Travel Advice from Royal Caribbean's Dwight Morris
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
As the Manager of Investigations for Royal Caribbean, Dwight Morris wants travelers to enjoy their stay on any of the over 50 ships in global cruise company’s fleet. Leaving one’s problems on the dock is a great way to kick off that vacation.
When that doesn’t happen is when Morris’ job comes into play. A 2009 graduate of Bellevue University’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration program, Morris oversees a Miami-based staff of six senior investigators that handle all of the issues that might require police intervention for the fleet. That can include up to 140,000 people at sea at any one time. While the incident rate is much lower than one would find in a city of the same size, it is enough to keep Morris and his team busy.
“We handle the problems that occur on board in which you would normally call the police,” Morris said. “People don't check their problems. They bring them on board and we deal with them.”
Should an incident occur, Morris’ team will guide the on-board security team on how to manage the situation.
“When they pull into port everything's ready. The on-board team has all witness statements, suspect statements, and victim statements. They have all the pictures. They have whatever is necessary to assist law enforcement,” Morris said.
Morris started his career in law enforcement in 1988 as a police officer with the City of Virginia Beach. He advanced to detective and enjoyed a 17-year career with the Virginia Beach Police Department before moving into the private sector. Morris had earned an associate’s degree through Arundel Community College in Maryland, but knew he needed additional education to further his career.
A referral from colleague and fellow Bellevue University alum Tina Sinclair helped steer Morris toward Bellevue University.
“She had nothing but good things to say about Bellevue,” Morris said. “I looked around at a lot of different colleges, did my due diligence, but Bellevue turned out to be the perfect fit for me.”
Once enrolled in the online program, Morris formed a collaborative relationship with adjunct instructor Tony Infantino, as well as with his fellow classmates.
“Collaboration within your department and your team is huge,” Morris said. “Group projects in class help develop that mindset. Those challenges that you have to work through will directly impact your success in a corporate environment.”
Morris landed his job with Royal Caribbean shortly after graduating in late 2009 with a 4.0 grade point average. The cruise company encompasses Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and several other lines. The Symphony of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, launches in April 2018.
“I could not have come here without a degree,” Morris said. “It was the door. It was the gateway. That’s something that I knew early on. That was the kick in the pants that I needed. If you’re going to go anywhere you have to have a bachelor’s degree.”
So Morris set about the task of juggling work, family, and school.
“The advantage to the online program was, if I was in a hotel room travelling, in the evening I could sit in my room doing homework and writing papers,” he said.
Support from his wife, Kathy, was key, as well.
“When I was a student at Bellevue, I was hard on myself. I was bound and determined that I was going to earn As,” Morris said. “I devoted almost every free moment to perfecting my work. She made sure that everything else was being taken care of. I am so fortunate that she is that kind of person.”.”
Morris’ role does not put him out to sea often, but he has taken more than a few cruises with Royal Caribbean. It’s taken him to exotic locations like Rome, Barcelona, and the South of France.
“You’re leaving Spain and the next morning you wake up in Italy. The next day you’re in France,” he said. “It’s really a lot of fun to get a taste, a flavor, of each country.”
While the European trips have been fun, Morris puts Alaska at the top of the list. “The Alaskan itineraries are really, really special. The beauty is unbelievable.”
Of course, Morris knows better than anyone the key to a successful vacation, regardless of destination -- travel light.