the New Years “Jol” – Cruise # 26

Explorer of the Seas Voyage # 640
Bayonne – Bahamas 7 nights cruise

I am feeling extremely sleep deprived. If you’ve never experienced this (lucky you) it’s rather tricky to describe… First I crave sugar – the soda and chocolate stash in Chef’s cabin has dwindled considerately this cruise. Next I become overtired which makes me hyperactive, perhaps bought on by all the chocolate, but maybe it’s just my “normal” craziness coming out? The last step? Zombie exhaustion! I’ve been walking around with my eyelids half closed for the past couple days! Luckily for me, our crazy wonderful New Years party fell during step 2 of this process. Introducing Hyperactive Helen!

The New Years party was insanely lovely! We were actually dreading New Year’s Eve as our boss threatened to keep us working past midnight if we didn’t shoot our targets! Ahhhh!! But guess what? We finished at 11:30pm and even though we weren’t close to the group target, Ioana brought the champagne out and we headed up to the promenade to enjoy the count down. Chef joined us there and was forced into trying his hand at photography… Not bad!

almost the whole team, group shot
almost the whole team

After the count down we all went to change and then headed to the back deck where the party was rocking. Yiling and I decided to make a bit of an effort (doesn’t normally happen) and wear some lipstick. Well, were we ever popular! Haha! Happy New Years kisses to our favourites resulted in beautiful, bright lips being painted on their cheeks. When other people saw this, they came to us for kisses too!

This was my best New Year’s party in ages! I normally find New Year’s Eve such a let down, but laughing and dancing and taking photos with all my Explorer friends was the perfect way to finish off a wonderful year and start (hopefully) an even better one… Although I’m not sure how that would be possible!

On the work front, my favourite day was spent in CocoCay (Bahamas) which, like Labadee (Haiti) is a private beach resort belonging to Royal Caribbean. Last cruise I was on gangway, in the heat, in that damn parrot costume, so you can imagine how I was excited to be shooting beach this time! Shooting beach here was so much easier than at Labadee. Firstly, the targets are lower and secondly, there are a lot of families cruising at the moment, children = quick and easy pictures! I even finished early enough to join Chef on one of the beach “golf cart” buggies while he drove around to check on the different barbecue stations. This brings me to the only negative of the day. The food. When we’re at Labadee, we’re allowed to join the guests for lunch at their beach barbecue, but not here… Here we’re banished to a rather dodgy, back of the kitchen, picnic area to eat a hamburger or hot dog and a miserable bit of fruit. No lovely variety of fruit, no sticky ribs, no assortment of salads and no nice cookies! Sniff!

Lovely South African guests story: I can’t end this post without mentioning how nice it has been to have very many South Africans on this and the Previous 2 cruises. So lovely to hear the accent and feel the camaraderie of my peeps! There was one family in particular who have been really friendly. They did back-to-back cruises and have been coming to visit me at the Christmas tree every day to say “howzit”! The really great guests make me feel so happy and special!

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Highlight of the cruise: Realising how amazing this past year has been. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I travelled to so many amazing, obscure and fascinating places. I met so many wonderful, fun and friendly people. I learnt so much, in so many ways and from so many people. I grew as a person, into who I am and want to be. And I met my Chef. Really… 2014 has a lot to live up to!

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