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Posts Tagged ‘England’

Liverpool, England

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2013 at 9:20 pm

The deviation of this past cruise, while maybe not ideal for some, was very exciting for me. Partly because I’ve fallen madly in love with England and was so excited to see another part of it, and party because of the Beatles. The Beatles were a favorite band of my parents, particularly my fathers, and therefore I grew up listening to their music. For me, the Beatles make me think of home and love and family and warmth and just plain old good music. Of course, on a grander scale, the Beatles are a massive part of pop culture and the landscape of music, which means all their favorite places and influences in their hometown of Liverpool are very much commercialized. Random sidebar, when I was last in Amsterdam, we saw the hotel where John and Yoko famously hid out in for a crazy amount of time. During this cruise, my darling friend Andrea from Hungary whom I worked with on the Liberty has joined the team and so off we went to see as much as we could possibly see in Liverpool. Starting off on the HoHo we toured the city and planned where we wanted to stop and spend more time. Next we took the 2 hour ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ in an amazing bus to all of the important Beatles places. We saw their childhood homes, their schools, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, and so on. I really enjoyed hearing all the tour guide’s stories about the musicians and their childhood. The bus played Beatles tunes the whole way and we sang along of course!! After the Beatles tour we got some lunch at Tesco (a store I will really miss when we get back to North America, by the way) and made our way down to the Cavern Club, where the Beatles played a total of 292 times (and many, many other musical geniuses as well). Inside we enjoyed the acoustic music of several fabulous musicians (of course some Beatles songs!!) and gazed at the music memorabilia all over. Being a very big fan of live music, I could have stayed forever, but alas, not possible and we got back on the HoHo to stop at the other places we had wanted to see. Specifically, the Anglican Church, the largest in England, and a beautiful building with very loud bells!! A short souvenir stop ended our Liverpool day and we hurried back to the ship, trying to beat the sudden display of cold treacherous English weather. I could have stayed a lifetime, England I love you and your people (and their accents)!!
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Deviation

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Although the Baltic seas have thus far been kind to us, the winds of change are upon us. The Norway cruise got rougher close to the end and as we reached the final day, we learned that there was a very good chance we would need to change our itinerary because of it. We waited on the edge of our seats as the powers that be decided our next course of action and when the email hit our inbox we opened it with mixed feelings. Generally, a deviation of itinerary mostly just means more work and upset guests. Understandably so, people book cruises with the ports in mind, often if we miss one we add a day at sea, we don’t get a replacement port, resulting in sadness and long lines at Guest Services.

Deviations can occur for all kinds of reasons, but mostly it comes down to weather. At the end of the day, we are but sailors, we can not control the wind or the waves, we can only do our best with what comes our way (methinks there’s a metaphor for life somewhere in there, you decide). In this case, the decision makers were able to reconfigure our cruise so that despite missing one port (Belfast) we gain a replacement port (Liverpool) and the other ones move around a bit. As soon as we got the official word, all departments sprang into action. We in the Guest Services department scrambled to set up a help desk with outside lines and internet access available for guests who had booked shore excursions with outside (non-Carnival) companies to try to change them. We emailed/faxed/called multiple countries in multiple languages for multiple hours. Damage control at it’s finest. Our cruise director and cruise staff immediately put together port presentations and discussions to inform the guests as soon as they got on board of exactly what was happening. Shore excursions put together new excursion booklets with tours for the new port and refunded the tours that had to be cancelled due to missing Belfast. By the time the dust settled, we still had some upset guests, but mostly we had ones that were impressed and grateful. We worked so hard that I barely had time to consider that we were about to go somewhere unexpected. LIVERPOOL!!!!! For me, super exciting…maybe not for everyone, but I was really excited to see another British port. At any rate, more thoughts on the upcoming deviation in the near future. I’m off to see what I can see outside, it’s time for an adventure!!

Jolly ol’ London Town

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2013 at 7:28 am

While I was on night shift I made it my personal mission to make it to London from Dover. This is really only something that is possible to do (for us in Guest Services) while on night shift because London is 2-3 hours away depending on traffic and we don’t ever have a consecutive block of time off that is long enough to get there, unless of course you happen to be on night shift as I was at the time. No one else in our office had attempted it….. it was going to be quite a mission. Well I made it. To jolly ol’ London!! It was amazing. I saw the Tower of London, Big Ben, the London Eye, statues, telephone booths, and palaces galore!! I stopped at Buckingham Palace and tried to get to the middle area where the sculptures are but the road was blocked and there were bobbys everywhere and all of a sudden I found myself at the front of a mad throng of people. Uncertain as to what was happening and undecided as to whether or not I should stay (hoards of people make me uncomfortable), I balked a little at the gate and whirled around to see a small boy perched upon his father’s shoulders complaining loudly about being too hot. Now even though I’m not generally a fan of children, I discovered at that moment that a small child with a British accent is immediately forgiven for being a child in my books. After deciding I approved of the tiny shoulder traveler, I asked his perch what was happening. “Why it’s the changing of the guard, luv. It’s a British institution it is…and you’ve just made it on the right day, the full band plays today!” If you were not reading that in a British accent in your head I would recommend that you read it again with an accent…much more charming. So I waited with my new friends, somehow up at the front of the gate. Low and behold, guards on horseback excited the palace (going to get the new guards) and 10 minutes later, a full band plus the new guards appeared!!!! By this point there were also other guards on horseback and we the crowd were thoroughly enthralled. I have spoken with many Brits since then who have assured me that seeing this is something very special. Many Brits never see the changing of the guard, let alone with the full band. And tourists spend months planning to get there on the right day at the right time. I was in the right place at the right time and I will never ever forget this amazing experience!! I’m totally hooked on London and now I want to live there.
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