The Gleaner, North America Jan 05, 2022 - Feb 04, 2023

THE WEEKLY GLEANER | JANUARY 5 - JANUARY 11, 2023 | | NEWS 11 TWO TOURISM workers from rural communities have emerged as shining stars aboard the world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas. Portland’s Consie ‘Omar’ Cover and St. Ann’s Janet Jackson Dinnall are not only rated as high-quality employees, but both have risen to senior positions as executive sous chef and restaurant manager, respectively, on the Royal Caribbean flagship vessel. The two Jamaicans are critical to the food and beverage operations onboard the more than 9,000 passenger-and-crew ship. “I am from Norwich and have been with Royal Caribbean for some 15 years,” Cover said. He oversaw meal preparations for some 40 healthcare workers from the St. Ann’s Bay hospital, including doctors and nurses, who were fête onboard the Wonder of the Seas during the vessel’s inaugural visit to Falmouth Pier earlier this month. “My experience here has been great and I remain grateful for all the opportunities I have had. From very humble beginnings, I take pride in everything I have accomplished; getting a chance to see the world, moving from port to port, and interacting with some very amazing and beautiful people from all over the globe,” he noted. Cover fondly recalls growing up in the coastal Norwich district, best known for its yellow-heart breadfruit, where going to the beach and spending quality time with family and friends were among his favourite things to do. It was there, he said, that he started developing his culinary skills and believed that one day he would be able to demonstrate his craft at a high level. “Royal Caribbean has afforded me that opportunity… to showwhat I can do aboard the biggest cruise ship in the world. This is indeed a dream come true, one that was achieved with a lot of hard work, trust, and perseverance,” he said. NO REGRETS Janet Jackson Dinnall, who has dining room supervisory experience with hotel chains Sandals and SuperClubs, decided over 20 years ago to pursue a career on the high seas. She noted that despite years of experience, “I had to basically prove myself all over again.” “It was a shaky start, but I never once considered the option of going back home. I have always been a go-getter, always believing in hard work and giving it my all,” she said. It was not long before she moved up the ranks from assistant waitress to restaurant supervisor. Along the way, she has worked on several of the Royal Caribbean’s mega vessels, including the Oasis-class ships (the most prestigious in the fleet) and to where she is now stationed on the Wonder of the Seas. “On any given day, I am responsible for scores of guests and to see to it that they are indeed getting value for their hard-earned money,” Jackson Dinnall shares. “Even though I work seven days per week and with hardly anything by way of a social life, I would never trade this experience for anything,” she said. She said that the experience, while extremely demanding, has also brought financial stability, enabling her to own a home. “Everything I have earned went right back there in the Jamaican economy,” Jackson Dinnall told JIS News. “While working overseas, my thoughts have always been with my homeland and making my country proud,”she added. She has no regrets about pursuing her passion and what she sees as her chosen calling, saying if she had to do it all over again, “I would go down exactly the same road.” “I have been tomany exciting places. I have travelled the world, so no regrets whatsoever. I’m just grateful for all that I have achieved and that I am still able to do this,” she said. Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has high praises for the Jamaican duo, calling them true ambassadors and a major plus for tourism. “What they both have been able to accomplish, earning senior positions with the second biggest cruise company behind the Carnival Cruise Line and onboard the largest cruise ship, serving thousands of guests weekly is quite astounding,” the minister noted. “These are the kinds of success stories our country, our industry wants to see. I wish both Consie and Janet well as they continue to make us proud,” Bartlett said. - JIS Dave Rodney/Gleaner Writer SHERNETTE CRICHTON, the general manager of the Half Moon Resort inMontego Bay, has been named Caribbean Hotelier of the Year for 2023 in the recently announced Caribbean Travel Awards in Florida. CRICHTON HAS enjoyed a long career in the hospitality industry, working in nearly every area of operation at the iconic Half Moon luxury brand where she was named general manager in 2019. She is one of very few female general managers for a major resort in the Caribbean, and the first for the Half Moon. Crichton was hailed by the Caribbean Travel Awards (CTA) for steering the recovery of the resort following the pandemic in less than three years, while simultaneously managing the opening of an exciting newwing at the resort called the Eclipse. The beachfront annex boasts 57 luxurious suites, two restaurants, three bars, a spa and other amenities, further escalating the Half Moon options and placing the beach hideaway among the best in the Caribbean. Forbes Magazine has also named the Half Moon Resort as one of the best hotels in the world for 2022. “This is truly a great honour for me,” Crichton, a hospitality and tourism management graduate from Florida International University, told The Gleaner. “I attribute my success to my faith in God, to a very supportive family and a fantastic team here at the Half Moon,” she continued, smiling proudly. “We are shining brightly in all areas of our operation, and we used the pandemic as an opportunity to upgrade and improve.” Asked about the visible increase in African American visitors to Half Moon, Crichton attributes the surge to a management partnership with Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET, CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts and the first billionaire African American woman in the United States. “And our own Jamaicans, too, have been coming in steady numbers and loving the new Eclipse,” the Savanna-la-Mar born hotelier hastened to add. Half Moon is currently a member of the Salamander Group that also includes the Aurora Resort in Anguilla, British West Indies. Jamaican named Caribbean hotelier of the year J’can duo making waves aboard world’s largest cruise ship Executive sous chef for Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas Consie “Omar” Cover (right) shares a moment with health information officer at the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital, Julian Haynes. Mr. Cover oversaw meal preparations for some 40 healthcare workers from the hospital, who were feted aboard the vessel, during its inaugural visit to the Falmouth pier earlier this month. JIS PHOTOS Restaurant manager for Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, Janet Jackson Dinnall. Shernette Crichton