On the Bridge with Captain Ron Holmes

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career highlights to date?

Well I’ve been at sea since the age of 17, 45 years ago. I started in the Royal Canadian Navy, spending 4 years there in the engine room. Then I worked on cargo ships for 20 years, I had no real intention of ever coming to work on cruise ships, but in 1995 a friend of mine asked me to come and do a relief for 7 weeks, I found I liked it and this is my 21st year with the company.

And where is home?

Cruise News Co-Editor Linda Jack meets Captain Ron Holmes
Cruise News Co-Editor meets Captain Ron Holmes

Winnipeg – as far away from the ocean as I could find!

So which ships have you served on?

I started on the Nordic Empress, then the Radiance of the Seas, Vision of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas & Adventure of the Seas.

What’s your favourite port of call, and why?

All kind of different ports across the world, but in the Caribbean it would be San Juan, it’s safe, there are some great restaurants, and it’s a beautiful port, at Christmas time they light it up and it’s beautiful.

Other than Allure, what’s your favourite RCL ship?

I have a soft spot for Radiance of the Seas, I was there when she was being built, so I know the ship intimately.

What’s most challenging things you have to do?

Well, we have medical evacuations 2 or 3 times a contract.

Weather is probably the most challenging, keeping our passengers, crew and the ship safe. But also protecting the environment is very important to me.

Who’s the most famous passenger that’s travelled with you?

Oh gosh….some of the entertainers we’ve had on over the years I’ve enjoyed meeting, the Pointer Sisters, the Monkeys, back from my youth, they’ve been on board, and Wil Wheaton from The Big Bang Theory.

What’s the most difficult request you have ever had?

We kind of role with requests, we do a lot of Make a Wish charity requests, we also raise a lot of money for them. Any requests that involve people being on the bridge, you need to have a heightened awareness.

If you had a choice of 3 guests for dinner at the captain’s table, who would they be and why?

Charlie Rose, probably one of the most interesting people I’ve listened to. Stephen King, I’d love to know where he gets his ideas for books from. Barbara Butt, a Canadian broadcaster, she used to do a programme called ‘As it happens’ and I think she’d have some interesting tales to tell over a glass of wine.

Why is RCCL a good company to work for?

I think because we care about the people that work for us. During the recent recession with oil prices as high as they were, no money around and ticket prices dropping like a rock, the company could have done a lot of different things, mothball some ships for example.

Instead they chose to tighten their belt, no-one lost their job and they’ve always maintained safety as their number one priority, and that is something I’m really proud of.  They are constantly finding new ways of keeping our crew and guests safe.

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