Tom can name those names
Tom Kovacs routinely delivers unforgettable performances while sailing with Adventure Canada in Nunavut and Greenland waters.
The Ontario-based entertainer, who on some nights plays guitar for ship guests while singing songs written by the likes of Paul Simon, Tom Petty and Elvis Presley, also dazzles passengers by regularly recalling their first names.
Each year, Kovacs works to learn all the passengers’ names within 48 hours. A recent Adventure Canada cruise was no exception with Kovacs walking through a crowded lounge on the Ocean Endeavour on the second night, calling out all 164 passenger names.
“Occasionally, throughout the cruise, I’ll get a name wrong if I don’t get a good look at them or if they’ve got a hat or sunglasses on,” says Kovacs.
Kovacs has long been sailing with Adventure Canada. On one of his early trips he noticed that everyone on board, including himself, had trouble remembering the names of guests. He was curious to see if it was possible to learn so many names.
Initially, there was no time limit, but on the second night of every sailing, the captain introduced his staff to the passengers. Eventually, Kovacs realized that introducing all passengers to the captain immediately after could be very entertaining.
The growing popularity of Adventure Canada’s Arctic program prompted the company to switch from a vessel that carried around 70 passengers to one that can hold 200. That in turn led to Kovacs getting playful emails from colleagues saying, “Let’s see how you learn names now, big shot.”
Kovacs, who says remembering a huge number of names isn’t a “passive process,” also estimates he can sing around 100 songs by memory for those sailing in the high north.
Kovacs’ ability to greet seemingly all guests by name not only wows paying Adventure Canada clients, but his own colleagues as well, among them Brian Faber, the company’s director of client services.
“If Tom didn’t remember my name, I would be seriously shocked,” Faber says.