First vs. Second Contract

The most obvious difference was definitely the itineraries and the number of days / hours we worked (like seriously you have no idea). On my first contract, the itinerary was amazing – the Baltic, lots of port days (which meant less working hours, waking up at whenever and staying up ’til whenever because why not?). On this recent contract though, let’s say that it is not made for the weak. One whole cruise to Hawaii on the ship I was on consisted of 15 days from LA – 4 sea days on the way with 4 Hawaiian ports and a painful 5 sea days back with one last port in Mexico. Like what?! That goes to say, I didn’t spend that much time sightseeing in Hawaii because I was so burned out. Great thing however was that we only work until 9pm because we had so many sea days.

There was also a difference in the number of people working with me. We had a bigger team on the Regal so the workload pretty much spread out. On the Star however, we were  juggling half of the pie per jeweler so definitely more to do. I don’t mind at all – it kept me super busy everyday and made the time pass super fast. Also, the commission that we received were only split two ways instead of five so that was a bonus.

As for  #shiplife, I think I became a little wiser. Still pretty new to what goes round the ship but I did pick up some shiplife hacks from my previous contract. For one, I finally got myself a cabin steward which is pretty much unofficial “mafia”  business. For a small fee you can get someone to clean your room and make your bed, change your sheets, bring you your uniforms and towels and take the trash out. You totally get to arrange what you want and what you do not want and how much you’re paying. Rico the guy that we hire was lovely – he made the long working hours so much more bearable by sparing us the need to throw our garbage and vacuuming the night before crew rounds. Thanks Rico 🙂

I’m also pretty good at snagging a washing machine for my laundry and pacing myself so that nobody comes by and takes my stuff out from the wash or the dryer (I hate that). So I’ll put my stuff into the dryer, turn it on 60 minutes and go check every 15 minutes to have it turned back to 60 minutes. If there’s somebody looking for a dryer, they’re most likely to take the stuff out from the dryers with shorter time left on it which made sure nobody takes my stuff out. Genius.

Still lots to share but my brain is like mush right now.

 

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Home at last!

Finally home from my second contract! Right now I’m still recuperating from jet lag and ship fatigue (if that’s even a valid word) but I’ll bounce right back to blogging and creating more informative content about shiplife!

Meanwhile I’m really enjoying my time doing nothing and not having alarms after alarms and having to run off to the next “must do” on my list – utter bliss! I finally managed to get my grubby hands on my laptop after leaving it home for 5.5  months – just wanna say that there is nothing as amazing as the feeling of a keyboard compared to using a cell phone for internet. NOTHING COMPARES!!!

Anyway, I’m just busy deleting e-mails from 5 months back (just arrived home like 4 days ago so bear with me!) so do stay around for more stories and updates!

Cheers!

It’s been a bittersweet contract so far…

…painfully long days at sea..lots of hard work in between but the rewards that come with it are worth it.

2.5 more months to go til home, another 5 more Hawaiian cruises! To be honest I haven’t seen anything in Hawaii as of yet because I feel tired most of the time and would rather spend it relaxing with a coffee and a nice lunch.

Definitely have to work harder to get myself out and about!

Happy 2018!

Extremely worn out this time round. Sorry for the lack of updates, shiplife is definitely not a place for loads of “metime”, trust me. Whatever free time I had left after work was used for sleeping in, eating out, laundry and the bar. I brought my laptop with me during my first contract and used it only for a record of two times within 5.5 months, haha. This time I got wiser and left it at home. 

Anyway, another 6 Hawaiian cruises to go before I head home! Technically there’s still 3 months but well, time does fly on the ship! Looking forward to going home, time to skimp and start saving money! 

Still haven’t had the luxury of time to look at accommodation for my trip to Spain, blergh! I know there’s no quality writing in this blog post but there’s not much you can do when you’re using a phone and not having time to think, haha. 

Happy New Year everyone! 

#Shiplife Series: 1.5 months into my second contract!

Officially went into dry dock yesterday & I’m currently working as a key runner with the contractors again, the same as what I did in the Regal. It’s been mayhem since last cruise as the boutiques were going on major refurbishment me thinks and every piece of merchandise and tools were packed away. Imagine the hours we spent doing that!

Overall I had less time outside than I did when I was in Regal, mostly due to the itinerary of the ship. I had 8 port days out of 11 in the Baltic which was amazing, we could sleep in on most of the ports and had ample time to go explore the vicinity. With the Star, we have 4 sea days on the way to Hawaii and 5 sea days back which was excruciating but we are definitely able to make more money for the boutiques. 

Currently docked in Victoria, Canada for around 10 days with 3 degree Celcius weather conditions, yippie. I love cold weather but it’s a pain to bundle up just to go out. Not complaining but probably need to get a scarf and gloves. 

Blessed…

…is the word that keeps coming to my mind for the past few months. Well for the past year really. People say that we attract the things we feel (you know, Law of Attraction & The Secret and all that stuff) and I truly believe it to be a real fact. I’m an optimist most of the time and by staying that way, the Universe has somehow given me back the same positive energy I’ve given to it. There are some days when I feel like shit but by constantly reminding myself of all the good things that has happened – I manage to pull myself through the bad moments and focus on creating happy ones. It does take some practice and some sheer willpower when you first start but it’s pretty automatic once you set your mind to it.

So, back to feeling this way. I guess I never really practiced it until one major moment in my life. Well, nothing super major but it was enough to impact the way I think. I have just returned from working in Singapore and was looking for a job back home. I’ve tried  applying to the hotels in my hometown but none were able to match the salary I was asking for and I didn’t really have anything else I want to do in Penang (the bulk of the workforce lies in manufacturing, banking and hospitality). What I did then was to also apply for jobs in the city and lo and behold, I managed to get myself a job with one prestigious beauty brand – I was completely over the moon when I received the call!

Since then, there has been many instances when I feel completely lucky and blessed – especially when I received news that I have been accepted to work on the cruise ship. It wasn’t a lifelong dream plus there really aren’t many seafarers in Malaysia but I’ve always wanted to travel the world and trying to apply for it is already hard enough. It’s really a lucky moment for me if I say so myself.

Fast track few months later, I was traveling to places I’ve never thought I’ll ever see. It might feel like nothing for some but for me coming from a little country on the Equator this felt like a once in a lifetime thing. The best thing is, there were so many once in the lifetime moments that I kept thinking to myself, “I’m so blessed”. So blessed to be here, so blessed to be able to experience this, so blessed to be alive.

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My first time in the Caribbean and off the ship in Regal, beautiful Montego Bay, Jamaica.

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I only had one chance to visit Cozumel, Mexico as it was the last cruise before the crossing but having Mexican food by the sea was an incredible experience. 

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Sailing on a catamaran and drinking rum punch at St. Thomas after we snorkeled with sea turtles. First time trying rum punch, first time on a catamaran, first time snorkeling! Sadly, St. Thomas was hit by Hurricane Irma recently…

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We had around 10 days of dry dock in Hamburg, which is also another city I love. So many things going on here and it was a blessing to have so much time to explore the city!

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Also seen snow for the first time in Sweden! I was ecstatic!

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Like,  look at me! Haha!

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And who can forget beautiful St. Petersburg, Russia? This church is my favorite part of  the city, by the way.

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Plus I also tried this very pretty and yummy breakfast at Grand Hotel Stockholm –  paid a pretty hefty price but well, moments matter.

Another 3 more weeks to go towards my next adventure! I know some of you are curious to know where I’m going next so I’m going to talk about it in my next entry. ‘Til then, safe travels!

#Shiplife Series: Counting Down & Things to Pack!

Hey ya’ll!

Just came back from my little family vacation to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and ready to start counting down to life on-board again. Still haven’t gotten rid of my night owl syndrome – it’s almost 2 a.m. here and I’m craving for another cup of Vietnamese coffee, yum. In another 24 days, I’ll be embarking my ship and starting another 5.5 months at sea so updates will most likely be scarce – if not non-existent. I’m not really planning on bringing my laptop with me this time 1) Because the battery is dead and needs replacing, 2) I’ve only used my laptop for a record breaking 2 times during my last contract. Trust me, I’m such a tech addict that I’m constantly glued to my cell & my laptop most of the time but no, I wasn’t because it was such a chore to set up and I didn’t want my laptop to suck up all my data with its’ updates. So nope, most likely laptop stays at home.

Since it’s almost time to pack and leave and say goodbye I figured I might as well plan the stuff that I need to buy / pack before I forget and screw everything up. This time, I’m upgrading to a larger suitcase instead of bring 2 medium sized ones. Haven’t bought the large suitcase yet though so yes, that’s on my list too.

  1. New uniforms – Like what happened to the old ones? I still have a couple of the white shirts with me but planning to get me some new ones to go with. New blazers, new pants as well because some of them were worn so bad. Maybe a skirt?
  2. Shoes – I’m actually contemplating on this. Like I have a pair that I was wearing which was still fine but maybe I should get another pair. IDK.
  3. Sanitary pads, panadol actifast, medicated oil – Literally the most important for my survival. Must remember to bring 6 months’ worth. Oh yes and some watermelon seed powder for those annoying canker sores.
  4. Snacks – I totally didn’t bring any previously and was fine but it’ll be nice to at least bring some coffee. I plan on bringing instant coffee (and my Vietnamese ones with the fancy drip), these super yummy Vietnamese chili salt thingie to sprinkle on when food is tasteless AF, instant rice vermicelli (PAMA brand from Thailand), MILO (would be lifesaver) & Nestum (also another lifesaver).
  5. Toiletries – Will need to buy shampoo & shower gel. Also need to stock up on my Innisfree face masks when I visit the city – those masks are amazing and pretty cheap, around $1 for a piece. Might want to buy some eye shadow as I dropped my backpack on my way back and some of  the colors of my old palette did not survive.
  6. Socks, stockings, undies. Self explanatory
  7. I actually need winter wear but I probably can buy them when in port so nah…
  8. Chopsticks. I think I lost a part of myself back then as I  was eating noodles with a fork, like seriously?!
  9. All my useless essentials – very ironic. My hair dryer and curling iron, garment steamer, gel nail kit, electric jug kettle.
  10. Perhaps a mug and a bowl.

Like seriously, what about the other more important stuff?! Well those I don’t usually forget, like my clothes and flip flops but the rest might get forgotten especially if I keep the packing ’til the last minute.

Ah, life.

 

 

Finally back from my first contract!

I did it! Finished one contract on-board a cruise ship, now what can you pessimists say about that?

I didn’t exactly manage to complete my  6 months. I did  5.5, around 2 weeks of training and exactly 5 months on the Regal. I had to go, mainly because Dad was really, really sick. He passed exactly the day I was going to fly home to see him – either way I’m having mixed feelings about this outcome but what can I do except move on right?

There’s just tons to share but many more that’s hard to explain – the sights, the sounds, the feeling…it’s just like being in a little world of your own sometimes, with nobody to understand you except those that have been on the ship before. It’s just complicated.

So what have I been doing since my return?  Nothing much really, I spent some  time catching up with friends and staying home to recuperate – imagine watching seasons of Game of Thrones nonstop and that would be me. Eat, sleep and repeat.

I’ll be posting some stuff once I organize my bearings!

#Shiplife Series: The Halfway Mark.

This is it.

The halfway mark of my first contract onboard a cruise ship. I left home on 27 February 2017 and today is 20 July 2017.

Its been 5 months.

Initially I was supposed to disembark on 26 August 2017 but was requested to extend until 23 September 2017. So 2 more months to go ’til home!

There’s just so much to share but also so much most people would not understand about life onboard until you’ve been there. The ship is our workplace, our home, our playground, our city, our country. We eat, live and breathe the ship and its people, so much that strong friendships are formed even without intention. One day feels like one week on the ship which is why you feel like you know each other forever even when it is just a few months of being together.

Which is why people fall in love onboard or hate someone with such passion. Who wouldn’t when they’re faced with them 24/7? 

I really can’t explain too much right now. I will need some quiet time to collect my thoughts and some time to reflect on them before I can do a better job at blogging. The whole experience has been enriching and I love being on the ships and sailing across oceans. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Right now the body has started to tire and energy to falter. But the heart feels eternally grateful for that one opportunity which changed everything.

The countdown begins for home now.

Hello June, where is summer?!

Currently docked at Copenhagen with another turnaround. Yep, that’s pretty much what the whole itinerary is going to be like for Baltic season.

Copenhagen – Oslo – Sea day – Warnemunde – Sea day – Talinn – St. Petersburg – St. Petersburg – Helsinki – Stockholm – Sea day – Copenhagen

Eat.Rest.Repeat. I’m currently having a good time enjoying the beauty of Scandinavia but it is still too cold. 11 degrees in June?! I want to wear dresses and not be in pants all the time 😧

Anyway I’m beginning to feel a little jaded. Can’t wait to have proper Malaysian food or at least some spicy Asian food (*hint Tomyam!) when I get back. I know it’s ungrateful for me to feel this way but hey, we’re only human. I don’t particularly miss going back to the humidity and the heat but there are some things which I miss like lazy weekends and catching up with family and friends. There’s just so much you can do onboard. 

Still, I’m having lots of fun. Can’t wait to be home but also still have lots to explore.

Til then, signing off!