Alessandro Menegazzi has worked on cruise ships since 1997 and has always felt called to the sea.
He is currently General Manager of the $450 million Regent Seven Seas Explorer.
Menegazzi describes what it’s like to work and live abroad in what he calls a “floating five-star hotel”.
This candid essay is based on a transcribed conversation about working at sea with Alessandro Menegazzi, General Manager of Regent Seven Seas Explorers. Edited for length and clarity.
One of my first jobs in the hotel industry was in Palma de Mallorca, a popular tourist destination in Spain. Working on the waterfront, I saw these huge cruise ships coming and going in and out of the harbor. I remember saying, “One day I will work on that ship.”
I am currently General Manager of the $450 million Regent Seven Seas Explorer.
My first cruise ship crew was in Los Angeles in May 1997. It was a short cruise to Alaska, but I was pleasantly surprised when I boarded for the second time.
I started out as a junior receptionist, answering guest questions. Over the years, I worked my way up the career ladder. At MSC Cruises he worked for four years until in 2014 Regent became Food and Beverage Director for Seven Seas.
I’ve always longed for the sea
I have left the cruise industry several times for land based hospitality jobs. I worked at the iconic hotel Villa d’Este on Lake Como, Italy, and the sea always brought me back. In Italy, they call it “iron heat” because the ship looks like a magnet.
In December 2021, I was promoted to General Manager of Regent Seven Seas Explorers.
On the Explorer, the captain is in charge of the voyage, and I am in charge of everything related to the hotel on board, from customer service to eating and drinking. I oversee about 75% of our 550 crew.
The Explorer is a five-star hotel floating on water.
The Regent Suite, the most expensive cabin on board, is decorated with Picasso works, a Steinway piano and offers in-suite caviar service. One restaurant uses Versace tableware, and he has over 500 crystal chandeliers scattered throughout the ship.
My office is located in the ship’s beating heart, the atrium, where the crew welcomes guests on board with glasses of champagne and a wide staircase that leads to one of the restaurants.
Ships travel around the world. This year we will travel the Mediterranean, through Asia and on to Australia. From there move to Canada.
I plan to sail with Explorer for the next two years. You can say which part of the world you want to work in, but you can never choose. Explorer has two general managers and she works in shifts. On board she works for three months and then takes three months off.
I will disembark in Bangkok in January and return to Japan to spend time with my family and enjoy a three-month vacation. When I go back to Tokyo, his wife and I usually go on vacation. She sometimes ships with me.
I usually start the day on the ship at 7am
I always have coffee at the in-flight cafe for breakfast. Then I go to my office and check my email. Our headquarters are in Miami, so we get a lot of requests overnight. I need to take action.
But my job isn’t sitting at a desk for 10 hours. I need to be visible to my guests and crew. Meet with the manager and greet guests.
At night, we do a lot of entertaining with our guests, whether it’s dinner or a welcome drink. All senior crew members are required to host guests. After introducing yourself, sit down at the table and join us for dinner. There is no captain’s table as there are many restaurants.
Tomorrow night we are hosting a table at Prime 7 Steakhouse. I often don’t finish work until 21:00, but I still go to the theater to see a show from time to time, so I can tell my guests about it. My days are long, but I’d rather socialize than sit alone in my cabin.
Working on a luxury liner is not easy
To tackle one, you need to have experience working in a luxury hotel. You also need the willingness to live on the ship, which is not easy. When I work at a hotel on land, I have a day off, and when I leave the hotel, it’s over. On board, we have her on duty 24 hours a day.
When I get to the port, I usually get off the boat and go jogging. If you don’t know the port, Google it for the proper execution route.
I have had many wonderful experiences aboard Regent Seven Seas, sailing to Rio de Janeiro, seeing Sugar Mountain and visiting Harvest Quay on the company’s private island of Belize.
I keep in touch with my guests. Recently, a friendly couple stayed in the Regent’s suite. They will join the Explorer in Tokyo in November. I asked them to contact me when they arrived. I live there, so we’ll probably have dinner together.
Read the original article at business insider