the Arctic Birthday – Cruise # 2

Vision of the Seas Voyage # 781

Denmark – Norway 11 day cruise

63 Nationalities on board

This cruise began with my very first Embarkation experience. I was Chief Smudger, which means I was in charge of stopping guests to have their photo taken, keeping them in an orderly line, sending them to either of the 2 backdrops that we had set up and keeping their luggage out of the photo. Fun right?

After embarkation was complete, I had a lovely surprise – My camera and the rest of my uniform had arrived from Miami. Of course I took my camera to the back deck (crew area) and happily snapped away during sail away. It was awesome sitting there, taking in the views of Copenhagen and the zillions of wind turbines! My uniform fits great (I’m impressed) except for the tuxedo pants…. Why did I spend so much time measuring myself? The pants literally come up to my arm pits!

We visited quite a few ports this cruise, including Ålesund, Flåm, Honningsvåg, Tromsø, Bergen, Geiranger and Kristiansund. But enough about that, this post is supposed to be about me and more importantly… My BIRTHDAY!

Birthday Celebrations

If you didn’t know, my birthday is on the 11th June – diarize that now! So… On day 4 of the cruise I woke up to my birthday. This day was ultra special because we spent the day circling the Arctic Circle. On Monday, 10th June, sunset was at 23:55 and on the 11th June (my birthday) the sunrise was at 03:00 and it shone ALL DAY! Whoop whoop! In fact, we didn’t have a sunset for 3 days. On the third day the sun was only like 5° above the horizon, but still! I woke up to a lovely “Happy Helen Day” sign made by Marli (my cabin mate and fellow SA Photog) and she even included a drawing of a partying penguin. So Barry… You were actually right, I did see a penguin on my birthday! After a quick phone call to Mum, I hurriedly opened my birthday cards that she had secretly packed in my bag and I had, like the good girl I am, put away for this occasion. I’m so lucky to have such an amazing Mum and brother. Thank you for the cards! I love you both SO much!

I only started work at 12:30pm, but after that I was busy working in the gallery, setting up my studio and shooting until we finished work just after 11pm. After work I returned to my cabin to the delightful sight and aroma of chocolate cake. What a lovely surprise from my Photo peeps! All 8 of us then squeezed into my cabin for that delightful treat. Yumbles! After the cake we quickly changed into some warm clothes and headed to the back deck for some party party!

The next day was Philippines Independence Day (12th June) and there was a big, festive party on the back (crew only) deck to celebrate with free beer. It was a weird, but liberating experience to be dancing in the early hours of the morning with the midnight sun shining down on us! It was definitely a night to remember. Thanks to everyone, on the ship and elsewhere for all the well wishes and making my day so special.

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The day after my birthday we visited Honningsvåg. I didn’t get a chance to explore much, but truth be told, after 3 hours doing Gangway, I was beyond freezing and just wanted the warmth of my bed! It must have been about 5° outside and I was so very thankful that I packed my thermal underwear! That evening we sailed past the North Cape Point so now I can say that I’ve been to the Southernmost tip of Africa (Cape Agulhas) and the Northern most point of Europe (North cape). How cool am I? The answer is VERY COOL!

North Cape

Funny Guest Story: I had this Spanish couple come to my studio and as I was posing them for a photo, the man realized that his fly was down… he quickly turned around to fix it, but he couldn’t pull it up. I stood quietly, awkwardly averting my eyes for a very long 5 minutes while he and his wife worked on pulling his zip up. Because I’m a professional, I waited until they had left my studio before laughing!

Highlight of the cruise: The everlastingly sunny (and ever so chilly) birthday! In fact, we had 3 full days of sunshine this cruise!



One thought on “the Arctic Birthday – Cruise # 2

  1. Hi Helen & a very belated Happy Birthday! Glad to hear u r having such a great time & enjoying yourself! I love hearing your stories & what u r up to. Our lives r definitely not as ineteresting as yours! No news here from this side except we r praying for rain again. Hear from u soon. Regards Debi
    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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