A day in the life of a Desktop Publisher

This is an unusual job title, I know - and I'm sure many of you are not familiar with it. Therefore I will describe one day of my working life on-board the cruise ship to explain my role.

I have a general office job, but since I am working on-board my working day is also split into two shifts.

My main responsibility is producing the daily on-board program, but also have other administrative tasks assigned by the Cruise Director.

The Daily Program has a different title according to different cruise lines. It lists the date and day, all the activities available, the name of the port and all other important and interesting information. This is the 'bible' for each crew member and guest on-board.

My day start at around 8am, and if I am lucky, the draft of todays daily program, together with all amendments, has been placed into my mail box. This is not an email box, but a plastic in-tray for papers. I prepared this draft yesterday and circulated it, using a circulation sheet, to all staff who need to approve the activities and times on-board the ship.

Each Department Head needs to check, amend or sign off the draft for all activities and times in their Department. For example, the Gift Shop Manager needs to check the details for a special sale and the opening/closing hours. For all other listings, so does the Casino, the Shore Excursion Manager, the Food Department, the Entertainment for the shows, the Chef for cooking classes and so on.

If the Department Head signed the sign off sheet, I leave the information as it was. If amendments were necessary then I change the draft of the daily program accordingly. When it's finished, I print one final copy, attach the amendment sheet where the Department Heads have marked their changes, and give the final draft to the Cruise Director. He/She proof reads it, and passes to the Hotel Manager to finally sign off.

Then it's time for me to work on other tasks given to me by the Cruise Director, such as producing song-sheets for 'sing along" activities, preparing draft daily programs for future ports visits, etc.

In the afternoon, when I receive back the final draft which has been signed off by the Hotel Manager, I either make additional corrections or if none required then produce the required number of copies. Each guest cabin receives a copy, and these are distributed by the Housekeeping Department before turn-down service. A certain number are given to the various departments to distribute, and we always keep some copies at the Reception Desk for the guests.

We also make a pocket format for the crew, so each Department can make as many copies as needed. This way each crew member working in public can always answer questions from guests on activity schedules.

I end my day around 8pm after preparing and circulating to Department Heads the draft Daily Program for tomorrow.

Enrique De Lodder, Belgium