Not for Everyone

The Disney Wonder

I recently met Zaldy, a man who was employed as a server in the restaurants onboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship.  The Disney Wonder and its sister the Disney Magic have been in operation since the late 90’s.  Disney Cruise Lines recently added the Dream and are launching the Fantasy to their line-up.  The two new ships are 40% larger and have numerous upgraded amenities.  Zaldy mentioned that two of his co-workers transferred to work on the new ship.  Both returned to the Wonder when their contracts renewed.  I inquired why and he said the Wonder had established a vibrant community of co-workers who resembled an at-sea family.  Most of the employees sign four to six month contracts and then re-commit for another contract after a couple months at-home.  Numerous crew members have families at home who rely heavily on the income generated via Disney Cruises.  The camaraderie and connections could not be manufactured instantly in the new ships.  And the scale of the ship created its own challenges.  One of Zaldy’s co-workers said that it took her 5-7 minutes to get to her post at the restaurant each day on the Wonder.  However, on the Dream the transfer time was twenty minutes.  Even at-sea, a commute can be a quality of life decision.

Perhaps the greatest lesson from my interaction with Zaldy was that newer, bigger, and flashier does not mean better.  A core group of crew member on the Disney Wonder have been there for years.  They have created a community and network.  You cannot instantly manifest a tribe from 1,500 new crew members on a ship no matter how magnificent.  It takes time to build a tribe, members come and go and through the process of rotation the core is defined.  

Make sure to celebrate the tribe and not get overly focused on the features and amenities.

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