16.08.2008 - 02.09.2008
So I am now on my second cruise and I thought I would update you all with what has been going on and what this job is like.
I showed up to the port in Harwich bright and early and was actually quite nervous. I think the size of the ship made it especially daunting. I joined the line of 79 other staff and crew boarding the ship and said good-bye to Sandy and Will. Once I got on the ship I was sent to the cinema where I met some HR people and signed my contract etc. Then my boss, T came and found me. He’s an aussie as well so I was quite excited by that, we had a quick chat about home and my home town. Later on that day we had the rehearsal for the evening show which would be the Captains Welcome aboard show. At this point I started to get an idea of the easiness of this gig. We rehearsed for all of 5 mins and then played 2 10 min sets.
I woke up having not slept very well, but I did have a room to myself at this point. I spent the day learning my way around the ship, rehearsing and getting things organized. On this day I also discovered THE CREW BAR! What an interesting place. It never kicks off until late, about 11.30pm and goes until about 2am or later but there is the most amazing mix of people there – Americans, South Africans, Aussies, British, Indians, Philippines and every one is drinking, dancing, smoking! I didn’t realize you could smoke on ships, but it turns out you can and people do it lots, everywhere!
Throughout my first cruise I have met some really cool people and I get on with the whole band really well. My bosses are awesome, all the way up to the captain and the ship is amazing. I spent the first 10 days or so in training, which was hilarious and mind numbingly boring. It’s not so much training as dull lectures that they legally have to present and is really common sense, the same as any large corporation I guess. Unfortunately I learnt the hard way though that you don’t miss safety training, no matter what! Unfortunately a few days in I forgot to set my alarm and slept through until about 1pm, straight through the safety training and was promptly summoned to the safety officers office along with my supervisor T and the Staff Captain. They simply informed me of the legal ramifications if the ship gets inspected by the coast guard and sent me on my way, they were even quite friendly and funny about the whole thing. Anyways that was my one and only slip up but I realised how easy it is to lose your job here. They have zero tolerance policies left right and center and I have seen people, in my department, be fired already! In 2 weeks!
By the end of the 1st cruise we met Mario, a brilliant and cheesy guitarist from Australia. He had some chops but his music was so corny, so corny though that I had heaps of fun, and he was a brilliant guy! (Aussies everywhere!) Unfortunately for his second show I was starting to get sick and that brings me to now.
For about the past 6 days now I have been horribly sick with a sore throat, fever, chills and exhaustion. I’m not sure how I picked up the bug as other guys who have never been on ships before haven’t got it, but it is going around, it’s even knocking out the old hats. I went straight to the doctor and he put me on amoxicillin and cough drops, although after another few days I was showing no signs of improvement I went back and I got penicillin needle in my butt, and then another one this morning. Finally my sore throat is moving on, although eating is still impossible. Now I’m developing an irritating cough and I still have no energy.
This cruise is fairly light on work for me as it’s a charted cruise, and the company has brought all their own entertainment. The only work we do is the production shows, which allows me lots of time to see the ports. Currently we are cruising around spain, which is unreal! Though the first cruise was pretty amazing as well – 2 weeks around the Baltic. Despite my heavy training schedule I still managed to get off at almost every port including Denmark where I got to catch up with my amazing friends Martin and Karina. Although I only had 3 hrs with them we crammed in everything Danish. We had Danish food, Danish beer, Danish pastries, Danish liqueur and saw the sights including the Royal Castle where Princess Mary from Australia lives. I called out to her but she wasn’t home hehe.
The other amazing ports of call in my first two weeks were Warnemunde, Germany – A beautiful port with a brilliant beach (the Americans were notably shocked by the Europeans relaxed nature with nudity). Tallin, Estonia – An amazing old city which is really picturesque. St Petersburg, Russia – this city is just insane! The is no other way to describe it. You would definitely benefit from having a Russian speaking travel partner or host. Helsinki, Finland – so beautiful, but was a Sunday so it was quite. Stockholm, Sweden – The most beautiful place I have ever seen, from the city, to the people to the islands on the sail out. I never got a photo but I will never forget playing basketball on the top deck, sailing through these amazing small islands with the most fiery sunset overhead! Amazing. Riga, Latvia – missed it because of training, I heard it was amazing and finally Klaipeda, Lithuania – a nice place but nothing special.
So tomorrow we dock in La Coruna, Spain and I’m enjoying the warm weather already. I see why the Brits move down here. Another 2 weeks or so around Spain, Portugal and Morrocco and then about another 2 weeks and I get to see my parents!!! I miss them so much so it’s going to be so amazing to have them on the ship for 2 weeks.
Right that’s all for now,