A Conversation With Papa Dale

Thursday, June 18, 2020
By Azamara

If you’ve enjoyed a drink aboard the Azamara Journey over the last 13 years, there’s a good chance you’ve met Dale Gillings. Though, you might know him as Papa Dale and Papi. Born in Jamaica, Papa Dale has been working at sea for nearly 40 years, and since 2007, he’s been with us aboard the Journey. During that time, he’s certainly made an impression on guests and colleagues alike. In fact, during his time with us, he’s been awarded Employee of the Month 14 times. Not only that, he’s a two-time Employee of the Year!

Dale isn’t boastful about these accolades, however. When we asked him about them, he said it was due to his “continuous hard work, professionalism, and ability to win over guests with my genuine smile.” And trust us, he’s not kidding about that smile — it absolutely lights up any room he walks into. Take a look for yourself!

Papa Dale Smiles for the Camera

Like any fantastic bartender, Papa Dale has a signature drink he loves sharing with guests aboard the Azamara Journey. His is inspired by his home country and is aptly called a Jamaica Delight. When we asked him about it, he was more than happy to share the recipe. So grab your favorite highball glass, and get ready to enjoy a taste of the tropics! 

Jamaica Delight

●      1 1/2 oz light rum

●      1/2 oz Apricot Brandy

●      2 oz pineapple juice

●      5 oz sour mix

●      Dash clear syrup

●      Shaken and served over ice in 10 oz highball glass

●      Float 1/2 oz

●      Myers dark rum on top

●      Garnish with cherry and orange

Papa Dale pours a drink

When Papa Dale isn’t pouring delicious drinks, he told us he enjoys playing dominos, baking, and cooking (maybe he needs to be a special guest in Chef Robert’s kitchen!). And while he’s spending more time at home than he is on the water these days, he’s staying optimistic and continues to show off that wonderful smile. When we asked him about life during COVID-19, Papa Dale told us, “I do believe it is possible and extremely important to be hopeful. Being separated from friends and families has taught us to be more appreciative and make the most of the time we have together.”

He’s also happy to see so many people around the world doing their part to combat the virus. “As the importance of social distancing has become clearer, millions around the world have been fulfilling their responsibility of staying isolated. By doing so, we’re able to help prevent the spread of the virus and protect compromised populations.”

When asked if he had any final thoughts to share with us, Papa Dale said, “I hope that the number of COVID-19 cases will decline soon. I hope that the sad news of COVID-19 won’t weigh us down as we continue to move forward in kindness.”

And hearing those words put a smile on our faces that we think Papi certainly would be proud of.

Papa Dale waves at a camera on board an Azamara ship

We’d like to thank Papa Dale for chatting with us, and encourage all of you to raise a glass of Jamaica Delight to him! Share a photo of your drink with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And to stay up-to-date on the latest news, be sure to sign up for our email newsletter.

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