At Your Service

Thoughts on a Mediterranean Cruise // At Your Service.

So I walk into my cabin on the first day, and the first thing I see is a tiny card on the desk with printed letters: “Welcome! At your service: Virgilio”.

A few minutes later, a little man arrives at my door with my luggage and introduces himself as Virgilio. He explains to me that he will be coming in to make up my room, morning and night, while I am out. There is a phone where I can call him if I need anything.

I go downstairs to dinner and there is a man called Pacifico who pulls out my chair and places my napkin for me.

I walk into the elevator and there is a smiley man in a white suit who asks me how I am. He is on his way to someone’s cabin to deliver a plate of food they ordered.

Everywhere I go, pristinely dressed men and women smile at me and serve me. Most of these people come from poverty in the Philippines. They work on board the ship for 6 months at a time, sending all their money home to feed their families whom they don’t get to see.

I was often astonished at the pure humbleness and selflessness with which these people worked, their lives devoted to making our holidays memorable. Yes it’s their job, and yes they are paid to do it, but at the same time it is so obvious that they are genuinely lovely people who are just forced to spend their lives serving, because of the poverty they are born into.

Pacifico and Deepak, our evening waiters, taught my brother how to fold napkins. They brought us extra desserts. They taught me how to squeeze a lemon using only a knife and fork (!!!).

I really do admire these people, and I only wish they got the recognition they deserve.

Until next time,

El x


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