Monthly Archives: December 2015

DAY 77 ~ Thursday 31st December

Belize City, Belize – I swear, yesterday must’ve been National bloody laundry day on the Norwegian Dawn, as every time I ventured to any of the onboard crew laundrettes, all the machines were full. I spent the day bouncing between the two facilities closest to my cabin, trying in vain to find a free slot to load my clothes into a machine.

Thinking I was being clever, I’d set off 15 minutes before the general emergency alarm was due to go off to signal the start of lifeboat drill, in an attempt to get my clothes in good and early. All the machines were either full or out of order, so I nipped to the next nearest laundry instead. Arriving there I found the same senario, only one of the machines was displaying only 1 minute left to go. Bingo! I thought.

17 minutes later, and 2 minutes after the general emergency alarm had sounded, and I was still stood in front of the washer with my clothes in my hand, waiting for that elusive ‘minute’ to be up. Now I know from previous experience that 1 washing machine minute is equal to at least 5 real minutes but this was taking the piss. I had no choice but to dump my dirty items on the side and hurry off to my muster station.

After the Captain’s meeting, lunch, before, and three time during work, I tried again, each time failing to find a slot in either room. Eventually, around 11pm, I got them into a washer, some 13 hours after I’d first tried. On my next break from work, I went to switch them into the dryer, but was completely at a loss to remember which of the laundrettes I’d left them in.

Finally after searching both rooms and all the machines, I found them still wet, on the stainless steel sideboard, as there was one less dryer working than washing machines. I picked up the soggy pile, went back up the stairs, along the I95 and back down to the other room and was relieved to find a machine happily tumbling around someone’s hot and dry clothes.

I took out their garments, added my own into the large metal drum and set about folding the items I’d just removed. Finally, at the time I finished work, close to 2am, I was able to gather up my clean, dry stuff and take it home to put away. I’ve decided I’m 2016 that I’m not going to wear anything but my uniform. I’ll sleep naked, eschew underwear, skinny dip instead of wearing a bikini, and that way I will only have to make the trip to the main crew laundry to drop off and pick up my work wear, saving me the pain of trying to do my own washing.

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A rare sighting of the lesser spotted empty laundry machine.

After boat drill and Captain’s meeting, when a large photo of my face appeared on the big screen alongside the other winners of the Vacation Hero award, I was excused from the following casino meeting, as all of the award recipients were to join the Captain and his team for photos and lunch.

We got a certificate singing our praises, a silver star to wear on our uniform along with our mandatory name badge and regular green Vacation Hero pin, plus a $50 internet card as a gift! So this blog will be bought to you for the whole of January courtesy of NCL!! We had a lovely sushi and cooked salmon lunch, followed by a huge fruit platter dessert. I hope I can be vacation hero again one day…

The casino was fairly busy, so by the time I finished, the Helipad party was also finished, and after scrambling up to deck 14, I was greeted with a rush of warm air, and a line of people walking towards me telling me how great it was but that the bar was closed and the music had stopped. Never mind, maybe I’ll make the next one…

Today is New Year’s Eve. We’re in Belize and I’m IPM so am going to head to the gym, then onto the pool deck for a bit of fresh air, before glamming for work tonight in my Macys bought dress. I might still have bags under my eyes though as we had the delightful wake up call of cabin inspection this morning and the inspectors left the wretched light on once again. Oh well, another day, another year. See you all in 2016, hopefully!

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2016 - coming to a place near you very soon!

DAY 76 ~ Wednesday 30th December

Roatan, Honduras – This morning, I’m up early, showered and in my uniform, as after lifeboat drill, it is the Captain’s monthly meeting for all crew, in the Stardust Theatre on deck 7. Normally I go to boat drill in my shorts as the weather is always roasting, but this week I have to wear my famous purple shirt, as during the Captain’s meeting, I’m going to be announced as the winner of the Vacation Hero award for the casino.

I’m not really sure what I’ve done to deserve this honour, but I think it’s mainly to do with my smiley, friendly customer service and positive attitude. I’m also not really sure what the award entails, but it’s basically like employee of the month and you get a star pin badge to wear and your picture with the rest of the winners and the Captain straight afterwards.

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At Amy Weaver Racing I was self-voted employee of the month every month!

Now if I can just keep up the happy smiley stuff for the next 7 months I’ll be set….

Tonight there is another helipad party, hopefully I will a) finish early enough to attend and b) it won’t get moved indoors like the last one. Last night there was a black and white party in the provisions area on deck 4, but as I was working late I missed out on that one.

Yesterday I had a rather unsuccessful trip around the shops in Cozumel. All the store keepers were keen to entice everybody off the streets and into their stores, but there was nothing that I really wanted to buy, and I just wasn’t in a shopping mood, so I just trailed around for a bit before giving up and going for a swim in the ocean.

The excellent news was that Sally Ann came good on her version of a blog though. It was very detailed and entertaining but too good to publish here upsides my rubbish, so you’ll have to buy the book to be able to read her update. Thanks Miss Grassick for making my day, you’re awesome. And modest too!

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Sally Ann driving it like she stole it round the Arc de Triomphe!

DAY 75 ~ Tuesday 29th December

Cozumel, Mexico – Being on a ship must be the best place to live and work in the world. Yesterday was a rather frustrating morning at work, so on my long break, after purchasing a couple of items in the crew mart, I dropped off my uniform to be laundered and then went up to deck 8 to check on the crew pool water levels.

Upon opening the heavy watertight door, I was greeted with a beautiful warm breeze, the vast dark blue ocean which merged into the pale blue sky and an orange sun ready to slip beneath the horizon. I stood there, leaning on the edge of the ship, in my “LIVE WITHOUT LIMITS” emblazoned navy t-shirt, mesmerised by the spectacular setting and the rhythmical movements of the waves. The officers in the bridge must’ve thought I was contemplating jumping overboard as I was stood there so long, soaking up the last of the evening sun.

After about 20 minutes I decided it was time to go back inside, as my hair was getting supremely tangled and I had other things to do on my break. I turned to see two guests watching me from their balcony and we all marvelled at the beauty of the panorama, with not a thing in sight except miles of ocean, for the entire 360° vista.

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My own private paradise.

It’s so beautiful and peaceful, you can’t fail to be in a good mood and appreciate all the wonderful things in life. What other job affords such an epic break room to perk you up between shifts?

Also, at 10:30pm, we were treated to sweet treats in the crew mess as part of the Christmas and New Year celebrations. It was certainly the sugar boost I needed after a long sea day dealing cards.

The rest of the shift was fairly fun and lively, as the Casino in nice and busy this week, and I was well ready for a shower and bed by the time my day ended at 2am.

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There's nothing like a hot shower at the end of a hard day.

Today we’re in Cozumel, and back in our original parking space which is good. I’m going to explore the shops for a bit and then have a quick swim before work. It really is a wonderful life!

DAY 74 ~ Monday 28th December

At Sea – It was very warm and muggy in New Orleans yesterday, which was actually a welcome relief after finding that the boiling shower water had gone from full on hot, to full on freezing. Apparently it seems that this week, it’s a choice of hot or cold water, but certainly not both at the same time. Still, I don’t want to jinx it further, so at least we have water. For now…

I got up early and went outside by myself, to run a number of errands. First stop was an office next to Kays jewellers in the Riverside Mall, where I’d been instructed to go to pick up a parcel from the UK. Daniel, the very nice gentleman who worked in the office, kindly handed over the large jiffy bag and after thanking him, I was on my way to the famous Canal Street to snaffle up some free WiFi.

I was desperate to get a good connection as I had a lot of updates on my phone that needed processing, plus I wanted to download a few things to watch, as I was running out of new episodes in my Google Play store library. The most important reason though, was that I really wanted to catch up with Sally Ann and hear all her tales from Hong Kong, Newmarket and Ireland, as we hadn’t spoken properly in weeks, plus she always has great anecdotes!

Before I came here, Sally Ann and I had spent the last year living in appartements 25 metres apart and talked multiple times a day. In fact we even had walkie talkies (or talkie walkies as they’re known in French), to keep in touch with each other when we weren’t actually together. So you can imagine there was plenty to discuss having been separated for so long.

I found decent wifi in the second Starbucks I visited, bought a lemonade and some salted popcorn and sat down to open my package and attack the wifi with gusto. I set the phone to auto update all my programmes that had been blinking and flashing at me over the past few weeks, and turned my attention to the sealed white parcel envelope.

Ten minutes later, and I still hadn’t released the items from within, as the outer material of the packaging was virtual indestructible. Apparently, boasted to the label, the special international postage bag was strong, durable, waterproof, tear proof and damage resistant. They weren’t wrong. It was like trying to get out of a straight jacket whilst being handcuffed and blindfolded. I pawed and pawed at the dam thing, but my buttery popcorn fingers were of no assistance, and eventually I resorted to using my teeth.

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Amy 1 - Bag 0

The bag looked like I had chewed it open by the time I finally freed the contents. In actual fact, that’s exactly what I had done, and I think I still have some remnants of plastic between my teeth to prove it! Inside were some Christmas gifts, including a t-shirt with instructions on how to draw a reindeer on it, some festive Santa shaped jelly babies and two types of Chocolate.

One type was foil wrapped Lindt elf people and the other was Cadbury’s chocolate Santas. The elf people had survived the transatlantic trip perfectly intact. The purple Santas not so much. The poor bearded Father Christmas effigies looked liked they’d received a bad beating with a baseball bat from an unpaid loan shark, with a vicious temper, who’d just caught Santa in an uncompromising position with his wife.

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Santa's been bad this year!

Still, waste not want not, I carefully unwrapped each victim and hoovered up all the broken bits of the portly fellow’s body, even licking the foil casing for good measure.

By the time, I’d done some more interneting, the Santas had all enjoyed a proper send off into the abyss that is my stomach, and I started on their jelly babied cousins. When trying to reach Sally Ann via Whats App, she informed me she’d call me in a bit, as she was at her Aunt’s house. Er, ok then, I do have a ship to catch don’t forget though…

I continued downloading and caught up with Gill, who is hoping to come on the Dawn for a vacation in January. WOO HOO!!! As they say in the casino!

Sally Ann was still not available by the time I had to leave, and by then the Internet had sucked all but 7% of my battery away anyway. She promised to write me a for my eyes only blog post style highlight of events of her life. I won’t hold my breath, I know how time consuming writing accounts of daily life can be. And her life is always WAY more action packed than my Panda obsessing, jelly devouring routine.

I picked up some tights, or “pantyhose” as they are known in the States, and a pyjama top, to go with the four bottoms I got for Christmas, on my way back to the Dawn, and just made it to the mess to catch the end of the lunch service. When I looked at the trays of food on offer, I realised that surprisingly I wasn’t at all hungry after devouring a small army of Christmas charactered sweets, so just took a drink and a piece of melon to try and offset my impending self inflicted diabetic coma.

It was another brief but warm shower, before passenger boat drill and then work. This week’s crowd seem lively and hopefully we’ll all have fun together as we welcome in 2016. First though, it’s another sea day, before we can enjoy the luxury that is 4 consecutive port days. Hi ho, hi hi, it’s off too work I go. Adios amigos!

DAY 73 ~ Sunday 27th December

New Orleans, Louisiana – Boxing Day, a day of eating, watching sport, eating, playing with new presents and eating some more. Well not for me, it was a 14 hour working day, dealing cards until the early hours of the morning, until I could barely remember how to count. At least we were lucky with the weather this week on our return across the gulf of Mexico towards the States, as the sea was calm and the weather was warm and sunny.

We’ve not been quite so lucky with the water in the shower the last few days though, as there has been a distinct lack of cold water. Great! You might say. That is until you try to wash yourself in scalding water, whilst turning the tiny bathroom into steaming inferno. Last night at 4am I was trying to take a shower before bed and I couldn’t even wash my face and that was with the dial turned to full cold.

It was worse this morning, as it started off not too bad, but after putting the shampoo in my hair, it was back to red hot lava temperature and there was no way to wash the suds out without receiving third degree burns. Eventually, with my head tiled back 90° and enough screaming to surely rouse my sleeping roommates, I finally got the worst of it out and left it at that. If it rains when I’m outside, I’m sure it that it start lathering up again though.

In other news I decided to investigate the possibility of joining some of the passenger excursions on some of the port tours, so made my way up to the Shore Ex desk on deck 7, during my 2 hour break. Apparently on this route there’s not really a chance to go as a free ‘escort’, as is the case on some of the European itineraries, but if I work for the Shore Ex team in my spare time, I can pay the cost of my trip that way.

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An away day beckons...

I haven’t even really read through the last of activities available yet, but I’m keen to do some overtime to earn a trip seeing some sights somewhere, so I’m hoping to do a shift for them on the mornings when we dock in Belize if my schedule allows. Swimming with Dolphins here I come!!!

I’m going to head out in New Orleans shortly, as I’m desperate for some tights as after over 10 weeks onboard, all but 2 pairs of mine are laddered and in the bin. I don’t plan on spending too long outside though as last week’s shopping trip left me exhausted at work that night and with boat drill, a ship load of new passengers to entertain for this evening and another long sea day tomorrow, I need to save my energy a bit.

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Home sweet home in NOLA.

DAY 72 ~ Saturday 26th December

At Sea – I had an excellent Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noël, Merry Christmas or however else it is known around the world yesterday. Having not got to bed until after 4am, and then woken up at 8, I dozed on and off until mid morning when I decided it was time to go outside and celebrate Christmas on the beach in Mexico.

The weather was roasting, and I was very thankful of the warm breeze coming off the ocean. My roommates choose to go to the port side pool and eat lunch, but I was determined to swim in the sea, so walked out of the terminal village in search of a cab, as it was way too hot to walk there this week.

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Scorchio! #NoFilter

I found another crew member waiting for a taxi, so we decided to join forces and go together to downtown Mahahaul. Her name was Kat and she’s from the USA and works in the art gallery onboard, but we’d never actually met before, so it was nice to make another new friend.

We paid the $4 for the ride and then walked along the edge of the beach wishing Feliz Navidad to all the beach bar owners and stall sellers trying to offer us anything from “free WiFi” to “beach shells” to “boyfriends”! I was tempted to get a $10 beachside massage, but decided it was to hot to endure, so stripped off and headed into the water instead.

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Oh to be beside the seaside at Christmas.

I swam for a bit, then just floated face up, screwing my eyes up at the brillant blue sky and feeling the sun toasting my face. It really was a Merry Christmas. I lay out for about 10 minutes to dry off, but was soon back in the water to chill off again. Eventually I decided it was time to head home, as I was hungry and lunch was still being served.

I had a hot Christmas chicken sandwich and chocolate log cake, before washing off all the salt and sand caked to my skin, in the shower. I had an hour to message some friends and wish them a Happy Christmas, plus opened the lovely gift I’d been given via a guest, from a previous passenger, earlier in the week. It was a very pretty bracelet and I’ll love wearing it to work. Thanks so much Santa!

Then it was back to reality and a 5pm until 3:30am shift in the casino. It might be paradise here, but there’s still a lot of work to do! This morning we’re at sea and heading back towards New Orleans once more to exchange these guests for the New Year’s cruise. All aboard amigos!

DAY 71 ~ Friday 25th December

Costa Maya, Mexico – MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!! Weirdly we had to dressed up in our smart dresses for work, last night, Christmas Eve, not actual Christmas Day, which to me would’ve made more sense. Still it was nice to see everyone in their finery and what a well dressed bunch we all looked.

As I was opener, I was early to finish, just before midnight, but for the rest of the week, I’m last to leave again. There was a Christmas spa night planned, but I’d missed the start by an hour and as I was already dressed nicely, I chose not to get wet and stayed in my party dress to enjoy a night out at the bar with my colleagues instead, each one turning straight up as soon as they’d finished to enjoy the start of Christmas Day aboard the Norwegian Dawn.

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Christmas is finally here!

Yesterday, I was IPM in Honduras, as this week we sailed to Belize first on Wednesday instead of Honduras, meaning I could not go outside and give the sweets to the children like I’d promised. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll be just as glad to receive them next week.

I did get to go outside briefly though, as my IPM was momentarily waved to allow me to get in a lifeboat, for a filling drill. This was after normally lifeboat drill, so after standing around sweltering in my life vest for the best part of an hour, I got to lead my team out of the ship and onto the jetty where our little craft was patiently waiting. The five of us in zone X loaded on and waited for our little ride around the bay

We soon realised it was not the little treat we’d anticipated and were soon joined by 145 colleagues as they packed the little red boat to capacity. With all of us in our bulky foam survival outfits, squished up to the top, bottom and all sides. It was 32° in Roatan yesterday and for me it was like being trapped between floors in a crowded elevator, or on the London Underground in rush hour. Not my idea of a jolly little boat trip.

Eventually we were at full capacity and without even leaving the shore, we all piled out again. As we’d been first in, we were also last out, meaning we got the maximum amount of enjoyment out of the experience. I’m just glad that most of the crew are tiny Filipinos and not the more generously proportioned guests that we often get onboard.

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The crew celebrating Christmas.

Today I’m planning on a trip into the ocean as I’ve only been able to swim once this week, and with the crew pool or of use and the hot weather in every port, I’m desperate to chill out in the water for a good while. Then it’s back to work and a sea day on Boxing Day, which is definitely not as fun as eating leftover turkey whilst watching wall to wall sport. Still, I never have to do any washing up here. One of the many luxuries of ship life. Merry Christmas one and all. I hope you’ve all been good!!