Careers at Sea
Careers at Sea with DFDS
There are hundreds of roles available for seafarers across Europe with DFDS. From engineers to stewards, operations to hospitality, there are a wide range of roles available across our European ferry routes.
An insight into life at sea
Meet Sylvia Heiberg, Business Leader onboard Princess Seaways. She tells us all about her role and how she needs to be multiple things to multiple people. She also shares her belief that female strength is not just leadership and decisiveness, but sensitivity, tenderness and empathy. Read on to find out more.
What is your job at DFDS and what does it involve?
My current position is Business Leader Accommodation and Service means I am a head of the accommodation department including Guest Service Centre and Kids Entertainment. My workplace is onboard Princess Seaways sailing between Amsterdam and Newcastle, in a rotation system of 14 days onboard and 14 days at home.
I lead a team of 30-40 people from different countries, making sure they have the necessary tools, training and motivation to deliver a high-quality product and service in the hospitality industry. Working in such an international environment requires many roles from me: motivator, mediator, coach, psychologist, mother, friend, nurse, etc. On a daily basis, my job is mostly office work: controlling and following up all ship’s accounts in the area of consumption and maintenance, handling orders and deliveries for catering departments, cooperation with external suppliers, planning renovations and maintenance of cabins and public areas. Furthermore, I am a member of Shipboard Management and crew representative in Safety Committee.
How did you get where you are today?
I started 21 years ago on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route as a stewardess and thanks to my hard work, keen eye for detail and positive relationships with work colleagues at all levels, I became Deck Leader three years later. My former managers were impressed with my outstanding everyday performance, handling responsibility, my ability to remain calm under pressure and in emergencies. This led me to being promoted to an Accommodation Supervisor position. During that time I learnt how to deal with difficult passengers and situations politely but firmly, how to set goals and achieve them. I became a trainer who creates a great working atmosphere within her team by building morale, maintaining the team’s self-confidence and training them to build success by improving people skills. In 2009 I transferred to the Copenhagen – Oslo route where I worked as Team Coordinator in the Accommodation department for seven years. I developed my leader skills, diplomacy, tact and assertiveness together with multicultural sensitivity. Five years ago I applied for the position of Business Leader Accommodation onboard Princess Seaways where I am currently working.
What do you think of DFDS as a workplace?
I am proud to work at a company with 155 years of history and tradition. The Scandinavian culture in workplace means openness, informality, innovations, diversity and striving for climate friendly solutions. Being a part of DFDS is a privilege and feels like having an extra family. I love meeting people from different cultures and even after working for 21 years on five different ships, I can still learn and discover something new. DFDS supports employees in good times and bad times. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how lucky we are to be a part of strong and stable company but I also appreciate the support available to employees and their families in case of sickness or natural disasters. I remember campaigns for quitting smoking together, losing weight or running marathons for better health. This definitely supports one of our pillars: WE CARE. All of this integrates employees and creates an unbelievable feeling of unity and solidarity while striving for the same goal.
What is your proudest moment/highlight from working in DFDS?
Christmas time is a special time for those who have families and homes but for lonely or homeless people it can be very hard. Therefore it was something special for me to be a part of the Christmas lunch organised for homeless people from Oslo onboard Crown Seaways in cooperation with local associations as a yearly event. I can’t describe the gratitude and appreciation in our guests’ eyes when we warmly welcomed them onboard. We set a full buffet with delicious food just for them and even had a small gift to give (warm scarf or hat). The biggest joy for them was the fact that they could pack the food leftovers and take them to their pets ashore. The fact that we can share with those who need it, warms my heart.