The president of a well-known cruise line once told me the highest paid crew member on any ship is not the ship’s captain, but instead the dessert chef. I’ve never been able to confirm that but what I can tell you is that the most popular crew member on my recent Norwegian Jewel sailing was not the captain. Nor the dessert chef. Not by a long shot. Not even the cruise director garnered that superlative.
Instead the title of most popular crew member went to two unassuming restaurant workers: Pelagia Tagud and Rowen Condicion, most commonly known as the Washy Washy gal and guy, or just Washy Washy for short.
Washy Washy (either he or she) could always be found outside the Garden Café buffet on deck 12 at lunchtime, with a spray bottle of disinfectant in hand, reminding everyone to “washy washy.” But they didn’t just say “washy washy,” they sang it — with feeling.
Sung roughly to the tune of “London Bridge,” the song goes like this: “Washy washy, good for you, good for me, good for us. Washy washy, good for you, make you happy.”
At first it was really, really annoying. But it didn’t take long before most passengers, including me, came to love the song. I wasn’t the lone adult looking forward to seeing Washy Washy and singing along. And I most certainly wasn’t the only one with a big smile on my face when I saw them.
In fact, on the second to last night when an assortment of crew are brought on stage for a bow, the loudest and longest cheers went to the Washy Washy guy and gal.
But perhaps most importantly, I wasn’t the only one making sure to stop by and get my squirt of disinfectant before moving on. And ultimately, that’s what Washy Washy is all about.
I’ve since discovered there are multiple versions of Washy Washy on Norwegian ships. I don’t know if the song variations came from corporate and spread downward, but I suspect they started on the ships and spread laterally across the fleet as crew moved around. It’s a fun way to remind people of the importance of keeping their hands clean.
Three days after returning from my cruise I can still hear the Washy Washy song in my head, and it reminds me to go wash my hands.
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