Walkers and togas, sing-songs and beer pong

It’s March and spring break is in full swing. While that was quite an experience last year on my first ship (read here), this year, things are a little different. Here (where I have been living for the past two weeks), the demographic is not quite the same. If my first ship was a party ship for young Miami peeps, this one is a ‘party’ ship for, well, …the geriatric. It’s no secret that Tampa is a bit of an oversized retirement village, so if Spring Break last year meant 1400 hot people trying to squeeze all their abs into the swimming pool at the same time, this year, it means there are 1977 retired people, 3 children and 20 hot young drunk people. Oh yeah, this time, the only ones urinating on the open decks are the those wearing depends. 

I knew coming to this ship that the guests would be older, but I don’t think I fully had a revelation of that until last Thursday. Thursday night (or “Costa Maya night”) is when we have the White Hot Party, the biggest party of the cruise (which is pretty much over by 11:30 on this ship). Prior to the party though, we have something that gets those ‘mature’ hearts pumping better than a new pace maker. Yes, when I got my schedule I was a little puzzled to see I would be handing out song booklets in the atrium in February but, it was no mistake. On this ship we have a sing-a-long with your senior officers in the atrium weekly (exciting stuff, right?) which is then followed by a balloon drop. Not only is it Christmas every Thursday (with “Sweet Caroline” instead of “Oh holy night”), it’s also New Years - but at around 9:00pm - midnight is way too late. 

The older demographic on this ship is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, in that old people frikkin love me, bad, in that none of my humour works on these people. I have this whole ‘painfully white attempt at hip hop’ intro that I do for Dancing with the Stars (I mean ‘the Freestyle dance off’) that totally falls flat with this audience. In the past, Australian Jayne (Hi Jayne) and I had this whole conversation about how British humour (and in our cases South African and Australian humour) can be very dry and verging on offensive, but you can get away with it if you throw in a ‘half-laugh’ at the end of your joke to let Americans know that you are in fact joking. As much as laughing at ones own jokes is about as loathsome to me as lukewarm baths and being tickled by creepy acquaintances, even that doesn’t work! - I’ve even started trying to dumb down my humour by saying things like: “Welcome to trivia, I sure hope your minds are sharper than our pencils” [Note to self: Ask Jinnine (Hi Jinnine!) where the electric sharpener is]. Still nothing!

This week, with ‘so many’ young people on board we have made some changes to our usual schedule. If on my last ship we would tone down or get rid of anything that encouraged excessive drinking for the Spring Break season, here the opposite is true. Beer Pong has been a big hit. We also added extra deck parties and theme parties (as alternatives to the 70’s party and the 50’s and 60’s sock hop). After I left all my Glow Party stuff at home (because we have White parties here instead) we had a 80’s neon party this week and on Wednesday we had a toga party where (try not to be jealous, mom) I got to tie sheets on half naked guys with abs. I’m a toga-tying pro now, just so you know.


Spring Break pretty much continues until the end of March with different universities taking breaks at different times but, so far to my knowledge, it’s been pretty uneventful: no arrests or forced disembarkations, no vandalism of the ship, and no public defeacation. Yawn! 

Rodrigo and I in port


What I like about my new ship:


Its the same class as my first ship - If my first ship was a Toyota Tazz, this one is also a Toyota Tazz. So, though it’s different, it looks the same and I know where everything is. Sort of.

My team is awesome. They are really nice and helpful and, where on my last ship I was the organised one, here they’re all the organised one!

I already had the ship lung
On ships people often get sick in their first two weeks on board. It’s kinda a rite of passage so I’m glad I got that out the way.

The Mexicans! If there was a Colombian Filipino band on my first ship, this one has a Mexican Filipino band. They’re really awesome (and no, I’m not dating any members, okay? It doesn’t happen often, but I can like musicians without liking musicians. Geez)

I spit on people for a living now
I’m trying to figure out how to work this as a skill on my linked in profile but yeah, my job on this ship requires me to don a toga (again) and participate in a Cruise Staff skit where we pretend to be human fountains to an Enya song. Nothing like spewing water on teammates to really help you bond. My mom would love it.

They have Key Ring Light Thingies!!!! 
If you don’t know what I’m talking about click here. The only problem is that here instead of giving out prizes most of the time we just give the guests signatures on their activity cards which they cash in for prizes on the last night. So tragically there is no need for me to give my spiel. 


What I don’t like about my new ship:

It’s the same class as my first ship - So it looks the same but none of my old friends are here.

The tea - Onboard they have this craptastic ‘Organic’ tea. It takes three tea bags to make a weak not nice cup of tea. And I forgot my five roses!

I’m not a minority! 
That’s right! There’s another South African Cruise Staff on this ship. The first one I’ve met on this cruise line. I’ve always been the only one and I’ve always liked that. At least he’s a boy and mostly Indian (Hi Vish) and nice so that’s okay. And at least if guests refer to “that little girl…” (I used to hate it when people started a description of me with those three words, but then I turned 30) “…from South Africa” we can assume they’re probably talking about me. The problem is there’s ANOTHER ONE coming today! And, based on her English white girl sounding name, she sounds like an english-speaking white girl. NoooooOOOOOooooooo! My brother says that even when there are other english speaking white girls from South Africa around I’m still special so I’ll probably still be nice to her and stuff, but I can’t promise I wont spit on her. I really would prefer to be the only one. Can I change the nationality on my name badge to Genovia please?

And that’s about it. My life rocks!


               
               



            

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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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