My first year with Princess and Holland America.
I became involved in the cruise industry specifically as a driver-guide during the summer of 2008. Several couples and individuals who have worked for the company for many years as Outfitters/Passenger Service Representatives, had been encouraging me to give it a try. Some had been trying for two or three years. They have all enjoyed their time with Princess and Holland America and continue to return year after year. They had been telling me about the great people they work with and telling me about the discounted cruises they have taken or are planning on taking as one of the benefits of the job.
My wife, Diana, and I have taken cruises on Princess and Carnival Cruise Lines in the past. We were impressed by the quality of the service, the beauty and condition of the ships, the employees we meet, the food and the overall great experience of our cruises on Princess. Diana and I first came to Alaska in 1966. I was a dentist with the US Public Health Service. We were assigned to the small village of Tanana on the Yukon River. We were stationed out of state for several years and moved back to Anchorage, Alaska in 1976. When I retired after forty-one years as a Pediatric Dentist with the US Public Health Service, I decided that working for Princess and Holland America might be a fun way to share the state I enjoy with visitors and a great way to earn some cruises for myself and my wife while doing it.
I called the company office in Anchorage and requested an application. My first contact with a Manager was during my initial phone interview with Crystal Smith. I also spoke with Nicole Gauthier during the follow-up interview. Following that interview, I was told that I was hired and that I would need to attend company sponsored training so that I could obtain my Commercial Drivers’ License.
My spring schedule was a bit complicated. I was exposed to my first experience with the flexibility of the Management and Supervisory staff when they were very willing to work with me and my schedule so that I could get my training when I was able to do it.
I cannot say enough about the quality of the classroom and driving training along with the trainers whom I became acquainted with during the training period. I have been very impressed with the professionalism of the management staff at the Anchorage office. I have always felt that if something were worth doing, it was worth doing right (and doing it right the first time). I was very pleased to see that the Managers also share this view.
My first driving assignment was what is called a PM Rail trip. The entire group, who I picked up as the evening train arrived, was stone deaf. They had two sign language interpreters with them which helped tremendously. To say the least, it was an interesting introduction to being a Driver-Guide.
I have enjoyed the driving, meeting a great group of co-workers, the supervisors, the managers and have enjoyed meeting and talking with visitors to Alaska from all over the world.
I have had the opportunity to meet and work with people from many backgrounds and who hold other jobs during the off-season throughout my employment this past summer. They each have different personalities and backgrounds. Getting to know them and to learn about their life experiences has been a very rewarding part of my summer job experience. I have made many true friends and look forward to seeing many of them who will return next summer.
I truly enjoy Alaska and never tire of sharing this great state and our experiences we’ve had here with the visitors. I am glad that I listened to the coaxing of our friends and gave this job a try. It has been a wonderful experience and I plan on re-applying as a driver-guide again for the next summer season. It has been a fantastic group to work with and for!
Ron – Driver Guide – Anchorage, Alaska