A DELEGATION of cadets from the NAFC Marine Centre were invited to step on board the Holland America cruise ship Maasdam last Friday for a tour of the facilities – the first time its trainees have been offered such a unique opportunity.
The group, which included the deck and engineer cadets who are working towards their final exams, were accompanied by teaching staff and NAFC training co-ordinator Caroline Hepburn.
She explained how the invitation came about and the value of the tour: “Representatives from Lerwick Port Authority, while attending the annual Seatrade cruise convention this year, met with Viking Recruitment – a company which supplies deck, engine, technical officers and hospitality/guest service professionals to ship owners worldwide.
“Viking Recruitment has an association with Holland America Line and arranges visits onboard their vessels in other UK ports. This resulted in an opportunity for our cadets to have this cruise ship visit.
“We hope it may also encourage new recruits to our cadet programme to consider that, when they qualify, they could get a job on board a cruise ship. During the training cadets spend time at sea on a variety of vessels which has never – as yet – included a cruise ship. Cadets may not have thought about a career in this particular sector and this gives them the ideal opportunity to do so.”
The group were given a tour of the bridge by fourth officer Philip Spence from Ireland who qualified in 2007 and has been with Holland America Line for almost a year.
The engine room tour included loading bays and garbage separating areas.
After lunch in the Lido Restaurant the group viewed all hospitality areas onboard.
Ms Hepburn added: “I very much hope that this is the start of an ongoing relationship and that we can set up regular visits to Holland America’s ships when they visit Shetland.”