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Archive for the ‘adventure’ Category

Isla Roatan

In adventure, beach, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise on October 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

First of all, Roatan is absolutely stunning. It’s such a neat port. I only had a few hours this week, so I explored a little, used the free crew wifi (AMAZING) and caught a few rays (not too many tho, I’m avoiding wrinkles.) There’s a really neat chair lift that takes you from the cruise center down to the beach or you can walk. The cruise center is pretty much exactly what you would expect, and what seems to be fairly standard from cruise ship ports. A shopping area with jewelry stores, duty free shops, and several restaurants (usually a Fat Tuesday’s), one or more of which will be playing loud dance music and have a crowd of merrymakers dancing and enjoying some beverages. Down by the beach there are several beach bars, lounge chairs, gorgeous white sand and clear blue ocean as far as the eye can see! It’s simply surreal. I can’t wait to try an excursion here!!

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Liberty Life

In adventure, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, fun, travel, traveling on September 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…….updates from my new ship!!!! Lets start with the first day! My bus was the last to leave out of our group because my port was closest, so I said goodbye to the others and waited for my bus! I made friends with one of the deck officers and a girl from the photography department. Just as someone helped me out my first day, I got to help her out because it’s her first contract and she didn’t really know how things worked. So we stuck together, and her cabin is even two doors down from mine. There was a lot of boring paperwork and such for the first hour or so, then I had 20 minutes to try and unpack my uniform and get in my whites in time for an orientation meeting with all the other new sign-ons and vessel transfers. From there my senior guest services supervisor (SGSS) came to get me and took me on a tour of the muster stations. Of the 26 ships in the Carnival fleet, there are several different classes of ship (the exact number of classes escapes me right now, but I’ll find out). The Ecstasy was a Fantasy Class, the Liberty is a Conquest Class. What’s the difference, you ask?? A fair bit, there are several more decks on the Conquest class ships, and therefore the layout is different. The Liberty (LI) holds 3,900 passengers and 1,110 crew members, quite a few more than the Ecstasy (EC). So I’m trying to learn the different decks and their layouts as quickly as possible. For instance, on the EC, the lobby was on deck 7, on the LI, the lobby is on deck 3. The decks use standard names, however the corresponding deck numbers can vary depending on class. Also, the LI is the first of the fleet to roll out Carnival’s new @ 2.0 fun ship changes, which include new shows in the theatre, new restaurants, and new bars. So there are a multitude of fun things happening on board that I need to know all about!! Back to my first day, after the tour, we went back to the GS (guest services) offices. Remember the safety drills on embarkation day? Well now I have my own station and safety vest and whatnot. Fortunately, my duties right now are to stay in the purser’s office and make sure that I’m there to answer the phone in case of emergency. So I stayed put for the whole safety drill, which I was ok with. Then I went right onto the desk from 4-8. All by myself!! Since our college was only half the time of the regular college (it’s usually a month), we never got to be on the desk all by ourselves with our own floats. I think my background in cash handling and hotel systems really helped me out. By the end of the two weeks, most of the GSA’s (guest services associates) were letting me work for them by myself, and I made sure that I stayed after the shift and cashed out with them so that I learned what to do, but I know some of my classmates didn’t ever do that. I’m very glad that I did because I felt very prepared to be alone on the desk. Obviously I’m not completely alone, I have other people with me if I have any questions. They sandwich me on the middle station right in between the SGSS and an experienced GSA so if I have any questions I can just ask either of them. I personally learn much better if I’m just thrown into the fire so it’s working well for me! I’m interested to hear what my fellow trainees are doing!! I haven’t had a chance to talk to them yet, but I have called the Ecstasy and talked to my trainer and have been emailing with the GSAs from there as well. The GS team on the LI is absolutely amazing. I feel like I was really well placed, I am already getting on famously with everyone, they are all so friendly and fun. It’s a very fast-paced atmosphere, everyone moves very quickly, which I love. There’s also a plethora of languages spoken. There is another Canadian (my Paisana!!) who speaks French and as soon as she found out that I speak French she got very excited. I think they had some kind of a bet going as to whether or not I spoke French. The LI’s home port is Miami, so we have a lot of Spanish speaking guests, I think that I will learn Spanish by the end of my contract, just from working on the desk. Every GSA speaks at least two languages, and several of them speak up to 5. I love being surrounded by different languages, and plan on taking full advantage of it! The Crew Training Center also has Rosetta Stone available for crew to use in several languages, Spanish being one of them and I think I will use that as well. I have to be careful to keep up my French because it’s so easy to lose parts of it with lack of use. For now I will put Spanish on hold until I’m a little more settled in, it’s only day 2! Before I left home I downloaded many French books onto my Ipad so I can read in French, I find that really helps me. Currently I’m reading Alice in Wonderland! I am so very happy here already, and I’m only on day two. I expected to miss the EC gang, and be a little sad, but I have been so busy and having so much fun already that I haven’t had time to miss anyone. Tomorrow we are in Cozumel, I will most likely be able to get off the ship and use the free wifi somewhere. The next day is Belize and I’m working all day, however after that is Grand Cayman, and one of the other girls from the desk are going to try to go on an excursion!! We are going to do one where you walk on the bottom of the ocean while wearing a pressurized helmet so your whole head is dry while you walk around in the ocean!! I’m so excited. It will depend on how full it is, guests obviously come first so we have to wait until the last minute to fid out whether we can go or not. If we can’t, we are going out for a beach day!

Day two!! Turns out I won’t be able to get off the ship tomorrow in Cozumel, I work 8-12 then 2-4 and two hours isn’t really enough time. However, I should have time in Isla Roatan. Today we had a staff meeting and I had desk work from 12=4 and 8-10. I got my new ID made in the morning so now I can get off the ship and am totally trackable by the Carnival gods. The staff meeting was marvelous. Our GSM (guest services manager) is absolutely wonderful!! He is the kind of leader that I want to be. I think I can learn a lot from him. After the meeting a few of us went for dinner and he joined us and I gleaned a few pearls of wisdom from him. I really am so very fortunate to be working with such a fabulous crew. Everyone is SO wonderful, I can’t even believe it!! Everyone is very good at their job, I don’t think there’s a weak link amongst them.

Tonight we turn our clocks back one hour, as we sail into Cozumel, and then after the Caymans we turn them forward again. I’ve checked all my clocks about a billion times to make sure that I won’t be late.

It’s crazy to think about how often our GS team changes. In the next month there’s three people going on vacation. The extra crazy thing about that is that when they come back from vacation, they go to a new ship. That goes for everyone, when you sign off of one ship, your contract has ended and when you come back, you get a new contract with a new ship. I really like this system. I think it brings us closer as a company, we get to know so many people from all over the ships, and everytime we get a new crew member, that makes our team evolve and grow, nothing is static. I think that is especially true when it comes to management, because so many times in hotels or restaurants you see management become stagnant and ineffective. Rotating staff keeps everyone on their toes, and stops us from getting bored.

Well, here I am in Mexico, and I did manage to get off the ship for an hour, so here’s my post!!! I hope it made sense, I know my train of thought often seems to have no caboose or direction!!

E

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Carnival Ecstasy!!

In adventure, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise on September 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm

It’s my first day on the boat!! My bus came at around 5:30am this morning and then made a few more stops until there was around 30 of us all headed to the Carnival Ecstasy. There were several other buses all headed for different ships. When we arrived at Port Canaveral I started getting really excited to see my temporary new home!! A little bit about my new home, it is 13 decks high (although the 13th deck is just called the sun deck because the number 13 is bad luck) it weighs 70.367 tonnes, is 855 feet long, 103 feet wide (“beam”), holds a maximum of 2634 guests, and 920 crew members! There are 6 of us that are new Guest Service Associates, and the rest of the new crew members were taken other places. As GSA, we are technically officers, whereas people in entertainment and spa and whatnot are staff. So once we have finished our training, we will be allowed certain privileges that the others are not, such as eating in the officers mess hall, and being on guest floors when we aren’t working. The group of GSA’s in training is comprised of a woman from Russia (who is my bunkmate and has been with Carnival for 2 years, and is switching departments from housekeeping to guest services), a man from India (who was a Carnival photographer for almost 3 years, and is switching departments also), two men from Mexico and one from Greece, the last three are on their first contract, like me. We are going to be the best of friends for the next two weeks until we get sent off to our assigned ships. We started off by getting all our paperwork in order, got our nametags, and keys to our cabins. The cabins are pretty much exactly what I expected. Small!! My bunkmate wanted the bottom bunk, which is totally fine by me because I like the top bunk better. There’s actually plenty of storage space, and even a mini fridge and a teeny tiny TV with a VCR!! There are little drawers under the bottom bunk where we can lock things up if we want. Internet is pricey, $20 for 200 minutes and apparently it’s very slow. So I’m going to keep writing things down and then I’ll post them when I can!! We are currently on a wee break after our first little orientation and ship tour. We can only tour the crew area because we don’t have uniforms until tomorrow. There’s several crew mess halls, a crew lounge with a bar, pool table, and foozeball table. There’s a crew gym also, which I will use tonight, but once we have uniforms and a whole ship tour, I’ll be allowed to use the guest gym, which I will do because the crew gym is pretty average. So far everyone is very nice and helpful and lovely. Our luggage should be arriving in about 20 mins and then we will do some unpacking and settling in. Then we have more orientation and safety training! Yay! More later!
E

Miami

In adventure, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, Florida, traveling on September 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Yesterday I boarded a train in downtown Kissimmee and rolled on into Miami. The Amtrak was lovely, it took 5 hours to get here, there was also a 7 hour train that made more stops, but I figured 5 hours was a better amount of time to spend on a train! The train ride itself was uneventful. I dozed and stared out the window, then dozed some more. When I arrived at the lovely airport DoubleTree by Hilton, the front desk agent didn’t have me in her system, nor was my name on the list of Carnival crew members departing today. So naturally I was concerned. The front desk agent was so helpful, she checked me in anyway and gave me a number to call Carnival to see if they had anything to say about it. The night staff at Carnival didn’t really know much. They told me to call back in the morning to talk to the main office, but that I was definitely not assigned for today. Sasha (my new best friend at the front desk) said not to worry, she would be back on the desk at 7am and I could come back down and we would call again! I emailed my friend Andrea who is on the ship right now and she said the Ecstasy (my training ship) is only in port on Thursdays and Saturdays, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to be starting today. So that made me feel better!! This morning I scampered on down to the front desk and called Carnival again and the very helpful lady said that I board tomorrow!! Crisis averted!! So now I have a whole extra day of giant hotel bed and shower and freedom,. Tomorrow I move to the land of tiny beds and showers and living on a ship!!!!! Now that I have a whole day in Miami, I might take the hotel shuttle into downtown, or to South Beach, or somewhere. But for now, I’m going to relax a little bit more, I want to be at my best for tomorrow!!

E

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Train ticket!!

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Back in Florida!

In adventure, Carnival, Disney, Florida, friends, fun, traveling, walt disney world on September 3, 2012 at 7:05 am

Well as you know, I’m back in Florida! It’s been a wonderful week and I’m so happy to be back in my American home! I started off the week with some lovely friends of mine, we went all over the place! We even went to the town hall at Magic Kingdom and got ‘I’m celebrating’ badges and wrote ‘Erica’ on them and told everyone it was Erica Day. It was lovely!!

We also went to the Disney Art of Animation hotel. I posted about DAAR the last time I was in Florida, I saw it when only a few sections of the resort had opened. Now even more have opened! There’s the Lion King section, and the Cars section and they are both SO cool! It’s like you’re actually in the movie! Before they opened the Cars section they actually had Pixar animators come through to make sure that everything looked right. Those imagineers really know what they’re doing.

I’ve spent the week spending time with some very lovely friends of mine and have had such a lovely time. I’ve had amazing reunions with some people I worked with on my Disney College Program that I haven’t seen in a long time. I’ve been relaxing, lounging by the pool, going to the gym, then back to the pool, eating amazing food, and roaming the Disney parks. It’s really the perfect way to transition to my amazing new job. On Tuesday I take the train up to Miami and then Wednesday morning I’m off to my new job! I don’t really know what to expect, all I’ve been told is that I get on a bus or a shuttle of some kind and it takes me to the port where I get on my ship! My lovely friend Andrea has told me kind of what to expect but I still don’t really know. I’m excited! And a little apprehensive. I’m about to go live on a boat! Oooooo as soon as I typed it I stopped being apprehensive and started being excited again.

Although I’m not going to lie, I could get used to living this life of leisure.

E

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CARS!!

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The tower in Hollywood studios!

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Hyena from the DAAR Lion King section

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It might only be august, but the Halloween decorations are up in the Magic Kingdom!!

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SCAR!!! My favorite!! I do love the villians!!

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More Cars, this is one of the hotel entrances I believe

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Lion King section of DAAR

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Myself and Lauren, we both worked concierge at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and now we’re reunited again!!

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Pumbah and Timon

Countdown!

In adventure, Carnival, Cruise, customs, Florida, friends on August 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Well it’s getting closer and closer to go time for me, I’m so excited about so many things!! I just printed out my letter of employment (LOE) from Carnival that I need to use to secure my hotel room in Miami and show to the customs officers, which is making everything seem a little more real.  I’ve started packing and I officially leave in 20 days! Wow! Time sure does fly! I’ve been making lots of plans with my Orlando friends and I can’t wait to see everyone again! 20 days!!! And 18 days until my sister’s wedding!!! SO MUCH EXCITEMENT!!

The Goodbye Girl

In adventure, friends, fun on July 27, 2012 at 10:23 am

I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, and I’ve called myself many things. The Goodbye Girl seems to be the most accurate of them all. Very few things are constant in my life, but I constantly seem to be saying goodbye. You might think that goodbyes are negative, that you have to omit something from your life, but in fact, goodbyes are merely an outlet for someone you love to go on to something new, and to new experiences, not without you, but with old experiences feeding into new experiences. When we say goodbye, we aren’t dismissing people from our lives, we are merely acknowledging that we may not see them for a while. The people that come into our lives will impact us forever, whether we realize it at the time or not.  I am currently facing another goodbye, and this one feels like my heart may break. However, as much as I’m in love with my current life, I am SO excited for my new life. I feel like I’m being split in half, and I know I will never forget the amazing things and people in my current life, but I know that I have to keep on my current path and explore my new life, because it holds so many new adventures that I can’t even fathom. I’m so very excited, and so heartbroken at the same time, and I can’t think of any other way I’d rather live my life.

Visits

In adventure, friends, travel on May 15, 2012 at 11:44 pm

One of the lovely things about being home is that I get to see all my lovely friends both in Victoria and on the mainland. Today I’m off on the ferry to visit my lovely friend Chelsea whom I miss dearly. The ferry is a wonderful place to reflect and collect yourself, especially on the top deck on a sunny day, like today was. I hope you’re having a chance to find some zen in your day today, take a quiet moment at work even. At the end of the day, we are all doing the best we can with what we’ve got, stop and bask in the glow of life!!

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Cruise Update

In adventure, Carnival, Cruise, friends, travel, traveling, Uncategorized, work on April 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Well I just got a chance to skype with Andrea from her Carnival training cruise ship! I’m so excited right now I need to calm down a little bit! She’s having a great time, sounds like life on a cruise ship is a big adjustment but she really likes the people she’s working with and she’s learning lots. She’ll be on the training ship for another few weeks and then she’ll get assigned to her actual work ship. It was nice to pick her brain with the questions I have, just silly little things like how big of a suitcase should I bring and what does she get to eat and things like that. Now I’m just extra excited for my turn on the cruises to come!! What a perfect time for her to call, I was just in the middle of some quiet reflection time, if I had left the house I would have missed her call!!

Toronto

In adventure, bus, canada, toronto, travel on August 15, 2011 at 2:51 pm
So we just left Toronto. It was lovely. I enjoyed it a lot more than I did the last time I was there, probably because I had some friends to show me around. We had a lot of fun wandering around during the day, we went to Chinatown and all over! Then we went for dinner with some of my friends from Banff, it was so nice to see everyone!! I enjoyed Toronto. I think I could live there, I like how much is going on all the time!