Ok this is a long overdue post as I am now over a month in to my second contract plus I have had 2 and a half month vacation….woops. But oh well trying hard now to get into the hang of things with more regular blog posts but it is kinda hard when I am on a moving ship with limited wifi and not loads of free time….trying is all I can do I guess.
I HAVE SPLIT THIS INTO TWO BLOG POSTS AS IT IS GOING TO BE FAR FAR TOO LONG!!
So this blog post is going to a pretty long one with lots of pictures so I will warn you now, make sure you have good internet before reading this blog post 🙂
Eeeek where do I even begin as these 6 months in 2016 were a massive whirlwind and I can’t remember everything from this contract but I will give it a go. So I received my first contract working on a cruise ship and flew to Bremerhaven, Germany on the 1st April 2016 where the ship was in dry dock as I was doing the Take Out of a NEW ship! For everyone working on ships knows how lucky I am to get this offer for my first ship!!! It all happened so quick from the interview process to finally receiving my letter of employment then before I knew it I was on the plane leaving home for 6+ months!! I have never left home for that amount of time before…I haven’t even been on a plane on my own before so to put it lightly ….I WAS TERRIFIED. I was mixed with emotion…excitement, nervousness, anxiety, scared, but overall I was looking forward to a new adventure to take myself out of my comfort zone. It was time to take the plunge…..
“A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.” – Gael Attal
My Cabin: Sharing with my girl Sammy (Sports Staff)
The take out was amazing! It was hard work with so much to learn but the people I met made it a memorable experience. Learning the job as best as I could before guests came on board was a bonus but I would be still learning on the job throughout my contract. On the second day of being on board it was my 23rd birthday, even though I am not too bothered about celebrating my birthday but the idea of having my birthday away from home was in the back of my mind. Luckily around that time we had the big Red Bull Party in Hamburg which was crazy!!! One of the biggest highlights of my whole trip. The whole crew out in hamburg, Germany having one big party…. who would have thought this was going to happen on the second day.
Rocking our ‘I AM ROYAL’ t-shirts!
I was lucky enough to experience and visit some amazing places throughout my first half of my contract.
Here is the list of the places I was lucky enough to visit:
- Bremerhaven, Germany
- Hamburg, Germany
- Southampton, England
- Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Cherbourg, France
- Paris (La Havre), France
- Bruges, (Zeebrugge), Belgium
- Gijon, Spain
- Bilbao, Spain
- Gibraltar, United Kingdom
- Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
- Naples, Italy
- Athens (Piraeus), Greece
- Barcelona, Spain
- Suez Canal (Passage)
- Aqaba (Petra), Jordan
- Muscat, Oman
- Cochin, India
- Penang, Malaysia
- Ho Chi Minh City, Phu My, Vietnam
- Hong Kong
- Xiamen, China
- Seoul, Incheon, South Korea
- Tianjin, China
- Nagasaki, Japan
- Busan, Japan
Doing the crossing over to Asia from Europe was incredible with a lot of overnights in some ports allowing us more time to get off in the evening (the downside I was always very tired the next day). My favourite thing, mainly in the European ports, was to have no plan and wander around on my own (normally getting lost) but I would get to see things I wouldn’t have expected to find. Just a few weeks beforehand back home, I could never see myself having the confidence to do this…..especially dealing with anxiety etc. It was a MASSIVE step for me!
“Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage.” – Paulo Coelho
Some of my favourite places include:
I say surprisingly because even though I have never been to Paris, it was never on my bucket list as somewhere I desperately wanted to go. I don’t know whether this is because it is a popular touristy destination and it is so close to home (England) I always thought I would go sometime in the future. There was no real urgency I guess. I now have to say it was one of my favourite destinations of my trip and a bonus was it was an overnight!!! However this overnight was eventful. With a big group of us planning to stay the night in the centre of Paris for the night we booked a villa a head of time so off we go at around 8/9pm, after working all day, on a train to the central station in Paris. At around 11pm we find out our villa fell through as we was too late to check in……we were homeless in Paris. I found it hilarious and another excuse to adventure off into the night to find somewhere to stay. Luckily after a brief taxi ride we found an awesome hostel with loads of bag packers and decided to stay at the hostel to have a few drinks as we all wanted to get up super early and explore Paris in the day before we headed back to work. Never felt so tired in these few days but it was totally worth it! We explored everything!!!! I did think the weather helped a lot too as we got to explore when it was a gorgeous hot day. I fell in love with the architecture, the history, the people, the scenery….everything! A place I will definitely go back to!
2.. Aqaba (Petra), Jordan
Well this place wasn’t even in my list to go to…and is it shameful to say I had never even heard of the place!! Eeek….embarrassing I know. Obviously beforehand I did find out it was a famous place for its’ amazing rock-cut architecture and it is commonly known as the Rose City due to the colour of the stone….this is due to my research beforehand. However, from speaking to other people, they knew of the place from the Indiana Jones movies….ok I have never seen any…sorry don’t judge me. I am so lucky and grateful to have visited this place, I was in total awe and was lost for words. As well as a culture shock the architecture was nothing like I have ever seen.
With ship life we have limited time to get off but luckily a lot of the cruise division was able to go on a crew tour together which was so much fun to spend time in this amazing place with my second family. We ran around exploring as much as we could but the main thing we wanted to see was the Monastery. However, from walking around so much taking pictures and doing the typical touristy things we had very limited time to get to it…most of the people decided to head back to the bus…..but a small handful of us decided to literally RUN up 800 rock-cut steps with the sun beating down on us and donkeys coming at us in every direction!!! It was like in a movie!! Totally hilarious but I did prove at this point how good my cardio fitness was with all the guys which was pretty funny. What an experience! We made it! We took the pictures and it felt so good to have completed it and supporting each other along the way….at this moment I felt so close to these guys and it was a big accomplishment that was totally worth it. Bonding experience right there!!! The next thing was that we had to run down them 800 steps and run for about an hour to get back the bus in time!!! Luckily we did make it with time to spare to grab a drink and take a breath. Thank God!
Ok so the time came to say goodbye to the ‘Lost City’ of Petra and get back on the bus to go back to work. You would think this would be simple……..god it is a story to tell. About 20 minutes into the journey the bus stopped in traffic, I must stress STAND-STILL traffic. We was all like what the hell is going on! An accident had happened..everyone said it was a car bomb or something crazy like that. So we was on a massive coach that had to get past this and in Petra they don’t have normal roads like we do in England, so the coach driver attempts to get past…lets say it didn’t end well as we was going in a ditch. Finally though we did get past but we was all late for work…however as it was a crew tour organised by the ship so nothing happened to us we just felt bad on the few crew who were on board trying to run all the evening activities.
Overall I was mesmerised by this place as I would never in a million years have picked this place to go on a ‘holiday’ but experiencing the different culture was a memorable experience.
I didn’t know what to expect at all of this place but wow I was shocked. It could definitely be a place where I could happily live but to be honest I probably couldn’t survive with the humidity. I would have thought Dubai was going to be like this as I know a lot of British going over there to work or live but to be totally honest I wasn’t overly impressed. Singapore didn’t feel like a massive culture shock and even though it is very upbuilt like Dubai, it didn’t feel too much. It wasn’t about glamour it was just a modern city.
We was very lucky to have an overnight here and lucky me I also had a few hours off the morning after. After working quite late in the evening a lot of the crew, especially cruise division, were going to the same rooftop bar to have a night out so I couldn’t really see what Singapore was actually like. However, the rooftop bar allowed me to see the beautiful city at night with all the lights and built up skyscrapers….the thought process at this particular moment ‘how did I actually get here!!!’ What an incredible but expensive night with a lot of dancing and laughter. Despite the good time I did have in the back of my mind that I wanted to explore the following morning as I had very limited time!! This didn’t stop me getting back to the ship in the early hours of the morning…but hey it is just sleep…this could be a once in a lifetime experience!
The following morning a few of us got the train to the centre of the city and I did nearly back out as I was worried I was going to be late for work. A last minute decision but I decided to go and so happy I did! The place is so clean and beautiful, so modern plus the majority spoke english. We was able to see the Gardens by the Bay, the Marina Bay Sands Skypark, the Supertree Grove and some other things I can’t honestly remember. The downside was that it was such a rush and being short of time in intense humidity was hard but totally worth it. This place is definitely on my list to visit again even on my own as I felt so safe and comfortable in Singapore.
A Massive Bombshell!!!
A normal working day and we had just arrived in Nagasaki, Japan and was so excited to get off as I heard this was one of the best ports to go to. Rushing after the crew drill back to my cabin to get changed to get off….our plan was to go to the Atomic Bomb Museum and then explore for a little bit before going back to work. I bumped into my supervisor (Heidi :)) and she said ‘Come with me, you need to go to Gowers Cabin (Our manager) as he needs to speak to you’…….ok I was freaked out. What the hell had I done!! So I told the guys I was getting off the ship with to wait and headed to Gowers cabin with Heidi. I didn’t have a clue what to expect. I knew getting transferred unexpectedly was a thing that happened on ships but I just didn’t have it in my mind as I was a new hire…this won’t happen to me. Then the bombshell…in a days time I was flying from Tianjin, China to San Juan, Puerto Rico to join another ship. They said they was so nervous telling me as they knew I had been telling my roommate Sammy I would be so terrified if I have got transferred as I was so comfortable with my second family. I soon learnt this is ‘Ship life’. What did I do? Burst into tears with shock….but deep down it would be a good life lesson and a new exciting adventure! For my first contract I was experiencing a new ship, Europe, a crossing, Asia and now the Caribbean and US/Canada. Unbelievably lucky. Plus it was exactly the same ship so it was simply slotting back into a new environment and getting on with the work.
That day in Nagasaki, Japan I was so anxious with nerves and excitement I couldn’t take in anything properly but I spent the day appreciating everything, especially being with some amazing people. Then the feelings all turned upside down to pure STRESS! The journey back to the ship didn’t go as smoothly….typical! We got on a tram going in the complete opposite direction to the ship and got completely lost. If you have ever been to Japan it is a completely different world to where I am from in England and as well as the culture shock…..no one speaks English and no signs are in English obviously! If this wasn’t stressful enough we was clock watching as we had just 45 minutes to get back to the ship!! Oh God! So we jumped off the tram and got a taxi…we had to get two as there was too many of us. Our driver didn’t speak english and one of the guys Isaac with the address/ship name/port name in Japanese was in the other taxi. In a total rush we just said follow that taxi…..easy right? What can go wrong?……………WE LOST THE TAXI!! So a Scottish (Laura), a Aussie (Stacy) and I (English) stuck in the middle of Nagasaki, Japan with now 30 minutes to get back to the ship and I knew I was getting transferred in a days time!! Sounds like something totally not real.
Cutting a story short we ended up getting back to the ship safe and sound with 3 minutes to spare…..how lucky! That was my last port of call on this ship before I had to say the goodbyes and leave for my next adventure. It was so emotion saying bye to my family but deep down I knew it was going to be for the best, I was going to meet more people to add to my family around the world and start some more new exciting adventures in different places across the world.
July 1st 2016 I flew from Tiajin, China to South Korea, to JFK New York and finally arrived in San Juan Puerto Rico on the 4th July 2016 arriving on my new ship on the 5th July 2016.
Check out my Youtube video of my full contract HERE
Ovation Take out Team 2016 – Love you all and lucky to have met every single one of you. I never say goodbyes….I will see you all soon. The world is too small!
“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” –Ibn Battuta