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The Room and Rules (2)

Dave:         Thank you. If I may have your attention       
              everyone, I would like to tell you about some of the 
              activities. The Reggae band will be playing calypso  
              music poolside at the sail away party. After dinner  
              tonight, our fantastic dancers will be performing for 
              you in the theater. Tomorrow, anyone who does not    
              wish to go ashore will find plenty of activities to  
              do onboard. Be sure to read the daily program        
              delivered to your room every morning, enjoy your     
              evening!

Donita:       Our luggage has been delivered; I’m going to  
              unpack.
Sandra:       Why don’t we do that later? Let’s get our     
              cameras and go up to the Lido deck. I want to enjoy  
              the calypso music!
Donita:       Good idea. We don’t want to miss any of the   
              fun!
Sandra:       I’d like to find time to explore the ship from 
              top to bottom. The ship is just like a small city.   
              (They lock the door and walk toward the elevators.   
              They meet one of the officers who introduces himself 
              Manager: Good evening, ladies. I’m the hotel manager,
              Firmin van Walle. 
Donita:       Hotel?
Firmin:       Yes, the Maasdam is a floating hotel. There   
              are rooms for 1800 people. How is your room?
Sandra:       The room is very nice, especially the huge    
              window to look at the ocean. How did you become      
              manager of such a huge ship?
Firmin:       It’s a long story; are you sure you want to   
              hear about it?

Hotel Manager Firmin van Walle

I was born and raised in Antwerp, (world Capital of Diamonds) 
Flanders, Belgium. I’m celebrating 28 years in the cruise industry. 
I started as a cook apprentice in 1961 in restaurant Pere 
Mouillard, Brussels. I continued to go through some of the best 
restaurants and hotels in Belgium, France, Germany and the Middle 
East. It as when I was working in Germany when I met a lot of hotel 
staff who had been working at sea. I was curious and signed on my 
first vessel in San Francisco in 1979.  I went from working in 
Provisions, Dining Room, Bars, Purser, Controller, Food and 
Beverages and ended up being Hotel Manager. 

Sandra:       Have you been to many countries?
Firmin:       I’ve been on several ships sailing Europe, the 
              Baltic and Mediterranean, New England-Canada, the    
              Far East Mexico, Alaska, and the Caribbean.
Donita:       What do you like about working on ships?
Firmin:       I like the challenge, the camaraderie, and the 
              team work.
Sandra:       Are you able to go home very often?
Firmin:       Yes, (he laughs). I’ll be going home soon and 
              my wife already has a “honey-do list waiting for me!
Donita:       Where do you live?
Firmin:       My wife, Fernanda, four grown children and 4  
              grandchildren live in Ichtegem. It’s a small country 
              village in Flanders, Belgium.	
Sandra:       It must be difficult to be away from your     
              family.
Firmin:       We are very fortunate on this ship; there are 
              many computers for the staff and crew to use         
              everyday. And my family loves the gifts I bring home 
              from all the different ports.
Donita:       You sound like you really like your work.
Firmin:       As I tell other people, you don’t spend 28    
              years on a ship if you don’t love it!
Author: Torsten Daerr