You are probably wondering what on earth any sane person could possibly do for 6 days at sea? Well, quite a lot actually!
As a Strictly Come Dancing fan of course I had to do the dancing lessons.
Then there were the art classes – 4 of our party went every day, and we had a competition every evening for the best painting of the day.
Shuffle board and Quoits on deck gave us more than our fair share of fresh air.
And with 3 circuits of the promenade deck equalling more than a mile (and a fully equipped gym if you were really keen) there was no excuse for lack of exercise to work off maybe a tiny fraction of the food that was on offer 24 hours a day if we wanted it.
Our trip was to celebrate the Silver Wedding Anniversary of some close and dear friends. So we had plenty of opportunity for celebrating. Every evening was like a special occasion, with posh frocks and DJ’s. And with food and service to match. Catering for some 2500 covers per night in our restaurant I was amazed at the quality of the food – how did they manage to get chateaubriand so perfectly cooked to all our varying requirements on such a scale. My previous visit to P&O’s Arcadia gave me an insight into the sheer logistics of such an operation – ordering food stuffs at times 6 months in advance for it to be in port when they arrive. Certainly no nipping down to Tesco’s here!
The standard of hygiene and cleanliness was very impressive. Naturally I asked to see the galley, and it was immaculate. Apparently everything is cleaned to a standard that most operations would only do on a deep clean basis – every single night! This does have its logistical problems. It imposes very strict deadlines on last orders, so that fryers and hot plates can cool down sufficiently in time to be cleaned. However there were plenty of alternative restaurants serviced by other kitchens once one had closed.
The other impressive aspect was the loyalty of staff. Many had been there for years, working for anything from 2 month to 8 month stints before having a break. Each time they returned they would undergo 3 weeks of refresher training. Not just the usual food safety and health and safety, but everything else associated with responsibility for 2500 passengers when you are stuck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Why did they do it? – Because they were well rewarded, training and promotional prospects were good and they were all well treated. There must be a lesson in here somewhere.
Did they get everything right? Well, not quite. The buffet food court area was a shambles and resembled a down market cafeteria. Basic customer flow had been completely ignored, so everyone was back and forth causing congestion. And for some reason you couldn’t get a cup of tea for love nor money at breakfast – coffee was no problem and came within a milli-second of sitting down – but ask for tea and you’d nearly finished your full English by the time it arrived – it seems they were short of teapots!
I’ve just come back from a weekend in Dresden – a very interesting city, with much of the historical centre restored to its former glory. On Saturday evening we went to the opera, having had an excellent early dinner at a restaurant right next to the opera house.
Our German hosts decided the battle for the bar in the interval would be too much hassle, for a poor quality drink, so ordered champagne at the restaurant for us to return during the interval. To my surprise we were not sat at the bar for our 15 minute visit, but they had reserved our original table. Other than us the restaurant was full. I sat there the whole time wondering how much potential business they had turned away to accommodate the 7 of us for such a small income.
Yes, great customer service, but did it make economic sense? I hardly think so.
Anyone the least bit tempted to employ staff without checking their backgrounds and papers may want to read this first.
It was great to meet so many people today at the Grow Your Business Show in Guildford. I hope you all had a very fruitful day, and made lots of good contacts and some potential new business opportunities. Lots of following up to be done now for many of us.
For those who spoke to me after my seminar – thanks for your lovely feedback. I have to send my apologies to the lady who won the ‘prize’ – what I gave you was in fact something I’d bought for my lunch! You should have had a lovely box of chocolates, and in my haste this morning I picked up the wrong thing. I only realised when I came to eat my snack! I’m so sorry, it must have seemed a strange thing to give you…
For those interested, I will be posting my presentation and the 5 lessons in Leadership on the site first thing tomorrow. In the meantime I feel it’s time to put the kettle on and rest my weary feet.
I’ll be speaking tomorrow at 12 p.m. at the Grow your Business Show in Guildford, Surrey.
I’d like to invite you to join me for a 40 minute Motivating your Team Effectively seminar at the Grow Your Business event on 13th May.
An inspiring, practical and motivational session on how you get the best from your team. Attendance is absolutely free, but you must book in advance to secure your seats.
Register today! www.growyourbusinessevent.co.uk.
Would you like to learn how you can get more from your team? Employers who genuinely value their employees have fewer client complaints, higher productivity, lower absenteeism and lower staff turnover. So just how do you keep people motivated, especially when you may be finding it difficult to keep yourself motivated, let alone everyone else?
- The myths and truths around motivation
- How to discover what motivates your team
- The 3 keys to a motivated team
- How to sustain motivation even in times of change and uncertainty
You’ll leave being able to
- Identify what you can do tomorrow to discover what motivates each of your team members in five minutes flat.
- Identify one thing you could be doing differently on a day-to-day basis to get the best out of your team, without it costing you a single penny.
- Plan what needs to be done to keep your staff on top form even when your business is going through periods of uncertainly and change.
Registration will also gain you FREE entry to the Grow Your Business Exhibition and 13 other free seminars.
With 14 free seminars, 3 free business clinics and over 70 exhibitors ready to inspire, motivate and inform you about simple solutions to help you sustain your business Grow Your Business is one event you cannot miss!
- Reserve seats for the seminars
- Save time on the day
- Gain priority access to the event
- Be the first to hear about news, special show offers and exclusive discounts
So block out the date in your diary and prepare to spend a day with fellow business owners preparing to make their businesses more productive, more efficient and more profitable in 2009.
The event promises to be a fantastic day, full of easy-to-implement, straightforward strategies that you’ll be able to use to sustain your business through this year and into next.
Looking forward to seeing you there.