Good morning to you. I know, my job title sounds more like a machine than an actual position on board but I can explain to you what being a printer is actually like on board a ship. My name is Louis and I am originally from the Philippines.
While we have a lot of copy machines around the ship, in various offices, we also have an actual "printing center" where I am based. We do traditional off-set printing, with modern machines, in order to print 2000 daily programs every day and a lot of flyers, in the most cost effective way and in the best quality.
Nowadays, the printing is initiated by the computer which is connected to our big printing machine. However, I also need to know how to fix the machine in case it breaks down. Originally I did a lot of mechanical work, and back home, in the Philippines that included working in printing shops and repairing newspaper printing gear. It's not easy on a ship to just call out an engineer like I could of back home and so sometimes I have to ask the engine room guys for help or spare parts.
Every morning, we receive the final version of "Daily Program" for the next day, from the Desktop Publisher. The daily program tells our guests about the next port of call, and includes all the opening hours of all the outlets and other important information. We print it on A3 paper, double-sided and with royal blue ink. They are folded in half by our folding machine, or by the Assistant Cabin Steward who will deliver one to each guest cabin in the evening.
Besides the daily programs we also print glossy flyers for special sales and activities in the Gift Shop and the Casino and also there is the port shopping program or Spa promotions. Since these departments are run by concessions, they need to pay us for our services and I need to make sure that we keep a log of how many flyers we print and to get a written order and confirmation from the respective department head.
So as you can see, my job is a combination of roles, a mechanic, a printer and an accountant, plus I need some creativity at times, in order to make promotional flyers look the best and get the attention of our guests.
The most stressful task, is for us to get the raw template of the Daily Program and to get all the copies printed before 4 pm. But other than that, we can manage our time pretty freely, as long as everything is completely when it needs to be.
Of course there are days, when due to unforeseen circumstances, the itinerary of the ship changes at the last minute. This means that I would normally get a call in the middle of the night or very early in the morning and we have to print the daily program from scratch. This is where the "turbo" needs to be switched on, all hands are on deck and we get it done. Luckily this does not happen too often.
So, it is 8 pm, my shift is over and if you like we can go and stop by in the crew bar and chat a little more.
Louis Froilan, Philippines