ericaamber

Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Mini-vlog: Rainbow Mountain, Peru

In adventure, travel, travelling on November 4, 2020 at 5:28 pm

An incredible adventure to Rainbow Mountain, Peru – FILMED PRE-COVID-

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone Tour

In adventure, travel, travelling on October 22, 2020 at 2:51 am

Mini-vlog – Machu Picchu

In adventure, travel, travelling on October 19, 2020 at 4:33 pm

Visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set

In adventure, celiacs, travel, travelling on October 12, 2020 at 1:23 am

What an amazing day in New Zealand at the Hobbiton set!!!

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!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMom and dad in their kayak!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beautiful views!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Symbiosis

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, travel, traveling, work on November 13, 2012 at 1:58 am

First of all, let me apologize for being such an absentee lately, with the bad weather and a lot of extra work, I haven’t been able to get much posting done. However, I do have a lot to say, I’m just trying to get it out there!! Here’s something I’ve been working on for a while, I’ve had it sitting in my ‘blog’ document file for a while and just haven’t been able to finish and post it. Oh, I also jsut wanted to say to the other amazing bloggers out there who have followed me lately, I’m very very sorry that I haven’t had a chance to check out your blogs as well, my internet on board is very very limited and most of the time I just get on long enough to post what I’ve written beforehand. As soon as I’m in a port for a few hours I promise to pay more attention to the rest of the world!! Thanks for your patience and for following my adventures!!!

Guest Services is such an interesting place to work. We are, in essence, the hub of activity on the ship, like the nerve center of the brain. We are where everyone goes for problems/questions/complaints/compliments/lost items/found items/crying fits and pretty much anything else you can think of. 

As you can imagine, it gets pretty hectic. There are some other departments that we rely very heavily on to get our job done quickly and efficiently. Issues come to us and we call other departments to get the work done. Specifically, housekeeping. In any hotel the front desk and housekeeping work very closely, but it’s even more so on a ship. The way ship housekeeping works is that we have cabin stewards who do the cleaning of the cabins, turndown service, etc. Then there are the floor supervisors who have sections of decks that they are responsible for, they each supervise a certain number of cabin stewards/cabins. Then there are the housekeeping manager and assistant manager who are in charge of everybody! So in any given day, many different things can go wrong or be perceived to have gone wrong on a ship. Guests call us at Guest Services, we call the appropriate department. Nine times out of ten, we call housekeeping. We have a neat excel document where we can input the cabin number that’s having an issue and the spreadsheet gives us the cabin steward’s phone number and the floor supervisor’s phone number (they all carry cell phones) and we call whomever is on duty at the time. Sometimes we have to call what feels like a million times in a shift, sometimes not at all. Either way, the moral of the story is that housekeeping and guest services are best friends. There’s a certain time of evening when only one floor supervisor is on duty, so ALL the other cell phones get forwarded to that person. Often I’ll end up calling that supervisor a dozen times in one shift to assist me with various tasks such as checking temperatures in rooms, opening safes, pulling out trundle beds, changing remote control batteries or any one of a hundred different requests. The floor supervisors and housekeeping crew work SO hard everyday and I couldn’t do my job without them! Obviously this kind of symbiosis is present in all kinds of other work places. Somehow we feel more connected here than I ever have in any other hotel or resort. Partially I think it’s because we not only work together, but live, sleep, eat, and play together. Although this is also true for resorts where the staff live on property, when you are on land, you can go places, you can get off property. On board, the longest you can leave the ship is for a few hours at a time. It creates a very different dynamic, and I’m pretty sure I adore it!

Wildlife!

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, travel, traveling on October 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm

The craziest thing happened last night. After our shift (around 1am), my supervisor and I went to the Lido deck because he wanted some pizza. On our way back to the crew cabins, we walked along the open deck (you know how much I love the night stars and ocean) and saw the strangest thing. Now, I must preface this next sentence with some information. When we are in port, birds enjoy being social on the ship. When we set sail, we leave with some feathery stowaways. Sometimes they might be injured and unable to fly back to the shore, maybe they just weren’t paying attention when the ship left and then by the time they noticed we were moving they were too far away to fly back to shore. I’m not sure what birds think about (I’m assuming not much), but regardless of their motivation, they need to sail with us until we get to land again. Usually there’s a few of them, maybe a dozen. Last night as we were walking, we saw two fly into windows right in front of us, one right after another. One I tried to pick up and rescue, then thought about it again and realized that wasn’t a very clever plan. I’m in no way equipped to nurse a stunned bird back to health, and also, birds are dirty. So we kept walking and I looked up and saw a CLOUD of tiny little birds. Seriously! At least a hundred of them, with all the chirping it sounded like daytime!! I felt as though I was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie!! I’ve never seen so many lost birds in my life. So today we docked in Cozumel and I’m hoping that some of them made it off the ship safely!! Maybe I’ll check after work tonight!!

Speaking of crazy animals! I totally forgot to talk about the size of the iguanas in Grand Cayman. I didn’t get a good enough photo of them to post, mostly because I was gawking at the outrageous size of them!! They are MASSIVE!!! There’s a bunch of little ones, but then you see these iguanas on people’s lawns that have bodies the size of dogs. Not small dogs either. Medium sized dogs. Like the size of a cocker spaniel. Seriously. And their tails are almost double the length of their bodies. It’s outrageous!!! I even saw a small one swimming. SWIMMING!!! Not quickly, but efficiently. They cover lawns, like COVER. We literally saw a hundred or two of them. It was so insane. I’ll try to take a photo of them next time I’m there!!

Snapshots of Roatan

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, friends, travel, traveling on October 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I’m not really sure why I didn’t post these photos sooner. I think I forgot I had them! These are my photos from Roatan!! Absolute paradise!!

Pretty self explanatory!

The beach sign with the chair lift behind it!

The Liberty

 

 

Of Rays and Coral

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, travel, traveling, work on October 6, 2012 at 1:36 am

I went on my very first excursion in Grand Caymans the other day. It was absolutely amazing. First of all, it really felt like I was on vacation for a bit there because we not only got off the ship, but drove until we couldn’t see it anymore. You kind of always see the ship, it’s massive. So to not see it for a few hours feels weird. In a good way. The Carnival excursions are wonderful for a few reasons:

#1: You know you’re going to get back on the ship in time, because everyone on the tour is from the ship, so there’s no danger of you missing it.

#2: If something happens on the tour and you are delayed getting back to the ship, the ship will wait for you whereas if you just wander off and don’t come back in time, you’re out of luck.

#3: The tour companies are all Carnival tested and approved, which means you needn’t be concerned about getting ripped off or robbed or kidnapped.

 

I went on the Coral Garden and Stingray City tour. We took a bus to a boat, which took up out into the ocean to adventure. First we stopped to snorkel at the coral garden, which was beautiful and full of really pretty fish. Then we continued on to STINGRAY CITY!!! It was so amazing. There’s dozens of stingrays and they come right up to you and let you hold them and stroke them!! Apparently what happened is that fishermen used to gut their fish in that area after a long day of fishing. Eventually, the rays caught on that every day there was a free meal raining down from the sky. So they started coming around every day, and more of them came. Eventually, the rays got used to being around people and being fed every day. So now that there’s no fishermen feeding them, they live off the tour groups that come through. The guides knew all of them by name!! They were surprisingly cuddly!! It was such an amazing experience and the water was so warm and blue, I absolutely loved it!! I can’t wait to go on more excursions to new amazing places!!

I’m snorkeling!!

So many beautiful fish!!

Feeding the fish!!

My new best friend the sting ray and I!! (and the tour guide on the right)

 

Amazing ocean!!