Black Immigrant Daily News
Two tourism workers from rural communities in Jamaica have emerged as shining stars aboard the world’s largest cruise ship, the 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 on board the more than 9,000 passenger-and-crew vessel.
“I am from Norwich and have been with Royal Caribbean for some 15 years,” Cover recently told JIS News in an interview.
He oversaw meal preparations for some 40 healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, from the St Ann’s Bay Hospital, who were feted on board the Wonder of the Seas during the vessel’s inaugural visit to the Falmouth pier in Trelawny in December.
“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,” Cover noted.
He fondly recalled 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.
Executive Sous Chef for Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, Consie ‘Omar’ Cover (right) shares a moment with Health Information Officer at St Ann’s Bay Hospital, Julian Haynes. 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 in Trelawny in December.
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 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 said.
Jackson Dinnall, who has dining room supervisory experience with local hotel chains, Sandals and SuperClubs, decided over 20 years ago to pursue a career on the high seas.
She noted, however, that despite years of experience, “I had to basically prove myself all over again”.
She elaborated that, “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.”
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 Royal Caribbean’s mega vessels, including the Oasis-class ships (the most prestigious in the fleet), up 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 shared.
“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 stated.
She said 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,” said Jackson Dinnall. “While working overseas, my thoughts have always been with my homeland and making my country proud,” she added.
Executive Sous Chef for Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, Consie ‘Omar’ Cover, with daughter Marley and wife Adriana.
Jackson Dinnall 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 said.
Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, had high praise 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,” said the minister.
“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,” added Bartlett.