Kuala Lumpur, 16 January 2015 – 8 students from the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) applied their practical knowledge on board the Mariner of the Seas, as they went through a 4 day industrial training on the cruise recently.
The students participated in various processes on board the cruise, owned by Royal Caribbean International, docked at the West Port, Malaysia for embarkation. They gained hands-on experience while assisting the crew in various areas: ground handling, verification of passengers’ travel documents, check-in and luggage tagging. Prior to the hands-on experience, the students were given a briefing and coaching session from the crew on board, to ensure that they had knowledge of the processes.
During embarkation, students were divided into batches, to be responsible for different areas of duties. As guests started to arrive at the port, they began performing the tasks, with high anticipation and nervousness. Ainur Fatihah Zailani, a Tourism Management student, narrated: “As the guests started coming in, I was so nervous, because I feared that I will make mistakes. The system and the processes seemed so new to me and I was not familiar at all”.
As the day went by, they managed to gain control of the processes, and found the experience memorable and enjoyable. Each of them had different stories to tell; Surayyo Akhmedova, a Tourism Management student from Uzbekistan, was beyond excited as she boarded the cruise ship for the first time in her life. She narrated, “After the first day of training, I was too excited about my first experience on a cruise ship and I couldn’t sleep!” On the other hand, Zaid Ammar Housni, a Tourism Management student from Syria described the experience as a ‘breakthrough experience’ as he anticipated working inside a cruise ship while undergoing his degree studies in the tourism field. “As part of my studies, I find this experience very enjoyable as I get to communicate with passengers and respond to their queries. This is very different from what I do in class. This is a real-life experience,” said Alaa Alnafouri from Syria.
The training processes went on smoothly, despite a few challenges, which helped the students to grow through experience. Sonam Zangmo, Tourism Management student from Bhutan, was often described as a ‘soft-spoken’ student in class by her lecturers. However, the experience transformed her into a highly communicative student. “I was given a challenge during the luggage tagging process. One of the passengers refused to check-in his luggage as he did not understand the safety policy of the cruise ship. I had to try my best to convince him and communicate with him effectively. At last, I managed to do so and it was really an unforgettable experience for me,” said Sonam.
On the other hand, Lay Shar Hiang, from Myanmar, also transformed into a more confident person. “Before this, I was an introvert; even my friends doubted my ability to excel in the tourism industry due to my poor communication skills. However, after this experience of interacting with customers, I feel more motivated and confident to partake in upcoming challenges in the industry,” said Lay Shar. “To check passengers’ travel documents and to verify their identity according to the guest list were difficult for me, an international student, because I was not familiar with Malaysian names. Fortunately, I managed to overcome it with the guidance of the crew members and I enjoyed the process,” narrated Zarina Zarifova, an International Business Management student from Kazakhstan.
P. Pathmanaban, the coordinator of the training, also a senior lecturer of APU, stated: “As lecturers, we always ensure that the students have exposure towards the theoretical side, as well as the practical side of studies. Our Tourism Management students have the complete hands-on experience as we often bring them for industrial visits and tours, to ensure that they fully understand the operations within the industry. As they take the Retail, Travel and Operations module, they are required to plan, organize and execute a tour to Malaysia’s travel destinations. This gives them the full exposure to the industry’s practices as they involve themselves in ‘the real thing’.” The memorable experience even inspired a few of the students to pursue their career in the cruise industry. Nur Syazyiana binti Rosli exclaimed, “After experiencing the operations on the cruise ship, I fell in love with the cruise industry and I am now prepared to seek for more opportunities in this industry in the future!”
The outstanding performance of the students at the training also gained recognition from Sujeithra Nair from Intercruises, who mentioned that “the students did a great job” and acknowledge that she appreciate the support rendered to Intercruises (Ground Handler).
亚太科技大学 Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation