I just returned from our Uniworld 2019 Kick-Off meeting in Düsseldorf, Germany—our annual event that jumpstarts the sailing season. Our staff and crew joined together onboard the River Duchess, River Princess, River Queen, S.S. Antoinette and U River Cruises’ The A for teambuilding activities, training, a refresh on safety procedures and to help familiarize each other with what’s new across the different departments. The latter is a particularly fun day which has been dubbed “FAM Rotation Day,” which is designed to showcase each department and learn what they have in store for the upcoming cruise season. We all make rounds, touring each ship present at kick-off, sampling the kitchen’s newest dishes, hearing from the housekeeping team, learning about the new onboarding program for our crew from human resources and much more.
This year, we also placed a special focus on our Travel Advisors, taking time to work on how we can best communicate with the people that work to continually deliver their clients the most impressive experience on the rivers. We were fortunate to have Arnie Weissmann, Editor in Chief of Travel Weekly with us to get a behind the scenes experience—check out his story here.
Aside from informative trainings and meetings, we managed to have a great deal of fun as well. On one night, the Sales Team hosted a “Get Your Groove On” 70s-themed party onboard the S.S. Antoinette.
A few nights later, we enjoyed a Chef’s Party in the Leopard Lounge and a special dinner to sample all the latest creations from our team of Uniworld chefs. I am not a vegetarian but always love our vegetarian dishes on board and now I have a new favorite, beetroot and apple crumble–it’s delicious. Our culinary team is stronger than ever and ready to deliver fantastic local dishes sourced from the regions we sail in along with the best selection of recipes from our founder Bea Tollman.
The week culminated with a wonderful Blue & White Ball in a beautiful botanical garden nearby. It was a spectacular evening that celebrated the hard work and dedication of our staff and crew. You have never felt so much love and excitement in a room as when the winners were announced. Our Uniworld family knows how to celebrate the successes of their fellow teammates and they are all so proud. Throughout the evening we cheered and celebrated 41 individuals; and there might even be a few names you recognize from our frontline crew:
- Bartender of the Year: Violets Sarbu
- Butler of the Year: Marko Medic
- Waiter of the Year: Vladimir Radenkovic
- Sommelier of the Year: Nedko Nikolaev Nikolov
- Concierge of the Year: Martin Jancovic
- Well Being Coach of the Year: Dusko Vujasin
- Purser of the Year: Marija Traikovska
- Hotel Manager of the Year: Romica Ruse
- Cruise Manager of the Year: Adrian Leggatt
- Captain of the Year: Janos Varga
This was my third kick off meeting since joining Uniworld and I am already looking forward to next year since it is the one time of the year that I get the opportunity to see the majority of our crew all together. I only wish there was a way to bottle up all the energy, passion and enthusiasm our crew has; that would be worth a fortune!
I am looking forward to the 2019 sailing season knowing I have the best team on and off the ships, the most stunning fleet of ships and the full support from our owners to deliver the very best to you. We look forward to welcoming you onboard.