Royal Caribbean International has offered open communications, travel options, counseling support, and more to its more than 700 Ukrainian and Russian crew members in light of the regional tensions between the two nations. This support is to assist crew members in keeping in touch with their loved ones, and to strengthen the family-like bonds shared by all cruise ship crew members.
Options Offered to Crew Members
According to a post on his official Facebook page, Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley has announced options offered to Ukrainian and Russian crew members impacted by the escalating conflict. In total, there are more than 500 Ukrainian crew members across the Royal Caribbean fleet, and more than 200 Russian crew members.
“We have made available all communication channels that we have so they can access their families,” Bayley said. “Counseling has been made available to them and ships’ Captains and management are obviously in daily communication with them to offer assistance as needed.”
While specific communication details have not been announced, all Royal Caribbean ships have WiFi access for email, chatting, and video messages. Crew members may also be able to use cell phones and onboard telephones to contact family members and friends.
In addition, Royal Caribbean is offering assistance for crew members to travel home or close to home if they wish to leave their ships. If future crew members want to leave the region and join their ships early, Royal Caribbean is also working to expedite those contracts and travel plans earlier than scheduled.
In addition to helping crew members communicate with their families, Royal Caribbean is also communicating with passengers booked on sailings with Russian ports on their itineraries.
In a letter sent to booked guests on February 25, Royal Caribbean stated, “At this time, our intention is to sail to St. Petersburg; however, we have secured alternate ports, should we feel that changing our itinerary is the best path forward.“
“We understand that the developments in the region may make you hesitant to sail to Russia, so here are some options to ensure you have the best time with us,” the letter continued, before outlining options for guests to rebook or cancel sailings if preferred.
These measures emphasizing safety and communication from Royal Caribbean are very encouraging, as it shows how the company works to facilitate understanding and cooperation between crew members, safety for all aboard, and how everyone is valued and appreciated.
International Crews Are Diverse Families
Every cruise traveler knows just how diverse and international a cruise ship’s crew is. It is not unusual for a cruise ship to have crew members from 50 or more nations on board at once, spanning from all across the world.
From bar staff and dining servers to stateroom stewards, pursers, chefs, casino hosts, entertainers, and other crew members who passengers may interact with, to the ship’s officers, mechanics, engineers, laundry operators, and many more positions that help a ship sail smoothly, cruise ship crew members come from all corners of the globe.
Ships typically have hundreds of crew members onboard, and the largest ships have larger crew complements, often over 1,000 employees. Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, has 2,300 international crew members.
While cruise travelers may not personally speak with more than a few crew members during their getaway, it quickly becomes apparent to every guest how dedicated crew members are, and how well they work together. Each cruise ship is, in essence, a microcosm of cultures, with everyone cooperating and collaborating to bring guests the best experiences.
“The Royal family is here for all our crew and our thoughts and prayers go out to all impacted by these events,” Bayley said.
Passengers can also help Ukrainian and Russian crew members by simply chatting with them, asking about their families and listening to their stories. Crew members’ home countries are printed on their nametags, and even in the best of times, they often welcome conversations about home and family.
In these trying times and emotional moments, knowing cruise passengers care can help crew members feel better connected to the world outside the cruise ship while there is still so much uncertainty in the region.
Cruise Hive’s thoughts are with all impacted crew members, with hope that they can reach out to their families and everyone remains safe and protected.