Eddie Micka may have only been with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines for a few months, but he has already spent many happy years at sea. He shares some of his favourite career experiences to date and sheds a little more light on his new role…
“Hospitality and restaurants have been in my blood since I was a little boy. My uncle owned a restaurant and I often helped out during the summer. I also worked in various luxury hotels, both in Austria and in the UK, as part of my studies.
My career in the cruising industry started 17 years ago, after I graduated and was working as a waiter. In that time I’ve been fortunate enough to work for several different cruise lines, such as Celebrity, Crystal and Viking. After steadily working my way up through the ranks, I spent nine years as Maître d'hôtel and Restaurant Manager at Seabourn. I’ve met lots of celebrities in my time, from Sir Cliff Richard and Janet Jackson to Bruce Willis. Moments I will never forget include serving Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the Czech Republic, and being part of a team catering for the Ferrari Formula 1 Team.
I joined the Fred. Olsen ‘family’ in April this year in a dual role as Fleet Maître’D and Service Trainer. Right from the beginning, everyone was very helpful and looked after me – I already feel like we’ve known each other for years. Part of my role is to travel across all four ships, overseeing and improving the service we offer with new methods and procedures. I am also in charge of training both restaurant management staff and waiters on any new procedures we implement. We are really focussing on the smaller details, and there are many exciting opportunities and challenges ahead.
What I love most about the position is the interaction with others; it is always very exciting to meet new guests and colleagues and hear their stories. It is also rewarding to see guests happy and satisfied with our product when they disembark. I always take it as a personal challenge to try to please every single guest and create lasting memories for them.
When I have some free time, my biggest hobby is to spend time with my family – my six-month-old son and wife – though that’s not to forget cars, cycling, skiing, ice hockey and football. I have also collected different watches and beer glasses from all over the world, during my travels.
If you asked me to name my favourite places, I would have difficulty narrowing it down, but New York, Vietnam and the Caribbean are definitely up there. My perfect holiday, however, is with my family back home, during the summer, relaxing by the pool with a barbecue and a glass of cold beer.”
Raising the bar
Eddie has recently conducted a training programme for restaurant staff on board Balmoral, designed to improve consistency and standards of service. Seven modules over seven days covered elements of service, including:
• How to greet and approach guests properly in a professional manner
• The importance of teamwork
• Attention to detail and eye contact
• Wine service and dessert service
• How to set up tables, change and reset cutlery, and clean tables properly
• Pride and enthusiasm in the job
After all seven modules, the training continued for another week with practical, ‘hands-on’ tasks. This was followed by a written exam before the waiters were presented with their certificates.