As Food and Beverage Director on one of the largest ships in the world, Derek McKnight took some time out of his busy schedule to chat to us about life on board and how a boy from Cork becomes a director on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas.
On board the Oasis, Derek has a team of 1157 crew serving food from 25 dining options 24/7. This includes anything from the main restaurant or speciality dining to a hot dog cart and an ice cream machine.
Derek told us that each day, early in the morning, he starts with a meeting in what is both my and his favourite place on board the Oasis class ships, Central Park. It’s hard to imagine, but Central Park is a substantial outdoor park area down the middle of the ship with coffee shops, bars, park benches, trees and shrubs. What a great place to start your day at sea.
Derek has always been interested in hospitality and food, and even owned his own restaurant between breaks from life at sea. He worked on the Cunard QE2 from 1989-96, a ship he described as the last lady of the sea, and knew a number of crew on board on its last sailing around the UK a few years ago when it called in to Belfast. Derek said it brings a tear to his eye to know the ship is sitting in Dubai unused and would love to see it back in the U.K., resorted to its former glory. He has many fond memories of his 7 years on the QE2. These days its Royal Caribbean benefitting from his vast experience in the trade.
His goal on board is to make sure guests are happy and that they have the vacation of a lifetime. He montiors his food and beverage continually throughout the day and loves talking to passengers and making sure their are having a great holiday.
On his downtime at home in Cork, rugby is a big passion for Derek, and the recent Irish win was just unbelievable for him. He’s also a keen diver. It must be something about the sea, because the Hotel Director we met on our recent Thomson cruise was also from Ireland and a keen diver.
The next stage on the career path for Derek could well be a Hotel Director on a smaller Royal Caribbean ship, but he’s happy to see what happens. At the minute he’s loving his job and looking forward to the new ships the company is working on.
Oasis of the Sea facts:
Consumption in an average week:
15,600 pounds of beef;
9,700 pounds of chicken;
18,000 pounds of potatoes;
8,000 gallons of ice cream;
10,200 bottles of beer;
5000 dozen eggs;
40 different varieties of fruit and
80 kinds of vegetables;
2,225 bottles of wine;
479,314 gallons of fresh water consumed every 24 hours; and
18,000 slices of pizza
and the bakery has a machine that makes 4,000 rolls an hour!