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Posts Tagged ‘cruising’

Good Morning Sydney

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2016 at 7:27 am

One of my favourite things about being a cruise ship worker is the chance to see some amazing places. This was my view this morning during my run. Sydney, Australia is an incredible home port!  
  

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Sign off Time!

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2015 at 11:24 am

I think I may have covered this topic in the past, however I’m doing it again. I feel as though every contract I do, the sign off process affects me a little bit differently. It’s a very surreal process to begin with. Imagine your life, with a close group of friends and work colleagues, plus an outer lying group of acquaintances that you see daily. That core group you see everyday for 6-8 months (sometimes more), with a few random individual changes. The guests change, but your home and your support network is generally constant (ish…nothing is ever truly constant on a cruise ship). You have a roommate, bunk bed style. You share every aspect of your life. And then one day; a day arbitrarily chosen by the office and the sheer number of days you’ve been onboard, you leave. You go ‘home’. You suddenly and completely are cut off from your entire life as you’ve known it for the last however many months. And you watch your home sail away…well, sometimes you’re already on a plane by the time it sails. For the most part, and i think I can speak for crew members everywhere, we all spend the first few days in complete and utter shock. With a few rare exceptions, everyone on a cruise ship works 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, non-stop. Adjusting to land and time off and not being constantly barraged by guest questions can take some time. For me personally, it takes about a week before I stop saying hi to every single person that passes me. Even then, I still smile at everyone, which I’m not sorry for. I think everyone can use a smile. I can only comment for myself, however when i return home, its as though I’ve been in some kind of time vortex, i feel as though I’ve lived for years, and returned to the exact moment I left, except when i see my friends they are REALLY excited to see me. Every time I sign off, it feels different. As I sit now in my bed (bottom bunk, thank you! Girl has put in her time, yo!!), feeling pensive and reflective, I have a very different outlook about signing off in the morning than I ever have before. I don’t know if it’s that I’ve done this quite a few times by now, or that it’s been a challenging contract (both of which are true), but I’m facing this sign off with a much more heightened sense of clarity than I ever have had. I am excited to go, but sad to leave my Pride family, as per all sign offs, but something is different. I can’t quite place it, but I’m different. Either that or I’m totally delirious and I seriously need a vacation. I also face weird concerns, like am I going to continue working at sea? Am I even capable of staying on land for more than a month? The concerns about my future have taken a whole new turn. But for now, my mail concern is resting, relaxing, having fun and enjoying my vacation! Goodbye Pride family, it’s been sweet!!! On to the next great adventure!!!

The Final Days

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Well, dry dock is coming to a close. I really had the best of intentions and wanted to post all kinds of things during the process, however the dry dock experience kind of sucked me into a non-writing kind of place. The complete overhaul of a massive cruise ship is a very intense process and it’s been an incredible experience to be a part of. I’m SO happy that I got to be a part of this amazing adventure.

The Carnival Pride has undergone an incredible transformation. Throughout the dry dock process we could see that work was being done, however we couldn’t really see the actual progress as everything was under wraps or restricted to specific construction personnel. So for the last three weeks we’ve been sticking to our specific work areas and staying away from everywhere else. Now that we are approaching the end of the dry dock, the restricted signs are coming down, the plastic curtains are being lifted, and we are starting to see the results of all the hard work. Our new spaces are incredible!!! Bonsai Sushi, the sushi restaurant, is absolutely stunning, as are the Red Frog Pub and EA Sports bar. The lido deck is still shrouded in mystery, however I hear tell that it’s had a total makeover as well. We have 4 new Playlist Productions shows opening on our ship and the cast just got onboard last week. They are all insanely talented, and beautiful, but are also just lovely human beings. I can’t reveal too much about the shows, however I can tell you that they are spectacular! All of these new shows are built to be not just a show, but an experience, and indeed they are.
Teams of contractors were hired to re-vamp specific areas of the ship and as each area is perfected, each team leaves the ship. At this point, we are left with around 500 contractor type people still onboard, ready to leave in Tampa! We are so excited to welcome our first cruise of guests and show the Carnival Pride 2.0 to the world!!!

Dry Dock is Coming

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2014 at 11:19 am

Well, life is pretty brilliant here on the Carnival Pride! I love the comedy club here, and managing it is my favorite thing ever. The Pride sails out of Baltimore currently and the guests that we get here are so lovely. It’s so interesting to me how the feel of a ship can be totally different depending on the home port. Of course, every crowd is wonderful in different ways. The Pride is a bit of a fixture in Baltimore. It’s like a part of the inner harbour city scape except that unlike a skyscraper, it leaves during the week and comes back every Sunday. We have some guests who cruise every year and have been doing so for a long time. They really love this ship. When Carnival announced that the Pride would be going to Tampa for the winter, it was actually on the news in Baltimore. I’ve had guests come up to me, distraught, thinking we were going away for good! Don’t worry, Baltimore, we will be back in the spring, promise!!!

We are headed into dry dock on October 19th. Let me back up and explain dry dock. So after we debark all our guests on the 19th, we bring on a bunch of technicians and equipment and whatnot and we head to Freeport, Bahamas, for a MASSIVE renovation that will take several weeks and a whole lot of manpower. They will actually lift the ship up out of the water so that technicians can access all areas of the ship. They will keep onboard only enough regular team members to take care of each department, everyone else will either be transferred or go on vacation. It’s a massive undertaking and every week as we get closer, more and more things start to happen. More technicians start to sign on every week, and things are starting to get worked on. As we get closer I’ll keep you updated and will also talk about the new spaces we’re getting. Generally, all ships go into a standard dry dock every 3 years or so just for regular maintenance. The dry dock that we are getting is a lot more extensive than that, we are getting a whole lot of new spaces, new shows and I’m super excited to see the transformation.

As we prepare for dry dock, it’s almost like winter in Game of Thrones. People keep saying ‘dry dock is coming’, and stocking up on their favorite snacks, or beverages. Then, on the opposite side of the spectrum, there are the crew members who will be transferred to other ships or go on vacation for the dry dock. Those crew members are buying new suitcases, packing, and saying farewell to friends. It will be strange indeed next Sunday when a bulk of my colleagues sign off and no guests get onboard. Sign offs are usually staggered, a few people here, a few people there. Not so in this case!!

Because there will be so much electrical and plumbing work being done, during dry dock, the air conditioning and water get shut off for most of the day. I’m kind of imagining it will be like camping on a cruise ship.

For those of us from entertainment who are staying onboard during dry dock (four of us) we will all have different jobs to do. We have a lot of preparation for the new run out of Tampa, trainings and assembly work for the new shows and the new 2.0 spaces. We also get to roam the ship with no guests onboard, which I think will be strange and exciting. I kind of know what to expect but at the same time have no idea. It will certainly be an adventure!!!

After our dry dock in Freeport, we will head to Tampa, Florida and do 7 day Caribbean cruises out of Tampa until March 2015, at which point we shall return to Baltimore, all new and shiny!

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!!

This is How You Remind Me

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2014 at 4:58 am

I think that everyone who lives away from their families has certain things that remind them of home. It’s always interesting to see what is most important to each individual person. For me, the winter has a lot of things that remind me of home. For one, Ukrainian Christmas, which we’ve talked about. Two other events this year really made me miss home:

Number 1:
Winter Olympics. As a horseback rider and gymnast, Summer Olympics are generally the one that I can’t get enough of, however my sister is a figure skater and has been since we were kids. Every Winter Olympics, as far back as I can remember, my whole family would gather on the couch with hot chocolate and blankets and we would watch the figure skating (also other parts, but skating is most vivid in my mind) and my sister would analyze the performances and tell us all about each move. We would also often be at the skating rink to see my sister in action. This year, watching the skating on the TVs on the ship, I really missed my family. Winter Olympics also of course, mean hockey, and that also makes me miss the sense of community and togetherness that hockey brings to any Canadian city, especially during a Canada vs US Olympic game!!

Number 2:
Oscars!! Oscar time is exciting for everyone and I always enjoy them no matter where I might be. But for some reason this year I could hear my mom and grandma’s voices in my head all day. Oscar time in my house was always followed by days or weeks of magazine page tearing out, dress examining, and decisive statements like: ‘we HAVE to go see this movie, it was up for an Oscar’. I think we only actually went to the movies a handful of times, but we were always really excited about the prospect of going. Even during the rest of the year, mom would come home with rental movies (and now that rental places are extinct, movies on Netflix, or Tivoed) for us to watch solely because they had generated Oscar buzz.

I’m not entirely certain why I am extra nostalgic this year, possibly because I haven’t really been home for a long period of time in two or three years. Possibly because even though we make our own families out here on the seven seas, nothing is quite the same as home. I do know that as much as I love what I do and where I am, I also love that I can still surprise myself with the things that send me home for a little mental family time.

This contract is flying by, 33 days until I am home sweet home! I can’t wait to criticize Oscar fashion choices and cozy up on the couch with my family!! What reminds you of home??

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!!

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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!!

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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!!

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Amazing Moments: Strait of Gibraltar

In Uncategorized on November 23, 2013 at 8:35 pm

The next amazing moment I want to share with you as one of the highlights of the last 7 months is sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar. The first time we did it, it was in the wee hours of the morning and we could only see the headlights of cars and bridge lights. The second time we sailed through it was daylight. It was so amazing to see Europe on one side and Africa on the other. In the daylight we were even able to see the rock of Gibraltar. Magnificent!! This photo makes me remember how far we came and it also reminds me of all the times we gathered together on the open deck to watch for something life-changing.

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