In late March, we here at Palm Beach Happening were lucky enough to enjoy a weeklong cruise aboard the Norwegian Epic. During our amazing adventure, we explored the western Caribbean, enjoyed great food, amazing hospitality, and VIP treatment.
Our trip would not have been quite as enjoyable without the help of the ship’s awesome hotel staff, led by Richard Janicki. Near the end of the voyage, we were able to sit down with Mr. Janicki to ask him a bit about his day to day activities, his favorite restaurants, and the future of the cruise industry.
How did you get started in the cruise industry?
Well, I started 22 years ago. Originally I always wanted to work in the hotel industry, so I studied the business in school since I was 14 years old. From there, I started workingd in restaurants and hotels. I worked as an executive chef, and got to cook for the Queen of England twice!
One day, I replied to an advertisement to work on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. The islands were very attractive, but I didn’t have much hope when I sent my application in. Eventually I got the interview in Paris and started working with Celebrity Cruise Lines. There, I worked my way up to Assistant Food Manager, and in 2000 I started working with Norwegian.
Can you tell us a little more about your role aboard the Norwegian Epic?
I am in charge of the largest department aboard the ship. There are 3 departments on board; the deck department, which runs the vessel, engineering, and Hotel. There are 900 crew in the hotel department, and we cover from dining to housekeeping, and pretty much everything in between. I never have 2 identical days, and am honored to work with team of managers to help deliver excellent an product for our guests.
Of all the dishes at the many restaurants aboard, which is your favorite?
Being French it would be easy to say the Bistro, but that wouldn’t be fair! I like to eat meat, so Cagney’s is one of my favorites, and is also a favorite amongst the guests. Moderno is also very nice.
What is the funniest thing to happen to you in your career?
Too many to answer. We have many stories. There’s always something funny.
Of all the ports that Norwegian visits, which is your favorite?
In my career, I have worked on many ships and almost gone around the world. I once worked on a ship that went to Antarctica, and it was like being in National Geographic!
How many guests are aboard this cruise?
4500 for this cruise, and we get as many as 5000 during the summer
What is your favorite part about being hotel manager of one of the largest cruise ships afloat?
I don’t have time to get bored. Every day is different. There’s always something happening that you didn’t plan, and need to act quickly. Not knowing what’s happening in the next hour is exciting!
If you could be in charge of Norwegian Cruise Line for one day, what would you change?
Right now, we have a good product. I know that I would not go back to traditional model of cruising. We always try to make the experience better. Now, Norwegian is building new ship with racetrack aboard. Who would have thought we’d do that? I like the spirit of always innovating and offering people something new.
We have weddings and all sorts of amazing things now. The ship offers something for 3 generations of families, with something for everyone. They go do what interests them during the day, and at night, they unite for a big meal, like Thanksgiving every day!
I think we have found the right balance.
What itineraries does this vessel cover this year?
This week, we are at the end of our Caribbean season and heading to Europe. The European itinerary is, in my opinion, one of the best, with a new country every day. Our guests seem to enjoy it as well.
We’d like to thank Richard Janicki, his assistant Joesel Pemberton, Elizabeth Lytle in the Public Relations Department, and everyone at Norwegian Cruise Line for their hospitality and assistance. Be sure to follow our #SailawaySaturday segments for news and information about the cruise industry, and all the innovations taking place.