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107 after a very long day

Ship Life.

We had a guy sign on 9 days ago when we were last in Baltimore and he is leaving today.  This life just wasn’t for him; he spent the last week in a dissonant condition, juggling the hopes he had for 9 months of adventure at sea to the reality of living where you work and having your time not exactly your own.

Your time is not your own here.  We have meetings at 8:00pm, hell we even had one at 9:30pm.  We have events that are mandatory and require a suit.  Which as bad as that seems, it is worse for the girls as they have to dress up and do makeup and hair and be ready to go at 11:30 P-fucking-M.  These are the big parties and they want staff and officers to be there, dressed and hobnobing.  I had to set an alarm so that if I fell asleep reading, I could wake up, dress up and go mingle.  The spa girls taught me a very important mingle lesson:  do it in pairs.  This facilitates entry into the conversation because everyone wants to talk to the 22 year old platinum blonde from Chelsea bubbling over with personality and champagne.  Then you can tag team the small talk.

How are you enjoying the cruise
Did you get a chance to get off the boat today
Really?  (what “really” actually means is, I’m not listening to *what* you are saying, but I     noticed that you stopped saying it and if I start listening now maybe I can pick up     the tread)
25 cruises!?  Which have been your favorite?

Working in pairs also facilitates exit

This is where my mingle partner, who ,while I’m engaged in inanities, is planning her exit strategy.

“I’m so sorry to interrupt” she will say, “but I just saw Mr, __________ and, David, I know he wants to talk to you, so sorry to pull you away, please forgive us and enjoy the party.”

Mr. _______ is usually the guy walking around with a tray of free drinks.  When you mingle single, you get stuck talking to Barbara from Yonkers, who, from a lifetime of being boring has evolved rhetorical skills that keep you stuck while she slowly sucks your time away.  These are the conversations you have to physically be extracted from.  The spa girls are pretty good at noticing when this is happening and covering your exit.

Your time is not your own in many other respects.  Trainings can be scheduled at any time and your presence is required.  If you don’t go there is the standard line that is at the bottom of about every email concerning training, “disciplinary action might be taken up to and including termination.”  You might be tasked to Port Manning.  This is when you have to stay on the boat when we are in port even if you planned this as your day off.  When we dock in Miami, we are walking distance from the Royal Caribbean corporate headquarters and the boat starts crawling with corporate, sorry you can’t get off, they might want to meet you.

You might plan a morning off the boat but they have scheduled an immigration.  So you will stand in line for an hour or more just to have a customs guy say, “Oh, you are a US citizen, you can go.”

This life isn’t for everyone and I was told that when I was asking around about what it was like.  I’m not sure it is for me, but it is getting better.  The worst jobs are tolerable when you like the people you work with, but that is another odd part of the ship.  Just when you get to strike up a friendship with someone, their contract is up and they are off the ship.  Almost every port you stop in there is a small crew change and in home port there is a sizable one.  900 crew all on different rotations.  I just started to make friends with a guy who is a nurse from Sicily, finally got to the point where, if either of us saw the other eating alone in the mess, we could at least, have some decent conversation.  He is leaving when we hit St Croix, 2 days.  Dammit, I finally get a mess friend and now I will be eating alone again.


November 12, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Did you get to practice your Italian w/your Sicilian friend?

    Comment by Mom | November 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. certo

    Comment by davidsjones | November 12, 2010 | Reply

  3. …..I can’t decide if the cool waves-out-the-portal video trumps this or not.

    Comment by Marian Morris | November 12, 2010 | Reply

  4. hahaha….its always a guessing game whether to engage a guest in conversation…. Are you really getting out at 11:30 in your tie to mingle? Hows the new spa manager?

    Comment by alison goss | November 13, 2010 | Reply

    • Yes I am getting out. I usually get a couple of free drinks and try to get to bed at a reasonable time. The new spa manager is great. I really like her, she likes to get stuff done, she is not afraid of anything and she thinks rules are made to be broken if it increases revenue. She is very encouraging, but also coming from the Solstice she is in for a bit of a surprise. Sharon is transferring off, Carol is gone in 5 weeks and Louise had a bit of a row with her bf and is thinking of leaving. $1,500 in penalty and plane ticket.

      How did Vegas treat you?

      Comment by davidsjones | November 13, 2010 | Reply

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