Backstage Travels

All the world's a stage…

New Pride

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We’ve started a new contract on a ship called the Carnival Pride, and boy is it…something.

This contract started in Hollywood, Florida for a month. Frank and I were selected to bring out new shows to the Pride. We were provided with a little furnished house to live in with our supervisors, and went every morning to a warehouse that was converted into a rehearsal studio.

This was our little house.

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There wasn’t much to do except go to the studio most days, but every Monday, there was a gathering of food trucks not too far from where we were staying. We made a point of getting out of the house and going every week.

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The month went fairly slowly. While I had all the set pieces and most of the props for the shows, and Frank had all the sound equipment he needed, most of the time I’d set up a scene and then they’d spend all day in that one scene. There were days I did nothing but cross stitch. I tried to watch videos of the shows and write the cue sheets, but my supervisor left after just a few days to demolish the old shows, so I had little direction. It didn’t matter…all the paperwork I did there was eventually scrapped, and we did everything from scratch…but I digress.

In the last few days of October, we were sent to the Pride while it was in dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas. We had to take the tiniest plane ever! And, clearly, the whole airline was on what we call “island time,” because the plane was sitting at the gate when we arrived at the airport, but we didn’t start boarding until what was supposed to be departure time.

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The flight was super short, though, and we actually got to the Bahamas at the time we were supposed to. Our luggage, however, did not. I suppose they didn’t consider that at least 10 of the passengers would be packing for 7 months, and the rest would have tools and equipment…about 100 lbs per person. The plane ended up being too heavy to fly, and without telling us, the airline personnel took several bags off the flight, including one of Frank’s, and one of mine. We were not happy, to say the least. Luckily, there was another flight coming from that same airport that evening, so we eventually did get our bags.

For dry dock, basically the entire ship was undergoing renovation while sitting on blocks out of the water. We missed the worst part, apparently, but there was still no air conditioning some days, and the water was shut off at night. There were a couple days when the water wasn’t shut off, but we couldn’t use it because of fluoride.

We could get off the ship in the evening if we had time, and take a chartered bus from the port to Port Lucaya, about 30 minutes away, for decent food and internet. The bus only had about 50 seats on it, and left on the half hour. Some bus drivers were sticklers for having only the amount of passengers that there were seats, which means some nights, people got left behind to either wait an hour or take a taxi. Luckily, Frank and I were never left behind, but there was never a line, just a mob of people elbowing other people to get out of their way. It was frustrating and chaotic, and gave a real insight to how certain people operate.

We finally set sail on November 7th (maybe? The days ran together…) and got to Tampa on the 9th (definitely the 9th). Our department still had several shows to install. We opened with two main shows and the Love and Marriage show, but we have 7 day cruises, so we brought on several variety show acts to fill the other nights. We still had two main production shows and three other shows/games to install. Every week we opened something new for another month or so.

That month was…interesting. I learned about working with bosses whose idea of encouragement was kind of degrading. I also learned how difficult it is working under two people who are at the same professional level in the hierarchy…especially when they don’t share certain visions.

But it’s over! The Office Personnel have left, we’re in operation, and the ship is ours now. We’ve opened 4 great production shows from PLAYLIST ™ Productions, and Carnival’s Hasbro the Game Show, which is actually kind of fun (go Red Team!).

This is the first time I’ve been able to get off the ship anywhere but Tampa the entire time we’ve been in service. Frank’s stuck on the ship on duty, so I took the day to just see the sun for more than ten minutes at a time and grab some free-ish WiFi. More updates coming soon!

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Hey, we’re not hermit crabs!

We do go out sometimes once. Last Nassau day, Frank and I got off the ship early (!) and went to Paradise Island to visit the Atlantis Resort and their aquarium.Β 

First, we saw this guy:

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Then we had to take a picture of the “JMU fish” for Frank:

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Then there were so many!100_2277

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And this shark:

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This part of the aquarium was called The Dig, and they modeled it to look like the Lost City of Atlantis.

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Shark again.

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And another sting ray

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The attention to detail in the architecture was pretty incredible.

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The JMU fish again.

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This was our guide paper to the fish as we walked through the place:

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Then we saw the lobsters100_2291

 

 

And I only got one good picture of a lionfish. I think they’re awesome100_2297

Schools!

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This fish was weird and bony:

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As I walked around the corner to this next tank, I cried out “Oh my god…” The pictures can’t really show you just how big this grouper is…

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It’s massive

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Then there was a touch tank.

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Lots of fish!100_2310

100_2311Then the jellies

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100_2314They’re so pretty

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I couldn’t get a good shot of this pufferfish.100_2318

 

 

Clownfish are my favourite fishes! Even before Finding Nemo. We used to have one that lived in a shell because we didn’t have an anenome.
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Most of the seahorses were difficult to spot among the seaweed, but this guy stood out.
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We left the Dig, and made our way to the predators exhibit. The walk was beautiful as well.100_2326

 

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There was a whole group of these guys:100_2331

 

And then this one:100_2333

 

The predators part was under that shell building.100_2335

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I think this one looks like a Gyarados:100_2339

I have been playing pokemon a lot.100_2340

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SHARKS!100_2344

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And this fish.100_2346

I love tunnel aquariums like this. Though the BGM was a little horrible.100_2347

Look! A flying barracuda!100_2348

Swordfish!100_2349

We saw another massive fish. I had Frank stand near it to gauge how big it was.Β 100_2350

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He’s…hiding…100_2352

And some seatutles! (For Isaac)100_2353

And some poisony-looking eels.100_2357

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As we left, we were waved out by this creepy mannequin:100_2355

It was a good trip. And it’s odd, because we’ve gone to at least three aquariums together on separate occasions, and Frank doesn’t like the ocean lol…

He says this always reaffirms his fear of the sea. I think sea creatures are awesome.

So…now no one can say we didn’t do anything on our trip/job. We saw fish.Β 

 

 

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My birthday!

So…Tuesday was my birthday!!!

And I was in Nassau, Bahamas. Now, I have stated before that Nassau …may not be my favourite port ever. However, my friends told us about a pretty hotel called Graycliff. It has a beautiful pool area and a koi pond. Oh! And a chocolate factory. I was so busy having a good time, that I didn’t take any pictures of the place. I’ll get on that next time.

We also partied pretty hard in the crew party the night leading up to my birthtime, and Tuesday night after work while we were leaving Nassau.

My friends decorated my door on Monday night:

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I didn’t get a picture while there was still limbo crepe paper up because our steward needed to come in and clean. But still… πŸ™‚

And then presents!

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And cards!

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One of the dancers, Sandy, made the black card. It’s black Gaffe (ish) tape on black construction paper. It’s cute because pretty much everything I do and wear is in black as the backstage manager.

And here’s some of the chocolate from Graycliff:

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Doesn’t the blue one look like a painting? It was dark chocolate and salted caramel. The other was milk chocolate and mango.

So I’ll be back with Graycliff pictures. And I promise not to leave this much of a gap…no I don’t. But I’ll try πŸ™‚

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Sensational!

My poor travel blog has been a bit neglected of late, and I’m sorry.

The thing is, with all my trainings, I’ve not done too much in my ports of call yet. I’ll write about those trainings once I get all the pictures back.

Oh, and also, Frank and I are FINALLY on the same ship πŸ™‚ So I’ve been enjoying that for a while.

So…the Carnival Sensation.

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Same class ship as the Imagination, so I kinda knew my way around (physically, at least).

And I know my way around on of the ports already. We’re in Nassau, Bahamas twice a week in this run:

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(You can’t know how difficult it is to get a picture of that sign with no people in it. I had to take my moment!)

Anyway, the Bahamas are celebrating 40 years of independence this year on July 10 (same as my brother’s birthday!). They’ve been celebrating for about a month. 40 days up until the 10th.

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We’ll be here on the 9th, and till 1 am on the 10th…

There is one place we’ve been hanging out a lot. This pub is mostly for crew of ships.IMG_0275

Good food and good internet. Hard combination to come by.

 

Our other port (besides home) is Freeport, Bahamas.IMG_0856

I haven’t really had a chance to look around this port a whole bunch. Frank doesn’t like being in the hot too much, and that’s pretty much all it is lol.

This place has good burgers, though:

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And we take them back to the ship.

 

Once the tech rehearsals are finished and we both feel a little better, I think I’ll explore a bit more around Freeport.

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Home

Actually, I’ve been home for several days now. I got home on the 1st. And then Frank had to leave on the 3rd. We got like 30 hours together. Anyway….

My last port was Cozumel. And here’s where I spent it.

This is at a place called NoName Bar. It’s For Crew, By Crew since 1999. Apparently, it was opened by someone who worked for cruise ship. It’s under a resort hotel called Barracuda. This is the pier where we jumped into the sea:

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This is a resort called El Cid.

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Here’s El Cid’s pier:

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The snorkeling is really good here. The fish are vibrant and plentiful. Unfortunately, I’m too broke/cheap to buy an underwater camera. Ah well. Take my word for it, though. If you go to Cozumel, and you want to snorkel for a short amount of time, go here. It’s cheaper and more fun than an excursion.

Also this:

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And the night was rounded off with dinner at Three Amigos. It’s a little too party-ish for me, personally. Like people dancing on theΒ  bar.

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Soooo…..

Now I’m home.

I went from this:

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To this…outside my window this morning…

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This is stupid and cold…

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Play on, Nassau!

Nassau, I will admit, is not my favourite of our ports. That isn’t to say that I’m not grateful to go to the Bahamas every week! But I do like Cozumel better for sun and fun. At least where we port.

There is one thing about Nassau, though, that I’m absolutely in love with.

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Marching band music is a huge deal here. Look, it’s even on the money!!

As a former member of two high school marching bands, I am still quite in love with them and the music. It’s so unique. All music is…but marching band music is so close to my heart.

Look, the Drum Majors!

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They closed off the whole street for them. Then they started to march away!101_2068

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Yes, there are steel drums at every corner. But how many places do you know that have real concerts randomly in the middle of the street with school age kids? There was a little boy who looked about 6, rocking the snare. I tried to get a picture of him, but he was too quick!

Today was not a good beach day, so it was shopping, internet, and this band for me today.

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Flying high!

Cozumel’s the place to be, man. Seriously, it’s the best place for excursions because we’re there for several hours, and there’s a bunch of cool stuff to do. Remember the dolphins? Cozumel. Ziplining? Cozumel.

Oh, wait…

I haven’t posted about zip line? Let me rectify that right now.

Three Cozumels ago (last week, I was portmanning, and the week before was when Frank came to visit…), my roommate and I went Zip Lining through a mexican jungle.IMG_6741

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It was so fun, and we got to go around the tracks twice. They told us it was because we were special because we were the first group of the day…but we’re pretty sure they tell that to all the groups.

Oh and then we went snorkeling:101_2020

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It was neat πŸ™‚ And I don’t know how we jumped in the sea all those times without touching all these fish!

 

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New Year’s and Swimming with Dolphins!

So I swam with dolphins today ^_^

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And we danced.

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And we kissed. My New Year’s kiss!

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Her name is Troya, and she’s about 5 years old. She was really cool to swim with.

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This was my first excursion and it was awesome. I went with my friend and roommate Jenny. This is us on New Year’s :

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We had the date right up there on the famous Carnival Funnel:

 

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It was supposed to change from 2012 to 2013, but it just ended up looking like this:101_2002

These were our guests:101_1994

And this was the crew, where we were all invited to the Lido Deck for the countdown:101_1988

 

Apparently someone complained about us partying up on deck to ring in the new year. There were drinks, but none being served up there, and there was just music and hugs, mostly. This person wrote that since they paid to be there, they should have been able to party, while we wait on them. They wanted their cruise comped. Fortunately, our Guest Services person is sane, and disregarded it.

Oh, and Frank’s coming to visit on the 11th! So excited!

All in all, it’s been a pretty good year so far πŸ˜€

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Christmas in the Caribbean

That goes with this song:

I like Jimmy Buffett. Luckily, so do the people of Key West, which is where I am spending Christmas morning.

And here’s a rooster laying in poinsettias:

And a chicken family:

I like that we’re still in the US so that I could call my family while they were opening the presents I sent πŸ™‚

It doesn’t really feel like the holidays though…any of the holidays.

I mean, the ship has been decorated all month, Decorations

and we had to do a stupid “Holiday Show” that was the bane of the techs’ existence because of the retardedly heavy set piece (I probably mentioned before that it’s a Christmas show with the Dreidel song in it…),Set

and we lit the Menorah,

Tree and Menorahand we even had a little tree in our room!

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But it’s just not the same without family and Frank…

Also, this is how I got power to my computer for this post:

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My friends and I got up wicked early this morning to eat breakfast. We shouldn’t have bothered…it was sub-par. And then we exchanged presents around our little tree that we took from the desk and put on the floor. I got a wide variety of gifts, from candy to perfume (POWERPUFF GIRLS 10TH ANNIVERSARY AND IT SMELLS AWESOME)powerpuff-girls-10th-anniversary-de-warner-bros-eau-de-toilette-spray-50-ml

to some things I’d rather not share…

The cast and techs have to work from 6pm to 10 pm…which is exactly the times that the staff mess hall is open… So room service brings up food for us on show nights…

This was our Christmas dinner:

Christmas Dinner

Luckily, this was our Christmas dessert:

Christmas Dessert

And one of our dancers serenaded us with a toy piano book:

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Everyone has liked my gifts so far at home…but I really miss everyone.

Happy Christmas.

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Sick Sickly….

I’ve been pretty sick for the past week and a half. I should have been taken off of duties, but anyone who knows me at all knows that I try to avoid that as much as possible.
It’s tough being sick on a ship. You’re in such close quarters with everyone, especially your roommate. And our vents are covered in dust. Luckily I don’t deal with guests very much. One, because then I don’t give them the plague, and two, they don’t give me anything else.

No shows were cancelled, though my sick brain did check out during one show, and it was really close to having to call a show stop.

I’m better now, and its really nice to get off the ship and breathe some fresh air.

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