The Adventure begins: Cruise # 1

vision of the seas


Vision of the Seas Voyage # 780

Denmark – Norway 7 day cruise

64 Nationalities on board



First Cruise complete! Whoop Whoop! I cannot believe that I have been at sea for a whole week. Actually, I cannot believe that I have been at sea for ONLY a week. I have seen and learnt so much that it feels more like one month!

My first long haul flight from Joburg to Doha was pretty average to poor. Even the foot stool (which, for me with my short legs, was quite an unexpected treat), couldn’t make up for being squashed in between a large man rocking in his seat in front of me, a restless lady bumping by chair from behind and a skinny guy with no regard for personal space sitting next to me. The flight from Doha to Copenhagen was utterly magical by comparison! I had 2 seats to myself and with the help of a sleeping pill (thanks Mum!) I slept nearly the whole way.

Once on the ship, my greatest problems were loneliness and navigating the maze of secret passages that are used by the cruise staff – sometimes I feel like I’m living in an ancient castle instead of a ship.

My loneliness was overcome by the end of the first day. My fellow Photogs and the rest of the Vision of the Seas crew are super friendly and EXTREMELY curious. We all have name badges that we have to wear with our uniform and everyone is constantly glancing down at mine to see what my name is, what I do and where I’m from. Well… I hope that’s why they keeping looking there! My name badge incorrectly says that I’m from the United Kingdom. They are going to correct this at some stage, but until then, it’s a secret that I’m from South Africa!

As far as finding my way around the ship goes… After constantly losing my way during the first couple of days, I can proudly make my way to the key areas of the ship! Sometimes I have to take the long way around as I don’t know all the shortcuts, but I get there in the end. Well that’s alright then…

My week has been super busy. The days are long. I’ve been doing a lot of New Hire training. This involves learning the Royal Caribbean security, safety, emergency, waste and service delivery policies. Most important thing to remember? Always deliver the WOW! And No… that is not supposed to be a metaphor for the hanky panky… We also had an Emergency drill and afterwards I had to attend a life raft demonstration. Unfortunately there were technical difficulties that prevented the launching team from inflating the demo life raft. Great. I feel safe!

Of course I’ve been working too. I’ve been shooting Resi (in the Dining Room), studio (with different backdrops), Ship events, smudging for gangway (when the guests leave the ship to visit the different ports) and working in the Photo Gallery. We work in shifts so that we have breaks between the different events, but each night we end at about 11:30pm.

In between all the training and working, I was able to explore Ålesund and Flåm. Ålesund is a quaint, small town full of statues, flowers and old buildings alongside the river. It was exactly what I expected. Flåm however, was not. For starters, it is teeny tiny – I don’t think you could even call it a “dorp” (Afrikaans for small village). There is one supermarket, but the rest of the stores are all souvenir shops. This gives the impression that the town was built for the sole purpose of creating a tourist spot/port for cruise ships! Nevertheless, Flåm is beautiful. It’s nestled at the foot of the mountains and you have to sail right up a fjord to get to it.

Funny Guest Story: There was this old man, with crazy white hair and comedic, oversized sunglasses that fancied himself quite a joker. A couple nights ago he stopped in front of my studio, dug into his bag and pulled out a rubber spider with a long string attached. Then, leaning over the balustrade, he proceeded to drop the spider onto a guest on the deck below!

Highlight of the cruise: Meeting my fellow Photogs! Hi Guys!



4 thoughts on “The Adventure begins: Cruise # 1

    1. There have been a couple days where the ship was swaying a bit…. but other than feeling a little unstable on my feet, I was fine – touch wood!

  1. Hi Helen, heard about your blog from your Ma today and I’m so pleased that you’re loving it. The places you’ve been so far look awesome, I’ll tune (? whats the right word here?) in from time to time and have a squizz at what you’re up to. We also stopped at a town on the Yangtze River cruise that looked as if it had been cobbled up specially for tourists; you can tell, can’t you? Take care of yourself and have fun, Claire from Bushmans

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