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Zong Yucheng: A Third Engineer Onboard Adora Mediterranea

Tell us a little bit about yourself and Adora Mediterranea

I am Zong Yucheng, a 3E from Adora Mediterranea. First of all, I would like to express my gratitude for the invitation extended by Adora Cruises, Columbia Group and Singhai, and I appreciate Chief Engineer Wang Lixiao’s recommendation which has granted me this valuable interview opportunity. It is a great honor to communicate and learn from everyone on this platform.

Adora Mediterranea is a cruise ship. It is 293 meters long, 32 meters wide, with a displacement of 85,619 tons and a maximum capacity of 2,680 passengers. Our dedicated team of over 900 employees from diverse backgrounds ensures exceptional service delivery for our esteemed clientele worldwide. Known as the ‘Art Ship at Sea,’ Adora Mediterranea originates from Europe and holds a prominent position within the international cruise industry with its age of 21 years.

How did it feel to join Columbia Group?

I am a new member of Columbia Group. However, in less than six months of working on two contracts, I have personally experienced the profound corporate culture of Columbia Group, as well as its iCare value for all employees and warm and thoughtful service for passengers.

I learned that Columbia is an international ship management group with more than 45 years of experience, managing over 450 ships, including 15+ luxury cruise ships, and managing more than 20,000 crew members and employees worldwide. Columbia is a senior ship management company with profound management experience, worthy of the trust and reliance of the majority of crew members.

From an employee’s perspective, the most special thing about joining Columbia Group is the crew treatment and benefits. The crew treatment provided by Columbia Group is among the best in the industry, which has significantly improved my personal living standard compared with before, and also deepened my sense of belonging as an employee, encouraging me to work harder to create value for the company and the shipowner. At the same time, the company also provides a sound employee training, benefits and feedback system, so that crew members can improve themselves and enjoy life whether on board or on vacation, and have no worries at work. It is this corporate culture that makes me feel like a home-like working atmosphere.

It’s not easy to become a senior seafarer of Adora. Do you have any experience that you can share with us?

I graduated from Dalian Ocean University in 2018, and then officially became a luxury cruise cadet under the recommendation and training of Singhai, and became a cruise man, thus achieving the goal I set when I chose this major. Now six years have passed, and I have grown from an engine cadet to a 3E of the ship.

We often hear a saying: “Keep your original intention, and you will succeed in the end”. I think this sentence is also applicable to our industry, or in any industry, because it means to be determined in your goal, not afraid of setbacks, and stick to it. From the perspective of a marine engineer, most of the crew members start as cadet, and they may face some very realistic problems during the internship stage, such as the unfamiliarity of the working environment, the language barrier as a Chinese crew member, and the low internship pay. When encountering these setbacks, the mentality is very important. We should ask ourselves what the goal we set, what efforts we need to make in order to achieve the goal, and whether the current difficulties are enough to destroy our faith in achieving the goal… When you have the answer in your heart, and stand on a higher angle to overlook these so-called obstacles, then everything will be solved easily. Because many of the work of the crew members depends on the accumulation of experience, only by persistently learning and improving yourself in the work can you have the ability to grasp when opportunities come.

Tell us about a fond memory on Adora Mediterranea.

One of the most unforgettable memories on Adora Mediterranea is still fresh in my mind. It was in September 2023, when our ship traveled thousands of miles from Cyprus in Europe to Asia and completed maintenance and painting in Singapore dry dock, thus “officially” becoming Adora Mediterranea. At that time, this luxury cruise ship with an age of more than 20 years finally docked in Tianjin International Cruise Home Port, China, for the first time with a new look, and thus officially started her new journey as a ship under a Chinese Cruise Company. In a sense, she witnessed the end of an era and the beginning of another era, which is really wonderful. When I saw the Five-Starred Red Flag (The Flag of China)flying on the Adora Mediterranea, probably for the first time, my sense of pride could not be suppressed. That day, I shared this experience on my WeChat Moments, and also gave my friends a brief introduction to the history of this ship, sharing this joy and pride with them.

What is the most important personality trait for a seafarer to have?

From the perspective of a marine engineer, in addition to the above mentioned keeping the original intention, I think the important characteristics required by seafarers are as follows:

First: desire for knowledge. Luxury cruise ships have many and miscellaneous cabin equipment, and each equipment may involve completely different professional knowledge. I believe that no engineer can confidently say that he has mastered the relevant technical knowledge of all cabin equipment. But this does not prevent us from taking this as our goal, and learning as much as possible about different machine equipment in our work and spare time. When you finally figure out the answer to a problem that has puzzled you for a long time, or solve a problem that you are facing with the knowledge you have learned, I believe that kind of sense of gain and satisfaction cannot be brought by other industries.

Second: team spirit. As a crew, we are working in an environment far away from our relatives and friends, far away from the comfort zone. To be honest, during navigation, working is the main melody, and the life on the ship is not as colorful as the land, or even is boring. Therefore, such a working environment requires each of us to develop team spirit, help each other in work, and make friends in life. We should be led by the captain, the chief engineer and the hotel director and other department leaders, and work as a whole, which can not only improve work efficiency, but also positively affect the working atmosphere of the whole team.

Third: calm mind. As a means of transportation, ships, like planes and cars, may face various emergencies. At this time, as a marine engineer, a calm mind is more needed. First of all, we should stabilize our emotions, and then calmly react and operate according to the various emergency plans for dealing with emergencies in the company’s procedures. It is also the same in the daily operation and maintenance of equipment. If unexpected situations occur, we should actively think about solutions to the problems, rather than blame the causes of the problems. I often say to myself and my colleagues, “No Problem, Only Solution”. If you let this positive attitude affect yourself and your colleagues, in many cases, twice the result will be achieved with half the effort.

As for the important traits needed by seafarers, I believe there are many points that I did not mention or even did not realize. I throw a brick to attract jade here, hoping that more colleagues and seniors can share their views.

Some people consider that senior seafarer on Cruise are always non-Chinese, what do you think and do you have any bless or words to other seafarer?

When I first came on board as a cadet in my previous company, the deck and engine departments had just started to use Chinese cadet, while there were almost no Chinese in other positions in the department, and the senior crew was mainly European and American, even few Asians. Later, I came into contact with more and more Chinese crew seniors. In the communication, I learned that when they entered the industry, there was even only one Chinese crew member on the whole ship, which was not uncommon at that time. Now, on Adora Cruises, there have been more and more Chinese senior crew members, even in such senior positions as chief engineer, which is really a thing that we should be happy and proud of. In general, in the field of luxury cruise, the European and American cruise industries have a long history, accumulated a lot of experience and a large number of crew members. Comparatively, our Chinese cruise industry is still in the early stage of learning and development. But now, China is paying more and more attention to the development of the cruise industry, with better and better policies and greater and greater determination. This has to mention the operation of Adora Magic City, the first domestic luxury cruise ship under Adora Cruises, which is a milestone event that makes the whole Chinese nation proud. From now on, as Chinese crew members, we will have more and more opportunities, which is exactly the same as the blueprint described by the company leaders for us young people when I first joined the industry. Personally, I think that Chinese senior crew members may be even better than European and American crew members in terms of individual quality, and the excellent character of diligence, pragmatism, unity and so on that Chinese people have may not be provided by other crew members. Therefore, as Chinese crew members, we should have firm confidence, be down-to-earth, learn modestly, improve our ability, and proudly blossom with the arrival of the spring of China’s cruise industry, showing our style!