The day after tomorrow, our new adventure begins as we both jet off to Miami before we board the biggest ship in the world to start our 7+ months of work, whilst sailing around the Caribbean……not a bad life I guess. If you don’t know us, this is how we met… working on a cruise ship, how else does a Romanian man and English woman meet? Now 8 months on from when we first met and after having a relaxing vacation, we are back joining a new ship together.
For the majority of 2017 we have previously been working and living on a different ship together. Being with someone 24/7…you get to know them pretty quickly but we soon found out we share the same passion of travelling and have decided to document our life together as we keep moving forward into the future.
“Happiness is only real when shared.” – Christopher Maccandles
I (Hayley) created the “Live Free, Live a Journey” quote and started blogging independently (not as often as I would have liked) about things I am passionate about e.g. travel, positivity, my personal life. Things have took a whirlwind turn in the past few months and I have found someone who shares the same positive energy and drive to reinvent “Live Free and Live a Journey”.
So for the next few months we will be together 24/7 again and going through the ups and downs of ship life whilst visiting some amazing places, but this time we will be documenting our adventures TOGETHER. However, the problems of keeping you up-to-date with our life through blogging, youtube videos and other forms of social media, is the requirement of reliable internet………we will be in the middle of the ocean!!! Plus the majority of time spent each day is spent working or sleeping!! SOOOOO I guess we are going to face this constant battle to find decent wifi BUT we are going to try our best to post as regular as we can and we hope you stick around!!!
”It’s time for a new adventure”
Get to know us more and more as you follow us on our life journey!
Let the next adventure begin! 1 day countdown as we are reunited again in Miami!
Speak Soon x
Hayley & Ovidiu
“Live Free, Live a Journey”
Follow our journey:
Youtube: Search “Live Free, Live a Journey” or click here
Nearly three weeks ago on the 3rd of April of this year (2017) I turned 24 years old! Where has the years gone. Who would have thought I would be celebrating my 24th birthday on a cruise ship in the Caribbean! It was only two years ago I was panicking about what I was going to do with my life. Plus in a big chunk of 6 years in life I couldn’t even imagine how I would make it to 24, I couldn’t see that far into the future. I believe I have only started living my life how I want in the past year and a half.
I used to regret the years I was gripped with an eating disorder and anxiety, I felt like i had wasted my life; the crucial years of my life enjoying my teenager and adolescence years where everyone figured themselves out, lived a journey of ups and downs together and was able to handle it. Now a realise the only thing I regret is hurting my body and others I love around me. That part of my life will always be with me as it was my only comfort in my life at that time…it will always be there trying to take control again of my life but I have grown inner strength to finally live my life happy. Nothing is going to change how I live my life now as I have worked too hard…my body doesn’t deserve it. Now 24 in the past year from 23 years old I have found myself again and what my real reason is for living on this earth as me…as Hayley Vincent.
How did I celebrate?
Back home I really don’t get excited for my birthday. It was just another year I had struggled through to get to an older age……this added more panic, stress, hate, loathe and failure as my life wasn’t planning out like I imagined as a little girl. However, now I see my birthday as another year for opportunity, growth, risk, recovery, love and excitement. I celebrate another year of being free and grateful (hence the tattoo I have…to remind me everyday of how far I have come). Another year of being happy for who I am and whatever weight I am.
For my 24th I celebrated on a cruise ship with my extended second family. Living and working on a smaller cruise ship you really end up like family. I celebrated my 24th in Labadee, Haiti….despite visiting there multiple times in this contract and my previous contract I decided to embrace the beauty of the island. Normally I wouldn’t get off in this place as it is all commercialised for the cruise guests (it is part of the island used for the ship), however it is still another island that is beautiful, different culture, different people, amazing scenery….you cannot complain or be ungrateful. However it was a long working day with no time to really celebrate. I ended running an extra activity for the guests on the island and only had a maximum of 3 hours off before I headed back to work. Well them three hours free ended up making my birthday the most special and getting over an enormous fear. I did TWO zip lines!! One of them was 500ft above!!! I didn’t know I was doing it as if I had known I probably would have backed out. It was such a special and memorable day for me. Having someone surprise with this was such a shock….in my head I think I don’t deserve this and if i had known I would have said “no don’t plan this”. It is weird how I got over such a fear with ease, this means to me my anxiety had reduced and I am truly living a free life…I now feel safe in this life and life isn’t against me.
Even though I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep that night, everyone in the team and other people from other departments encouraged me to celebrate at midnight for my birthday. I didn’t even think about this I was just going to sleep as we had an early morning of work again the next day. At this moment I was so happy…..being around people if I have’t known long were making my birthday special. The sports team as normal had a little get together in one of the cabins. I really don’t think about the presents I may receive on my birthday, I would rather just have the people most meaningful to me around me at that time. The team all acted like it wasn’t my birthday and saying they hadn’t got me anything….normal gullible me I believed them but I didn’t care one bit. As long as we were together is all that mattered to me. Suddenly, I had a wrapped present in front of me…a pillow saying ‘blondes have more fun’ that was a gift from the sports team…again I could have cried with happiness. This quote sums me up so well…..I am blonde and now in my new life I have more fun than anymore 🙂
I even got surprised with a cake!!! I will be honest I nearly cried with happiness AGAIN as I didn’t have a clue!!! At midnight everyone sang happy birthday and there was a cake arranged by a certain someone. That moment will be memorable for life. I was with people who I hardly really knew, from all over the world and they were there wanting to celebrate my birthday…..a very special moment filled with gratefulness and true happiness. You learn people aren’t as judgmental as you think, the world is a community and full of acceptance.
This 24th year my goal is to take risks more with my emotions. This means I need to learn to embrace and show different emotions to people. I think I am protecting myself but really I am hiding myself from others. Showing your emotions is a leaning experience that may result in you getting hurt or full of happiness…but you have to take the risk in life.
The next day we was in San Juan, Puerto Rico! My favourite port of the trip!!! Due to rotation of the schedules I didn’t have much time off in port but this worked out the best as I had the evening off where there was an all crew party which I decided to class as my birthday party!!! What a night! Drinking alcohol would normally make me more anxious, I would hate it and feel so self- conscious meaning I drink more and more. With so many people around I felt like I could be 100% myself, I danced the night away and enjoyed my life with people I love.
It was an amazing birthday and I want to thank everyone who made it special for me. The next day we was in St Maarten and I had a nice chilled day full of sunshine, good company and time spent swimming in the sea. Despite everyone feeling slightly fragile from the night before some of the sports team and I dressed up like normal human beings to go for a meal that evening…making this a THREE DAY CELEBRATION!
Turning 24 I didn’t even imagine where I would be in life. It is weird as I don’t know what I want to do in life right now, but I am not panicking about it. I am enjoying travelling, visiting new countries and enjoying meeting new people and living life as me. Meeting so many people in the same boat..literally…has put me at ease. Whatever I want to do in the future will come…..I am no longer planning. I know I am a perfectionist but I have learnt life isn’t about failure to meet your goals…..it is about embracing the small goals you have.
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:
Paris (La Havre), France
Bruges, (Zeebrugge), Belgium
Gibraltar, United Kingdom
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Athens (Piraeus), Greece
Suez Canal (Passage)
Aqaba (Petra), Jordan
Ho Chi Minh City, Phu My, Vietnam
Seoul, Incheon, South Korea
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
Lets just say this year has been a whirlwind year!
This is just going to be an overview blog of where I have been lucky to go to this year on holiday and with my job! I will do separate blogs on the different trips in more detail and hopefully will do another blog about my ‘Life of Travel’ as I am going to go on a mission to remember all the places I have been lucky to visit…I am hoping I can remember them all….but one step at a time. (There is a little insight for you about some future blogs!)
“The World is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” St. Agustine
Family Holiday: 16th-29th March 2016
I did a 12 night cruise with my family on the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Epic and the main reason we went was to see my brother and fiancee who are dancers currently working on the ship. My parents, my nan and I flew from Manchester Airport to Barcelona where we boarded the ship.
We was very lucky with the weather and it was gorgeous most days, just the odd bit of rain here and there!! It was a great relaxing holiday (as on most normal family holidays we walk for miles and get lost…a great Vincent family tradition) and the main reason behind it was to catch up as a family and see the shows, plus it was my last family holiday before going off working on a cruise ship so I was enjoying my time as a guest whilst I could. I have been lucky to go to most of these places before but it was nice to go somewhere familiar and places I know I like. I fall in love with places in Europe more and more every time I go. The best thing is hunting down the best coffee shops…..another Vincent family tradition! My favourite location on this trip was Florence which was lovely having all the quaint bars, restaurants and coffee shops along the Arno River. I LOVE exploring Italy as a whole with its little streets and you never know what is around the corner..it is beautiful with a lot of history.
Work Life: 1st April-29th October 2016
This is going to be a completely different blog post about my experience travelling whilst working on a cruise ship. A 52-night Global Odyssey plus travelling from the Caribbean to Northern America/Canada….one of the best experiences of my life with many more to come! Here is an overview of all the places I got to experience……the list is pretty long!
Paris (La Havre), France
Bruges, (Zeebrugge), Belgium
Gibraltar, United Kingdom
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Athens (Piraeus), Greece
Suez Canal (Passage)
Aqaba (Petra), Jordan
Ho Chi Minh City, Phu My, Vietnam
Seoul, Incheon, South Korea
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Kings Wharf, Bermuda
Philipsburg, St Maarten Island, Dutch Antilles
New York, Cape Liberty NYC
Bar Harbor, Maine
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Just WOW. What a life-changing experience in just 7 months!
Munich: 24th November- 27th November 2016
Obviously after leaving my first room mate (April- end of June) on the ships I had to see her again!! So we sorted a reunion out for once we both were home as luckily our vacations fall at similar times….this time is was during the season of the Christmas Markets so we decided to visit one of the best markets in the world in MUNICH, GERMANY! I’ve never been to Munich and I honestly fell in love with the place and the people there. There was so much culture, history and beautiful architecture in the city….I felt very safe and definitely a place I would recommend going.
A few of the things we did was:
Experience the German nightlife.
Tried their traditional foods and drink.
Explored the Christmas Markets.
Watched the opening light switch on at the Christmas Markets.
Visited the first ever WW2 Concentration Camp Dachau.
Went to the Bier-und Oktoberfest museum.
We was there for 3 nights arriving late Thursday night and leaving on the Sunday afternoon. The days were jam packed full of exploring and it was great to be with Sammy again….we had a lot to catch up on as we hadn’t seen each other in over 4 months.
It was incredible and if you want to see what we did check out the video I made below where you can see just what it was like. A short but memorable experience which definitely put me in the festive spirit.
(The movie is wrong at the moment…it says October but it was November….soon will be changed)
This was a random, spur of the moment booking which was extremely last minute. It was only my dad and I that flew over to Orlando, Florida to board the NCL Epic once again to visit my brother and fiancee as it was the last time I would see them before they get married in 2017. I have got to say this was an awesome cruise because of the destinations! For most of them I have never visited before so it was so exciting and totally worth it as I fell in love with the different cultures and adventures I got to experience! I would definitely go again and luckily I will be in the very near future.
Again I am going to do a separate blog post on this holiday as I did so many amazing things in a short space of time so this blog would get extremely long! Lets just say I would never have thought I would do a bobsleigh through the trees of Jamaica, climb waterfalls, be on a 15 minute ski lift above the tree tops, have a kiss, cuddle and a massage with stingrays and be knocking back different tequilas!! It was incredible but certainly not a one in a life time experience as I have more belief than ever that I will be able to do these things again plus more in the future! Anything is possible!
Hope you enjoyed this kind of overview blog of the places I have been able to travel to this year of 2016! Look out for more travel blogs in the future that will be little more in-depth about the specific places I particularly enjoyed!
“Be brave, take risks, nothing can substitute experience.”