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Posts Tagged ‘cruise’

How Alesund Says Goodbye

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2013 at 11:39 am

Well Norway is brilliant! I can’t get enough!! I will do a photo post soon with photos from Alesund, as I have so many to share, but this one just has to be shared right now! I have learned over the last few weeks that it is crucial to just always have a camera on hand because amazing things are everywhere all the time and I am often sent scurrying into my safe to get my camera to capture a magical moment of some kind. Particularly now as many of the ports we are visiting in the few weeks to come we will not come back to, nor has Carnival As we set sail out of Alseund yesterday, this darling boat appeared out of nowhere with streaming jets of water coming out of it and world flags decorating it’s sides to say goodbye to us!! I managed to snap a few quick pictures out of the office window. I love a good old fashioned water show send off!

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Castles Of Old Zealand

In Uncategorized on September 16, 2013 at 8:52 am

When last I was in Denmark, I decided that I really needed to see some serious castles. What better place to do that than Denmark!! I was fortunate enough to be able to get on a guest tour called ‘Castles of Old Zealand’. This tour was SO much fun!!! It was also nice that our pro DJ from the ship (DJ Bad Beats, or Artie to us) was also on the tour so we went adventuring together!

Some summarizing bullet points for those of you who might not want to read all the way to the end (one of my shore excursion managers says my tour reviews are too long to read, so I always give him bullet points)
– Tour guide pretty much invented Denmark, she knew EVERYTHING about everyone that ever took a breath in or around or near to the country
– I love castles…
– We wandered away from the tour group and found the crazy dungeons under the Macbeth castle…very cool.
– Danish castles are better than Russian palaces because you get to touch things
– Lunch had lots of options!
Our tour guide (Pia) was an absolute gem, she told so many interesting stories that I stayed awake for most of them! Our first stop was at a lovely castle that was next to a darling marina. It was in fact the castle that Shakespeare set Macbeth in, which is super cool. We strayed from the group and went for a wander down in the dungeons and tunnels that used to house soldiers. Tip: If a sign tells you to grab a flashlight (aka a torch) before entering a dark tunnel, you might want to listen….we managed with our cell phones and camera flashes like a sketchy horror movie.
After that we stopped at the Danish Queen’s summer palace, not really very castle-y, but beautiful nonetheless. We didn’t get to go in or anything, but we could see the stables and the palace and we heard all about the Danish royal family. I like the Danish royals, they sound more down to earth than some of the other monarchs you hear about. Our tour guide was telling us that when they are in Denmark, they ride their horses through the fields and the towns and whatnot. Just as I imagine Kings and Queens doing. Just like a fairy tale.
Lunch was at an inn about 10 minutes away from the summer palace. They had a lovely buffet set out for us with a complementary beverage, as well as teas and coffees. The food was good, some of it was difficult to distinguish exactly what it was, but I was brave and tried everything (except the things covered in gluteny death). Next to the inn was a lovely cemetery that we took pictures in before returning to the bus.
After lunch we went to Fredrickbourg castle which was AMAZING!!!! So many rooms full of so many shiny things!! I loved that the castle wasn’t very crowded, unlike some of the Russian palaces, so it felt like we could really move at our own pace and explore the castle. Also unlike the Russian palaces, there weren’t big plexiglass coverings over all the walls. Russian palaces don’t let you touch ANYTHING…so paranoid. So I touched some artifacts, mostly just because I could. Our tour wasn’t scheduled to go out into the gardens, so Artie and I hustled out of the castle (got a little lost but made it in the end) and took ourselves out to the gardens before meeting the tour back at the bus. The gardens were brilliant, I’m so happy we checked them out.
On our way home we slowed down in front of a few other castles, I was kind of bus napping to be honest so I’m not sure which ones, but I know one has the crown jewels in it. What a wonderful day!!
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A Very Russian Tuesday

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2013 at 3:53 am

Russia is intense. We’ve been preparing ourselves for that fact since we got to the Baltic, however, I didn’t realize how intense they are. Every port has different documentation that they require for ships and their passengers to arrive and exit the vessel. As each day we are in a different country, the requirements can change drastically from day to day. The first Baltic cruise was pretty stressful in this regard, now that we have a few under our belt, we’re feeling more confident and we know what to expect. Some ports we don’t need anything other than our ID to get off. Some require passports. In Russia, if you aren’t one of a few excepted nationalities, you can’t get off the ship without a visa. Some people don’t consider these things before getting onboard. Fortunately for us, many companies are authorized to offer these visas. So if you’re on a shore excursion, or a private shuttle, as Alex and I took last time we were in Russia, you’re fine. But if you just try to wander off the ship, no sir, back you go. Another reason it’s better to just get your excursions through Carnival, then you’re guaranteed to have a visa, and you’re guaranteed not to miss the ship. Last Russia we had some guests on private tours who didn’t get visas, and we had to try to scramble last minute to get ahold of their excursion companies and try to get them visas and make sure they don’t miss their trips, and so on and so forth. But that’s not what this story is about. This story is about the excursion that Alex and I went on last Russian with the dancers and some of the production staff.
But first…let me tell you that I grew up attending musical theatre and acting in plays and have always been in love with the stage. Some of my most cherished memories are going on a girls trip with my mom, grandma and sister to Vancouver, getting dressed up going to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats, Phantom of the Opera (only time in the history of the world that I cried in a theatre), the Nutcracker, and more. We used to put on plays in our backyard. At the end of the day, I’m really just a show missing a stage. So of course, when I found out that I would be in Russia, my goal in life became to see a real live Russian ballet!!!!! Our first Baltic cruise, I waited eagerly for the first Shore Excursion booklet, and when they came to the desk, I leafed through it like a kid with a Sears catalogue at Christmas time. Low and behold, a Russian Ballet excursion!!!!!!!!!!!!! It would be mine!!! Last week, our production dancers and singers all went to the ballet and happened to have two spots available, of course Alex and I jumped at the chance to go. What show, you ask? Only one of the most pivotal ballets ever choreographed, with an accompanying score by a Russian composer (whose statue sat just outside the theatre) by the name of Tchaikovsky …SWAN LAKE!!

As there were 17 of us, we had a shuttle bus all to ourselves into the heart of St. Petersburg (about 20 minutes from the pier) where we found our seats and waited for the show to begin. The backdrops were stunning, the costumes ornate, and the dancers breathtaking. These dancers start training from the age of 4, and are accepted into the dance academy at 10. They eat, sleep, and breathe dance. The girl who danced the part of the swan queen was flawless. I was inspired and moved the entire way through. During the first intermission we sipped complementary glasses of champagne and felt very elegant indeed. Check that one off the bucket list, what an amazing evening!!!
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Contract Tracker

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2013 at 3:39 am

I’ve reached the halfway point!! My dear friend Colin sent me this fabulous (and sometimes depressing, if you look at the seconds) contract tracker so the other day I plugged in my dates out of curiosity. Low and behold, I’m halfway done. See the below chart! It’s not something I like to look at all the time, but it’s interesting to see the breakdown of numbers, and the closer you get to the end, the more fun it is to see how many minutes you’ve been onboard! Getting to the halfway mark makes me feel pensive. I’ve seen so many things and been so many amazing places and learnt so many things! We realized the other day that we only have 5 more Baltic cruises and then a Norweigan Fijord cruise, and then we cross back over the Atlantic and end up in Tampa again! How crazy is that?! Back to Tampa again! What an unbelievable journey I’m on!
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Recognition

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2013 at 2:28 am

Something lovely happened this week. I was nominated for Team Member of the month!! It was a pleasant surprise and made me feel like my hard work is being recognized. You have to be nominated by someone from another department and then there’s a party at the beginning of the month with all the senior officers and the other nominees. We just had the party last night and it was lovely.

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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!!

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!

Breeze-y Days

In Uncategorized on February 22, 2013 at 11:24 am

One of the really cool things that ends up happening once you’ve spent some time on cruise ships is that inevitably the people you started your contract out with go on vacation and then come back to different ships. At the very least this means that you get lots of fun emails in your work inbox to keep you entertained. For me it’s meant that I also get to go aboard other ships and visit! Last week I had the pleasure of visiting my dear friends on the lovely Carnival Breeze! It was such a nice visit. The Breeze is a Dream class ship and it is the newest ship in the Carnival fleet. It’s BEAUTIFUL!!!! It has so many different food outlets and whatnot. We ate lunch at the Cucina del Capitano, which is an Italian restaurant and they had GLUTEN FREE PASTA!!!! It made my day!! I’ve also had the good fortune to visit the Carnival Magic several times and it’s really interesting to see the differences between each ship. If I could take a day trip to every ship I would for sure!!

I really love the cabin doors on the Breeze, check them out!!

 

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My darling friend Valeria and I in the Breeze back office

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The lobby….with cool dangly balloon thingies!!

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Yes, this is on the ship!!!

 

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Cabin doors!!!! How fun is that?!

Coast to Coast

In adventure, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line on February 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

My lovely co-worker Susanne and I went on a few excursions recently!! The first of them being the Coast to Coast tour of Grand Turk! Grand Turk is a very small island, but it was really cool to get to see it all. We drove around in an open-air bus while the driver told us all about the island. We got to stop and go for a swim (of course I jumped right off the dock…I was actually the only one who went swimming, but I’m a sucker for an ocean swim, just can’t resist it!!) and explore the Grand Turk lighthouse, which was also beautiful!

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Two Ships Passing….

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line on November 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Last week we were in port with our sister ship, the Carnival Conquest and I took this shot of the Conquest sailing away into the sunset.

I thought you might like it….