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When Rainer Buss joined Crystal, his sons, Frederick and Thomas, were sure to follow him. To celebrate Father’s Day, we asked them what it’s like to work so closely with their father – and each other

Written by

Kate Simon

Kate Simon

Published on 06/13/2024

Rainer Thomas and Frederick
All together now: Rainer (centre) and his sons, Thomas (left) and Frederick, enjoy working life onboard

Rainer Buss, Chef de Cuisine at Osteria D’Ovidio, began his career in cruise in 1992 and has worked for Crystal for the past decade. Twenty years on, his sons Frederick, a Butler, and Thomas, who recently joined our Front Desk team, have come aboard, too. So, what’s it like to work with family in such a unique setting?

Frederick: “It's unusual to be onboard with your family and there are benefits to having people close by who understand you better than most. I absolutely love it. We have an excellent relationship – we share a good sense of humor – which eases the pressure of work and stops you feeling homesick.

"Due to our different working hours, it can be hard to get together. We all work in different departments, so it’s difficult to plan, but we usually meet after work in the crew bar – we like the trivia and karaoke nights. We’ve been ashore together a few times, too, when our schedule has allowed. A few months ago, we enjoyed a relaxing lunch by the beach in Saint Lucia in the Caribbean.

“I’m older than my brother and our personalities are very different, but we still have many similarities, especially hobbies; we both love history and playing video games. When my father gets the chance, he cooks for us – I always ask for risotto and tiramisu.

“It’s challenging for our mother when we are away for many months. She keeps busy by running her own surf shop, The Washout, in our hometown, Aljezur, in south-west Portugal. The place is in a national park and very popular for its nature and beaches. At the moment, our contracts differ a bit, which makes our mother’s life easier because we can take turns being at home.

“Our father has always worked in the cruise industry. He would show me pictures and share stories about the places he visited. After high school, I worked as a waiter in restaurants and at music festivals, weddings and other events. I have always felt passionate about hospitality.

“But my father convinced me to try the cruise life and it became my wish to work at a ‘place’ that is always on the move and in a different city or country each day. I signed up for just one contract, as an assistant waiter – almost nine years later, I’m still here, working as a Butler.

“The greatest lesson that my father taught me about cruise is that there are many opportunities to grow, personally and career-wise. If you work hard, you’ll be rewarded.”

Thomas: “I recently joined Crystal as a member of the Front Office. Back home in Portugal, I felt I was stagnating, and it was so expensive to live a good life. I knew I had to move on. I talked to my brother about my career and he encouraged me to join Crystal for a fresh start.

“So this is one of the biggest steps I’ve taken personally. At first, I felt a little bit scared about adapting to life on the ship but within a couple of weeks I had to remind myself I was working on a cruise. Since then, I have made new friends and seen new places around the world.

“Working with my family makes me very happy – yet it’s also very strange seeing them every day on a ship. It was amazing to be in dry dock with my father. We would eat breakfast together, sometimes lunch, too, and talk about our experiences. He also introduced me to colleagues, which helped me ease into my new life.

“My father sometimes cooks for us – I love his chocolate mousse. He also makes something special that reminds me of my grandmother [his mother], delicious German meatballs called Frikadellen.

“I’ve also been able to spend more time with my brother, who has taught me important lessons about working hard. I only have my general knowledge to give in return, but we are always teaching each other something and have built a strong bond.

“My father’s biggest lesson about this job is very simple yet very important. Always give your best and with no excuses, he says. If you do something wrong, fix it, if not, keep up your work.

"He has told me that Crystal is the fairest cruise enterprise regarding job recognition. People are always watching, he says, and they will recognize your efforts and hard work.”

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