On Jewel of the Seas, heading from Miami through the Panama Canal to San Diego, we had the opportunity to chat with Alessio Quaglio who has only been with Royal Caribbean for one and half years. Before Royal he was with Norwegian Cruise Lines for six years. His interest in people and travel grew from being a tour and staff leader in his hometown of Civitavecchia, the port closest to Rome. He trained originally as a biomedical engineer but after his first contract with ship life he became ‘hooked’. His first job at sea was as an immigration officer, then front desk manger and now as a Guest Services Manger on Jewel of the Seas.

Role of Guest Services Manager

Alessio has multiple responsibilities as the officer in charge of guest services. He looks after the loyalty program, front desk operations, guest administration and the huge task of printing the ship’s daily Compass Newsletter. He is also the ship’s ambassador, group liaison manager, operations manager for embarkation and departure processes, as well as guest accessibility coordinator. Yes, he is very busy and his right hand assistants are the front desk manager, the front desk administration officer and the group coordinator, who all support him in his complex role.

What part do you play in diversity and inclusion, created by Royal Caribbean?

Alessio told us he leads a very multicultural team with diversity in language, culture, and sexual orientation.

“I want all people, guests and staff to feel welcome regardless of who they are.”

As an out and proud officer he sees himself as a big part of the LGBTI+ community on board. He also provides support for staff whose backgrounds are not generally open and accepting of diverse sexual orientations.

He says for all staff, Royal Caribbean’s Diversity and Inclusion Training programs are very important. He summed it up like this,

“It is not about whether a person likes rice or pasta, but rather about not judging”.

Ambition and leadership are important to Alessio and his next step, he hopes, will be as manager of hotel operations on an Oasis class ship. Following that he hopes to become one of the first out and proud Hotel Directors for Royal Caribbean. The company has an encouraging record for gender diversity, as seen by the appointment of several female captains within the fleet.

The fun side for Alessio is helping to ensure there are LGBTI+ staff parties every three months and each year a Pride celebration in June.

Alessio’s gay icon is Lady Gaga and her song BORN THIS WAY helped him understand and feel confident with his own identity, because of his cultural background.

Don’t hide yourself in regret

Just love yourself and you’re set

I’m on the right track, baby

I was born this way

                                                        (Born This Way, Lady Gaga)

What do you hope Gaymemonholiday will notice about diversity and inclusion on this ship?

“A welcome environment and good service regardless of who you are. I want to give the same smile to everyone. I take crew members with me so they can see how I interact with guests.”

We did notice the smiles everywhere on board but more importantly we found no elements of discrimination or poor attitude towards us as gay guests. We always felt welcome and comfortable around the ship and staff members were respectful, especially with our interactions as a same sex couple.

What Is your favourite aspect of ship life.

“Of course meeting people but best of all I met my boyfriend on a ship.”

What is the most outrageous Request you have received?

Alessio held his head in his hands and thought.

“Well there are lots and some I best not talk too much about, however this one I can. Once I was asked if I could arrange a helicopter to land on the ship to pick up a guest so he could get a good aerial photos rather than using the tender boat when going ashore to Monte Carlo.”

Did the guest get his wish?

“No! (Laughing) Helicopter landings on ships are fraught with difficulty and danger and are only organised for absolute emergencies.”

Alessio, do you have anything to add which might interest our readers?

“Yes, one piece of advice. The young crowd should choose a bigger ship where the emphasis is on entertainment and parties, along with more facilities. Older guests or couples usually find the smaller ships, with a more intimate crowd and a focus on service, more to their liking.”

It was great sitting down and chatting with Alessio and as Lady Gaga says in her song, “I’m on the right track, baby” which is an apt metaphor for what we experienced as gay guests on Jewel of the Seas and other Royal Caribbean ships in the past. We hope you have the same positive appraisal whenever you sail.