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Belize

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, friends, fun, travel, traveling on September 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm

As you know, I’m determined to see everything possible during my contract! I just want to see the whole world! Well this week I managed to make it outside in every port! Even if just for a little while! I almost didn’t go out in Belize because I didn’t have too much time and everyone told me not to go because it’s dangerous, unless you’re on an excursion. I loved it out there! One of the other girls and I went to a little shopping, she wanted a new dress and I wanted a loofah sponge. I know, right, how did I forget to pack a loofah!? When our friend heard we were going into the wilds of downtown Belize by ourselves, he took it upon himself to be our bodyguard and come along, which, although unnecessary in my opinion, was very sweet of him. We just took a cab to a shopping center and wandered around. It was lovely. I don’t doubt that it can be dangerous, but if you’re a smart traveler, you can avoid most dangers. We didn’t feel scared at all. Obviously I wouldn’t go wandering through the rougher parts of town by myself wearing jewelry and fanning myself with money, but the downtown area is quite nice and there’s a lovely little open air craft area type of thing that’s right by the port and has the usual touristy fun stuff to buy. I never really feel scared in those kinds of towns, you just have to be aware, that’s all. It reminds me of Barbados a bit. Belize is a tendering port, which means that the ship has to put down anchor just outside the port, and to get there you have to get off our ship, and get on a boat (a tender boat) that takes you to the dock. On the western Caribbean cruise, we have 2 such ports, Belize and Grand Caymans. On the eastern Caribbean, just one port is tendering, Half Moon Cay. Anyhow, the moral of the story is that Belize is nice. Next week perhaps if I have time I will try to go on an excursion in Belize so that I get to see more of it!! I also don’t have any photos of it because I didn’t bring any electronics with me at all (just to be safe). Now that I have a better idea of what it’s like out there I will bring a camera next time!

Half Moon Cay

In Bahamas, beach, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, friends, fun, travel, traveling on September 24, 2012 at 3:38 am

I know you’re all waiting to hear about how wonderful my new ship is and how much I love it, but that’s going to be the next post! Right now, I just want to share the lovely photos I took of Half Moon Cay, the Bahamanian island owned by the Carnival Corporation!! It’s incredible!! There’s so many amazing excursions you can do, or endless beautiful ocean to play in! Enjoy!!

The view of the cay from the ship

Captain Morgan’s pirate ship. There’s a bar inside!!

Captain Morgan’s

The Carnival Ecstasy!!!

 

I’m so excited to swim in the ocean!!!

Endless beach!! Summer is all year round!!

From left to right, Constantinos, Myself, and Mario enjoying our time off the ship!

One of the many excursions is horseback riding, first around the island and then into the ocean!!

Doesn’t it look like a postcard??? I’m living in a postcard!!

 

The back side of the island.

 

 

Canons!! Of course, on the top floor of the Captain Morgan shipwreck.

Fun signpost in the gift shop courtyard (of course there’s a gift shop!!)

I adored this island! I can’t wait to go back and do more fun excursions!!

 

In Suspense

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, friends, training, travel, traveling, work on September 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I am in the middle of my last training cruise. It feels like I’ve been here forever and my college friends are my family. But we have to say goodbye in just a few short days! Usually the training colleges are a month long, ours is only two weeks so there’s a lot of information condensed into half the time they usually take. But we’re managing!! We have a big test tomorrow and then the next day we find out what ships we will be assigned to. It’s very suspenseful because our trainers know what ships we are going to already but can’t tell us yet. So we don’t know where we are going until the final day of college right before we leave. This cruise is stressful but also a lot of fun. Last night was our formal night! We got to get dressed up in our own formal clothes and go for dinner in the guest dining room and then out to watch the new show in the Blue Sapphire Lounge (a big stage/theatre that takes up two levels), which is a treat because we will never get to wear our own clothes there ever again. When we get on our new ship and we have our formal night uniforms (‘blues’) we will be allowed to see the shows and use the guest dining room, but we have to be wearing our blues. It was a lovely night for us and I took pictures which I will post another time. When we get to Port Canaveral this time, the coastguard is going to board and check the ship’s safety procedures and the crew knowledge. They’ve been briefing us all week about what questions they will ask and what we need to know, however we will be disembarking and heading to our new ships by then so we won’t have to worry about that this time. Next ship I imagine we will though because there always seems to be someone on board grilling us about lifeboats and safety drills. Today we don’t have any observations or desk work, just our final classes and then study time!! Tomorrow we will have our test first thing in the morning and then I don’t work until 4pm so a few of the others and I will get off the ship and enjoy Half Moon Cay (an island owned by the Carnival Corporation). Then graduation and new ships!! Depending on what ship I get assigned to, I may have a few days in Miami, or Cocoa Beach or even get flown to a different port of call. We have home ports everywhere, so I will not necessarily be embarking from Port Canaveral. So many questions, and no answers for two more days. I’m focusing on the test right now and not thinking about saying goodbye to my new family. Although it won’t be goodbye, it will be see you later, because the whole company is very much a family and I will stay in touch with my college friends. AND there’s a whole new ship of people waiting to be my new friends!! Study time! More soon!

E

Of Immigration and Shooting Stars

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, friends, fun, travel, traveling, work on September 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I am seriously getting very used to having my lovely cabin steward friend. I leave my dirty uniforms on my rumpled bed, come back after work, my bed is made, garbages are gone and my clothes have been taken, the next day they return, cleaned and pressed! He’s so lovely. We see him daily and he makes sure we’re happy and we chat. I met a Canadian today! First one I’ve seen since I left home!! I know there’s a few on board, but I haven’t run into any until today. It’s very multicultural here. A few places that are represented are Russia, Poland, Latvia, Ukraine, Germany, England, Scotland, Mexico, India, Wales, US, Indonesia, Croatia, Chile, Australia, Romania, Bulgaria, South Africa, Phillipines, Haiti, Italy, and Greece, and those are just the ones I happened to talk to today. It’s so interesting, while we were waiting to do our medical texts the other day, 10 of us all said good morning in a different language and tried to learn all the other ways. I’ve encountered an entirely new experience here that’s never happened before, but has happened several times since I got on board. Someone (always European, usually Russian or Ukrainian) asks where I’m from and I say Canada and then they reply, “No, where are you REALLY from?” and then they’ve all asked if I’m Ukrainian. I never realized it was that obvious.

Yesterday was a very long day! In order to work on the ships, we all (except US citizens) need I-95 work visas. These only last for 90 days before they must be re-stamped by a boarder protection agent. So every 90 days, a group of agents get of board and check ALL crew visas. It starts at 5:15am so as to get all 920 crew members through in a timely manner before the guests begin to disembark. Guest Services typically helps with this process. As the new GSA’s, guess who got delegated to help?? That’s right!! Myself and my new best friends. So we were issued our I-95’s and then we stayed to help sort out all the passports after (on the ship we don’t keep our own passports, they are held in security), and then went to class at 8:30am! But they did get us coffee, so that helped. Then after that we had more classwork, learning some systems that we will use on the desk, then I had two hours of desk observation and one hour of phone work. Phone work entails sitting in the GS office and answering all the calls so that the people on the desk can focus on the guests up front. For the most part we are still just watching and learning as much as possible. I did get to answer a few phone calls though and it was delightful. I didn’t get any tough questions, thank goodness!! By the time we were all finished, two of the GSAs were finishing up and cashing out for the day so they showed me how to cash out and we all went for a nightcap at the crew lounge. The crew lounge has an outdoor smoking/lounging area that is almost right below the bridge, at the very front of the ship. It’s literally at the front, and is such an amazing deck that guests up top on their decks often call down asking how they can get out onto it. We sat out on the deck, counted stars, saw some shooting ones, and I learned some Russian words. It was so incredibly beautiful, tranquil, and peaceful. No land as far as the eyes could see, warm night breeze, and all the stars. It made me so happy. I love it out here. I’m on a break right now and curled up in my cabin. My cabin is the closest one to the hull of the ship so I can hear the waves on the side of the ship. I feel like it’s what clothes in a washing machine on the gentle cycle must feel like. I’ve never slept better!!

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.

Happy Father’s Day!

In family, friends, fun, holiday on June 19, 2012 at 2:48 am

I know I’m a day late with this post, but I was so busy having such a fun day with my family yesterday that I didn’t have a chance to post! My family is probably the most important thing in the world to me, and I’m always thrilled when I get to spend time with them. On father’s day, my dad’s favorite thing to do is go on a family hike. So bright and early, my sister, dad and I (mom was in Vancouver) went for a hike in East Sooke Park. It was oh so magical. I really enjoy these times I have with my family because soon I will be off on a cruise ship and I won’t be able to enjoy their company. Being out in a park, smelling the ocean breeze, and chatting with my favorite people is really the happiest I could possibly be on a sunday morning and I am so so grateful to have such a close bond with my family. So happy belated father’s day to all the lovely dads out there, I hope you all had as wonderful a day with your dads as I did with mine!!

Very Special Mail

In family, friends, fun on May 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I received a piece of very special mail this week. Many years ago, I spent a month in Martinique with an amazing family, their daughter Telly-Ange, who is my age, became my ‘Martiniquais Sister’. We have stayed in touch throughout the years and recently she sent me an invitation to her wedding in Martinique!! Now I won’t be able to go because I’ll be in Florida that week (more on that later), however just receiving the invitation was amazing. They met at school in California, and the invite looks like a boarding pass! Photos below, it’s so clever and I just love it. Getting this amazing invitation really made me stop and think about all the wonderful memories I have of traveling in Martinique and of course that started a tangent of memories from all over. I have met so many amazing people and done so many amazing things. I really feel confident that I’m on the right path with my life. There is nothing I’d rather be doing than traveling the world, meeting new people and helping them have the most magical day possible. Whether that’s through my personal travel, or through whatever job I might be doing, I am SO happy to be doing it. I realized the other day that almost every story I tell starts with “When I was working _____” or “When I traveled to ____”, or “When I was living in _____”, and I love that. I can’t wait to see where this wondrous path takes me next!

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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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