ericaamber

Posts Tagged ‘Carnival’

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?!

Advertisements

VT

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm

So I must preface this post by saying that I wrote it 6 weeks ago before I joined the Carnival Pride and just found it today, so if the timeline seems a little bit off to you, don’t worry, it’s ok.

First of all, in case you didn’t know, VT stands for Vessel Transfer, which is something I’m currently in the middle of. After 2 lovely weeks working onboard the Carnival Dream, i signed off in Jamaica, and flew to Baltimore to meet the Carnival Pride!! I found myself with 2 full days in Baltimore and no clue what to do. So I took a poll of all the Americans I could find. The consensus was, when in Baltimore, you’ve got to see an Orioles game!! (Baseball, in case you weren’t sure). So last week from my favorite Thai food restaurant in Mexico, I secured myself a ticket to the upcoming game. I haven’t seen a live baseball game since my seventh grade class went to Seattle and saw a Mariners game. Coincidentally, the game I attended in Baltimore happened to be the Orioles vs the Mariners! And it all comes full circle!!

First of all, just getting to the game was exciting. Props to Baltimore for having a delightful light rail train that heads directly to the stadium. I boarded the train very close to my hotel and the closer we got to the stadium, more and more baseball fans joined me. All decked out in the bright orange of the Orioles, I was grateful to them being there as I no longer had to wonder if I would get off at the right stop. Follow the hoard of orange jerseys and you can’t go wrong!! Oriole Park at Camden Yard is a really cool place. Beautiful stadium with an overwhelming amount of places to buy food and souvenirs. The game itself was a really wonderful experience! The fans were enthusiastic and clearly passionate. I loved all the fun things they put up on the big screen and how much fun everyone was having. I got myself some ball park popcorn and cheered along like a local. That was definitely something I’m really glad I did!! The light rail ride home was an experience. Here had to have been at least 100 people too many on the train and I have no idea how we made it back alive. All in all it was quite the evening and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Baltimore.

Now off to the next adventure on board the Carnival Pride!!

Maybe it’s because I’m a Gondolier

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2014 at 6:18 pm

The striped shirts of the gondoliers are possibly one of the most widely recognized symbols of Venice. One of my goals in life has always been to enjoy a good old fashioned gondola ride.

As children, my sister and I would listen to tapes at night, stories, with Tchaikovsky’s Four Seasons and other classical music as the soundtrack. One of these tapes spoke of Venice and the canals. I couldn’t even tell you exactly what they said in the story, but I vividly remember the soundtrack as well as being left with the distinct impression that life would never be totally complete without a gondola ride.

Unfortunately for past Erica, the Legend European season passed without a gondola ride, for various reasons which aren’t necessary for this story. Fortunately for present Erica, my traveling companions on this vacation also realized the crucial importance of gondola rides and we all agreed that it was a splendid plan.

Although it was a gloomy day that threatened to rain on us, we thoroughly enjoyed our 45 minute gondola ride. Seeing Venice from the canals is a completely different view than walking the side streets. Traversing under the skinny bridges and around the tightest corners was a grand adventure indeed. The gondoliers themselves were a show, yelling to eachother, jovially greeting the passengers of other gondolas; Our gondolier even cheekily kidnapped a piece of another gondola. Only for a moment, as it was returned after some quick words in Italian and a jolly splash of an oar. They use their arms and legs and feet as well as oars to navigate the tiny canals, pushing off of walls and ducking under bridges. Steering a gondola and navigating the narrow canals is a very tricky business, and they all really seemed to enjoy it.

We most certainly enjoyed it. It might even be one of the top 5 events of the trip. We even made up a song, in which we changed the lyrics from one of the Carnival show tunes to be about Venice instead of London. It is amusing how our work is never far from our minds. Not in a stressful way, but merely in an ever conscious way. Without Carnival, we never would have met, or had the same vacation time, or known the same songs….this incredible vacation would cease to exist in the sands of time. So it’s fitting that there’s a little sliver of Carnival Cruise Lines magic sprinkled into our vacation.

In conclusion, if you are going to Venice, get yee to a gondola, you won’t regret it.

Maybe it’s because I’m a gondolier….that I love Venice soooooo….

20140606-011543.jpg

20140606-011550.jpg

20140606-011603.jpg

Photo credit goes to the lovely Sarah (Saffie) Midgley, thanks for loaning me the photos babs.

Arts and Crafts

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2014 at 7:48 pm

This post has been long in the making, sorry for the delay!! During the crossing we did a multitude of different activities from what we would usually do. One of those was arts and crafts. I know not everyone loves this kind of thing but I’ve always been a crafty type of person, it runs in my family. My mom is an artist, my dad builds everything, my sister is a do-it-yourself guru and I’m not really good at anything like that but I’ve been trying my whole life….(don’t worry, I do have skills, I’m the sporty one). So when the word came down from on high that we could do arts and crafts, I jumped at the chance to orchestrate it. Myself and a colleague of mine became the queens of arts and crafts and although at times it was stressful (imagine being mobbed by 200 ladies looking for a cross-stitch pattern) we really had a blast. Every day we did something new including cross stitching, balloon flip flop making, satin flowers, scrap booking and a couple other fun things. We really got to know the guests and made some fun things. One day we decorated straw hats and then had a parade down the promenade deck. Some of our lovely guests volunteered to have their photos taken for this blog so I can show you exactly how much fun we had!! My job is so awesome!!

20140213-154622.jpg

20140213-154638.jpg

20140213-154646.jpg

20140213-154654.jpg

20140213-154703.jpg

20140213-154711.jpg

20140213-154723.jpg

20140213-154749.jpg

Panama Canal Adventures

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2014 at 5:43 am

I remember being on the Legend and looking at the locks on the way into Amsterdam and thinking that after seeing those, I desperately wanted to see the Panama Canal locks.

BAM

Here I am! Panama Canal! Just like I dreamt. What an amazing experience!! The locks are even cooler than I imagined! They are all massive, and the canal itself is beautiful, lush forests on either side. We have a lecturer on board who made announcements all day long as we sailed through teaching us all kinds of exciting things about the Canal and South America. Just as it is with any very exciting event on board a ship, the crew all gathered at our open deck and joyously shared this fantastic event with each other. This trip is something that only the smaller ships can do as the large ships do not fit through the canal. We had members of our photography staff up in a helicopter taking long distance photos and video for our voyage video. I’m so thrilled to check this off my bucket list.

We had such an amazing time and I’m so happy I got to experience this adventure first hand and I’m so happy I can share it with all of you!!

20140203-013848.jpg

20140203-013936.jpg

20140203-013953.jpg

Jamaican Me Crazy!

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2014 at 11:22 am

I’ve been so excited and busy settling into my new role and preparing for the repositioning cruise that I forgot to tell you all about it!! We have left Miami for the final time, and embarked on a fantastic 16 day voyage after which we shall remain in LA!

We have been working hard to make sure we have enough activities to keep our guests all occupied for 8 sea days, plus Panama Canal transit day, which is kind of special, we are at sea technically but it’s such a cool experience that most of the guests spend half the day outside watching the locks. Writing new trivias, brainstorming new activities, orienting lecturers, comedians and fly-on magicians to our ship; all part of a days work for the entertainment team.

Now that we’ve set sail on the much awaited crossing cruise, everything is running pretty smoothly (knock on wood!!)! Our first port was Grand Cayman, and then we got to Montego Bay, Jamaica!! We had a chance to get out in Jamaica with most of the fabulous entertainment team and we had an amazing day on the beach. We’ve been working so hard and we all really needed a relaxing beach day. It was a wonderful team building day, we had so much fun and we all got a bit of a tan!

Coming up on the cruise we have Cartagena, Colombia; transit through the Panama Canal; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico! Those ports plus a whole whack of sea days make up our fabulous repositioning cruise. Stay tuned!!

20140116-102109.jpg

20140116-102121.jpg

20140116-102135.jpg

2014!!

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2014 at 2:36 am

Well 2014 is upon us and celebration here on the Carnival Imagination is in full swing. One thing we are doing here is a massive balloon drop in the lobby. So any guest that wants to can write a note on a piece of paper and stick it in a balloon, blow it up, give it to us and we drop it from the very top of the ceiling down to the lobby, where everyone’s dreams come true! Lol. Not sure if the dreams really come true but it’s a nice thought, yes? So in addition to the guest balloons, we blow up a whole whack of balloons for the drop. I put a note for myself in a balloon and I feel like it’s a good omen. This year will be amazing. 2013 was such an incredible year that I don’t know what could possibly happen to make 2014 as good, but I have a good feeling. I’ve learned so much and grown so much in 2013 that I can’t wait to see what happens next!! I know you all want to know, but I am going to disappoint you. I don’t have a traditional New Years resolution, I just want to continue to live every day like its my last, and do what makes me and my family happy. So I guess my resolution is to keep on keeping on. I’m so happy, I’m working on being the most amazing person I can be and that’s all I can really expect from myself. I wish all of you and your loved ones the happiest of New Years and I know that 2014 will be everyone’s best year ever.

How are you celebrating tonight??

20140101-013419.jpg

20140101-013432.jpg

Hello Santa!!

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm

One of the funniest things about my office is that we share with the print shop technician, and shore excursions! We all have so much fun together, it’s nice to have a chance to bond with other departments as well as our own. It really makes the family feeling stronger!

It also gives us many opportunities for practical jokes!!

The other day, full of mischief and Christmas spirit, a few of us covered the shore excursions office in pieces of paper with HI SANTA printed in massive letters on them. In a stroke of pure genius, I made a teeny tiny ‘Santa’ sticker and stealthily put it on the shore ex manager’s name on his name tag that was attached to his sweater that had been left in the office.

Of course immediately the ‘hi Santa’ signs were thrown out and laughed over. I left the office, off to do something fabulous, and totally forgot about the name tag until later the shore ex manager informed me that he unknowingly wore it all day until a guest cheekily asked him if he had started making his list yet. Of course we all had a good laugh. And actually, I’m still laughing, and occasionally greeting the shore ex manager as Santa!!!

Friends like this make it so much easier to be away from my family on the holidays. My family is very close and it’s really difficult for me to be away from them so long, but my Imagination family is making it much easier!!

Happy holidays everyone, wherever you are, whatever you’re celebrating, celebrate well, take care of your friends and family, and be safe!!

Settling In

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Well I’ve been here almost two weeks and it feels like I’ve been here my whole life. My roommate is amazing and my new best friend. My team is fun, supportive, and hard working. Working on a small ship is cool because the crew is smaller than the big ships and it makes you grow closer, more like a family. Of course you always become like family within your department, but somehow here it seems as though all the departments are like a big family. Each class of ship has it’s pros and cons and it’s really cool to experience each class! As far as my job goes, it’s amazing and I love it. I’ve always had too much energy and entertainment makes good use of it. All day long I’m running around, on stage, jumping, playing yelling and laughing. It’s hectic and busy and wonderful. It’s really interesting to experience a different aspect of the operation of a cruise ship. In guest services, you have contact with almost all the other departments to help solve the guest concerns, but most of your work is done from inside the office. In entertainment, it’s very hands on, you are constantly out with the guests, all over the ship dealing with electronics and musicians and dancers and microphones and technical difficulties. All with a smile on your face. I really love seeing the guests in a different light, where they are happy and having a good time. This cruise I encountered a few guests that cruised with me on the Legend and it was really lovely to see them again and have a chance to chat and catch up after the last few months. Needless to say they were surprised to see me in a host uniform but they told me I’m wonderful and they love me in the new position, which I can’t hear enough, lol. At any rate, enough chatting, check out a picture of my new team and I!!

20131213-123334.jpg

Seasons Greetings!!

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I’d like to introduce everyone to a very important member of my new Carnival Imagination family!!!

My roommate……..SAFFIE!!!!! She’s fabulous and amazing and I’m already super attached to her. I’m looking forward to an amazing contract with her by my side!!

20131213-123923.jpg