Return To Work

Last updated on August 25, 2020

Tadaaaaam! Time for me to return to work! Finally!

So, what happened these last few months?

I was lucky enough that my contract was ending and to be sent home in February, just before plenty of governments decide that crew members don’t deserve to go home and create lots of barriers to their repatriation….

I stayed at home 4 months. Usually, I only stay 2 months, for my vacation.
I feel very lucky to have stayed at home during this quarantine period and can’t even imagine the pain for thousands of crew members, stuck on ships for months, without the capability to talk to their family everyday, to be on land, etc. On the other hand, you will tell me that crew members lived in peace without having to think about how they can do their groceries when everyone was just crazy to buy all toilet paper rolls and pasta… I guess this is the only, and small, benefit of being confined on a ship… While they were worried about their family, their friends, their country, hoping to receive flight tickets anytime. Quite a stressing life.

On land, yes we had to worry about getting out, to go shopping just to find a little bit of food with potential infected people, to worry about jobs, about PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), etc. But, at least, we were in touch with our family and friends. Sometimes we were also confined with them (even better actually!).

Repatriation: an Herculean task

Cruise lines have done an outstanding job by repatriating their crew, finding all different possible solutions, entirely dependent on governments, airports, ports and airlines decisions and policies. Many crew members are actually home right now. But, still, plenty of crew members are waiting for their return journey.

I followed this extraordinary work from home, and it was sooooo frustrating. I became a HR professional to help and support employees. I became a Shipboard HR as I couldn’t wait in a tower of glass, “elaborating strategies” without having the employees in front of me… I wanted to complete concrete and practical actions to effectively support employees.
Not being there for the crew when they really needed support was very frustrating for me.
Yes, of course, I helped the crew stuck at home, by answering their questions and giving them company news. But that was not enough. I wanted to do more for my friends and my family at sea.

The Journey

Luckily, my company called me a few days ago, asking me if I was ready to go back to work. You probably guess what was my answer and my feelings when I discovered the news 😉

So how can we send crew members back to their ships? Well, exactly the same way as we repatriate them! Let me quickly explain my journey:

– I flew from Paris to London on a commercial flight. No quarantine for me as the UK government recognizes seafarers as essential workers (way to go UK!).
– I then flew from London to Barbados on a charter flight, travelling with my colleagues only.
– I took a bus from the tarmac to go to the ship. We didn’t pass though the terminal or border controls.

At the ship, again, everything was very well-organized. We don’t stay outside, we don’t stay with security to screen our luggage, etc.
We identified our luggage and left a protected crew member to screen them and bring them to our room. 
Another crew member gave us an envelop with our stateroom key and all isolation instructions and equipment.
Crew members were here to escort us. We didn’t have to touch any button, in any lift, we couldn’t get lost. It went fast. The process was perfect.

I am now ready to spend 14 days isolation in my room. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are sent directly to the room. We pick up at the door and we don’t have any contact with our fellow crew members. Medical call us twice a day so we can give them or accurate body temperature.

Crew members are absolutely fantastic with us. Time flies on a ship. I’ll be out very soon, for sure!

They even thought about giving us some entertainment 😉

Talk to you soon. Stay safe!

Disney drawings

Oh, and, just for you… May I present you to my new best friend… 😉

menu isolation cabin


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The author is a cruise ship officer and loves travelling around the world. He started the expatriation adventure in 2016. He is passionate about learning new cultures, about local food & beer. *Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my current employer or my previous employers*

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