Meet Carnival Spirit’s Beloved Maître d’, Dessi

Many thousands pass through Carnival Spirit’s Empire Dining Room each year. Each is given a warm welcome by the dining room team, and enjoy the festivity of the dancing waiters and ‘show-time’. Guests can’t help but appreciate the hospitality, led by Spirit’s inimitable host and Maître d’, Dessi.

Everyone who has met Dessi has fond memories, so we recently reached out to our Carnival Cruise Line Facebook fan page, and asked past guests…”If you had one question for Dessi, what would it be?”

Here is a selection for ‘you beautiful people’…

Luke Devlin: My question is what’s your favourite port and why?
Dessi says: My favourite port is Honolulu in Hawaii. Such laid back people and great shopping.

Darren Lewi: Dessi, are you really all the way from Rooty Hill?
Dessi says: Oh, did you really believe that! No, I’m from Varga in the beautiful country of Bulgaria.

Susanne Batten-Hanss: If you could change just one thing in your job, what would it possibly be?
Dessi says: Oh, I hate having to say good-bye to all our beautiful guests on the last night.

Natalie Turnbull: What I would like to know, is how did you get into the job in the first
place? Also, is it something you thought you would be doing when you were younger?
Dessi says: Did you know I have a Master’s degree from the naval academy in Bulgaria? And then I worked at a hotel in my home town because I wanted to be near my husband and he worked at the hotel. The only position they had open was for a waitress, so I took it. I applied for a job at Carnival because I wanted to get away from my Mother-in-law, we lived with her in a small apartment and we were driving each other crazy. And, I wanted to create a better life for my daughter. Once I stepped in the dining room onboard Carnival, I never wanted to leave.

Rebecca Garner: What are your best tips and tricks for sea sickness?
Dessi says: Oh, that’s easy, ginger ale, green apples and sultanas.

Simone Breia: What’s your secret to always providing great customer service?
Dessi says: The most important thing is to think of our guests as people, not just customers. One of the things I like most about Australians is they see our crew as people too. I think that’s one of the reasons that our guests and our crew are so happy in Australia. We both see each other as real people.

Natalie Swain: I’d like to know how it is you remember every face in current and past cruises – you must see thousands of us in a year!
Dessi says: I’m going to tell you a secret, I’m much better at remembering the nice guests! And, I’m just good with faces. It also helps that I think of them not as faces, but as real people. They always touch you when they talk about their families. Once you have a real conversation with someone, you won’t forget them. (Editor’s Note – Dessi hosts over 70k guests per year in the Empire Dining room as Maître D’ on her eight month contract).

Karren Harrold: Do you get to have fun on the ship?
Dessi says: Oh yes! We have fun every day. You need to make it fun – we have ice cream parties, crew karaoke and lots of other ways to have fun. And, when you see all those smiles on my team, that’s because they’re having fun in the dining room too.

John Harlow: My question to you is – How long is your contract and who could possible replace you when you are off on holidays?
Dessi says: Normally my contracts are between 6 to 8 months long. And I love it when Isabella replaces me, she knows all my tips and tricks.

Jennifer V: If you could change anything about the guests on Carnival Spirit, would you?
Dessi says: I love how honest kids are, if they don’t like the chicken nuggets, they just push them away and tell you straight up, “yucky!” Our adult guests are very sincere, but sometimes they don’t want to tell us that they don’t like something because they don’t want to hurt our feelings. But we want to know! We want all of our guests to feel comfortable to approach us if there’s something they wish we would do differently.

And from Carnival’s biggest fan, Phil Sutton (some of you may know that Phill has sailed with us over 30 times!) – a few questions for Dessi:

The Spirit has been to the Pacific Islands dozens on times, which Islands have you been ashore on?
Dessi says: Oh dear, you’re not going to like my answer! I’ve only been onshore in Noumea, Suva and Mystery Island, and then Sydney and Melbourne of course!

When you go on vacation how long does it take you to get home after leaving the ship in Sydney?
Dessi says: It takes me over 30 hours to get home…it’s a very long trip. And once I get home, all I want to do is be a homebody and cook and clean. But my family always wants to go out to a restaurant! I’m not sure they understand that I work in a restaurant 24/7!

How many times have you been at home for Christmas since starting work with Carnival.
Dessi says: I’ve been working for Carnival for 17 years and I’ve only been home for Christmas four or five times. But, I have to be honest with you, if I had to choose, I would want to be here. I like the challenge of raising the bar on our Christmas celebrations every year and delivering positive surprises for our guests.

We always see you walking around the dining room with toddlers on your hip minutes after meeting them sometimes. What is your secret to winning their trust, they are always happy with you?
Dessi says: Hmm, I don’t really know. I just love kids. I would be happy if we had one night every cruise where the kids sat on one side of the dining room and the parents on the other. Sometimes I think God paid me back for having only one child by giving me all these beautiful children onboard Carnival Spirit.

Mad Hatters Tea Party _Desi on Spirit