Seumas Campbell, 38, from the Isle of Barra but now lives in Dingwall, explains what a day in the life of a hotel director, on board the MV Hrossey ship for Serco NorthLink Ferries, is like.
My day starts at around 7am. First off, it’s a stroll around the ship ahead of breakfast which is when I get to catch-up with the other hotel crew. I try to get back to my desk for 8.30am but I will often spend some time answering queries from passengers and crew. Passengers often require directions as well as public transport information. A common question is “why does it take half an hour longer travelling to Shetland than going the opposite way?”. Of course my standard reply is “we are going uphill”.
The rest of the morning usually consists of checking emails and conducting a debrief with the crew, including the purser who is responsible for the handling of money onboard and acts as my right hand man/woman. We discuss a variety of matters including customer service and operational matters.
It is also my responsibility to ensure that the communal and accommodation areas of the ship are ship shape for passengers boarding later in the day. There is also the safety management system to keep on top off. Safety is a top priority so completing paper work in a timely manner is essential.
I try to have lunch at midday but unforeseen circumstances can mean that this often gets delayed. We are fortunate that we have a wide range of fresh, locally-sourced, produce within the onboard Feast Restaurant so I usually take advantage of this – good food makes for a happy crew.
Check-in opens at 3pm prior to afternoon sailings from Aberdeen so I head down to the reception area to welcome new groups of passengers. My tasks include checking boarding passes as well directing passengers to the communal areas and their cabins. Boarding usually takes around two hours and during this time my knowledge of Orkney and Shetland is put to the test.
Once check-in is complete, I will take a walk around the deck to ensure that all is fine with both passengers and crew. I often end up helping out in the restaurant and bar areas during busy times. This is always great fun as we really do have a good relationship with our passengers.
Ahead of our late evening arrival into Kirkwall, a phone call is made to our terminal there to provide an estimated time of arrival and discuss anything that is required to make our 45 minute stopover as seamless as possible. Passengers departing at Kirkwall are called to the car deck and those staying onboard for the journey up to Lerwick, Shetland, are ushered to their cabins for the overnight sailing. I usually manage to get some sleep around 1am, ready for the alarm in the morning. Working 14-day rotational shifts means the lack of sleep doesn’t bother us too much. Having quality time with my family is a definite perk of the job.