Behind the Scenes With the Disney Dream Hotel Director
What does it take to oversee the staff and rooms on a mega ship? AOL Travel sat down with Mats Oskarsson, Hotel Director of the Disney Dream, to get the low-down on the new features in the ship's 1,250 staterooms, and to find out just who will be caring for the ship's 4,000 passengers.
Disney Cruise Line
Oskarsson, who hails from Sweden, has worked for Disney Cruise Line since 1997, both on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. Even though the ship doesn't debut until January, he has been on the Dream job for months with enormous tasks like recruiting and hiring the 1,100-person staff.
AOL: Mats, what is a hotel director?
Oskarsson: Well, as hotel director I oversee quite a few departments onboard. We have housekeeping that oversees the room, guest services that oversees the reception desk, food and beverage, which is the biggest department onboard. We have the spa, merchandise, photo. All in all, it's close to 1,100 crew members.
AOL: Where does this crew come from, and when do they actually get on the ship?
Oskarsson: We have recruited the last six or seven months in approximately 50 different countries, so we have about 50 nationalities coming our way. And funny you should ask, yesterday we received our first group of new hires that arrived here in Papenburg. There are about 80 of them and the energy among them is amazing. As far as on-the-job training, we start the end of November and it continues all the way up until the maiden voyage on the 26th of January.
AOL: What's the difference in (passenger) staterooms on this ship as opposed to the other two ships?
Oskarsson: We have learned a lot from our guests the last 12 years and we have applied a lot of that, if not all, to our new rooms. We have raised the beds to increase storage. We have Frette linen, which is amazing. We have iPod docking units in every room and we also have a few surprises.
AOL: Oh come on, reveal them.
Oskarsson: I think one of the amazing features guests will see who live in our inside staterooms is our Magical Porthole with approximately 20 [Disney] characters. They will do amazing stuff on these screens and guests will truly love it, especially the kids.
AOL: And among the other new things is this lounge that we're in, the Concierge Lounge. You didn't have a Concierge Lounge on the other ships.
Oskarsson: That's true. We have 48 Concierge rooms around on Deck 11 and Deck 12 forward, and the Concierge Lounge will obviously meet any Concierge guests' expectations as far as small and big needs throughout the day (including complimentary cocktails).
AOL: So you have all kinds of cabins from a basic cabin to a luxury suite with full concierge services?
Oskarsson: That's correct. We have 11 or 12 categories. The standard inside staterooms are 169 square feet and our two biggest suites, the Royal Suites here on Deck 12, are 1,781 square feet.
AOL: With all the crew members coming onboard soon, do you get to sleep between now and January 26 (when the Dream debuts)?
Oskarsson: The excitement as far as comes to getting this done, and the energy that all the people around give us, you only need a few hours of sleep. The ambience is amazing and it takes care of it. Sleep I can do when I go on vacation.