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!



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