the Bermuda Adventures Continue – Cruise # 17, 18 & 19

Explorer of the Seas Voyage # 631, 632 & 633

Cape Liberty – Bermuda 7 night cruise

OK. I need to just get this off my chest. These guests are ridiculous! I now know where the term “hen pecked” originated!! All these older New Jersey ladies shout at their poor husbands over the silliest of things. They turn the wrong way and the helpful husband tells them so… but apparently they should be mind readers and know before that she was going to go the wrong way… and they get shouted at in a whiny high pitch, aggressive voice that carries all the way down the Royal Promenade (OK, I may be exaggerating a leeetle bit, but still, the “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME!” allegation gets violently hurled at the poor, unsuspecting husband. Like… umm… Are you that dumb and dependent that you can’t read the toilet sign yourself? Should you be allowed to enter the restroom by yourself? I have my doubts…

Now that my rant is out of the way, I must admit that the guests on the last 2 Bermuda cruises were a lot nicer and better behaved. This might be because there weren’t as many from New Jersey! Though most of the guests were American, there were also some really nice British folks who even liked to have their photo taken – imagine that Lina! One of the ladies is from Leicester and her maiden name is Wright – maybe we’re related?

This team is so social. We spend a lot of time together in the evenings, mostly having a drink(s) on the Back Deck. I’m feeling really relaxed with everyone and we’ve been having some really nice chats. It’s so strange (and good) to talk to people from such a completely different background. Take the Belarusians for example. Did you know that in Belarus, during winter it can get as cold as -40°C! Man!!! You can wake up and not be able to open the door, because the snow is so high!! It’s such a surreal situation for me and the Belarusians couldn’t stop laughing at me, with my mouth frozen open in pure shock and disbelief.

During one of our overnights in Bermuda, we decided (after a few beers on the Back Deck) to head outside. So off we set, me in my jeans and white t-shirt and wearing a big grin on my face – we’re going out for real! You see, at home “going out” means going out at night to PARTY (whoop whoop!!) but on the ship, “going out” means getting off the ship!

We ended up at Snorkel Park and after popping in at the bar, decided we preferred the liberty and unanimity that relaxing near the water’s edge under the warm dark sky offered. Sounds peaceful right? Well it started off that way…

We dragged some deck chairs together and began some lively chatter, when (it was bound to happen) someone decided it was time for a swim… a few of the guys took off their shirts and plunged into the sea, splashing each other and giving the rest of us some rather amusing entertainment… However, this fun was short lived when some security guards rocked up and told them to get out the water – for their safety of course. This happened a few times and then (apparently) the security guards gave up on us, because they didn’t bother us again. Even when, out of nowhere, Ian raced towards me, picked me up and proceeded to toss me into the sea. As I mentioned, I was wearing jeans (not really ideal for swimming) and a WHITE t-shirt… oh dear! In the end we were all happily splashing about and jumping from the blow-up raft that was oh-so -conveniently floating nearby. What a wonderful, wet evening!

We also had a team bonding Cheese and Wine evening. We had some lovely, tasty (and some stinky) cheese, crackers and wine – thank you lovely managers! After the food was finished I was treated to a luxurious shoulder (thanks Floyd) and foot (thanks Alex) massage at the same time. There really is TOO much love in this team!

We had our monthly one-on-one meetings with our BM (Business Manager, AKA the big boss) Ioana during the last Bermuda run. All is good. Everyone is happy with my performance and I was given a VIC card. Why you ask? Because I’m wonderful! You may remember that I was given a VIC card on the Vision of the Seas and got to spin the WHEEL OF WOW! Well here on Explorer of the seas, it’s a little less exciting… Our friendly HR personnel fan out a bunch of cards and you pick one to win a prize! Haha. I won a meal for 2 at Johnny Rockets, which is a diner style hamburger restaurant. Hmmm… who should I take???

Bermuda Panorama

Funny Van story: So Van had a delicious meal in the Staff Mess… what was it you ask? Well in his words, it was “the tail of the ox!”

Funny Floyd story: I’ve been learning a bit about the Jamaican culture and according to Floyd, after you turn 31 you finally become a grown up, because your age is no longer on the calendar… You have to admit, it does make sense in a “No Problem” kinda way!

Funny Misha story: Apparently Belarusians have a rather wacky sense of humour… Here is a joke from Misha.

Q: Did you hear about the Hedgehog who learnt how to breathe out of its bum hole?

A: It sat on a chair and suffocated to death!

Apparently this is the epitome of Belarusian humour. I found it (and still find it) hilarious! HELarious! Of course this lead to a conversation about Hedgehogs and do you know what? They have super loads of wild hedgehogs in Belarus, even in the cities. Misha lives in Minsk and there was an abandoned house next door to his childhood home with a wild, untamed garden that attracted loads of hedgehogs and he used to catch them (they’re not very fast apparently) and keep them in his room (only for a few days) as pets. While we’re on the subject, do you know how hedgehogs mate? The female is able to flatten out her spikes to allow the male to enter without poking himself… Lucky Mr hedgehog! As you can tell, this conversation went on for quite a while and I am now quite an expert on hedgehogs! It might come in handy one day…

Highlight of the cruises: Wonderful times with the team and my iPad arrived! What’s the first thing I downloaded you ask? Plants vs Zombies 2 of course!!! Oh and I had a sneaky Day off! My signature card has finally been filled – they give out signatures much easier on Explorer than they did on Vision. So on my day off I slept, I relaxed, I did some washing, I did some lab training and I wrote (yes, that was the day that 4 blog posts went up, if you can remember so far back!)  – I thought I was rather industrious!



the Exploration Begins – Cruise # 15 & 16

Explorer of the Seas Voyage # 629 & 630
Cape Liberty – Bermuda 7 night cruise

View from the Port of Bayonne. Can you spot the Statue of Liberty?
View from the Port of Bayonne. Can you spot the Statue of Liberty?

Welcome to Explorer and welcome to Bermuda! Yes, after an amazing 5 day break in England (special thanks to Michaela, Alex, David, Michael and Jane) I have made it to my new ship! My new home port is the Port of Bayonne (which is in New Jersey and is a stone’s throw away from New York City) and for the next 5 weeks we will be doing the exact same route over and over and over and over again!

Day 1: Embark (boarding day) – leave Bayonne approx 4pm
Day 2: Sea Day
Day 3: Sea Day
Day 4: Bermuda
Day 4: Bermuda
Day 5: Leave Bermuda approx 3pm
Day 6: Sea Day
Day 7: Sea Day

But you know what? Besides all the sea days (which mean longer working hours as the photo gallery has to be kept open from 9am – 11pm) this run isn’t too bad. Bermuda is quite beautiful, there’s a beach within walking distance and we get 2 overnights – it’s so nice being able to be off the ship when it’s dark! The Shoppee’s especially loved this, as the shops need to be closed when the ship is docked (all to do with tax regulations) and so, besides doing some stores (restocking the shops and deboxing new stock) they basically had 3 days off. Kiff life! It was really nice for Security too… They only had to set up the gangway once for the entire cruise – normally it’s at least 3 per 7-day cruise.

It’s a little strange being part of a bigger team… Instead of 5 photographers, I’m now on a team of 10. It’s weird to be working all day and at 7pm realize you haven’t seen some of the team yet! On Vision I had normally seen all my friends from all departments by lunch time! Haha. Explorer has 1200 crew and Vision only had 700! Poor baby Vision.

The team is very social and I find myself on the back deck quite often… Hey! It’s after work and I’m bonding! The HR and Crew Welfare team also seem to be more active here. During the first Bermuda cruise they organized a midnight “booze cruise” for us crew. Well … you had to sign up for it in the HR centre and let then deduct $10 from your sea pass account, but they organized it and it was a blast!

booze cruise adventures

Bermuda is supposedly famous for its “pink” beaches. I use “pink” very loosely, because if you go there expecting the sand the be completely bright pink, you will be in for a disappointment. There are millions of pink granules mixed among the millions more normal coloured sand granules on most of the Bermuda beaches. It is rather pretty, but you only notice it if you pick up a handful of sand to get a closer look. I repeat. The beaches do not have a pink tinge to them at first glance! A few of us took a taxi out to one of the lesser known “pink” beaches to get away from the crowds and had really great time. A bit of reading, a bit of swimming in the clear, warm water (I even spotted a stripy fish and got stupidly excited about it!) and of course we swigged on a few Bermuda (sweet tasting) local beers.

On the work side I’ve been working super hard to try and learn all the new things on this ship. The gallery alone has a bunch of different offerings for the guests. Explorer has facial recognition, which is built upon us photographers swiping the guests sea passes before taking their photo – obviously this can only be done when we are shooting portraits in a proper studio. We do this with a pentab, which is basically a small laptop with special software and swiping capabilities. It’s quite clever really. Once we have swiped the guest’s card, those photos get stored onto their sea pass and then they can come to the Photo Gallery and just by swiping their card on one of our Kiosk machines, they can view all their photos. All this is new to me. Then obviously, things are done differently on the various ships and under different managers, so I have to shoot a little different and remember how all the different studio set-ups are done here.

Funny guest story: The guests on Explorer all seem to be from New Jersey. Seriously. I don’t even ask anymore! What is cool about this is that one of the men, in a very loud Joey Tribbiani impersonation, actually asked me “How You Doin?” I felt like I was stuck in a Friends episode. It was awesome and made my night!

Highlight of the cruise: Not getting lost! Can you believe it? Me, with my terrible sense of direction? Oh and I didn’t have to wear a jersey (sweater) even once!

To my new team: Yiling (China), Tetyana (Ukraine), Ian (Ukraine), Alex (Belarus), Sasha (Belarus), Jymmi (Guatamala), Misha (Belarus), Van (China), Floyd (Jamaica), Wayne (South Africa), Ioana (Croatia) and Prit (India). Thanks for making my first 2 weeks pretty wonderful. To Harry (India), who left after my first cruise, enjoy vacation!