Relationships on a Cruise Ship · 21 July 2013

Sometimes we can have special relationships on a cruise ship.

There is a trite old saying that goes something like this: God brings some people into our lives for a moment to brighten our days. He brings others into our lives for a short time to enhance our experience. He brings a few into our lives to walk with us forever.

I suppose I call it trite because it has been around the internet and in my email far too many times. Still, regardless of how worn out it is, the sentiment is true. Even on a cruise ship.

We experienced part of this old saying on our Disney Cruise in the form or our wait staff – the people who took care of us, nay pampered us, for seven days and nights. But Alvito, Deniz, Latoya, and Shane not only took care of us, they touched our lives.

We did not see Latoya much, but she was one of the first people who greeted us when we boarded the Disney Wonder. She was our hostess. She was the one who cleaned our cabin for us. She made the beds in the mornings (or afternoons) and turned them down at night. She tidied up all our mess each day even when we interrupted her cleaning schedule. She made cute figures with towels each night and gave us wonderful behind the scenes service. Even though we did not see her much, Latoya bent over backward to make us feel like we were the most important people on the ship.

Alvito was somewhat behind the scenes too as our dining room assistant server. It was his job to get people drinks and help serve dinner. After the first or second night, our boys wondered why he already had the correct soda choices before they ordered anything. It was a subtle touch, but he remembered those little things our large group wanted. Even having Tabasco sauce ready and waiting at the table for my Dad’s nightly tomato juice. Alvito did his job without flair or fanfare, but he made each dining experience enjoyable and carefree.

Deniz was the dining room head server and it was part of his job to help me figure out how I could meet my dietary needs. He added a special touch to my dining experience, bringing me a couple dishes that were not even on the menus to help meet my eating regime. I ended up with three entrees on three nights because I had already ordered two and Deniz brought me a third special, delicious, off-the-menu dish. Deniz was also a great sport. When my Mom teased him about wanting him to do more than just cut the lobster tail out of its shell, he actually cut up the lobster (he told her his knife was sharper than hers) and fed her a couple bites.

Topping off our wonderful wait staff was our incredible dining room server. Shane did much more than just our wait on us with flair and aplomb. He laughed and joked with us. He hugged Mom almost every night. He fed my young nephew a couple bites and gave him nucks at most every meal. He indulged all my special requests without so much as a raised eyebrow or questioning look (well, maybe a few). He was attentive to our every need. Shane did everything with the ease that comes from professionalism and experience. And yet he did it in such a way as to endear himself to our large multi-generational family gathering. He gave of himself.

All our servers gave of themselves. That was why they were so special. That was why we got pictures with them and gave them big hugs when we said goodbye on the last morning.

As I think on our cruise experience, I realize that people can be trained to give great service. They can have passion for their jobs. They can even be told that relationships, regardless of how long they might last, are the most important things. But the staff assigned to take care of my family was the best. They were professionals who gave of themselves and endeared themselves to us.

Some people might call it Disney magic, others might think it destiny, but I know God brought special people into our lives to enrich us and remind us that relationships are what matter most. To remind us of a trite old saying. Which I might add to by saying: Sometimes God brings people into our lives to be friends for a short time, but who definitely change our lives forever.

Indeed, sometimes we can make special relationships on a cruise ship.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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