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July 03, 2009

Oprah + Norwegian Gem = Employee Loyalty

Photo: Mars Hill Church Seattle on Flickr using Creative Commons

by Beata Loyfman-Santora

In these times of economic woe, it's heartening to know that there's one employer still taking care of her minions. Not surprisingly, this generous soul is none other than Oprah Winfrey, the world's second most powerful celebrity (according to Forbes). Last week, all of Oprah's 1,700 employees and their families were treated to a free 10-day Mediterranean cruise aboard the Norwegian Gem. Yes, seriously.

The ship's itinerary includes Malta, Barcelona, and other fabulous ports of call. Supposedly, O has dropped more than $9 million on this mass gift--and earned countless karmic points (thanks for the drool-worthy details, Jaunted). What a clever way to ensure staffer loyalty! That Oprah--she's gossip-proof, weight-proof, recession-proof, and even disgruntle-proof. Take note, airlines.

Yours truly was lucky enough to sail on the very same ship just last year (though no Oprah freebies for me; I paid full price). One of NCL's newest, the Gem is exactly that: a huge, well-oiled machine whose sole purpose is guest amusement and feeding. Thanks to its 12 restaurants, from a casual pizza buffet to a swank French bistro where you dine off Versace china, you can literally have your cake at any time of day or night. You can also golf, spa, gamble, jog, shop, wed, night-bowl, dance, drink, and deposit your kids in the jungle gym. 

All of which begs the question: Oprah, what will it take for me to go on the next cruise?


Why would someone go on a cruise and eat pizza???

Do you know if that was her mag staff as well, or just the TV folks?

If you can imagine, it was the entire staff of the Oprah empire. From the TV and magazine editors, to the cleaning and utility crew. Amazing!
- Beata

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