Thursday, January 7, 2010

On Board the Amsterdam

We boarded yesterday, Melissa and me. It was interesting, as we didn't have to go through the passenger line ups but could board with the crew. This took less time, and meant we didn't have to pose for an embarkation photo. These are taken for every cruise, and are supposed to show how excited and happy you are about your cruise, but usually show how tired and grubby you are after traveling to where you board the ship But it's a tradition, and is one of many pictures the ship's photographers take of everyone during the cruise. It's not a problem, as there's no obligation to buy, and you don't even have to go to the photo gallery to look for the pictures of you if you don't want to. Finding the photos is another thing - imagine searching for one picture among hundreds that all have the same background and people in the same pose.
Anyway, Melissa and I are here and unpacked and mostly settled in. We have an inside cabin, which is a disappointment, but we will cope. Our cabin is in the very front of the ship, which means we feel the motion more than do people in the ship's centre, but at least we know we are on water, even though we can't see outside. Being inside is mainly an issue in the morning, because there's no way of telling what time it is when you wake up, as it's always dark unless I turn on a light. But, enough whining. And I can spend all my time outside of the cabin other than when I'm asleep.
There was a meeting yesterday for all the enrichment staff. Actually, I'm not sure what I am. My contract says Enrichment Staff, my cabin keycard says Service Staff, and elsewhere I've been referred to as Support Staff. The other people present included teachers of watercolour, arts and crafts, tai chi, bridge, dance, and drama. There were also six men who used to be called dance hosts but are now called social hosts. And a Catholic priest, Protestant minister, and a rabbi. Many of these people have done the world tour cruise before, and there were many joyful reunions.
I was told that only top flight people get to work the World cruise, which makes me feel good, but also a little intrigued, since the only interview I had was back in May when I had an interview with HollandAmerica's texecutive in charge of hiring, who happened to be on the disastrous Panama Canal cruise I did then with Melissa and MAtt (her fiance). (If you want to know more about the disastrous cruise, ask and I'll do a post on it.) He struck me at the time as a very decisive person, but we only spent about fifteen minutes together, during which I babbled something about what I could offer as a creative writing teacher. I assumed I'd have another interview by the person in Seattle who is in charge of hiring entertainers, and that she'd want references and so on, but I guess my assessment of his decisiveness was correct.
By the way, for those of you who know how much waiting for information I did between May and now, I'm told that this isperfetly neormal. For those of you who don't know about the waiting, I only learned I had the job at the beginning of december, got my contract a week before the cruise began, and was told my flights the day before I left.
Tomorrow I do a Sneak Peek of my program which is an opportunity for guests who are interested to learn what it's all about. I went to peeks today for watercolour and arts and crafts and they both look great. Arts & crafts, by the way, is taught by two women with PhDs who teach art at university, and took great pains to tell us they are both professors. I guess a & c cann seem chintzy, so they want to show it's about art, not making those plastic lace bracelets.
I was glad to see that the teachers appear to be very good, and their styles are similar in many ways to mine. I also got some ideas of how to do things tomorrow during my own sneak peek. The drama and creative writing programs are both new ones for the cruise, so I was glad that the experienced people went today.
Melissa is enrichment/service/staff too. I planned to introduce her has my gofer, but she pointed out that what we call gophers in Saskatchewan are actually prairie dogs, or maybe ground squirrels. I guess she can be a prairie dog.


  1. If you call Melissa a prairie dog, will Callie, Oliver, and Monster be jealous? Glad to see that you're off to a good start.

  2. How interesting all this is, Judy! Will the same passengers be aboard the entire four months? Is Melissa there for the whole trip, as well? Did you ever see the movie with Walter Mathieu and Jack Lemmon about fake "dance hosts" on a cruise? I think it was "Out to Sea". Very funny.