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Sketched June 1, 2015

With 192 cruises scheduled out of Seattle this year, a scene similar to what I saw recently at Pier 91 repeats almost daily throughout the summer.

Cruise ship baker Allan Isuela and his crew were rushing to make hundreds of bread rolls down in the galleys and casino manager Stoyan Stefanov was taking a final walk through the slot machines on deck eight. Earlier in the morning, 1,200 passengers had disembarked from the Statendam cruise ship, and, just hours later, a new load of passengers were boarding for another two-week journey to Alaska and back.

My whirlwind sketching tour of this Holland America boat took me through piano bars, swimming pools and multiple theaters. What surprised me the most, though, was that 95 percent of the 571 crew are from other countries. Isuela, a 23-year veteran with the cruise line, lives in the Philippines and Stefanov, who has held his job for 12 years, is from Bulgaria.

Despite being away from home for months at a time, Stefanov said the job is fun and rewarding. “People are on vacation … they are always happy.”