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Meet Eurodam’s Crew Purser

Crew Purser Melissa Searle

My name is Melissa Marie Searle. I was born in Modesto, Calif., and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with an honors degree in political science and a minor in English literature in May 2005.

During the summer between my junior and senior year of college, my brother graduated from Princeton University, so, with my family, I went on a Holland America cruise aboard Westerdam (as a passenger) for a little graduation celebration for my brother. My family was/is big into cruising.

It actually turned into the “Love Boat” because I met Iain Searle (my husband, now chief electrician on the Eurodam) on that trip. At the time, he was a third electrician. As fate would have it, my cruise ended the same day as Iain’s contract ended. I had to return to California because I was enrolled in summer school and Iain went home to England. A month later he came to California to visit me. It was his first time to the U.S. and he popped the big question with a diamond ring. I accepted with more happiness than I had ever felt! Unfortunately, he had to go back for his next contract and I had one more year of school to finish.

We kept in touch by phone, mail, and e-mail, and I flew to see him a few times. He came to my graduation in May 2005, and we were inseparable since then. Iain was scheduled for the new build of the Noordam, so we moved to Mestre for 7 months (July 2005 – January 2006). We did fly home, though, in November 2005 to get married in Pebble Beach, Calif. When I joined the Noordam in January 2006, I applied for human resources officer. I began training on March 15 and spent 4 subsequent contracts as HRO for HAL. I really enjoyed the position! Working on
port papers, I made some amazing relationships with the port agents and customs officials. In the crew office, things never got boring, and I was able to meet and help a lot of the crew. I brought out the Eurodam as HRO this year and decided to apply for Crew Purser. The reason I
made the switch is because I wanted a more intimate relationship with our crew on board.

When I was in the shipyard for the Noordam back in 2005 with Iain, we were living in an apartment with Andre Doveton (now chief electrician on the Westerdam), and the three of us were brainstorming over dinner to come up with a position I would like to apply for as soon as we joined the ship. Since I had never worked on ships before, we were basically making up positions I could invent on board because I had very specific ideas of what I wanted to do. At the end of the night, it was decided I wanted to become the “crew advocate.” When I got on board, the HRO was the closest thing I found to it.

Then the crew purser position came about. During my contract as HRO on the Eurodam, I trained in my off time to learn more about the crew purser position. Now I have come back to the Eurodam as crew purser. It is a wonderful position, as I have time to get to know the crew and help them whenever I can. I absolutely love this job and I love our crew!

Iain and I just bought our first house together in Lake Tahoe, Calif., during our last leave, but we plan on sailing for a long time. Currently, we are applying for a green card for Iain (he is British), and needless to say, it is taking awhile. Until we can really get settled in our new house, the Eurodam is home for us.

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