What is it like to be a maître d’ aboard the Saga Sapphire?

Trevor Walford, Maître d' on-board Saga Sapphire, tells us what his job really involves on the cruise ship and why he loves it.

Yorkshireman Trevor Walford is the maître d’ on Saga Sapphire where he runs the three restaurants and is involved in training junior staff. He has been with Saga for just over ten years. The job of a maître d’hôtel traditionally involves supervising the waiting staff, welcoming guests and assigning tables to them, taking reservations, and making sure that guests are satisfied with all aspects of the restaurant. Trevor explains how he certainly brings happiness to some of his guests.

What do you most enjoy about your role as maître d’?

Nothing makes me happier than when people leave the restaurant saying they’ve loved the food and the service. In my job I come across different challenges every day. There’s the challenge of being responsible for 90 waiters. There’s also the daily, essential challenge of keeping our guests happy. I get simple requests from passengers, which are small things to me, but which can make quite a big difference to their enjoyment of the cruise.

I love training the waiters, fostering their success and seeing them move up the ladder. Training my assistant and headwaiters is different. I give them challenges almost every day to see how they handle different situations.

Can you describe life on board?

The ship’s crew and staff are your family from the moment you step on board to the day your contract ends. We all work as a team together.

Is the destination reflected in the food served on the ship?

Very much so. Wherever we are in the world, we always try to get fresh local produce, which the chefs use to create local dishes to reflect the country we’re in.

What is your favourite dish on board?

I love sushi. I could almost live on it. My favourite dish on board is salmon teriyaki and in the East to West speciality restaurant, nothing beats the tom yang soup from Asia.

What destinations do you love visiting and why?

When not working, I love going to Asia, which is obvious from my favourite foods too! I find that it’s a lovely country and the people are so nice and polite. There’s a spiritual essence to it that makes you feel calm.

What wine would you recommend?

I do love Rioja wines. My favourite on board is the Marques de Caceres and we have many more Riojas on the wine list.

Do you have a particular Saga Cruise Memory that stands out?

I deal with different passengers almost every day, putting people together at the same tables or arranging for different people to sit together.  I think the most wonderful thing that happened was when a lady came up the gangplank and I asked if she needed help. She replied: “I’ve come on board to look for a man!” I smiled and replied that if she gave me a few days, I would find her one. Well, I searched in the lounges and bars every day, and eventually found a gentleman on his own. I asked him: “Would you like to meet a nice lady sir?” In a very posh voice, he replied: “Blinking top hole, yes please!” Well, I got them together and they had a fantastic cruise. They are now married and he always sends me a postcard to my home in Yorkshire, saying: “We’re still trying for children”. They are in their 80s now!

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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