Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Working at the Guest Services desk is always an adventure. We have some of the best stories in my opinion, because everyone brings us their challenges to solve. Any of you who are Carnival fans may know about John Heald, our senior cruise director and his blog. (www.johnhealdsblog.com). First of all, I have to say that as a Carnival employee I had obviously heard of John before and was very interested to meet him. Both he and his Assistant Cruise Director, Calvyn (my paisano, he even went to (UVic as well) are marvelous. They are funny, like REALLY funny. The Morning Show (a cruise director talk show, airs in the mornings on the cabin TVs) is absolutely hysterical. I like to watch it while running on the treadmill, and often I laugh so hard I’m in danger of falling off! Being a bit of a celebrity, John has lots of fans, some people even book their cruises around when he will be working! As a result, people tend to listen to his announcements and talks as reverently as the flying monkeys listened to the wicked witch in Oz. When we went to Messina (known for their cannoli) John made mention over the PA that the entertainment staff and guest services staff really like cannoli. As a result, our back office fridge was FULL of cannoli for us, John, Calvyn and even the captain. John also does some things I’ve never heard a cruise director do. For instance, if guests are late to the ship in ports, he announces their names over the PA, for the rest of the cruise, everyone knows exactly who we had to wait at the gangway for. The other day the late comers were hustling to get back on board and John announces, “Well, it looks like Mr and Mrs_____ are running down the gangway, welcome back, thank you for joining us!” It absolutely makes my day every single time. John also sometimes will write on his blog about the more difficult guests that we encounter here, which I also find extremely entertaining. Please do check out his blog, as he is blogging while cruising with us, and he has plenty of entertaining things to say!!
I just wanted to talk for a moment about passing through the strait of Gibraltar. It was the most amazing event! It happened at 1:30am and there were guests and crew all over the open decks. As it was so late we could only see lights, but it was unreal. On the left, you could see headlights from Spain and on the right, lights from Africa! As I stood out on the deck with my colleagues, huddled for warmth (traveling at 20 knots makes for a chilly breeze!), I realized that it was one of those moments that you remember forever, that you talk about until you die. Cross one off my bucket list!! It was an amazingly magical moment that I will treasure for always! Obviously a photo does not do it justice, but I’m going to include one anyway! I also took pictures of the ship’s map channel!!
Yet another amazing port!! I’m trying to be better about posting more often, even if its just a quick one. Longer updates to come, but Europe is different than the Caribbean (I mean other than the obvious differences) because every port is so exciting that I want to go see as much as possible, whereas in the Caribbean you visit the same ports every two weeks so you end up just looking for wifi. Europe is amazing. Today we are in Marseilles and I’m so happy to be in a country that I speak the language, after two Spanish ports its a welcome change to be speaking French. We went on a tour this morning that took us up to the Notre Dame de la Guarde Cathedral. It was stunning. On the way we stopped to take photos of the town and the island prison where the Count of Monte Cristo was imprisoned!! So amazing!!
Everyone always talks about Southern Hospitality, but no one ever told me about Spanish Hospitality!! My dear friend Valeria is from Valencia, Spain, and we just happened to dock there the other day. Darling Valeria invited me into her home to meet her family and have paella (a traditional Spanish dish). Of course I jumped at the chance to see my friend’s home. What a fabulous day we had. Valeria is the only person in her family that speaks English so I got by with my very limited Spanish. Surrounded by food, Spanish wine, and her closest friends/family, I felt so very welcomed, and at home. I am capable of understanding far more Spanish than I actually speak so I was able to follow the conversation without having to tell all my new friends all about myself. It was actually so wonderful just to sit and listen and enjoy without the pressure that often accompanies new countries and new people. On the way back to the ship we stopped at the local sights so we
Well we just left Tampa yesterday and now the madness begins. The energy on the ship is very high, everyone is so excited for this amazing adventure we have ahead of us!! There is so much to learn here. So many things change when we are sailing in Europe. Do we get Euros in our floats? How does debarkation change in Barcelona from a US debark? What happens to luggage the airlines lose? Do we get new stamps? What do we do with our old Caribbean stamps? What kind of snacks do I need to stock up on for the next 15 days? AHHHHHH!!!! I have several side duties that I’ve never done before and a few that require a lot of work. We have to directly translate a lot of information into our respective languages because there isn’t much pre-translated information for this run. The team is super fabulous, experienced and really know what they are doing, which makes me feel like I have to work really extra hard all the time to catch up because all of my colleagues have completed many more contracts than I have, or have already done several crossings. However, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t earned it, so I just have to keep working hard and I’m sure it’ll all come together.
So I know I’ve spoken before about how time is very strange when you live on a cruise ship. Well I’m just beginning to discover that when crossing the Atlantic ocean it’s even stranger. Obviously we’re crossing a bunch of time zones, and the task of getting the entire ship over to the final time is a bit of a process. We move the time forward a little bit the whole way there. First of all here’s a breakdown of the crossing, taking 15 days in total, from Tampa, Florida to Barcelona, Spain:
|4/8/13||“FUN DAY” AT SEA|
|4/9/13||NASSAU, BAHAMAS (+1 hour after departure)|
|4/10/13||“FUN DAY” AT SEA|
|4/11/13||“FUN DAY” AT SEA|
|4/12/13||KING’S WHARF, BERMUDA (+1 hour after departure)|
|4/13/13||“FUN DAY” AT SEA|
|4/14/13||“FUN DAY” AT SEA (+1 hour after departure)|
|4/15/13||“FUN DAY” AT SEA (+1 hour after departure)|
|4/16/13||“FUN DAY” AT SEA|
|4/17/13||PONTA DELGADA (AZORES), PORTUGAL (+1 hour after departure)|
|4/18/13||“FUN DAY” AT SEA (+1 hour after departure)|
|4/19/13||“FUN DAY” AT SEA|
As you can see, it’s a gradual time change. Currently we are at the end of the first of four fun days at sea. Now the changing time is tricky enough on its own, but when you’re trying to sync an entire ship full of computers and clocks and phones and navigational systems, it’s a bit of a different thing. Our I/S department changed the computers yesterday to our end time zone, as they only really like changing those systems once because it’s a giant process. So for the first two time changes our computers were behind us. Currently my watch says 8:30pm, my computer says 12:29am (the time in Spain) and one computer in the corner says 6:30pm (not sure why that one is so slow). The phones and ship clocks are the current time…which I think is 8:30pm…but I really feel like I could be entirely wrong. I spend a large majority of my phone shifts telling guests what time it is. Thank goodness we’re at sea so no one can miss the ship due to time confusion. Although some people have missed bingo and that has been a bit of an outrage.
We are all very busy in the office. There is SO much work to do for the crossing, lots of fun too, but lots of work. I do really enjoy being in the office, everyone here is amazing and wonderful. My roommate and I are like two peas in a pod that were separated at birth. We spend a lot of time laughing hysterically. The guests are great too, everyone is very excited to be here and with guests on board for 15 days minimum, you really get to know them. We even have some guests who are going to be with us for far longer. One couple boarded the same day I did (march 31st) and is staying for another cruise after we get to Barcelona. That’s a 7 day cruise plus a 15 day cruise plus a 12 day cruise for a grand total of 34 days on board with us. How cool is that!?
I continue to be so excited and amazed by the magical journey I’m on and am learning so much as well. In Portugal we’re going to try to do a tour that goes all around the island and then to a pineapple orchard!! Do pineapples grow in orchards?? Vineyards?? Gardens? Factories? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m sure going to find out.