On September 6th 2018, LuxoFood was invited to a students’ testing lunch at Holland America Line cruise ship school in Cikarang, Ms Nieuw Jakarta. Here is the full story!
Everyone has heard of cruises across the oceans and hoping from city to city in Europe or along an American east coast. Yet, we have to be honest, few of us have in fact tried it out. It may sound weird to get stuck on a boat for 1 week or longer, and sleep in a small room, not talking about the crowd in a confined space. But, like many unknown worlds for us, cruise ships have a number of services in their offer and have a convenience that you can hardly replace. Is there a better option to visit 5 European cities in a week? Is there a way to do it without having to carry your luggage from city to city? Train may be an option but you still need to find hotels, and to check in and out every day. Cruises offer you that solution where you travel during night and visit a new city every day. You can sail across Caribbean Islands in a seamless and smooth way. You can visit astonishing places that are difficult to access otherwise, like Alaska, the famous cruise all connoisseurs recommend.
I never tried cruises, but since our visit to Holland America School on September 6th 2018, I have been dreaming of getting on a cruise, and already updated my bucket list for 2019 accordingly. LuxoFood was invited to a students’ testing lunch at Holland America Line cruise ship school in Cikarang, Ms Nieuw Jakarta. Holland America Line company is well known in the cruise ship world, as they have been in the business for more than a century. With their 15 ships travelling around the world they offer their guests amazing cruises ranging from 7 days to 24 days across Europe, America and Asia. The experience they offer onboard is beyond what you can imagine, and even if you are used to 5* hotels in beautiful places, the service you get on a Holland America cruise is simply light years ahead. With 9000 employees moving every year is no surprise they have setup their own school network, and since 80% of their cruise staff is Indonesian, being also in Jakarta surroundings was an sound choice.
Jose Correia, Portuguese citizen, has been in the group for 28 years and in this company for 7 years. When you listen to him, is clear the cruise ship world and the professional education beyond the highest standards is his passion. After enjoying his time around the globe on cruise ships, Jose spent time in Manila and Bangkok before moving recently to Indonesia as the leading Academic and Talent Senior Manager and Holland America representative in Indonesia. In just few months here, he managed to get his way around, despite being stationed in Cikarang, but what changed his life at work was discovering LuxoFood and the premium products he could find on our platform.
Let’s learn more about the school, Ms Nieuw Jakarta.
LuxoFood: Hello Jose, thank you very much for welcoming us in your school premises. We have been visiting the whole place and we are impressed by how cozy the students feel here.
Jose: You are welcome, we are very proud of our school Ms Nieuw Jakarta and the life experience we offer our people. Our people is our biggest asset, we invest a lot in educating and nurturing them during their 2 months training in our schools. We offer them all the comfort and all the services they need so that they can focus in learning quick and getting this feeling of family and continuous support from other students as well as from all the teaching team. And thanks to the way we treat and reward our people and the conditions we offer them, they stay with us their whole life and across several generations.
LuxoFood: Give us a some information on what the students get here.
Jose: So first of all the premises are very spacious. We have 1 educational center, 1 dormitory building and we have soccer field area. In the educational building there are classrooms, mockup rooms and the technical workshop. For self learning purposes the students have access to individual cabins with computers and internet. For their leisure time they have a state of the art gym, a lounge bar, and a music room with all sorts of instruments they can play anytime. The building includes a fully equipped kitchen and the canteen.
LuxoFood: What about the dormitory building?
Jose: The dormitory can accommodate 221 students at once. They share rooms, 4 per room, and of course ladies and gents are on different floors for obvious reasons.
LuxoFood: Yes we can picture that cruise ship world and in particular in your company is like a big family. You mentioned 80% of the cruise staff is Indonesian. Can you elaborate why?
Jose: The service onboard our boats requires a lot of flexibility, we strive to offer the once in a lifetime experience to all our guests and having the most serviceable crew is key. In fact our service is most of the time customized and the crew spends 7 days or more with the guests, calling them by their name and being available to answer to their requests 24h a day. This said, Asian culture helps a lot and of course we also have other Asian communities well represented. However, with the time, we realised our Indonesian crew had the sweetest and most genuine smile before our guests and it helped us reaching 70% of repetitive customers.
LuxoFood: Very interesting, yes Indonesian smile is definitely a good asset. Well 70% of customers coming back on a leisure premium level of service is tremendously high, beating any other industry. So tell us a bit more on how the curriculum is organized in your school.
Jose: The first month the focus is the English teaching. It is very important for us that all our students can easily communicate in English and hence we focus all our efforts on the language first. While they already get some job training the first month, it is really during the second month the students will be hands on. From day 30 to day 60 they will go through all the topics and subjects related to their future job position, could it be technical, housekeeping, kitchen or dining services from buffet outlets to high end restaurants.
LuxoFood: What background do your students come from?
Jose: Well, we clearly don’t look for fresh graduates. Instead we look for professionals who have been in the job for 1-3 years at least. Our aim is to take these professionals to the next level.
LuxoFood: Yes indeed we understand that you focus on the few skills they are still lacking to get them ready for cruise jobs. How do you find them?
Jose: Of course, Asia, and Indonesia in particular, is the place where hospitality is part of the DNA. You have a huge number of people working in hospitality here, and since our business is hospitality, obviously there is a lot of people “in the market”. Some people come to us, usually by hearing from us through friends or family, but we also approach some potential students directly.
LuxoFood: So what was our invitation today about?
Jose: It was a testing lunch. We have people moving from housekeeping to dining room, we also have new students, as well as new cook. These people were passing their exam today and if successfully passed, they will be soon onboard our cruising ships.
LuxoFood: Can you please tell us a bit more about the conditions of the test today?
Jose: The people tested today will be serving in our a sample menu from our Italian restaurant that we have on all of our cruise ships. The cook being tested just came in today for his first time. He is a senior professional and was given a menu and the recipes and I have asked him to cook with its own style. All of the tested students were supervised by the teaching team.
LuxoFood: We really could feel they all are well trained. Extremely friendly, and kept good control when tough questions were asked during the lunch. I guess it is important to put them in real conditions to get them well prepared.
Jose: Yes, as said we put a lot of efforts on sourcing, training and employing the best people. We also need to make sure they are able to take on the work pressure and enjoy their time onboard our boats. Plus having the right knowledge will help them handling some of the tough question they will get onboard.
LuxoFood: What was the difficult part from your side to get ready for the testing meal today?
Jose: Of course we need to get some guests, and we also need to make sure we get the best ingredients for our recipes and the dishes we cook.
LuxoFood: I see, and how did you manage?
Jose: Well for guests I have my network, and for food I was lucky enough to have the support of LuxoFood.
LuxoFood: How was LuxoFood of support here?
Jose: Well, we had a plan for our meals, but couldn’t find all of it. Thanks to LuxoFood we had perfect scallops and fresh bread. And I am looking forward to elaborate other menus because now I know what products I can get from LuxoFood.
LuxoFood: Great, so you have been a loyal customer of Luxofood. Where did you first hear from Luxofood?
Jose: through a Portuguese WhatsApp group I have. Other people had tried and shared that in the group.
LuxoFood: What was your reaction?
LuxoFood: And how did you find the website?
Jose: The website was showing all these nice products and mouth-watering pictures. I also realized most products have recipes suggestions or even videos. I really felt like buying and so I did.
LuxoFood: Were you looking for something particular? And what did you finally ordered?
LuxoFood: And was it for yourself or for the school?
Jose: In fact both. As you know today’s testing meal had products ordered from LuxoFood, including the scallops and the bread.
LuxoFood: Were you satisfied with the products and services Luxofood offers?
Jose: I was very happy, very good products, tender meat, delicious fish (particularly the Barramundi), fantastic seafood. LuxoFood is very supportive when comes to customer service. The staff is always available to help on selecting the items, and very flexible in terms of delivery.
LuxoFood: What makes Luxofood different from other services out there in the market?
Jose: LuxoFood has really great premium products. I saw caviar, grassfed beef, foie-gras, whole fishes, vintage vinegar, etc. Since I live in Cikarang is not easy for me to source such products, and they are the perfect option for me. I am looking forward to see more Portuguese products and possibly some wine!
LuxoFood: Will you continue buying from LuxoFood and would you recommend this service to other people?
Jose: I will keep on ordering from LuxoFood for myself and for the school. Most probably the next testing meals will have products ordered from LuxoFood.
LuxoFood: Thank you again for your time and invitation and good luck.
Gilang Head of PR