My name is Codie Villalobos. March of this year marked my 10th year of what was supposed to be my summer job in Alaska “just for the season”.
I began working for the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge in the summer of 1998. I was hired as a seasonal Front Desk Clerk. I had originally applied for the Gift Shop and interviewed with the manager and was told possibly the Front Desk was a better fit for me, I quickly agreed. The season of ’98 came and went and I found myself still working for Princess, I had been hired on as a regular full time employee. After learning of the travel benefits with my job I quickly booked a Cruise later that year for a very minimal price. I had never been to Mexico so I was very excited. We flew into Alcapulco and for the first time I saw a Cruise Ship I was amazed by its size. The 7 day trip was incredible. I was able to experience first class service and visit 4 different destinations in Mexico. 10 years later I have been on a total of 10 cruises and too many ports to list. Over the years cruising with princess enlightened me to the excellence of customer service our guests receive and should receive, and also what keeps them coming back.
After approximately 2 years at the Front Desk I was awarded a promotion for the Front Desk Lead position. It gave me a chance to increase my knowledge about Front Office operations. Working at the Front Desk I met people from all over the world. I helped guests with array of issues from overnight shipping of passports to dashing down the sidewalk to catch a guest before they left on tour to give them a sweater that was left behind. I was also given the opportunity to work the Night Audit shift which includes reconciling the days charges and payment for the entire lodge, which included Front Desk, Gift Shop, & Food and Beverage venues. Two more years passed and an Administrative position opened. I applied and I got it! I have been the Administrative Assistant here at the Lodge for over 6 years now. I have been awarded many opportunities for growth in many different areas. Five years ago I was appointed the Customer Service Trainer for the facility. I have to say that is one of my favorite parts of my job.
When I am asked why I still work for Princess many things come to mind. The team work is excellent. Just recently the Administrative staff including the General Manager of the hotel assisted the Housekeeping team to clean 300 guest rooms. Many of the Housekeeping staff had not yet arrived and they were strapped for time and employees. We all worked together to make sure our guests were able to access their rooms as soon as their flights arrived.
The employee recognition program with Princess is outstanding. Princess doesn’t let excellent service by an employee go unnoticed. From the Employee of the Month program to the many social events organized to thank employees for their efforts.
Now for a little fun fact: I live about 7 miles from the Lodge. In the summer it takes me about 10 minutes to get to work. Fairbanks Princess Lodge is located on the banks of the Chena River. During the winter months after the river freezes and it’s a mild 20 below outside. I and many other Fairbanks residents drive across the river to get to and from work, this saves me 5 minutes in driving time! Although every winter there is the one car that tries to make the last trip over the river for the winter that falls through the ice. We have a first class view of this event every year from the lodge. The ice bridge is located directly in front us. Thankfully no one has been hurt. Unfortunately insurance doesn’t pay for automobiles that drive on water.