Under a new programme called ViceVersa, cruise directors on three Costa ships will train a number of volunteer members of the CostaClub, the line's loyalty scheme, in the art of service in all areas of shipboard life (singers, chefs, tour escorts, etc.). Once ready for action they'll work for one day as crewmembers in different positions, their place as a guest taken by the staffer whose job they are trying out.
And in case you're wondering: These are "real" jobs. Many include interaction with passengers, and the volunteers will wear Costa uniforms with special ViceVersa logos.
The whole idea conjures thoughts of all sorts of possibilities for disaster -- will these passengers be trained in crew emergency drills, for example? What if they can't cook/sing/clean/cope with angry passengers at the Guest Relations desk? But Costa is confident in the project's success, and the first cruise departed January 10 on a 21-day voyage on the Costa Luminosa, sailing from Dubai to India and the Maldives.
At this stage, there's no feedback on how well the ViceVersa volunteers have done. (Onboard? Let us know here.)
There's no cost for trying out ViceVersa -- and no discount for doing a bit of work onboard, either. Anybody wanting to register for the scheme can do so onboard, provided they're a member of the CostaClub (which can be done online or onboard). In case you miss it, the programme will be promoted in the daily newsletter. The line's spokesman confirmed to Cruise Critic that there's no upper limit to the number of passengers who can try the scheme.
Ready to sign up? The next opportunity is the maiden voyage of the new Costa Favolosa, departing Venice on July 7 for a 10-day trip to Greece, Israel, Turkey and Croatia. There's also a chance on Costa Deliziosa's cruise from Amsterdam on July 30, to Greenland and Iceland, and finally, the ultimate test, serving demanding world-cruise passengers on Costa Deliziosa's grand circumnavigation, departing Savona on December 28.
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor
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