Staff writer Derek Hall of The Seattle Times recently went behind the scenes on Eurodam at the Port of Seattle to uncover what makes a successful seven-night Holland America Line cruise. Read some excerpts from his article and then see it in its entirety on The Seattle Times website.
For Crew of 2,100-Passenger Cruise Ship, Frenetic ‘Turnaround Day’ in Seattle Starts and Ends the Journey
Inside the 936-foot-long vessel, there’s a whirl of activity on the third of the ship’s 14 levels. Provisioning master Herman Hermawan and his team are cleaning the passageways and tidying bare storerooms in preparation to take on about 350,000 pounds of food, beverages and supplies.
The ship docks in Seattle each Saturday morning during the May-September cruise season for what the industry calls “turnaround day.” The ship is scheduled to depart at 4 p.m. Eurodam’s hotel crew has four hours to clean and sanitize 1,052 staterooms, and less than nine hours to transfer more than 8,000 pieces of luggage and load some 350 pallets of provisions for another weeklong journey. Coming aboard will be 147,500 pounds of fresh produce, 35,000 eggs, 1,375 gallons of milk and 16,800 cans of beer and soda, just to name a few items.
In 45 minutes, the luggage has all been cleared, and forklifts begin scooping up pallets of supplies staged under a large white tent on the dock.
Doing ‘the dirty jobs’
Up on deck seven, executive assistant housekeeper Ruben Pereira walks the quiet halls, overseeing the cleaning of staterooms.
The housekeeping staff divides into teams of three on turnaround day, each team responsible for 30 cabins. They begin cleaning at 7:30 a.m., as soon as the first guests disembark. Because Holland sends guests directly to their cabins when they board, all 1,052 rooms must be cleaned and sanitized before the first guests arrive at 11:30.
By 11, provision pallets are backing up at the ship’s freight elevators. Hermawan bounces back and forth, operating both lifts while continuing to guide longshoremen to the proper areas. Along the passageway, in nearby kitchens next to the storerooms, culinary staff are chopping fruit, baking bread and prepping for the day’s scheduled lunch service, the first meal for the ship’s new guests.
By 3:15 p.m., everyone is onboard and accounted for, the last luggage bin is being loaded, and a series of high-pitch tones over the ship’s intercom indicate the start of a mandatory emergency drill. After that, guests can join in a sail-away party on the aft deck, featuring Northwest cheese, wine and beer.
But Hermawan is still busy in the lower decks, breaking down pallets and arranging provisions. As sailors close the loading doors, longshoremen prepare to release the ropes that secure the ship to Pier 91.
Derek Hall’s piece originally appeared in The Seattle Times. Holland America Line received permission to share this article.