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Cheering for the Unsung Heroes

The Housekeeping Staff of the MV Explorer Singing “We Are the World” in the Semester at Sea Fall 2011 Crew Talent Show

What do meals, energy production, clean living quarters and safe transportation all have in common?  On the MV Explorer, each of these invaluable aspects of life aboard a floating campus is presided over and provided by the dedicated crew of our ship.  The 187 men and women who work night and day to keep us safe, healthy, fed and on track to our next destination are the unsung heroes of the program. Yet on Sunday night, the entire shipboard community had the opportunity to cheer the crew on and celebrate them through the crew talent show.  A favorite event of every voyage, each member of the crew who was interested was given the opportunity to perform a song, dance or comedy routine.  Students, Lifelong Learners, faculty and staff crowded the doors of the Union and stampeded in once they were open.  All other evening activities were cancelled because no one had interest in anything but cheering on the dining staff as they danced.

Students held signs rooting for their stewards or the waiters from the dining hall who always have a smile for us, no matter how early breakfast is being served.  Applause and cheers reached unprecedented levels as engineers became singers, busboys became a boy band, and a security officer showcased a gorgeous traditional dance from her home country of Nepal.  With many of the crew changing over in just a short time in Hong Kong, the night was especially poignant.  A large number of the crew will be going off to their homes around the world, and we will be joined by new members.  Between his two hit songs, a favorite waiter brought tears to the crowd’s eyes as he talked about how much he enjoyed his time aboard the ship and how much he would miss our faces every day.  A thought that most of us have been trying to put out of our minds, we finally acknowledged that our goodbyes would not begin in Florida in December, but Hong Kong in a few weeks.

Herein lies the magic of the MV Explorer.  It is a floating “campus” in every sense of the word.  It is a place to learn, a place to grow, but it is also a place to live.  And the lives we lead are made possible, but also enriched by the crew.  Professional and often in the background, they still cannot help but be an integral part of our experience.  One night could not have possibly brought them all the praise they deserve, but we were glad to have the opportunity.  If the whole night were to be summed up in one story, it would be the final number of the evening.  The entire housekeeping and laundry staff came out and sang “We Are the World,” waving a myriad of flags.  However, within seconds, every person in the Union was standing up, singing the song and joining arms with the people next to him or her.

As much as our journeys in port are teaching us about the world, our time on the MV Explorer just may be teaching us more.

  • Culture
  • Education
  • Life on Land

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