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Posts Tagged ‘ship’

SURPRISE!

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line on October 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Tonight I had dinner after work with my lovely co-workers and then went back to my cabin and started to get ready for the gym when there was a knock at the door. It was the lovely Janis and Valeria, looking like they were up to something. They told me they had something for me and presented me with a big brown box!! WHAT COULD IT BE!?!?!?!!

 

 

MY BLUES OF COURSE!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

So now my blues have arrived, and during the day I will still wear my white uniform, but at night I wear my fancy blue uniform. No need to borrow a uniform to go into guest areas on formal night, I’ve got my very own formals!!! I will get the chance to wear them tomorrow night, as Janis, Valeria, Linda and I will go to The Steakhouse (our fine dining restaurant) to celebrate Linda coming to replace Janis as the SGSS as well as Valeria and Janis’s vacation! I just can’t wait. They are a little big but I can have them altered on the ship.Photos coming soon of our fabulous Steakhouse dinner!!

Coming soon, an update of what happens when you sail a cruise ship through one of the biggest storms in the last 100 years. Hurricane Sandy has sure been messing with us, I’ll tell you all about it soon!!

 

 

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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!!

Time Warp

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, friends on October 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm

It’s funny how time passes here on the ship. It’s a strange juxtaposition of time passing really quickly and really slowly all at once. As far as the outside world, it feels like we are trapped in a black hole, I have no idea of how quickly or slowly time is passing in the real world, because we are so disconnected. Sure, I have the time and resources to skype and blog and update all my crucial social networks, but that’s not the same, and internet time is so precious that you only do the important things. Gone are the days of streaming my favorite TV shows or texting my friends daily to see what’s happening. Ship time, however, is a whole different thing. Days pass so quickly here because we work so often, and have so much to do in the hours we work, that before you know it, a whole cruise has passed (a week, in my case). Even typical human interactions feel sped up. When you start a new job in the real world, it usually takes a while before you feel really comfortable and develop friendships. On board, the people you work with are the people you eat/sleep/work/play/work out with as well. You make friends very quickly because you are surrounded by these people 24 hours a day. Obviously you get along better with some people than others, that’s just human nature. I already have several close friends onboard and one of them leaves in 4 cruises, I’m not sure what I’m going to do without her!! In the next month, our crew will be completely changing. There’s 4 people who are over their 6 month contracts and will be going on vacation, so by the time I’m finishing my second month, almost the whole team will be different!! I’m just about to change rooms and move in with my paisana from Ottawa!! She’s lovely, I think we will get along very nicely as long as we abide by the two major house rules: no talking politics, and no talking hockey!

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!!

 

Half Moon Cay

In Bahamas, beach, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, friends, fun, travel, traveling on September 24, 2012 at 3:38 am

I know you’re all waiting to hear about how wonderful my new ship is and how much I love it, but that’s going to be the next post! Right now, I just want to share the lovely photos I took of Half Moon Cay, the Bahamanian island owned by the Carnival Corporation!! It’s incredible!! There’s so many amazing excursions you can do, or endless beautiful ocean to play in! Enjoy!!

The view of the cay from the ship

Captain Morgan’s pirate ship. There’s a bar inside!!

Captain Morgan’s

The Carnival Ecstasy!!!

 

I’m so excited to swim in the ocean!!!

Endless beach!! Summer is all year round!!

From left to right, Constantinos, Myself, and Mario enjoying our time off the ship!

One of the many excursions is horseback riding, first around the island and then into the ocean!!

Doesn’t it look like a postcard??? I’m living in a postcard!!

 

The back side of the island.

 

 

Canons!! Of course, on the top floor of the Captain Morgan shipwreck.

Fun signpost in the gift shop courtyard (of course there’s a gift shop!!)

I adored this island! I can’t wait to go back and do more fun excursions!!

 

Priorities

In Bahamas, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, travel, traveling on September 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm

It’s a really good thing that my computer knows what day it is because I had completely forgotten! We just finished our final test and await grading!! I feel very confident about the results, and hopefully it went as well as I think it did because otherwise I’m coming home sooner than expected!! I won’t get the grade until tomorrow and that’s also when I will get my ship assignment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So excited!!!

An interesting thing happened yesterday. We were in one of our hospitality training sessions and it was about diversity. We all went around the room and said a few things about each of our countries and then did an exercise where we talked about our favorite movies and music etc. We all had VERY different taste in everything, different reasons for coming to work for Carnival, and very different backgrounds. Finally, we came to the question, “What is the most important thing to you?” Without hesitation we all said “FAMILY.” That was the first and only thing we all agreed upon! It was amazing that through all our different beliefs, upbringings, languages, likes and dislikes, we were all unanimous in this matter. I think one of my favorite things about getting older is that I have developed such a clearly defined idea of the values that I want to see in the people I surround myself with.  Obviously I cant expect everyone I come in contact with to have all the values I like the most, however, I do have control over the people I let into my inner circle, and as I think about all my closest friends, they all have a very strong dedication to their family, be it blood relatives, or a family you make out of friends. I think it shows a certain amount of selflessness to put your family before money, or fun, or career, and I respect that in others. So here I am, thousands of miles away from home, and still surrounded by people who have that same core value. And guess what, now we’re family, and it really feels like that.

SHIP ASSIGNMENT SOON!!!!!!!!!!!! Eek! I’m posting this a day after I wrote it, yesterday we went onshore to Half Moon Cay after our test and frolicked in the ocean! Half Moon is a private island owned by Holland American which is under the Carnival Corporation umbrella so therefore it’s ours too! It’s so so stunning! As per usual I took pictures, which I will post eventually!! Tonight I get my new ship assignment!! Very exciting! Tomorrow will be a whirlwind of activity, signing off my ship and onto a new one, I may have some layover time in a hotel depending on when and where my new ship docks, but I will know more about that later!! Either way, it’s adventure time!!

e

Embarkation Day!!

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, travel, traveling, work on September 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm

It’s DEBARKATION/EMBARKATION DAY!! For some, it’s a sad day, they have to get off the cruise ship and head home. For others it’s an exciting day, they are getting on a cruise ship and sailing off into the sunset for a fabulous vacation. For crew, it means non-stop work. We need to get all 2,600 guests off the ship, ensure the staterooms are cleaned, and then get the next cruise of 2,600 guests boarded. Remember the safety drills I was talking about a while ago? That’s also today, once the guests for the current cruise are all onboard, we do the safety drill. I’ve been on the phones since 7am, and it’s been hectic. Lots of standard questions, anything from filling out customs forms, to what time is it, to where do I get off the ship and when. Plus lots of non-standard questions as well. I got to make announcements today! The first one I got to do because there was no one else in the office that wanted to, and then I did a good job so I got to do the other ones! I had to resist the urge to start singing show tunes over the P.A. I have a little break to eat and nap if I so choose, and then at 1:30 I’m back at the desk, but I’m doing ‘just ask’ in the Guest Services line. This is maybe my favorite job so far, I walk the line of people waiting for guest services and see if I can help anyone. The first day and last day of any cruise there’s always people who don’t actually need someone with a computer to assist them, they just have questions or concerns or need directions. I did this last night too and its loads of fun, plus it keeps the line moving. On embarkation day, we do a lot of running around, the cabin stewards race to clean the cabins as fast as possible, the GSAs run around checking cabins, retrieving wheelchairs, escorting guests off the ship, etc. We work in shifts, so it never really seems like we’re working very long until the end of the day when you see your hour total. For instance, this is what my day looks like today:

 

7am – 9am: Phones

1:30 – Drill: Just Ask

Drill (appx 3:00pm – 4:00pm): Muster Station A

4:00pm – 8:00pm: Desk

 

So it’s not really that bad, just hectic, and LOTS of guest contact. Plus we always end up working a little more on either end of the shifts, especially at the end of the shift, we usually have guests to follow up with or reports to write. I could probably get off the ship if I wanted to, I have a few hours, but I’m doing some review for our final tests this week!! One of the nice things about the ship is that when other people go out they are usually willing to pick up something for you if you need anything. Before my supervisor got off the ship today she came into the office and said, “Does anyone need anything from the outside??” So she’s picking me up some clear nail polish. It’s funny what you miss when you don’t have easy access to it. One of my coworkers always gets a giant bag of Cheetos whenever he goes outside. Walmart trips are usually a flurry of socks, underwear, giant packs of gum, and junk food. Strangely enough, even though I feel quite cut off from the real world, I don’t miss it. I don’t miss my car, or my phone, surprisingly enough. On land, I’m pretty much glued to my phone at all times, but I’m quite content in my floating home. Tomorrow we are docked in Freeport, Bahamas, and I’m hoping to get to see Andrea!! Her ship (the Dream) is dry docked in Freeport for a few weeks so I’m going to scoot off the ship and meet up with her. We haven’t seen eachother since April and I’m very excited to see her!! I’m also very excited to speak English quickly and have someone understand what I’m saying, as well as understanding all my pop culture references (I quote a lot of tv shows and movies). I miss having my sister around, I’m pretty sure she knows what I’m thinking even before I say it!  Oh, for those of you who are still confused by what ‘dry docking’ is, let me explain. When you see a ship docked normally, a majority of it is underwater (wet docked), and sometimes we send cleaning crews in scuba gear under the water to clean and fix things. However, when a ship needs a more thorough cleaning, or is having any additions done to it, it will dock on top of a submerged platform and slowly be raised out of the water (there’s a bunch of technical stuff that makes that happen) until it is fully out of the water, and that’s dry docking! If I can tomorrow I’ll take a picture of the Dream, it looks odd out of the water. It’s getting a few new food and beverage locations added to the lido deck as well as some maintenance so that it’s ready for the roll out of the Carnival Fun Ships 2.0!  Very exciting!! I’m going to go make some tea and sit out on the crew deck for a while before I have to go back to the desk! Have a magical day!

E

 

Photo Bomb

In Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise, training, travel, traveling, work on September 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Remember how I promised to post photos?? Well I’m currently in Nassau, with several hours to kill before we leave port and I don’t work until 6, so my Russian friends and I are in the only bar in Nassau that has blazingly fast internet. So without further ado, here are some photos to help illustrate all the things I’ve been telling you about!!

My home for the time being!! The Carnival Ecstasy!

The Disney Dream, we were docked next to it in Nassau

My lovely roommate, Alfiya

That’s me!! In Nassau

Our teeny tiny bathroom!!

The door to our cabin, and our dresser, as seen from my top bunk perch!

The view of our room from the cabin door!

My floating home!!

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Sunset through a storm cloud

My Carnival College trainers!! Jennifer on the left and Linda on the right

My fellow college trainees!!

Carnival Ecstasy!!

In adventure, Carnival, Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise on September 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm

It’s my first day on the boat!! My bus came at around 5:30am this morning and then made a few more stops until there was around 30 of us all headed to the Carnival Ecstasy. There were several other buses all headed for different ships. When we arrived at Port Canaveral I started getting really excited to see my temporary new home!! A little bit about my new home, it is 13 decks high (although the 13th deck is just called the sun deck because the number 13 is bad luck) it weighs 70.367 tonnes, is 855 feet long, 103 feet wide (“beam”), holds a maximum of 2634 guests, and 920 crew members! There are 6 of us that are new Guest Service Associates, and the rest of the new crew members were taken other places. As GSA, we are technically officers, whereas people in entertainment and spa and whatnot are staff. So once we have finished our training, we will be allowed certain privileges that the others are not, such as eating in the officers mess hall, and being on guest floors when we aren’t working. The group of GSA’s in training is comprised of a woman from Russia (who is my bunkmate and has been with Carnival for 2 years, and is switching departments from housekeeping to guest services), a man from India (who was a Carnival photographer for almost 3 years, and is switching departments also), two men from Mexico and one from Greece, the last three are on their first contract, like me. We are going to be the best of friends for the next two weeks until we get sent off to our assigned ships. We started off by getting all our paperwork in order, got our nametags, and keys to our cabins. The cabins are pretty much exactly what I expected. Small!! My bunkmate wanted the bottom bunk, which is totally fine by me because I like the top bunk better. There’s actually plenty of storage space, and even a mini fridge and a teeny tiny TV with a VCR!! There are little drawers under the bottom bunk where we can lock things up if we want. Internet is pricey, $20 for 200 minutes and apparently it’s very slow. So I’m going to keep writing things down and then I’ll post them when I can!! We are currently on a wee break after our first little orientation and ship tour. We can only tour the crew area because we don’t have uniforms until tomorrow. There’s several crew mess halls, a crew lounge with a bar, pool table, and foozeball table. There’s a crew gym also, which I will use tonight, but once we have uniforms and a whole ship tour, I’ll be allowed to use the guest gym, which I will do because the crew gym is pretty average. So far everyone is very nice and helpful and lovely. Our luggage should be arriving in about 20 mins and then we will do some unpacking and settling in. Then we have more orientation and safety training! Yay! More later!
E

And she’s off

In Cruise, Florida, travel, travelling, Uncategorized, US, work on April 17, 2012 at 11:20 pm

It’s an exciting day for my friend Andrea! She’s the friend who also got a position with Carnival Cruise Lines, but she’s starting her contract this month! So, she’s flying out today to Orlando for training and then she’ll be on-board a ship soon. We plan on skyping every week so I’ll get all the details of the cruising life before I even leave home! I will most certainly be updating you all on her adventures as I hear about them!!