Two tourism workers from rural communities in Jamaica 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 vital to the food and beverage operations on-board the more than 9,000 passenger-and-crew ship.
“I am from Norwich and have been with Royal Caribbean for some 15 years,” Cover tells JIS News.
He oversaw meal preparations for some 40 healthcare workers from the St Ann’s Bay Hospital, including doctors and nurses, who were feted on board the Wonder of the Seas during the vessel’s inaugural visit to the Falmouth pier in December 2022.
“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 notes.
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, Cover says, 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 show what 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 says.
Jackson Dinnall, who has dining room supervisory experience with hotel chains Sandals and SuperClubs, decided more than 20 years ago to pursue a career on the high seas.
She notes 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 says.
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,” says Jackson Dinnall.
“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 notes.
She says that the experience, while extremely demanding, has also brought financial stability, enabling her to own her own home.
“Everything I have earned went right back there in the Jamaican economy,” Jackson Dinnall says. “While working overseas, my thoughts have always been with my homeland and making my country proud,” she adds.
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 to many 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 says.
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 on board the largest cruise ship, serving thousands of guests weekly is quite astounding,” he notes.
“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,” the minister says.