Interview with Jan Loll, hotel inventory controller on board the BREMEN.
What does the hotel inventory controller do on board?
I am often asked this question, as, unlike other jobs on board, it is not immediately clear what my tasks involve. My work includes controlling, logistics, stock-keeping and purchasing for the ship. To put it simply - everything involved in the supply processes on board. On larger ships such as the EUROPA or EUROPA 2, the work is mainly focused on purchasing and controlling. On those ships, I have several colleagues who look after the storage areas. On our expedition fleet, everything is of course a little smaller and I work in the storage area myself.
How do you become a hotel inventory controller?
Like almost all my colleagues on board, I started out small and slowly worked my way up. I started in 2014 as a deck steward on the EUROPA 2. In 2015, I got a chance to prove myself in the supplies team. I really enjoyed the work. I worked as an assistant to the hotel inventory controller on the EUROPA 2 until 2019. Now I hold this role myself on the BREMEN.
When does your working day normally begin?
My working day starts at different times, depending on the amount of work and the tasks that I intend to do that day. I usually start at between 7.00 and 8.00 hrs.
What is your daily routine on board?
First, I look at the sales from the previous day and enter these into the system. I check whether any important emails have come in. Then I work with my colleagues to ensure that every department on board has the supplies it needs. At 9.00 hrs, we have our daily meeting with the hotel manager and all the heads of department in the hotel team. After that, the work varies: orders for the upcoming ports, tidying the storage area, inventories.
What are the best moments on a cruise for you?
Depending on the cruising area and port, there are opportunities for shopping trips to the market or local shops. It is great when you can delve into the culture a little - and then surprise guests on board later with local specialities.
How many years have you been working at sea?
I started six years ago, but I had a break in 2016 when I worked in a hotel in my home town, Osnabruck. Then I got itchy feet again ...
When did you discover your passion for this?
When I was on land, I realised that I was missing something without sailing.
Tell us about your most enjoyable encounter ...
Just recently in Antarctica, a king penguin clearly couldn't tear itself away from me and followed me around for ages.
What do you always pack in your luggage?
My Bose speaker. Whether I'm in the office or the store room, I need to have music. It lifts the mood, particularly when I'm doing long inventories. You have seen a lot of the world.
Which destination excites you?
Last year, I had the chance to stay on in the South Seas after my contract and I spent a week on Bora Bora. That is what paradise must look like. Arriving in New York City or Rio de Janeiro is always special, too.
The best thing about my job is ...
I really relish managing the supplies for a ship. I have a great deal of freedom in my job and I get to know lots of new products.
A perfect moment of happiness on board is ...
In 2015, we set up a barbecue for our guests in the Seychelles. Afterwards, there was one for the crew as well. I can't describe how great that was.
What is essential listening on your playlist?
The song I'd choose depends on the work I'm doing and my frame of mind. I need different music for tidying the storage area than I would in the office. For example, "Kids" by MGMT.