Denika Outerbridge pictured in St. Maarten – one of the stops she made onboard the Norwegian Gem. *Photo supplied
Denika Outerbridge pictured in St. Maarten – one of the stops she made onboard the Norwegian Gem. *Photo supplied

After traveling for more than eight months on the high seas onboard the Norwegian Gem, 22-year old Denika Outerbridge has just returned to Bermuda.  During this time her job has taken her to many exciting destinations from Halifax to New York to the Bahamas.

The public will recall that last year the Ministry partnered with Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) to introduce a unique employment opportunity which afforded Bermudians a chance to work on a cruise ship. The initiative was a pledge from the 2013 Throne Speech and was arranged and coordinated by the Department of Workforce Development.  And as a result of the recruitment drive last year, Ms Outerbridge was one of seven Bermudians who secured jobs on board NCL ships.

“My father saw an NCL ad in the newspaper and thought maybe I would like the experience,” Ms Outerbridge explained.  “So I attended an Information Session organized by the Department of Workforce Development and NCL in July 2013 and shortly afterwards I applied for the job of ‘restaurant steward’ – with my only previous experience in the Service or Hospitality Industry being my job as a counter server at La Trattoria’s take-out desk.”

Only a week after her job interview Ms Outerbridge received an offer of employment from NCL. On October 5th she boarded The Norwegian Gem where she was immediately put to work.

“You learn on the job,” she explained. “In my job as a restaurant steward I would set the tables and learn how to roll the napkins properly – basically setting up before the meals were served.”

Ms Outerbridge impressed the NCL management so much, that she received a promotion just weeks into her employment onboard the Gem. In October 2013, she began her employment as a restaurant steward and just one month later she moved up the ranks to become an Assistant Waiter.

“I was excited about the promotion, but nervous – I had no experience carrying the trays and always thought I would drop them!” she said. “But now I now have confidence in carrying trays and I can carry four plates at a time. I also learned a lot about how to introduce myself to customers and about the food I was serving as well as the various food allergies and special diets that exist.”

Ms Outerbridge, a Berkeley graduate, attended Bermuda College from 2010 to 2013 where she obtained her Associates Degree in Business Administration. She plans to work with NCL one more time before pursuing a degree in business and hospitality management. She begins work onboard the Norwegian Sky on August 11th 2014.

“To this day, I'm glad that I took advantage of this opportunity,” Ms Outerbridge said. “Coming into this experience, I really didn't know what to expect. I had heard different things about working on a cruise ship but in life I have learned not to let others' opinions on things stop me from doing what I want to do. Plus I think it's better to just experience things first-hand because everyone is different.”

One of the highlights of her time onboard the Gem was the taking the Paradise Point Skyride in St. Thomas – a scenic tram journey to the top of Paradise Point to enjoy spectacular views.  Another highlight was a day-trip to Maho Beach in St. Martin which is famous for planes flying overhead at very low altitudes.

Today the Minister of Home Affairs, Sen. the Hon. Michael Fahy hailed Ms Outerbridge’s success saying, “We are very proud of Denika’s achievement. Denika is the prime example of a young person seizing an opportunity and exceeding expectations. Her positive and pleasant attitude as well as her commendable work ethic undoubtedly makes her an asset to any employer and I wish her the best of luck in the future.”

“This has been an experience of a lifetime,” said Ms Outerbridge. “I came without any experience in my position and now I am leaving with plenty.

“I've met so many people from so many different countries and learned about different cultures – memories which will definitely be with me forever.”

For more information on employment opportunities at NCL go to