Nyoman Kurniawan, beverage services manager, started with Disney Cruise Line when he was just 21 years old. He was recruited to wash dishes in 1997 while Disney Cruise Line was still in its infancy.
The first batch of more than 1,200 crew members assembled in Venice, Italy to train and meet the Disney Magic for the very first time in 1998. Since then, he’s worked on every ship in the fleet and spends his time mixing up new and exciting cocktails with his team.
“We put a twist on all our cocktails,” Nyoman said. “It takes time for our crew to build them, but then they take pride in their accomplishment when the drink becomes a hit.”
The team can never truly predict the response, but as they watch guests snap photos to post on social media or to capture the memory, they know their hard work is appreciated.
Each new drink concept comes with challenges as the team studies flavors, colors and canon to bring unique and authentic offerings to guests. The team also immerses themselves in the storytelling to make sure they get it just right.
“The storytelling is the most important part of the guest experience,” Nyoman said. “When you design a cocktail, you always come with a story in mind. The same goes for the rest of the ship. There’s so much detail, it inspires creativity in every element.”
Nyoman always knew, big picture, that he dreamed of building his own team. “I worked my way up, learned so many things and absorbed everything I could,” Nyoman said.
Growing up in a small village surrounded by mostly farmland, Nyoman compared his leadership style to growing seeds. He tends to his team like a garden, pouring into their work.
“We develop them, and they grow stronger,” Nyoman said. “We nurture them and create the future of Disney Cruise Line.”
His motto is if you create magic for yourself in your life, then you will naturally bring that magic to those around you. He’s known around the ship for being, well… well-known. Guests he knew as children are still visiting him from his early years with Disney Cruise Line, and even bringing their own families now.
“Creating magic for me, is creating a moment that families always remember,” Nyoman said. “Knowing that those memories will be passed on through generations is a huge accomplishment for me.”
While he cherishes the travel and all the knowledge he’s collected, it’s the people who have made his time on the high seas feel like home.
“Disney Cruise Line opened the world for me. I’ve met crew members from so many different countries, cultures and backgrounds,” Nyoman said. “When I’m at home I miss them. We feel like family.”
His wish for the next 25 years is simple. “More ships and more happy guests.”
“At first, you have this overwhelming feeling that you need to go the distance, but when you reach the distance and look back, you feel very proud,” Nyoman said. “I feel like I went very far and I’m still going.”