Many of you know Vicky from her many years leading the Guest Services Contact Center, numerous Carnival Conversations events and other ship visit activities throughout the years. She has now moved to our Operations team and is working on projects that help improve your guests’ experience onboard and as they board.
First things first – who started first with Carnival – you or Adolfo? And tell us a bit about you amazing career here!
I joined the Carnival family first in 1981 and Adolfo followed not too far down the line. We have been good friends and work colleagues for about 35 years and I could not ask for anyone better to have shared this journey with!
I started as a part time embarkation agent at the Port of Miami during exciting times - the Love Boat was a huge TV hit and we had just received the newly built ms Tropicale. Shortly after, I took a full time job as a reservations agent while still working at the pier on the weekends.
I spent a number of years in the reservations department holding a variety of roles, which included customer service, recruiting, hiring, training, revenue management and inventory control and international reservations, while also managing the embarkation department.
From 2009-2015, I led the Guest Services contact center and administrative teams. I then moved into the Hotel Operations division to oversee the onboard Guest Services and Guest Logistics functions.
This year, I moved into my current role as VP of Guest Care and Port Services.
You and Adolfo aren’t the only ones who have been with Carnival for so many years. What do you think it is that makes so many people stay with the company for so long?
Carnival has always had a very unique corporate culture. There is something very special about working here. In the early days, we were a small team, fueled by a tremendous amount of passion, pride and entrepreneurial spirit and 36 years later, that is still very much the same.
What do you love best about the onboard product – and do you have a favorite ship?
I prefer relaxing sea days where I can enjoy going to the gym, being pampered in our spa and hanging out in our peaceful Serenity area while reading a book and sipping on a cocktail. I also enjoy the great variety of dining venues that my family and I can enjoy. One night we will go to Cucina, another night to JiJi’s Asian Kitchen or the Steakhouse, and if we don’t want to go out, we can order great room service and stay in to watch a movie. It’s probably no surprise that Carnival Vista is my favorite ship and the Havana Bar is my favorite spot. Who can resist a great Mojito and good Cuban music to dance the night away?
Tell us about what you and team do. Is there anything in particular agents may be interested in knowing more about?
I have several areas of responsibility and all of them focus on the customer. When wearing my Guest Port Services hat, my team and I help to ensure that we are providing friendly service and a seamless debark and embark process in our 16 turnaround ports. The Guest Communications team handles all communications with our guests. We work closely with a variety of teams in the office and on board the ship to craft messaging for our guests and ensure they receive any important information that needs to be communicated before or during their cruise. I also oversee the post cruise contact center, which handles all inquiries from guests once they return home.
There are two areas which I’d like to spend a little more time on. I have the privilege of leading Carnival’s award winning CareTeam. This team, which encompasses almost 500 shore side employees and thousands of crew members, provide compassionate and logistical support to guests, crew, employees and their families, who find themselves encountering some kind of emergency when either cruising or working for us. No one ever plans for an emergency to happen when they are on vacation or working at sea, but our dedicated team of specially trained volunteers go wherever they are needed to provide assistance, often acting as “family” away from home while we help these individuals return home. In many ways, they represent the heart behind the Carnival logo and I could not be more proud of them.
As Carnival’s ADA Responsibility Officer, I also want to talk about Carnival’s commitment to guests with disabilities. Carnival is dedicated to providing fun and memorable vacations to all our guests, and this includes guests with disabilities. As our partners, travel agents play an important role in helping us to meet the needs of our guests by making sure we have all the information necessary to accommodate any special requirements. A wealth of information is on our web site. But if additional assistance is needed, I encourage our partners to contact our Guest Access team to find out how we can best serve your customers, including helping to identify which of our special staterooms best accommodates mobility limitations.
Shipboard, Carnival has ADA Shipboard Officers, who oversee the Guest Services department and have responsibility for responding to any ADA issue. Additionally, all our contact center teams and every single crew member on board our ships are required to complete ADA sensitivity training. Lastly, we continue to work on making enhancements to our onboard facilities and are working with external partners on developing plans to bring all our ships to be ADA compliant.
What is your greatest memory at Carnival?
There are so many, it is hard to pick just one. I have to say that traveling to Cuba last year on the Adonia, the first cruise ship from North America to dock in Havana, was a moment I will never forget. As a Cuban immigrant who has been away from my birth place for almost 50 years, it was incredibly moving to be part of that moment in history and I was especially proud of Carnival Corporation for making that happen. It was a homecoming like no other!