When Safety Leads To Free Steak!
Cruise Ship Diaries Chapter 41
One annoying habit my new senior had was he would drop stuff on me at the very last minute which absolutely winds me up and on this particular day, I forget the port of call but I had made plans with friends to go ashore and just as I was about to meet them at the gangway my pager buzzed (should have left it in my room!!!) and 'Ah bro you're gonna hate me but...' He was right I wasn't happy! 'So I need you to film this safety video in one of the main restaurants in about 30 minutes'
As he was leaving for a tour that was all the detail I got for the shoot! After turning up at the wrong resturant first the head chef and Maitre'd were waiting for me with a bunch of their staff to shoot a safety video I knew nothing about! 'So what's the plan then' they asked me, luckily before I said 'I have no fucking idea' the ships safety officer arrived and thankfully it was all his idea, so at least someone had an idea of what we were supposed to be doing!
The basic plan was that we had to shoot 3 different examples of safety prodcedures not being followed and the consequences of not being safe, it was an internal video to be made just for the F&B (food and beverage dept) for training onboard the Sun. However with no forward planning we were literally making it as we went along, scene 1 had the head chef and maitre'd 'drinking' in an office before they get ready for the evenings meals, I'm not sure how much acting was done in this scene and I'm fairly certain the reason the scene seemed so authentic was because this acutally happened on a fairly regular basis onboard.
The first problem we ran into was that originally the kitchen staff were supposed to act in the scenes and they had less knowledge of what they were supposed to be doing than we did and we were making it as we went along, needless to say they were uniformly terrible and as the chef was demonstrating to them what they needed to do it hit me 'hey, why don't you just act in it?' He didn't need a whole lot of convincing and seemed to enjoy setting small fires in the galley area.
Scene 2 was a simple case of pouring dangerous chemicals into unlabelled containers and then using them to cook with!
The final scene and the highlight of the filming for so many reasons was all about the dangers of wet floors without wet floor signs!
For storyline reasons above the gentleman decides to not clean up his mess after dropping a bucket of water on the gallery floor and leaves with zero fucks given!
Our intrepid hero enters next, run off his feet and having to deal with a table of absolute arseholes, he is stressed and he thinks his day cannot get any worse!
Now as we were filming a safety video and clearly professionals the water was cleaned up before the big stunt of the video, the direction was for our hero to slip on the water fully exposing the dangers of wet floors. Now as this was the big moment we had a mattress ready to put on the floor so that our hero could dramatically crash to the flooe SAFELY!!! of course.
Now to get the movement and framing I told him to just walk through to the point where we would put the matress down for a test shoot and maybe something was lost in translation and my direction was not good enough but without the matress down this happened!
Yes thats right in front of the ships safety the 'actor' went full method and threw himself on the floor in the test take before we had put the safety matress on the floor. He fully went for it and it damn sure looked like it hurt not to mention the flailing tray crashed down and smacked him right in the head drawing blood in the process. 'Fucks sake' said the safety officer, I concurred! I had a quick look at the footage and luckily I got the shot and with our main actor now probably concussed and taking a trip to medical it was suggested we call it a day.
At the time I absolutely hated shooting this because I was unprepared and had no idea what I was supposed to be doing, however the flipside is it forces you to be creative and I'm still happy with the end result. As it was an internal video and a company requirement rather than a video we would sell it meant I could have fun in the edit.
That means cheesy music and pisstakes of corporate video transition wipes, looking back now you could honestly think that this was intended to be a serious training video. It was defintitely not but it was fun and a great chance to be creative on the fly and now I just had to wait for the reaction to the video.
Thankfully they loved it and the head chef sent one of his assistants down to my video room to ask for a copy, I sent him back with 10 copies so he could give a copy to everyone in the video, this went down well and the next time I saw the Maitre'd he said 'Whenever you want to go to the Steakhouse or Sabatini's just let me know, its taken care off'.
On each ship back in 2008, Princess would have two speciality restaurants the Sterling Steakhouse & Sabatini's Italian, these were both high end dining experiences were the guests would pay an additional $25 per person to dine but that $25 meant you could have how much and whatever you wanted off the menu!
What was great about being staff for Princess as that we had deck priveleges that meant as long as we were smartly dressed (rules varied ship to ship) and we had the night off, up to four of us per table could go out for a really nice meal and be treated like human beings for a change. As long as the resturarnt was not too busy you could call ahead and book for the evening and it was great if it was someones birthday or someones leaving party, also because they were our fellow crew members we usually tipped better than the PAX and were probably easier guests to please.
I used my free meal with some friends from the spa and the Maitre'd immediately made for our table and asked us what we would be drinking and answered his own question by sending a few bottles of wine to our table. It was the little touches like him saying to our waiter 'now make sure you take good care of these guys right?' which I'm sure he said to most guests but it was part of the experience that made you feel like you were at a really fancy restaurant. When we went to settle up at the end I wasn't expecting them to pay for all 4 of us, but we were told 'everything was taken care off', after such great service I think we left a combined tip of $100 which was worth every penny.
On the way out as I thanked the Matrie'd he said 'so next time you come to Sabatinis' I was not going to argue and again we had exceptional service and free drinks. As these restaurants were so amazing and so cheap even at $25 per person (even better when free!) we'd try and go at least once a fortnight but from the day I made that safety video I never once paid for one of the speciality restaurants for the rest of my contract.
On the next cruise diaries - Holidays in Cambodia!