This is going to sound wierd, but sometimes I have to force myself to get off the ship. It’s REALLY important to go outside once in a while. As human beings I think we get fixated on what’s immediately surrounding us and sometimes forget to stop, take a look around and truly enjoy your surroundings. I am nearing the end of my contract and it’s been an intense one. I’ve learnt a lot and experienced a lot and met amazing people. But sometimes I forget the outside world exists. One of the amazing perks of this industry is waking up in a different country every day and I have been remiss in enjoying that perk. So today I went parasailing in Grand Cayman. And that most certainly sorted me out. The moral of today’s story is don’t ever take your surroundings for granted. Life is to be lived. Don’t waste a moment.
Well, dry dock is coming to a close. I really had the best of intentions and wanted to post all kinds of things during the process, however the dry dock experience kind of sucked me into a non-writing kind of place. The complete overhaul of a massive cruise ship is a very intense process and it’s been an incredible experience to be a part of. I’m SO happy that I got to be a part of this amazing adventure.
The Carnival Pride has undergone an incredible transformation. Throughout the dry dock process we could see that work was being done, however we couldn’t really see the actual progress as everything was under wraps or restricted to specific construction personnel. So for the last three weeks we’ve been sticking to our specific work areas and staying away from everywhere else. Now that we are approaching the end of the dry dock, the restricted signs are coming down, the plastic curtains are being lifted, and we are starting to see the results of all the hard work. Our new spaces are incredible!!! Bonsai Sushi, the sushi restaurant, is absolutely stunning, as are the Red Frog Pub and EA Sports bar. The lido deck is still shrouded in mystery, however I hear tell that it’s had a total makeover as well. We have 4 new Playlist Productions shows opening on our ship and the cast just got onboard last week. They are all insanely talented, and beautiful, but are also just lovely human beings. I can’t reveal too much about the shows, however I can tell you that they are spectacular! All of these new shows are built to be not just a show, but an experience, and indeed they are.
Teams of contractors were hired to re-vamp specific areas of the ship and as each area is perfected, each team leaves the ship. At this point, we are left with around 500 contractor type people still onboard, ready to leave in Tampa! We are so excited to welcome our first cruise of guests and show the Carnival Pride 2.0 to the world!!!
Well, life is pretty brilliant here on the Carnival Pride! I love the comedy club here, and managing it is my favorite thing ever. The Pride sails out of Baltimore currently and the guests that we get here are so lovely. It’s so interesting to me how the feel of a ship can be totally different depending on the home port. Of course, every crowd is wonderful in different ways. The Pride is a bit of a fixture in Baltimore. It’s like a part of the inner harbour city scape except that unlike a skyscraper, it leaves during the week and comes back every Sunday. We have some guests who cruise every year and have been doing so for a long time. They really love this ship. When Carnival announced that the Pride would be going to Tampa for the winter, it was actually on the news in Baltimore. I’ve had guests come up to me, distraught, thinking we were going away for good! Don’t worry, Baltimore, we will be back in the spring, promise!!!
We are headed into dry dock on October 19th. Let me back up and explain dry dock. So after we debark all our guests on the 19th, we bring on a bunch of technicians and equipment and whatnot and we head to Freeport, Bahamas, for a MASSIVE renovation that will take several weeks and a whole lot of manpower. They will actually lift the ship up out of the water so that technicians can access all areas of the ship. They will keep onboard only enough regular team members to take care of each department, everyone else will either be transferred or go on vacation. It’s a massive undertaking and every week as we get closer, more and more things start to happen. More technicians start to sign on every week, and things are starting to get worked on. As we get closer I’ll keep you updated and will also talk about the new spaces we’re getting. Generally, all ships go into a standard dry dock every 3 years or so just for regular maintenance. The dry dock that we are getting is a lot more extensive than that, we are getting a whole lot of new spaces, new shows and I’m super excited to see the transformation.
As we prepare for dry dock, it’s almost like winter in Game of Thrones. People keep saying ‘dry dock is coming’, and stocking up on their favorite snacks, or beverages. Then, on the opposite side of the spectrum, there are the crew members who will be transferred to other ships or go on vacation for the dry dock. Those crew members are buying new suitcases, packing, and saying farewell to friends. It will be strange indeed next Sunday when a bulk of my colleagues sign off and no guests get onboard. Sign offs are usually staggered, a few people here, a few people there. Not so in this case!!
Because there will be so much electrical and plumbing work being done, during dry dock, the air conditioning and water get shut off for most of the day. I’m kind of imagining it will be like camping on a cruise ship.
For those of us from entertainment who are staying onboard during dry dock (four of us) we will all have different jobs to do. We have a lot of preparation for the new run out of Tampa, trainings and assembly work for the new shows and the new 2.0 spaces. We also get to roam the ship with no guests onboard, which I think will be strange and exciting. I kind of know what to expect but at the same time have no idea. It will certainly be an adventure!!!
After our dry dock in Freeport, we will head to Tampa, Florida and do 7 day Caribbean cruises out of Tampa until March 2015, at which point we shall return to Baltimore, all new and shiny!