looking forward to visiting the USA as I have never been there. One of my favorite stops was Dubai because you get everything there, and I got a chance to visit my friends and relatives who live there because the ship was there for two days. I also enjoyed visiting Singapore for the good shopping, but it is expensive.

The cruise line industry is a good industry to work in. You can enjoy, but it is more challenging after marriage. This time my vacation was five months because I came home early for the birth of my baby. Normally vacations are 3 months. While onboard it is easy to stay in touch with family. We can call from our cabins with a phone card (1.5 hours for 10 Euros). We also have internet (1 hour for 6 Euros).

One of my proudest moments was when I got Employee of the Month in October 2013. I hope to get a promotion to Chef de Partie on this contract.

Julip Sharma
Demi Chef de Partie
Disney Cruise Line
I started my career with Disney Cruise Line in 2013 and am currently working as a Demi Chef de Partie on the Disney Fantasy. Previously, I was on the Disney Dream.

DCL offers great opportunities, and it helps groom you to be a thorough professional and the best at your job. I particularly appreciate the flexibility of the company. You can change departments if you are qualified and show your interest in growing with the company. In these two years I have worked in every possible restaurant on the ship, thereby gaining knowledge of different cuisines served in each restaurant. These inter-departmental changes help you to prepare yourself for the next step.

Life on board is great. Certain rules have to be followed, but it helps you with the course of time to be not only a better human being but also much more disciplined. A major point that I would like to mention which makes Disney a great option for a career is their care and concern for the crew, with different activities and, most importantly, maintaining equality with every individual. The diversity with complete understanding and a helping nature separates this company from the rest.

Disney is a company where your work is appreciated and your dedication helps you to grow. If you are serious about growing in your career, Disney is the place to be.

Jefron Rodrigues
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
I joined Fred Olsen Cruise Lines in 2004 as Assistant Waiter on Black Watch. It was a fast ride for me from Assistant Waiter to Restaurant Waiter, Wine Waiter, Captain Waiter, Assistant Maitre’D and finally to Maitre’D. I was proud to be the first Indian Maitre’D at Fred Olsen. I have been fortunate, I am truly doing something I love.

Sushant Khadye
Hair Stylist
The Onboard Spa by Steiner
I completed one contract as a Hair Stylist with The Onboard Spa by Steiner, and will be signing on for my next contract on July 17, 2015 on the RUBY Princess.

I started my journey of success with Steiner at the Training Academy in London. It was a bit difficult as the standards and expectations were very high. For me, it was a successful training and just on my fourth day of training I was placed on a Princess Cruise Line vessel, she was the beautiful and huge Princess EMERALD.

I was thrilled to see my ship (or you can call it My Second Home for the next 9 months). My first day on board was overwhelming, I was nervous and happy at the same time. Let me tell you about the Spa where I was hired to work… it was one of the most beautiful spas I have ever worked in, and because of this, my adventure and successful journey started from the very first day of my joining. Though it was continuous and very hard work, it was amazingly rewarding. I met thousands of people of different religions and nationalities.

As a Hair Stylist one of my main jobs was to do excellent hair-ups for the formal events on board. One also needs to have good skills for haircuts, blow-dry styling, coloring, etc. You also need to be a strong and confident public speaker, as you have to conduct hair seminars for guests on board.

The working hours are generally from 7:30am to 9:30pm (it can vary from vessel to vessel). You get 3 half-days off per week (for example, 1/2 day off on embarkation day and 2 other half days in the same week). Mostly you do not get full days off (but your manager may decide to grant a full day, if you are lucky).

I learned different point of views which changed me and made me stronger as a person. I also made many quality friends who taught me new things. Things like: to be confident and have a sense of adventure. In all it was just one successful and life changing journey. There many events and days which were very rough. But one thing I learned from it was the more I complain, the more difficult I make my journey, after which I started really enjoying each day on board. I started exploring different places and countries. I had lots of fun with friends and worked hard yet joyfully. Overall, it was a rewarding journey for me which made me walk tall in this journey of my life.

Plans for the future: I would like to learn teeth whitening treatments so that I can provide these services on board and earn more. I want to earn money while working on board and then establish my own business here in Mumbai.

My advice would be to everyone that, yes it’s very hard work, which at times can be stressful as well, but if you focus and work hard, you are sure to be rewarded.

Mohammed Kader
Boutique C Manager
Starboard Cruise Services
I joined Starboard on 26th October 2006 working in Holland America’s Westerdam Ship as a jeweller. Since my history was in the jewellery field, it was easy for me grow quickly as soon I was selling more than the other jewellers. In January 2007, I was promoted as jewellery manager looking after the entire jewellery shop and training all the jewellers and new recruits. In March 2007 I was promoted as Merabella Luxury Salon Manager, which is the luxury boutique with Seven Seas. I served with Holland America as the Merebella Luxury Salon Manager until June 2010, and in July 2010 I got transferred to celebrity Constellation as Boutique C Manager, which is the same Luxury Salon as in the Holland ships.

In Boutique C we sell 7 to 8 high end jewellery brands including: Chimento, LeVian, Effy Couture, Asher Tanzanite, Tara South Sea Pearl collection, St.Petersburg Collection creations by Theo Faberge, and 2 to 3 watch brands: Ernst Benz, Tag Heuer, Roman Jerome, Curtis & Co.

I do a lot of seminars in different venues of the ship such as the Colored Diamond seminar, Tanzanite seminar, Pearl seminar. I also do a Jewellery Fashion show. The main highlight of the cruise is the History of Faberge amusing talk which I do in the Grand Theater, for which I send invites to all the cabins in the ship. The theater holds a large number of guests and is an impressive venue. After my amusing talk of Faberge, the guests accompany me to Boutique C Luxury salon where in I change my entire shop from jewellery to Faberge eggs... The Master of the vessel (Captain) comes for the unveiling, and he cuts the ribbon and says few words about my shop and the collection...

I met the love of my life, Olga, while working in seven seas. We are now happily married and blessed with a three year old daughter.

Currently I am working in Celebrity Summit as Boutique C Luxury Manager doing the Bermuda run. In two weeks the ship will be transitioning to Canada and New England.

Abubakar Rajput
2nd Maitre'D
Costa Cruises
I joined Costa through Airborne in 2006 as Asst.Waiter, and have now been working for the company for the past eight years. I am very satisfied with my journey. As the company has grown, I have also grown with it. Presently I am working as an 2nd Maitre’D. There is a lot of possibility for career growth with Costa. I can say this because, without knowing anyone at Costa (aside from Airborne crew), I have been promoted up the ranks. It has been a fantastic experience until now. I am thankful to Costa for giving me the opportunity to grow and to Airborne for the support they have given over the years.

Prior to joining Costa I worked for The Oberoi, Mumbai, as a butler. I did my Hotel Management three-year Diploma from Rizvi College of Hotel Management and Catering.

My advice to new crew is to be focused on what you want to achieve. Initially it is hard to adjust to life and work onboard, but once you get past that phase, for sure, you will have a better future working in a cruise line.

My goal is to be promoted to 1st Maitre’D. I would be very proud for either me or someone else to become the first Indian 1st Maitre’D in Costa.

Vijay Gaikwad
Assistant Security Officer
AIDA Cruises
I joined AIDA Cruises in March 2008 as a Security Guard. In my first contract itself I was promoted to Assistant Security Officer - I was the first Indian Crew with Aida Cruises, to become a junior officer and the first deck officer. I am still working with AIDA cruises as an Assistant Security Officer. During the past seven years I received many appreciations and awards as best employee on board.

We deliver authentic guest service with an AIDA smile, even though Safety & Security are the top-most priorities of our company. My team and I are alert and ready to keep our ship safe and secure at all times!

I am really thankful to AIDA Cruises and to Airborne for giving me chance to work on-board and for the continuous inspiration to deliver my best. I have learned many things like: leadership, hard work, friendliness, team work, discipline, punctuality and much more. I think the trainings and briefings from Airborne and AIDA Cruises helped me a lot.

I would also like to share idea of the Kaizen concept, i.e. the practice of continuous improvement. It is an never-ending process. The only way to success is hard work, respect, trust, loyalty & continuous efforts. When you work on board, you represent yourself, your company, and your nation. We should never forget this responsibility!

Kathirasan Rajendran
Assistant Security Officer
AIDA Cruises
Airborne gave me the opportunity to work for AIDA Cruises and I started with AIDAbella in 2008 as Security guard and developed to Assistant Security officer. Patience and dedication will help everybody to achieve. Work hard wherever required and enjoy the world. Thanks to Airborne for the support.

Rohitsinh Jadeja
Fitness Trainer
The Onboard Spa
by Steiner
Before finding my right profession in fitness industry, sports and adventure sports, I had worked in the hotel industry, sales and marketing for vehicles, and call centres. I have been a fitness trainer for the last three years, and my certifications are from BFY and Golds Gym (both in Mumbai), the Indian Academy of Fitness Training, Mangalore, and the Steiner Academy in London. For Adventure sports I completed my training at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Adventure Sports in Manali.

Working with Steiner was a very positive experience as I had the opportunity to work on a cruise ship, meet new people, discover new places, and also help people with their fitness regimes. The working hours are long onboard, but I also worked for long hours on land, so it was nothing new for me. My colleagues were Australian and South African. The company was truly professional, and at the Steiner Academy they were very thorough, though at times it can be tough. The company would like to keep its prestige intact and it is only fair that only the best would go through.

There are many distractions, so keep your self-grounded and focus on the job and learn communication skills and public speaking.

The next career move that I would like to make is to like to try to join the crew of a super yacht.

Manoj Kumar
Merchandise Host
Disney Cruise Line
I have been working in Merchandise Department with Disney Cruise Line since 2012 and am proud to be part of the Disney family. Safety is a top priority for Disney, so we are safe and happy to work here.

Life at sea is adventurous and filled with joy and fun beyond your imagination. It is entirely different from a land job.

I love my job as a merchandise host, working in shop, where you interact with all guests and kids from all parts of the world. All new products that are launched by Disney reach us first, which makes it more exciting to work in this department.

We have chances to work with various nationalities and to learn about their culture and traditions and we can share ours too, which they love to hear. We visit many ports around the world, which we couldn’t have imagined in our dreams - you can’t get this opportunity in any other job.

Last, but not least, we are well-paid.

I can assure all crew who would like to join that you will have a Magical future with experiences that are full of Wonder, which will make your life Fantastic and your entire Dream will come true. (The 4 ships of Disney :-)

Kishore Sukumaran
Assistant Spa Manager
The Onboard Spa
by Steiner
I, Kishore Sukumaran, from Kerala, have been working with Steiner Transocean Limited for the past four years. It has been an amazing experience working in cruise ships and travelling throughout world. I started working with Steiner in 2011 as a spa therapist - one of the first Indians to be recruited to the company through Airborne.

I have worked in various cruise ships for the past 4 years such as P&O Arcadia, P&O Oceania, Queen Elizabeth and Holland America, Noordam, and now I am joining Holland America Eurodam.

Visiting different places and exploring their beauty has been a priceless experience, and I could get along with a very good salary. It's a dream come true for me and it has only been because of Airborne, one of the most trusted and efficient cruise recruitment agencies in India. My sincere thanks to Airborne and its dedicated employees.

Azim Abdul Shaikh
Buffet Supervisor
Costa Cruises
Working on a cruise line is addictive because it allows you to travel the world for free, to meet different people and see many beautiful places. All the crew-members are like family, and if you are a supervisor, you take on the role of “parent” to your team members: helping to solve problems and taking care of them (if they get sick, etc.).

I started my career with an apprenticeship in F&B service with the Taj Hotels. When I first came to Airborne in 2000, I was selected for the Galley Utility position with Costa Cruises. After working for two years in this position, Costa sent me for an F&B training program in Manila, which enabled me to advance to the position of assistant waiter. In 2006 I was promoted as a Waiter and in 2007 promoted to Buffet Supervisor. I hope to be promoted to the position of 2nd Maitre ‘D soon!

I have noticed that some of the youngsters in our industry don’t seem to take their jobs seriously, because they feel that if they lose one job, they will get another easily, instead of sticking with one company and growing as I have. It is better for your career to be loyal. Just keep doing what you are doing and the day will come when you will be recognised for your talent – at least that is what I believe.

Also, communication skills are very important in F&B service. I learned some basic Italian during my Costa training and then improved my skills through listening and working with Italian guests. I have also learned basic Spanish through interacting with guests.

Vaishali Mahawar
Fitness Instructor
Fred Olsen Cruise Line
As a certified fitness trainer, I was fortunate to work onboard a Fred Olsen cruise ship and conducted fitness classes like yoga, pilates, aerobics and many more for travelers. My coworkers were phenomenal, and working with different nationalities was amazing. This experience gave me the chance to get to know people globally and their culture and interests. I learnt that the more you work together and make friends the easier life is onboard.

It gave me a thrill to wake up every morning in a different country. The ship was designed totally with all the luxuries for the passengers like a gym, sauna, casino etc.. And there were good facilities for crew also, such as internet access, gaming, parties and swimming areas.

The whole ship system was very well managed for safe traveling on sea. All the crew got training in the safely procedures for themselves and for everybody on ship.

For me, it was once in a lifetime experience… Safe sailing!

Kandari S. Singh
Disc Jockey
Costa Cruises
I joined Costa Crociere through Airborne Mumbai in the year 2010. I feel deeply gratified working with Costa Crociere. Here I have the opportunity to work with people of dissimilar flags & languages, and I have the good fortune to travel around the globe & entertain audiences internationally.

I found out from other crew members that I am the first Indian disc jockey and also the first DJ from Asia working with Costa. Now my goal is to help DJ's from India by training them to the level of excellence required by Costa Crociere.

I am truly thankful to Airborne for this amazing journey, and I highly appreciate Team Airborne for their assistance in getting all the documentation done for each contract every year.
Good luck & Stay Tuned!

Vineet Dhawan
Jewellery & Watch Sales
Starboard Cruise
I am Vineet Dhawan and I currently work with Starboard Cruise Services, one of the subsidiary companies of LVMH group (one of the biggest luxury brands in the world) and also one of the largest retail companies on board across all major cruise lines of the world. I started my beautiful journey with Starboard Cruise Services as Sales Assistant, and now, after four contracts, I have completed my Watch Specialist training, Jeweller Specialist training and then Promotional Ambassador training while working for Starboard.

It’s been an amazingly awesome journey with Starboard - cruising the world, meeting various wonderful people, travelling to different countries, trying different cuisines & experiencing different cultures of the world.

This beautiful journey with Starboard has not only made me grow professionally through my international work experience but also personally, since travelling around the world is a unique experience and it helps you become a better, different and understanding person. Now I am really looking forward to my next new contract, which will add value to my work experience and also a new destination to a new world.

Agnelo Dcruz
Executive Sous Chef /
Reliever Executive Chef
Ex- Disney Cruise Line
My experience working as a Chef de Cuisine on the Disney Fantasy was very enriching. Before joining DCL I worked on Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America Cruise Line. One thing I must say is that Disney really does take care of their crew.

My career path until now has been rewarding, and I have tasted success slowly but steadily. Right now I am working on the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, MV Grand Celebration as Executive Sous Chef / Reliever Executive Chef. I am also doing my MBA through IGNOU, and I aspire to become a Hotel Manager someday.

One piece of advice I want to give to aspiring seaman is that there are no shortcuts to success… Luck is when hard work meets with opportunity. Life on-board can be fun but also gruelling. So if you plan to go on board remember there is no substitute for hard work.