Robert Karus works at the Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa, located on pristine white beach overlooking clear blue seas. When he first set eyes on Grand Cayman years before moving here, he knew that at some point in his life he would want to work in the Cayman Islands. Sometimes dreams really do come true.
He was born in former Yugoslavia and grew up wanting to be a pilot. It might have happened as well had the war not broken out in 1991, forcing him to give up the idea. He turned his hand to law instead, and was admitted to law school when he was 18 years old.
After two years he wanted to find work to support himself and pay for his education, so he got a job as a barista serving up to 150 espressos per shift. That country really likes its coffee.
Within six months he was promoted, but the work was taking up so much of his time that law school slowly began to fade into the distance. Robert decided instead to apply to an hotelier college where he studied for one year, but it didn’t offer the kind of bartending skills he wanted to acquire.
He therefore applied to finish his training with the local bartending association. He learned how to set tables at the college based in the Best Western, and then practiced his bartending skills at the Intercontinental hotel. He was a busy guy.
After college he went to work for a restaurant near the Belgrade National Theatre on Republic Square, right in the heart of the city. For two years he spent his winters there, and his summers working on a large riverboat with seats for 500 diners before moving to Montenegro where he worked for a season in the Avala Hotel’s large nightclub.
Now that he had travelled a bit, he was itching to do more. Some friends were working on a cruise ship, and one of them recommended him for a job on board. In 2006 he joined a Carnival ship for a 10 month contract that took him to Miami, the Caribbean and finally Europe.
Despite the fact that he had not had a single day off in those 10 months, he signed up for a second contract.
This time he was stopping in Grand Cayman twice every 10 days, and he was immediately taken by the clarity of the water and the beautiful beaches. He was now looking for a change in his life, and his agent called him to say that there was an offer to work with Oceania cruise lines or a possible job with the Westin in Grand Cayman.
He couldn’t believe the coincidence! As his ship was pulling out of George Town harbour, so his agent was calling to say that there might be a job for him here.
He contacted the Westin, and unbelievably had to cancel two interviews due to the ship’s itinerary change, thanks to hurricanes Dean and Felix. He finally made it back to these shores in September, 2007 and he was offered the position. He started at the Westin two months later and has worked there ever since.