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Unser Interview mit Robert Bately, Commercial Head, DFDS Seaways - hier im Original

How long have you been working with DFDS?

I have been fortunate enough to work for DFDS for 17 years.

Why did you go for a job in ferry industry?

I started my career as a chef and to work on ferries seemed a great adventure. There was a local apprenticeship which offered not only the professional catering qualification I desired but also all training and certification to begin a life at sea. I grew up in a town not far from Dover so the ferry industry is very strong there and employs a large amount of locals.

Which was your most funny/crazy/lovely experience with a passenger / on a ferry passage?

I have seen a few marriage proposals which are always special. It is hard to single out one interaction as I have met a huge number of incredible guests over the years and witnessed many weird and wonderful things.

One of my duties in a previous role was to lead the medical team, in which capacity my most lovely moments were being part of a team helping people when they needed it most.

Which ist the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is meeting our fantastic guests, you shouldn’t get into this line of work unless you have a passion for customer service as that is what makes it so enjoyable. During the pandemic it has been exceptionally satisfying, as we help to connect essential travellers and our front-line freight customers to their destinations – it has felt like we are very much ‘in this together’.

I have to say I also love the lifestyle of being a seafarer – working away, waking up to ever changing views of the sea from your cabin window and working in a highly diverse workplace full of great colleagues from all over the world who share a unique way of life.

Can you name a thing a passenger must not miss on a DFDS ferry? Why should one do/see/experience that?

First of all you should not miss the ferry itself :) ! All of our ferries have a range of Bars, Restaurants and Shopping experiences which are second to none – thanks in no small part to our crew members.

I would encourage anyone who travels to speak to our crew, many of them have a vast experience -we have colleagues celebrating 25, 30 and even 40 years of service this year, just on my current vessel. One should do this as all crew are more than happy to do whatever they can to make your crossing the best experience possible. They know as much or more about the route than anyone, so are a real goldmine of information, not just for the vessel but often for your onward journey too.

Do you have an ultimate tip for a ferry trip?

My best advice would be, for any ferry crossing, to enjoy the maritime experience - take time to watch the sun set on an open deck, breathe in the sea air, spend some time away from technology and take in the views and wildlife of the ocean. Ferries are safe, reliable and in my view the perfect mode of transport, however the very best part of a sailing - is sailing itself.

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