Cruising into 2014

Ever since I first saw Poseidon (this one, not so much the original from the ’70s) I’ve wanted to celebrate New Year's Eve on a cruise ship. For some reason, when I worked on ships before they would play the movie on the cabin TV system and whenever I was having a bad day I would watch up to the count down, the ship flip and all the following destruction in all its glorious special effects realism. Then I would feel better and go back to work. Despite all the fatalities and the fact that according to the google results I found ‘rogue waves’ are in fact real and not just a fake threat like "Jungle Fever" was to the characters of Days of Our Lives that one time many years ago, I have always wanted to celebrate New Year's Eve this way. 2013 was a crazy year with some really low lows but it was also a year where so many of my dreams were realised and it was pretty cool that it ended on that note too. 

My cruise ship New Years was not free of its own rogue waves, fortunately, they were just little ones. - The kind that doesn’t flip ships just turn stomachs. On 31 December, we had dropped anchor just off the coast of our private island and were tendering guests there, when a wind came up very unexpectedly, making the waters very rocky and making tendering very unsafe (mostly the part where people have to get from the bobbing-like-crazy boat to the more stationary ship).  We had to evacuate the island to try and get everyone back on board before it got even worse.

The cruise staff had already spent most of the morning getting people from the ship onto the boats but, after putting up New Years decorations and a 30 minute break for lunch, the Cruise Director asked us to come down to the gangway to welcome the guests back on board and to try to do some damage control to the general morale. The adrenaline junkies were very impressed that after paying to go on the wave runners (a.k.a. Jet skis) they had gotten double their money’s worth. The people who are not a fan of extreme sports, however, were less impressed and in many cases were crying. At least, in the spirit of finding a new lease on life, we helped people truly appreciate the value of their lives. 
...And no, that is not my handwriting 

After that experience, things could only improve. Fortunately, the weather cleared up for the evening’s events. Since we have an array of diverse guests, we had different parties scheduled in different areas to appeal to everyone’s tastes and the cruise staff were spread out among these. The Latino’s were in the Outrigger, the karaoke crowd (a.k.a the predominantly tone deaf and one guy that can sing) were in the Plantation Lounge, and the old people were with me in the Piano Bar ‘Captain Cooks’.  

Some of the other guests were spread among the disco ‘Dazzles’ and the atrium (where they did a balloon drop - like in the movie). But for the most part, people went to the open deck where they smashed an ice sculpture ‘3’ and replaced it with an ice sculpture ‘4’ at midnight - one that came after ice sculptures of ‘2’ ‘0’ and ‘1’ obviously. 

Fortunately, I was blissfully unaware of the epic party happening 5 decks above me or I would have cried like a traumatised guest on a tender boat. 

Down in Captain Cooks, we had a very chilled start to the new year. At one stage there was a raucous bunch of really old people who were making a little too much noise. They may have been geriatric but even they were too much fun for our party and moved on to another more happening venue for the countdown. I welcomed in 2014 with 5 couples (yes, I counted) Dave our piano man on the keys, Julian a dancer and Jean (pronounced “John”) from the Youth Staff who were obligated to be there. From 11:15 we handed out hats, tiara’s, blowers and other noisemakers. We had way more then we needed. 

Midnight itself was a little awkward. We were all poised waiting for the Captain to do the countdown over the PA system. He was a bit late and then there was this weird awkward pause that was followed eventually by another announcement that included ‘Happy New Year’ in it somewhere. To make it worse we were located right next to the disco where they were showing the ball dropping in Times Square on the Big Screen and we heard them celebrate before we heard any announcement. After the Captain’s awkward speech we did our own countdown and sang Old Lang Syne. Everyone was included in a complimentary champagne toast which was the highlight of this whole experience for my non-teetotaling colleagues. We then packed up (maybe a little faster than we should have) and headed for deck 11 for what was the biggest party I’ve seen on any ship.   

All the crew members who were not working and who are not normally entitled to guest area privileges were given them for the night so the back port side corner of the open deck turned into something of a crew party. We then moved to the crew bar where we were given free drinks. Then it was on to Dazzles where we discovered that they had extended our curfew from 2am to 4am. I left the party at 3:30 because I’m 30 now and I just can’t party like I’m 27 anymore. 

Happy 2014 everyone!  Life certainly isn't always smooth sailing but I’ll take literal rough seas over figurative ones any day. Hope this year brings whatever change you may be needing.  

In other news:

I was in Dancing with the Stars again

…and I came second. Yaaaay!!!!

For anyone who missed my previous blog, we do something on this ship called “Dancing with the Stars” which is like the TV show except instead of famous people, guests get to dance with Cruise Staff and Dancers, and the dances aren’t choreographed and it’s different from the show in every other possible way too, but sort of the same. The general rule is: The dodgier you are the more your chances of winning. Despite my mad dance skills as seen in kitchens and at wedding receptions everywhere, I have been voted out first every time I’ve been in it. Until Now!

We started the show by picking our dance partner out of a hat. I chose an old French Canadian guy called Phillipe. He looked familiar. Then I recognised his wife who was sitting in the exact same spot she was in the first time that I was in Dancing with the Stars. A lot of Canadians have homes in Florida, spend winter there and cruise often. Phillipe is one of those Canadians and he won Dancing with the Stars the last time he cruised. This worked both for and against us. For us because he knew what the judges were looking for, and against us (or at least me) because he knew what the judges were looking for. 

He had some “ideas” and although I was okay with some of them (i.e removing his shirt), I was also against some of them (i.e. There was no way in hell I was up for a recreation of Miley twerking on Robin Thicke or anything else that could in any way look like dry humping with this codger). Of course, there was not much time to explain my feelings on the subject. 

Before the show was over, he had removed three items of clothing. One of which was his belt. Which he placed around his neck. And tried to make me walk him like a dog. I thought our ‘thriller’ was good. I just ran away from him until he caught me and turned me into a zombie. On the whole, I brought a lot of awkwardness to our performance which I actually think worked in our favour. Ooh, and I have to give a shout out to the Dancing Bells (my brother’s old women-impersonating dance troupe)! For the final round, each remaining couple was given a genre. We picked River Dance. I used everything I had learnt watching the Bells and I was awesome! According to the judges though, Phillipe “looked like he had a bowel movement on the dance floor”.

Though I’ve yet to succeed at my ultimate goal of making it past the first round by avoiding all forms of dodginess, it is really nice to not be the person who comes last every time anymore. Yay! 

And yes, there is a video, and yes, you can watch it.

And I discovered online shopping

Remember how I used to be really bad at spending money on myself? Well, I’m getting better at it. I realised the other day that I have a US debit card with US dollars on it and an address in the US where I can send stuff, where Amazon is more likely to ship things to, often for free, and it actually gets there.  So I bought a pair of colour-changing flashing rainbow LED light shoelaces (because they didn’t have shoes with flashing lights in my size). How I have lived so long without them I do not know. They’re waterproof and according to the badly translated from Mandarin description, they can also be used on your pets. Don’t worry Beast, if these things work for even half the 70 hours the batteries supposedly last for, your human will buy you some. I love that I have a job where quirkiness is encouraged and that even though they are not in-line with our uniform policy, I’ll probably be allowed to wear them to work - even if it’s only for White Hot Party night. 

I also bought a case for my MacBook. A pink one. 
And today, I bought an adult-sized unicorn onesie. I can die happy now. - And I just might from exhaustion because if it’s as awesome as it looks in the picture I will probably be too excited to sleep ever again. Man, I’m going to be the envy of everyone at the next pyjama party I go to. (Yo Abi, New Girl pyjama marathon when I’m back?)  

I love the internet! 

Now to continue my search for a glow-in-the-dark Taj Mahal Snow Globe. 
I’m online now, does anyone want anything from the internet?

It's funny 'cause he's wearing a nappy (/diaper)

20 cruises down, roughly 30 to go
Wii Sports Resort Bowling score for yesterday’s all day duty: 164




Sharon Waugh

Sharon is a writer, cruise ship entertainment host and freelance unicorn wrangler, living it up on the high seas. She also likes to photograph a plastic lawn flamingo in exotic locations because it seemed like a good idea 10 years ago and 53 countries later, it’s probably too late to turn back now.

 Sharon greatly dislikes reading “travel blogs” by people who are just rephrasing press releases or composing lists like “15 ways to travel the world for cheap”, specifically formulated for SEO, with absolutely no evidence that the writer has ever left their bedroom. (This is not one of those blogs.) Sharon also dislikes bigotry and referring to herself in first person, apparently.

To find out more about Sharon and Rodrigo’s travel aspirations read this.

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