Wait. There ARE Beverage Packages?!


Sixthman + Beverage Packages changed their relationship status from “It’s Complicated” to “In a Relationship”.

Yes. You read that last part correctly. Hit the LIKE button because we are now offering a variety of beverage packages on ALL of our events! And thank you – Sixthman and Drink Packages are very happy together.

If you’ve sailed on a Sixthman event in the past, there is a 99% chance you’ve asked the following question: “Sixthman Jayne, I see that Norwegian offers alcohol packages. Ummm…how do I get my hands on one of those?!” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve typed the sentence, “There are no drink packages on chartered events like ours.”

Until now.

We know you’ve probably got a bazillion questions about how this new drink package thing is gonna go down. There's a whole page of info for you to delve into! But for now, let’s hit some highlights:

Yes, the Ultimate Beverage Package will be available! It’s Ultimate for a reason. You’ll get all the cocktails, wine, beer, soda, and juice you can handle. (Not for the faint of heart.)




Yes, Corks & Caps Wine and Beer Package will be available! If you’re not a fan of the hard stuff, go with this package for unlimited wine, beer, soda, and juice.




The Unlimited Fountain Soda Program will be available! And at Norwegian’s children’s rate at that. Grown up sized sodas – kids price!




We’ve also put together an additional Bottled Water Package at a discounted rate. You’ll receive a 24-pack of .5 liter Ice River Springs bottles for a flat rate of $10, if you order before we set sail.




Great! Sign me up!

All these packages will be available for purchase through your Sixthman account about 4-6 weeks prior to sailing, and you'll get an email when they go on sale.

PLUS! There will be a 10% discount on a la carte drinks on board, AND we’ve beefed up the Buckets of Beer. Any drink you purchase will be 10% off! (10% off the price – not 10% less liquid). When you buy a bucket of 5 beers, we’ll throw in a 6th and a 7th for FREE! So whether or not a beverage package is right for your cabin, everyone wins with these new savings!

The Ultimate Beverage and Corks & Caps packages must be purchased for ALL GUESTS staying in the same cabin, and you cannot mix and match. The Soda program and Ice River Springs bottled water are available for individual purchase. If you want to go all the way and get the Ultimate Beverage Package, your roommate will have to purchase it too. Them’s the rules. If there isn't a package that suits the needs of you and your cabin mates, the best part is, you can still take advantage of the overall 10% discount AND the bucket specials!

You’ll be charged an 18% gratuity at the time of purchase. Be good to your servers, y’all!

So there you have it, Beverage Packages - plus some!

Do us – and yourselves – a favor: please, drink responsibly. 



Thinking About Cruising? Get A Passport


Hi, my name is Joy and I’m an addict. The adrenaline rush of being the last person on the ship is my drug of choice. Eight cruise seasons under my belt and I’ve never enjoyed a sail away show, never high-fived from the gangway and rarely stow my carry-on in my cabin before the ship is deep into international waters. I’ve skinned my shins on escalators as I ran with luggage towards the gangway. Missed the gangway altogether and entered through the belly of the ship where they load the luggage? I’ve done that too. Are you familiar with the heartbeat that rises from your chest and makes a home in your throat? I never start a cruise without it. From 9am – 3pm or later I sit in the port and watch ecstatic fans walk onto a cruise ship to start the vacation they’ve been dreaming of only to hustle at the last minute and run on board before the ship leaves me behind. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job.

Does this sound like your idea of a good time? Probably not. Want to know how to avoid all of that stress for both of us? Get a passport.

Let’s set some records straight. This is international travel in the 21st century. Neither Sixthman nor the cruise line sets the rules or required documentation to board a cruise. I’m going to answer some commonly and not so commonly asked questions that get into more anecdotes and helpful hints than what you will find in an FAQ or government website, but the documentation required to sail is fairly cut and dry and always subject to change.

If you are at all uncertain about the documentation you plan to bring (specifically if you are not a US citizen) please check at least one of the following resources before you leave home:

Norwegian Cruise Lines
U.S Customs and Border Protection

I’m a US citizen and I heard I don’t have to have a passport to cruise, is that true?

This is technically true. All cruises that leave from and return to the same US port are what the cruise nerds call a “closed loop sailing.” If you want to be a REAL cruise nerd, I can drop even more knowledge on your head: a cruise that leaves from one US port and returns to a different US port is known as an “open-jaw sailing.”  At the time of writing this all of our events, past, present and foreseeable future are closed loop cruises. If you do not have a current passport you will need to bring a government issued Photo ID (such as a driver’s license) AND proof of US citizenship. Without a passport you should NOT plan to board without both a photo ID and proof of US citizenship.

What counts as proof of US citizenship?

If you are a US citizen who was born in the United States you must bring a state certified US birth certificate. This is the certificate issued by the Department of Vital Statistics in the state where you were born and not the pretty hospital certificate presented to your parents in the hospital. The version NOT accepted will typically but not always have your wee bitty baby foot prints on it, or say “hospital certificate” and/or “this is not a legal document” somewhere on it). If you are a US citizen without a passport but were born in another country, your Birth Certificate won’t help you but an original certificate of U.S. Naturalization, original certificate of U.S. citizenship OR U.S. Consular report of your birth abroad will be accepted in addition to your government issued photo id.

My six-year-old is really excited about soft serve, belly flops, and stage diving! Does she need a photo ID?

Children under 16 years of age will need a passport OR if they are U.S. Citizens will be permitted to sail with a state certified US birth certificate only. Don’t let your six-year-old stage dive.

My birth certificate says “Betty Spaghetti” but my Driver’s License says “Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock,” what about meeeeee?

If the name on your birth certificate is different than the name on your photo ID because of marriage, adoption, divorce, or a Friends episode induced lapse in sanity you will just need to bring a document showing the legal name change (such as your marriage certificate, etc).

This all seems like an awful lot of paperwork for one trip!

It is. Get a passport. An adult passport is just a little over $100 and is good for 10 years. Think of all the adventures that await you!

NO JOY! I do NOT want a passport you cannot make me! I am an AMERICAN! Freedom, eagles, and stuff . . .

I’m going to let you be you. Also, stuff happens. Like that one time in 2012 when I lost my passport inside of my couch. By the time I found it 2 ½ years later it was already expired and I’d traveled on over a dozen cruises with my wrinkled and worn out birth certificate without incident. Whether you are against owning a passport for political reasons or you are like me and just can’t always get your s!@t together, you can go the birth certificate or passport card route. However, it is your responsibility to be aware that without a passport book you cannot fly into or out of an international port of call.

To make it a little more real: If your flight is delayed and you miss the ship before it leaves Miami you can only fly into the next port of call to salvage part of your vacation if you have a passport. If there is a family emergency while you are away and you need to fly home from a port of call you won’t be able to do so without incurring costly fees to secure a last minute passport. These are all things to consider before rolling the dice! After admitting my own personal passport folly I’d be remiss not to tell you one last thing here:


I really didn’t mean to yell. Let’s go back to being cool.

Did you say something about a passport card?

A passport book is the most common form of passport and will allow you to travel internationally by land, sea, or plane. A passport card is most commonly used by US citizens living near a border who travel by land frequently to Canada or Mexico. It is also accepted in lieu of a passport book when cruising in the Caribbean.  A passport card is generally considered more convenient (you can slip it in your wallet) and less expensive. However, you cannot travel by air with a passport card so see above on the reasons why I still recommend a book over a card.

What about enhanced driver’s licenses?

An enhanced driver’s license has the same function and limitations as a passport card. However, only a limited number of states even offer this option. If you are uncertain if your driver’s license is enhanced or not, it’s not. You would know. (Having a hologram on your license does not mean it’s enhanced.)

 Are the Bahamas part of the US?

No. Yes, we get that question all the time. It’s okay. Geography is hard!

What if I am not a US citizen?

Guests from all over the world are invited to party with us! You will at the very least need a passport. There are lots of variables here in regards to additional Visas and Waivers needed dependent upon your country of origin, your current residency status, etc. If you have traveled to the US previously or are a current US resident you are likely already well versed in what you need. However, if you are at all unsure please call US Immigrations at 1-800-375-5283 or check with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to be sure your identification will be satisfactory.

I listened to you Joy. I got a passport; I did all of the right things. I just left my passport in the taxi on the way to my hotel and the ship sails tomorrow. What do I do now?

First contact the taxi company and do everything you can to get it back. But, maybe that is not an option. Maybe your passport was stolen or you called the taxi company and they never found it. Maybe it’s locked in your car at the Dallas airport. You could have left it anywhere. The ship leaves in 24 hours (or 12, or 8, or 3) and you don’t know what to do. I’ll add another disclaimer that this is international travel and we can never promise that you will be able to board the ship without the documents detailed above. However, all is not lost and we will always try to get you on board. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it does not.

Below are recommendations we will make (NONE OF WHICH ARE GUARANTEED to get you on board but are all worth trying in case of an emergency). Please note that most of these recommendations only apply to U.S. Citizens:

  • Try to secure a copy of your birth certificate, ideally a state certified copy that can physically brought to the port (fax or email would be the next best thing but are not guaranteed solutions).
  • File a police report immediately if you know for sure your passport was stolen and bring a copy of that report to the port.
  • Contact the office of vital records in the state where you were born to see if they are able to authorize the send of your birth certificate by fax or email (this is not legal in every state and not generally an option if we are sailing on a weekend or federal holiday).
  • Before you leave home store an electronic copy of your passport photo page and birth certificate.
  • If you arrive at the port knowing you don’t have all of the documents required to sail in hand, do not check your luggage with the porters. Yes, this may sound pessimistic. Yes, we will try everything to get you on board but this is international travel. Without the proper documentation you may not be able to sail. The only thing sadder than watching the ship leave without you is watching the ship and all of your luggage leave without you.
  • Breathe. Don’t panic. Maintain a positive attitude. Help us help you. In the end there may not be anything we can do regardless, but the calmer you are and more willing you are to listen to our recommendations, the better. Everyone at Sixthman and NCL has a “leave no (wo)man behind” mentality on embarkation day. We want you to be enjoying an umbrella drink with the sail away band and not dealing with documentation just as much as you do! 

I have my passport! My photo is so cuuute. I would show it to you but I stuck it in my luggage before I checked it with the porter.

Oh honey. There are 2500 (give or take) other guests boarding right now, almost all of whom are checking at least one bag each. Your luggage may not be delivered to you room until shortly after the ship sets sail. Customs and Border Patrol is going to require that we check your passport before you step on board. Stow your passport in your purse (or your man-purse). There are even cute covers you can buy for them!

Oops! I left my passport at home. I’m so silly. Don’t worry though, I sailed last year. You have my passport details on file. If you need I can show you pictures of what a good time I had last year!

What a cute picture. You have really slimmed down since the last cruise. Congratulations to you! Sorry, this is international travel. Documents in hand only. Neither the cruise line nor Sixthman stores your passport information from the year before. Even if we did, Customs and Border Patrol will not accept this in lieu of your physical passport.

Come clean, these questions weren’t submitted by actual guests. I’m just a voice in your head right?

So technically, these questions are an artifice to get out the information, and I made them up. But, every single one of these questions is either one I’ve gotten in the port in person or one our ninjas hear regularly on the phone.

Another cruise season is creeping up and I’m already looking forward to hugging my favorite Port check-in staff and returning guests. I love the smiles on your faces as you pass by me on your way onto the ship and the matching t-shirts you never cease to impress me with. Be sure to say hi to me when you see me and show me your most hilarious passport photos!

Here’s mine:

A Day In The Life Of A Sixthman Ninja

If you've ever called or chatted with Sixthman, chances are that you spoke with a Ninja. Our Ninja team is a dynamite group of guest service gurus. We love talking to our guests and are always available to assist in booking a cabin or discuss any other question or concern that comes to mind.

Upon rising every morning, a Sixthman Ninja needs to jump out of bed with a smile on their face to be ready for the glorious day ahead and that’s exactly what I do. After I ensure that my hair is perfectly styled for maximum-telephone-head-set-positioning, I hop in my car and drive through the bustling streets of Atlanta, Georgia, always making sure I get to work early. I’ve always said that if you’re not early, you’re late!

On those sweet, sweet mornings when I’m the first Ninja in the office, I get my choice of any desk in the thermos (that’s what we call the room where the Ninjas sit because its always a delightful 63 degrees when its not a balmy 84).  The ideal location in the thermos is going to be a mid to high level desk with your back facing away from the door so that you can have a full view of the dogs walking around the office. I’m personally a big fan of watching Buckley sit in people’s laps like a human baby.

Now comes the fun part… Juggling phone calls, chats, and emails from our lovely guests! I get to talk on the phone to a Rock Boater who’s been with us since day one while I live-chat with a Kid Rock Cruiser about which pair of Bob’s overalls we love the most (all of them, duh). The energy in the room is electric while all of my coworkers crush their new bookings and help guests decide on the most stellar outfits for theme nights.

Shortly after a delicious lunch purchased by office manager extraordinaire, Julie, comes my favorite part of the day… Nap time! When we’re handling bookings for all of our launched events, its important to stay rested. I find a comfortable spot under my desk and snooze for an hour or so until someone finds me and tells me that this is definitely not part of a day in the life of a Sixthman Ninja… This is news to me.

At the end of the day, after I’ve said goodbye to every dog in the office and have tried to forget about all of the free doughnuts I ate that day, I reflect on how lucky I am to be a part of such an awesome company and community. Even if they don’t allow for nap time (yet…), it’s pretty great being a Sixthman Ninja and I’m excited and ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Boat Love: It's a Thing.

Boat Love is totally a thing, you guys. If you can name a more “romantic” place to fall in love than a cruise ship, I’ll send you a heart-shaped pizza, breadsticks, and maybe a two-liter of Coke depending on how much I like your answer. But hear me out first. A cruise ship is a veritable breeding ground (perhaps a poor choice of words there) for steamy new romance. And a Sixthman cruise is essentially the adult version of summer camp – but like, boy camp and girl camp have officially merged into one giant make-out barge. And it’s totally legal to drink there.

I mean, really think about it. I’ve provided you with a romance checklist for easy reference:

  • Exotic locations
  • Booze
  • Teeny tiny bathing suits
  • Little to no connection to the outside world
  • Booze
  • Thousands of like-minded music fans
  • Beds (SO many beds)
  • Salt air
  • A tacit agreement to let loose (It IS vacation, after all)
  • Rock stars
  • Regularly scheduled sunset photo ops
  • Dozens of secret spots to hide/make out
  • Unlimited access to chocolate
  • Booze

I think I’ve made my point. Boat Love is virtually unavoidable in such a luxurious setting.

But BEWARE, my friends – Boat Love is almost always fleeting. Once the ship returns to the mainland, your contact high wears off, and you have a chance to do some serious Facebook research about your vacation soul mate, things typically start to fall apart. And, hey – that’s ok. You’ll always have Cozumel/Tortola/Key West/Bliss Lounge/Great Outdoors/an elevator/that one lounge chair on deck 14 where you think we can’t see you (but we totally can), et al. Chin up! You are the 99%!

Every once in awhile – when the breeze blows just right, and the dance party goes until just late enough – lightning strikes, and Boat Love blossoms into True Romance. We hear about these rare miracles from our guests all the time. “I met my future husband on The Rock Boat!” Or “We made a boat baby on the 311 Cruise and we’re naming her Pearl.” Or “She said ‘yes’ in front of a stage full of Gronkowskis!” It’s a beautiful thing. BUT IT’S JUST SUPER RARE AND YOU SHOULD BE THANKFUL AND NEVER FORGET HOW RARE IT IS AND WE GET IT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, OK, GAHHH. ‘Scuse me. Here are some shining examples of Boat Love turned True Romance from our very own staff. SPOILER ALERT: Lots of "Awwwww!" headed your way in 3...2...1...


Current Relationship Status: Going steady since Kid Rock Cruise 2013

Him: Salty production assistant and onboard host extraordinaire

Her: Sixthman Director of Partner Relations and Business Development

How They Found Boat Love: Darby was a new hire sailing on her first Sixthman cruise. Rumors had been spreading for weeks about how “Darby is basically the girl version of Terry. Just wait ‘til those two meet.” Spoiler Alert: the rumors turned out to be true.

How we know it’s True Romance: Just watch them perform karaoke together. You’ll understand. Also, they live together and have two cats named Patinkin and Wink. Cats are forever.


Current Relationship Status: Together since March 2013 and recently engaged

Him: A 311 cruiser with excellent taste in women

Her: Project Manager, Partner Relations, and Senior Warrior

How they found Boat Love: Andy developed a crush on Sixthman Alex on the 2011 311 Cruise. In November of 2012, Alex visited friends in Andy’s hometown of Chicago. They planned to meet up at a Grouplove concert. When the show got cancelled, they made their way to Double Door and saw two random bands instead. Andy made Alex a mix CD titled “Let’s Be Friends”. Clearly, he meant “Let’s Be BF/GF”.

How we know it’s True Romance: Alex eventually moved to Chicago to be closer to her beau. They still sail on the 311 Cruise together, and Andy put a ring on it earlier this year.


Current Relationship Status: Married for 10 years

Him: Rock Boat guest turned Sixthman Director of IT, Launch, and Guest Services

Her: Rock Boat guest turned Sixthman Creative Leader, Partner Relations, and Senior Warrior

How they found Boat Love: Matt and Jen met on a Sister Hazel message board (remember when message boards were a thing?!) prior to The Rock Boat IV. The stars aligned when Matt moved to Jen’s hometown of Orlando to work with his brother. By the time The Rock Boat set sail in 2004, they were a couple. Cue “All for You”.

How we know it’s True Romance: They work together, sail together, live together, travel the world together, and still manage to have a long-lasting, healthy marriage. Also, they only take photos together in exotic locations while wearing hats. Couple uniform, FTW!


Current Relationship Status: Married 6 years this December

Him: A production guru

Her: A Carnival corporate employee turned valuable member of the Sixthman accounting team

How they found Boat Love: Technically, it’s Port of Tampa Love. But they met on the very first Rock Boat in 2001. That makes them the OG Sixthman love story.

How we know it’s True Romance: They win the Sixthman Boat Love award for longest relationship! Also, their names are Jack and Jill, so…


Current Relationship Status: Married since Mountain Song at Sea 2014

Him: Stardust Manager and Yogi

Her: Host Assist and go-to massage therapist

How they found Boat Love: These two lovebirds actually met in high school.

How we know it’s True Romance: Fredrika staged a surprise wedding for Dave on board Norwegian Sky in 2014. They’ve sailed together on almost every Sixthman cruise since.

Ahhh, yes. There you have it, friends. Love is a many splendored thing. (We should know. We’ve been proving it since 2001.) So let’s raise a glass to Boat Love. Whether it’s a clandestine affair on a 4-day sailing, or it’s True Romance with your forever human, it is most definitely A THING.


Sixthman Jayne


As we celebrate 15 years at Sixthman today, we are so grateful for the guests who have trusted us with their vacations, the artists who have trusted us with their fans, and our team who has trusted us with their gifts during this precious time of their lives. When Sixthman started in 2001, we thought we were in the "Festival Business." Then we thought we were in the “Vacation Business” in 2003. We were happy to learn that we were connecting people and were actually in the “Community Business" in 2005. Being blessed with so many return guests each year, we push ourselves to make each event better.  

We often joke that when it comes to our festivals and communities, we make promises we can barely keep. One of the toughest dynamics for us to tame is the relationship between the Promise Maker and the Promise Keeper. They both need each other to be successful. One to make a promise and the other to make it happen. Without the Promise Makers, it’s hard to stand out above the rest, and without the Promise Keepers, it’s a complete mess.  

Even though we understand it’s part of who we are, there is sometimes tension when a promise is made without including a Promise Keeper. As a Promise Maker myself, sometimes I fear including the Keeper because I’m afraid they will talk me out of it (usually for good reason). The challenge is that we all care about each other like family, and reckless promises damage those relationships and our culture. We almost always pull it off and then promise to never do that again. Does it have to be this way?

At our company retreat (known as The Advance) last week, a couple of our senior team members presented some challenges for us to solve within the next year. The last two words they used were “Dreams” & “Logistics” and it hit me. When we do our best work, we are becoming experts in Dreamgistics. The difference is that the Promise Makers, now referred to as Dreamers, bring their ideas to the Promise Keepers, now referred to as Logistic Specialists, who welcome the Dreamers in a supportive and respectable way (think “Trust Tree” from Old School) to determine a solution that allows us to push the expectations higher without too much wear and tear on those who lead the execution.

We started saying Dreamgistics last week and I hope it sticks because it can remind us that we are evolving in the way we work together. Thank you to all of those who have allowed us to perform Dreamgistics on you.


Evolution of the Sixthman Awards

Company awards.

They’re always presented with the best intentions, yet they can make people feel left out and unappreciated at the same time. It’s fun to publicly recognize people when they’re awesome. But what does that mean for the people that don’t get recognized that are equally as awesome?

At Sixthman, we’ve gone through a few evolutions of “Values Awards” and have really struggled with ensuring our whole staff feels included, and making sure those who embody our core values are still called out and celebrated. We’re lucky – we have an incredibly driven team of about 45 employees. So how can you single people out when everyone is so great?

Another tough part of the equation is this:  In a company like ours, certain roles are more front & center while others are more behind-the-scenes. It’s tough to develop a peer-voting system where the “front & center” people aren’t the first ones that come to everyone’s mind, even though the work done by the behind-the-scenes crew is just as important – sometimes more.

We needed a balance between two extremes. We didn’t like the idea of settling on an “everybody wins” scenario – it defeated the purpose of meaningful awards altogether. But on the other hand, we didn’t want to host an annual popularity contest either.

That’s when we recognized we needed to make sure the things we awarded people for were qualities that were important to the whole company. It turned out that our old-school company values – the things all of our awards were based on - were pretty outdated, and a lot of newer people in the company didn’t even really understand them. (They're listed in the blue boxes below, if you were wondering.) Our company has grown and changed so much over the past few years – should our values change too? 



So we did it. We decided to change.

First, we realized that recognition didn’t need to be limited to once a year. We now have an entire section of our staff meeting each week, where anyone – not just leaders – can give kudos to their fellow teammates if there’s a reason to publicly celebrate them.

Second, we re-defined our company values. (You can read the full story on that here.) The old ones just didn’t fit us anymore (ironically, using them as our award categories is what tipped us off on that). Instead, we wanted to develop a values statement that accurately described us, but left room for growth and promoted a sense of accountability. 

Then we detached our annual awards from the values completely. In reality, if someone works at a small company like ours where culture fit is a huge part of the hiring process, they probably already embody most of the values to some extent; otherwise they wouldn’t have been hired in the first place. This is probably why it was always a bit awkward to pick one person that was the "best" at one particular value when everyone tended to fit into all of the categories in some way. 

Finally, we introduced new award categories. This time, they’re based on skills that are important in our day-to-day office life, on land and at sea:


MacGyver Award:

In a pinch? This person can help solve your problem! They’re known for being resourceful and succeeding in situations when they’re forced to improvise. They can create a solution even when it seems impossible.

Unsung Hero:

This person makes Sixthman look good! They may not be guest-facing 100% of the time, but without them the process would crumble and the ship would not sail. They’re the wind in Sixthman’s sails – you can’t see ‘em, but they’re always pushing us forward.


Eye of the Storm:

When everything goes wrong, you’d better hope to have this person at your side. They’ve got nerves of steel and stay calm even if we hit some rough seas (literally or figuratively). They seem to do their best work under pressure.



Most Left Brained:

Known for problem solving by thinking logically and sequentially, this person is extremely focused, analytical and concise. They lead and make decisions based on facts.



Most Right Brained:

Outside the box thinker. This innovative problem solver is a dreamer and likes to visualize the results they’re working towards. They lead and make decisions based on intuition.


Rookie of the Year:

This staff member has worked at Sixthman for less than one year, but they’re already an expert! You almost forgot they’re new…


Mentor Award:

This salty sailor has at least 50 days at sea, which means they’ve got lots of experience under their belt! They’ll go out of their way to make sure they share what they’ve learned and help others excel. They are happy to show people the ropes!



Which person stands out as the expert at making our guests or staff feel Invited, Informed, Excited, Welcomed, Looked After, Amazed and Appreciated? (Read more about Sixthman SPECIAL.)



This person truly knows what it means to LIVE LOUD. They make the most of every moment and live life to the fullest.


Jack (or Jill) of all Trades:
This category cannot be voted on, but that’s what makes it so cool. This person is so well-rounded, they showed up in the most categories throughout the rest of the award voting.



We vote on these each year just before our summer company retreat (which we happen to call an "Advance" - because we don't retreat, we advance). We use a private online survey, and in the survey we’re also reminded of the person who received the award the year before. This prevents the same people from being chosen for the same categories year after year (which was a rut we’d been in before with earlier incarnations of our awards). We also give each staff member the opportunity to give examples and reasons as to why they’re making each of their choices. Once all votes are tallied, the awards are presented at The Advance, and the current award-holder announces the new recipient and passes off the award. It's more of a peer-to-peer “passing of the torch” rather than one of our leaders dominating the award ceremony. And I use the term "ceremony" very loosely - we try to make the whole thing informal and fun instead of stuffy and boring. 

One more small switch – the awards used to be trophies. Like legit fake-gold-with-marble-base trophies. What on earth do people do with trophies? We downsized to something more practical – a simple pin or button. By doing this, the recipient can wear their award all year on their lanyard while we sail. So if you see a Sixthman crew member roaming around the ship with a pin on their lanyard with any of the above award names on it, now you’ll know why! 

Is this system perfect? Probably not. But it already feels SO much better than it did. We’ll continue to tweak from year to year as we learn and get feedback, just as we do with our events. 

Does your company give awards? Do you like them, or wish you could change things? What are some of the best employee recognition programs or awards that you’ve been a part of, or have heard about?