Hello to all!! I would like to take a few minutes and talk about how I got to where I am right now. It is actually by pure accident that I am working for Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge. It started in early March, about 3 days before I left to go on a cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines. I had already been on 2 cruises, and I absolutely loved the environment!! I really enjoyed meeting the crew members on board the ship. Everybody had a different story, experience, and background. I felt that I learned so much each time I went.
I was sitting on the internet one night, and I got a wild idea that I should work for a cruise line. So, I did a search for cruise jobs, and www.princessjobs.com was one of the first sites that came up. After clicking on the link, I looked around at the different job openings and lodges they had in Alaska, including Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge. I knew I wanted a job thousands and thousands of miles away from home, so I applied and sent my resume in that night.
Honestly, I put it in the back of my mind and I went on my cruise! The Monday after I returned, I had an email from Tracy Smith wondering when she could contact me for an interview. It turns out that she sent me the email the day I left on my cruise! I immediately emailed her back, and after playing phone tag with her for about 3 or 4 days, I finally got in touch with her to have my first interview. I enjoyed the interview process with Tracy; she had such a nice, soft and welcoming voice. It was like talking to someone I had known for years. After my third interview, she offered me the position of Night Auditor, and I gladly (and thankfully) accepted!
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: I’m going from Texas to Alaska for four months….FOUR MONTHS! I honestly thought I had bitten off more than I could chew, and was very nervous. Everyone was so excited for me-my mom, friends, my mom’s friends. So my fear quickly turned into excitement!
When I received my first email from Tracy that was sent to the entire summer staff, I was excited to talk to the people I was going to spend the summer with. It turned out that Alyssa, one of the employees that had just been hired, had started a Copper River Princess MySpace blog so everyone could break the ice even before we left for Alaska. That was one of the best ideas since deodorant! We had so much fun chatting back and forth, and posting bulletins about Alaska! I recommend for anyone who gets hired as a seasonal employee for Princess to create a MySpace page, and get in touch with as many people as possible! I was more excited about meeting my coworkers than I was about coming to Alaska and making money.
The excitement turned to pain when I got out of bed at 3am (Central time) to start my 8 hour trip to Alaska. After I landed in Anchorage, I went to the luggage grab area and finally found a face I recognized…Allyssa!! As well as other fellow coworkers I met from the MySpace blog.
After all the other employees arrived on their flights, we loaded up in the Princess motorcoach to head to the grocery store, Fred Meyers, and then to the Lodge. The drive was absolutely beautiful!!! We saw nearly 10 moose and so many bald eagles!! I sat on the right side of the bus, and had a great view of all the mountains all the way to Copper Center.
When we got to the lodge four hours later, the management staff was standing outside waving us in. Before heading to employee housing to unpack we ate sandwiches in the bar area of the lodge. After unloading the bags, the management staff helped us find our rooms. That is when I met Bonnie, the General Manager. Of course I had no idea who she was when she introduced herself. She asked me what my name was, and when I said Donny, she said, “Oh that will be easy to remember-it rhymes with mine, Bonnie!” Well, being the cheesy guy I am, I thought that was real cool. And I would always remember her name!
We eventually settled into our dorm style rooms, which I found very nice. After 12+ hours of travel time, I could already tell it was going to be worth it. The next day, we started bright and early with training and orientation, including customer service training. To wrap my novel up, all of my expectations have been exceeded! The people here are great and from so many different places. I know this summer is going to be the best decision I have ever made, and I can’t wait to post my next blog entry about how our summer is going!
THE ALASKA EXPERIENCE: