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Archive for the ‘Cruise’ Category

Things a Cruise Ship Worker Looks Forward to On Their Vacation

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, Uncategorized on September 20, 2016 at 11:27 pm

Into the life of every cruise ship worker, a little (or a lot) of structure and even some sacrifice, must fall. As much as I LOVE what I do, just like everyone else around the world, I look forward to vacation. Something that makes my vacation different than the rest of the world is that I have not only worked every day since the beginning of time (as it feels sometimes), but I’m away from home roaming the globe on a giant, floating, self-contained resort. Needless to say I look forward to different things than the average vacationer.

Of course cruise ship workers look forward to spending quality time with friends and family, just like everyone else, however there’s some things you just can’t do on a ship that you miss while away. Here’s my list, in no particular order!

– doing laundry whenever you want without fear that someone will either hijack your dryer or go through your undies. (not that this actually happens, just that its something I worry about…well the dryer hijackings definitely happen)

– grocery shopping with abandon. On ships we don’t have a lot of storage space, refrigeration, or the ability to cook. Enough said.

– COOKING!!! I just want to cook dinner!! Preferably with a glass of red wine in one hand.

– Pets. I am notorious for making friends with random stray dogs/cats/goats/horses while on in ports. In fact I once tried to tame a wild pony in Jamaica. It wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had. One of the greatest things in the world is having a pet around.

– Not worrying about back on board time. After an extended period of time paying close attention to when the ship leaves and when you have to work or be back onboard, being on land as the sun goes down is a decadent feeling.

– Not knowing people. As hard as it is to say ‘see you later’ to your ship family, sometimes it’s refreshing to walk down the hallway/street without knowing everyone. Anonymity can be absolutely delightful, in the same way that silence is golden.

– No name tags!! Imagine your morning, you walk out of the house and you check for your wallet and keys. Cruise ship workers check for our cabin keys and our name tags. It takes me several days if not a full week of checking the left side of my chest for my name tag before I subconsciously realize I’m on vacation. I can always tell that I’m ready for a vacation when I look at people in movies or on tv and wonder where their name tags are.

– drinking tap water. I know. This is a wierd one, but stay with me. As anyone who has cruised knows, you don’t drink the tap water. It won’t kill you or anything, it’s just not delicious and not filtered. There are some filtered taps around the ship that you can drink from, but most of our consumable water come from purchasing bottled water. Which is delicious (particularly in the South Pacific where we get Fiji water quite often), however drinking water straight out of the tap in the kitchen sink is something I REALLY miss!

– Fire! Fire is the most dangerous hazard at sea so we aren’t allowed to have anything onboard with a flame (other than lighters), no candles!! As soon as I get home I light candles and build fires in the fireplace, regardless of the season.

– Fast unrestricted internet!! We do have internet onboard but it’s not the fastest nor the most economical. We spend days in port hunting for WiFi. Getting back to land and having high speed internet 24 hours a day is a luxury, and gives you a chance to catch up on all the cat videos you missed while at sea.

These are really just the things that I REALLY look forward to when I’m at sea. What do you look forward to when your vacation time rolls around?!

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When In Russia

In adventure, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise on June 29, 2013 at 6:13 am

Erica’s European Travel Tip of the Day

When in Russia, travel with a Russian!!

Seems simple, right? Now that we’re on the Baltic side of Europe, we’re in a different country every day with COMPLETELY different languages. When we were on the Med side, Alexey relied on my French when we were out in French ports, now that we’re on the other side, when we’re out in Russia, he translates everything for me! And let me tell you, it necessary, the Russian subway is confusing. Beautifully decorated, but confusing, and not everyone speaks English so had I been by myself I would doubtless have gotten lost. International friends are a wonderful thing! Today was our first St. Petersburg and it was amazing. We walked for hours and saw so many things. It was BLAZING hot which I quite enjoyed. We saw the Cathedral of Spilled Blood (which I accidentally called the Cathedral of Spilt Milk and caused Alex to laugh for the entire afternoon), St. Issac’s Square, the Neva River, the Peter & Paul Fortress and the Hermitage Museum. We really moved!! Obviously we didn’t really go inside every place, I’m hoping to go inside the Hermitage Museum when I can go into the gold room and everything. We did go into the Museum at the Peter and Paul Fortress as well as the prison and the medieval torture museum! We had such an amazing day. Peter and Paul Fortress was spectacular, the church room where all the tombs of the Emperors and Empresses are housed was amazing. It’s actually coated in a fine layer of gold! The history is fascinating. In the prison we saw the cells where people were imprisoned at one time. Having Alex with me made it even better because he knows so much Russian history and is always happy to share informative stories and tidbits. I have discovered that I love Russian folklore. Our Firebird lounge on board is based on a Russian fairytale and all over St. Petersburg they have amazing Firebird trinkets and souvenirs. I find Russian history so fascinating. Alex’s town was a secret city for a time!! They made AK-47s there during the cold war so it wasn’t even on any map!! Tomorrow we’re off to the Petergof Summer Palace to see the amazing fountains!! I can’t wait!
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Baltic Prep

In adventure, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise on June 20, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Preparing for The Baltic

Just as we managed to get settled (as settled as we possibly could be) in the Mediterranean, we now have to prepare to head to the Baltic ports. Obviously that is super exciting for all of us. However it’s also a little bit stressful as we now have to learn everything there is to know about another 12 new ports. Just to make it a little bit trickier, Carnival hasn’t been to the Baltic either ever or in a very long time. Therefore we have very little port information and most of us have never been to these ports. When you spend 6 months doing the same ports over and over you memorize the ports and exactly how many steps it takes to get to each place and where the best restaurants are. On this route, we are only just starting to get really familiar with the ports and now we’re changing them!! It’s a very difficult position to be in as guest services because all the guests expect us to know everything about everything. The first Med cruise was a disaster, I had no idea where anything is or where a good coffee shop is. Now if you ask me about Malaga or Livorno, or Rome, I can tell you my favorite restaurant, what corner is worst for pickpockets, what time the train to Pomeii leaves, and which side of the shuttle to sit on to get the best view of some random monument that I’ve grown randomly attached to.  And now we have to get used to all new ports. Fortunately, our port agents in every port are very knowledgeable and helpful. They are always happy to answer our emails with informative tidbits. Plus google is a wonderful thing! So we’ve been preparing and preparing and now it’s almost time!! We are currently on our repositioning cruise that will end up in Dover!! I haven’t had much time to get really excited about it, as we’ve had a lot on our plates, however I know it will be a thrill to wake up in the UK!! I can’t wait to explore all our new ports and to share it all with you!!

Pompei, Italy

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise on June 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I have seen a lot of things in the last few months. One of the most amazing things I’ve seen thus far is Pompei. From where we dock in Naples, it’s just a short jaunt to the train station. We got to know the route the commuting locals took, which winds through the cluttered, narrow city streets and eventually past an amazing open air market. I always get distracted by the fresh produce and must stop to buy some for the journey. If I lived in Naples, surely I would purchase fresh fish from the market for dinner every night! The train is, well, it has character. Around the office, we’ve nicknamed it the Ghetto Train, as it’s not nearly as comfortable as the Venice or Rome trains (these ones are also more expensive and are more long distance trains than commuter trains, but still, it’s a little ghetto). They are covered in graffiti, which I actually quite like, but it’s not for everyone. Regardless of the train’s amenities, it gets you where you need to go, and that’s really the whole point of a train, isn’t it? And it’s very economical, which we’re big fans of! This particular train that we are concerned with goes to Pompei and Sorrento (where I also was lucky enough to visit, and will discuss later). This day we went to Pompei to explore the legendary city. There is really something chilling about Pompei. I’ve heard about it for years but no one ever managed to convey the sheer magnitude of the demolished city. Being there and seeing the ruins of the city you can almost feel what those people must have felt only moments before they were buried in molten lava. With Mt. Vesuvius towering over us in the distance, we explored the city, stopping to marvel at the mummified bodies of the city’s last citizens. The meticulous detailing in the painted walls that still survive today demonstrate the vibrant life that these people clearly enjoyed. I will never ever forget the feeling of being in that amazing city!!

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Arles & Aix, France

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, travel, traveling on June 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm

 

I absolutely adore being in France. Every time I’m there I feel as though I’m coming home. This stop in Marseilles, I went on a fantastic excursion to Arles and Aix. A bus ride through the stunning French countryside led us to Provence. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. As a history major, he had endless facts and gems of knowledge to pass along. We went to the hospital in which Van Gogh had been hospitalized for several weeks. Having seen some of the work he did while there, it was a revelation to see the place that inspired them! We were actually quite lucky to arrive there fairly early on a drizzly day, as there were very few people in the street. We saw an amazing Greek amphitheatre that in fact is still in use today, for concerts and shows and such. I had such an amazing lunch with our tour guide and his colleagues. I had told him earlier that I prefer to speak French if possible as I don’t need to work on my English but my French always needs tweaking. From then on we only spoke French for the rest of the day (except when in the company of the rest of the tour, and even then, if we were speaking directly to each other we spoke only French) and a few times when trying to explain something complicated that was difficult for me to do in French and I broke into English, he stopped me and patiently guided me through what I was trying to say. We met his other guide friends at a lovely restaurant and ate beautiful food and only spoke French and drank wine. I didn’t want to leave! I love speaking in my second language because it really makes me think about what I’m saying. In English my mouth sometimes moves without my brain actually processing things, I’ll often just ramble on about nothing and not even listen to what I’m saying. In French I have to take much more care constructing sentences and verbalizing my thoughts. Plus it just sounds better, the French language is so beautiful. All in all I had such a fabulous day, I can’t wait to return to France!!

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I Pet A Monkey

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, Uncategorized on April 9, 2013 at 10:03 am

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I’ve been to Isla Roatan, Honduras, many many times as the Liberty went there every second week, but I never managed to go on an excursion there for some reason. Last week when we made our last stop there on the Legend, Valeria and I went on an excursion in Roatan!! It was so much fun, we did ziplining and then went to a resort beach and a park with monkeys!! It was such a fun time! It was really interesting to see more of the island. I’ve only really seen the Mahogany Bay part, which is actually made by Carnival so it’s very picturesque. The ziplining place was a 45 minute drive from the pier. In that time you could very clearly see the change in socioeconomic landscape. The areas immediately surrounding Mahogany Bay contain homes that are very run down, ramshackle, and close together. They appear pieced together with random materials, many people loiter in the streets which are very dirty. After about 15 minutes of driving, the houses get further apart as well as larger and larger until you are surrounded by massive sprawling mansions with guest cottages and well kept grounds. After that comes the resort areas, encompassed by a sprinkling of rural housing that gets smaller again but these homes are much tidier. The resorts are absolutely stunning. The entire island is covered in lush green rainforest-type foliage that is absolutely stunning. Ziplining through the trees was absolutely breathtaking. At one point a little monkey came leaping through the overhead branches and landed on the ziplining platform! He was the cutest little guy and he held my hand!! Once we were at the end of our zipline adventure, we stiopped for a brief visit in the monkey park. Valeria had a monkey with her baby on her back jump onto her shoulder and lay down on her head. It was possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! After the monkey park it was time to head to Tabyana Beach, which was beautiful too! We wandered down the beach a bit and had lunch at the Infinity Bay resort, which was simply stunning!!! It’s nice to feel like we’re on vacation for a little bit!!  So Roatan was a great success all around. It was the perfect day to say goodbye to the Western Caribbean!

 

 

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Scary Movies and Cruise Ships

In Cruise on March 4, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Let me preface this post by saying that I am a horror movie fanatic. Old ones, new ones, all kinds of horror movies, I love em all.  My last roommate on the Liberty was a special kind of scary movie fan that I have only ever encountered on ships. She can’t watch scary movies at home, but on the ships she can. This interesting phenomenon spawned today’s post:

Reasons That Horror Movies are Less Scary on Cruise Ships than in Real Life

1)   You can’t sneakily break into a cruise ship cabin. If you are trying to break into a cabin and murder someone, it’s gonna be tough. There is just one (typically creaky) door, that will spill hideous fluorescent light into the cabin awakening the at least two crew members who are probably getting the only two hours of sleep they’ve had all week and WILL rip your face off if you disturb them. Good luck with that, movie villains.

2)   Once a movie villain kills someone, a speedy getaway is key. On a cruise ship, even if you do manage to get away with murder, where do you think you’re going?? We’re going to find you, we have a brig on board, and it’s international waters….need I say more??

3)   There is virtually no way anyone can sneak a giant machete or gun on board. There are so many metal detectors and x-ray scanners to get on board it’s like a floating airport.

4)   Cabin stewards know EVERYTHING……seriously. Guest Services might be the brain of the ship, but the cabin stewards know what/who/where everyone is doing at all times. If you think you can end a life without a cabin steward somewhere knowing exactly what’s happening, and coming to the rescue, think again. Consider your murderous plot ruined!

5)   You just feel safe living in a box with another person. Most scary movies are built upon the premise that someone in a murderous rage is able to sneak into your life undetected from the outside world. Even real world news can’t sneak into our lives on the ships, let alone a psychopathic murderer……those usually have criminal records and are unable to get passports or travel.

6)   Scary movie villains are angry people.  Vacationers are happy people. You do the math.

All of these factors contribute to make scary movies less scary on cruise ships. In the real world there’s so many places in your home or apartment complex that scary movie villains could hide and get you, cruise ships are happy bubbles where villains can’t get you!

Just like driving at night

In Cruise, travelling on December 29, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I was just up on the bridge to drop something off for the captain, and it was the first time that I’ve been on the bridge at night time. It’s SO AMAZING up there at night. I know I’ve said that the bridge is amazing plenty of times, but there’s a completely different feeling up there at  night. First of all, the lights are all off. Which at first took me by surprise, but then the 1st officer made a very valid point….’when you drive a car at night do you turn on the interior lights?’….of course I don’t, because that would be crazy. Apparently the same rule goes when you’re steering a ship. So it’s quiet and dark and the ocean just stretches out forever. As it does in the daytime, but at night it’s darker and more mysterious. On the right side of the bridge they have set up a little Christmas tree with presents under it and some tinsel as well, so the tree lights create a comforting Christmassy glow in that little corner. Miles and miles away you are able to see other cruise ships, some large, some small, all lit up. With the navigational equipment, the bridge officers are able to tell you what ship you are passing and other information about each ship. Tonight we saw a Royal Caribbean ship and the officers informed me that in a few short hours we would pass our sister ship, the Carnival Freedom. One of my very good friends from GSA College is on the Freedom, and somehow I feel comforted just knowing that our ships are passing in the night. After leaving the office I think I will go out on deck 4 forward and watch the freedom pass us.

Silver Dining Room

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise on December 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm

One of the funnest things  I got to do with my parents was eat in the main guest dining room all week. It’s amazing to see what the guests see. It’s a whole other side of the ship!! Every evening, the dining room staff do a dance or sing a song of some kind and it almost always involves everyone flinging their napkins around wildly….so of course I joined in!! Today is my birthday!! Steakhouse tonight!! YAY!

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Bacab Eco Park Kayak

In Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, friends, fun, travel, traveling, travelling on December 17, 2012 at 11:13 am

Wow it’s been SO long!! I’m so sorry, I’ve been so distracted with my parents visiting and work and all that. No excuse, I know, but I knew I’d be back eventually. HERE I AM!!! So many things to talk about!! First of all, I’m so so happy to have been lucky enough to have my parents on board with me. It was truly amazing!! Not only did I get to see my wonderful parents, but I also got to experience life as a guest, and they got to see the world that I’m living in!! So we did all kinds of fun things while they were here. One of those things was a wonderful visit to the bridge. I love the bridge, it’s so peaceful (most of the time) and i love being able to see that much ocean at once. So I got permission from the captain to bring my parents up for a visit!! Another wonderful thing we did was go on a kayaking adventure through the Belizian rainforest at Bacab Eco Park. First of all, the tour guides were amazing!!! They were so knowledgeable and fun. They really took care of everyone on the tour. We had a blast!!

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Beautiful views!!

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