the blog

Latest news.

Brr, it’s cold out here !

The adventures of Carol Brown, representing Norwegian Cruise Line on a 6-month mission on the open sea to train the crew, explore new ports, seek new friends and experiences, and to boldly go where she has not gone before.

Carol’s log: Cruise Date: May 10, 2011 (at sea)

We are at sea again today and with it I suffer my first bout of sea sickness at least that’s what I think it is. My stomach is feeling unsettled and I want to hurl, but just a little. The ship is really rocking and rolling today and even sitting down it feels as if I’m swaying from side-to-side. Down on Deck 5 in the Officers Mess (a “mess” is like a cafeteria. There a three of them, one for crew, one for staff and one for officers. I haven’t quite figured out who is who yet but know that the officers can eat in any of the messes while the others can’t eat in the officers’ mess without an invite from an officer.) I mention to one of the ships doctors that I’m feeling a little nauseated and he says to come by the Medical Centre for a shot or to get some sea sickness pills. Someone else overhears the conversation and suggests Ginger Ale. Another suggests eating a green apple as a cure. I decide to try the green apple and boy does this work! Within 15 minutes I’m feeling much better and now have a natural remedy for curing my sea sickness though I never want to experience that feeling again. I wonder if eating green apples works as prevention to sea sickness? I better ask somebody.

It is freezing. No not outside but in my office. While I work I have on my coat, my scarf is wrapped around my neck, my fleece blanket is wrapped around my legs and my leather gloves are on my hands. Even with all this, Laarni and I are freezing. We call the refrigeration department again and are told that someone will come by soon. We’ve heard that before!


I’m also having computer issues. Outlook and I are not getting along. It boots me out whenever it chooses and sometime won’t allow me to log in for hours. When it does work, I get “Mailbox over its size limit” messages though I’ve deleted everything I can and things I probably shouldn’t have. This it seems is not new. My predecessor, Dallas, had the same problems. I’ve sent the IT department a list of the issues I’m having. Someone will come by soon. Sound familiar?

Lunch is a lovely barbecue in the half covered area at the back of the ship. It is more freezing than my office especially with the wind whipping through it. We all stand together chilled to the bones while we collect the lovely assortment of barbecued meats, salads, rice, potatoes, desserts, cold cuts and beverages. My sympathy goes out to the crew who are working out there preparing and serving all of this. Some are just in their uniform while some have their official NCL jackets on. I load my plate with a burger, a hotdog, some roast pork (I actually get to see the pig with the head on!), bbq chicken, some fried rice, potato salad, some mixed veggies (See? I’m still trying to eat green food!) and of course chocolate cake. My teeth chatter as I hustle through the glacier-slow moving line. I’m offered an ice-cold beverage and look at the server as though she’s lost her ever-loving mind. “I’ll get something hot inside,” I tell her as nicely as I can, resisting the urge to grab her by the shoulders, shake her and ask her if she’s crazy.

When I left Vancouver in 2001, my colleagues at the BC Human Rights Commission made me a lovely going away gift of a body bib covered in pictures and well wishes written and drawn in fabric paint. It is beautiful! This bib covers me from chin to ankle. I’d like to think that the size of the gift was because so many of them had so many nice things to say but I’m more realistic than that. I believe the size and the idea behind the bib was the fact that I would usually return from lunch wearing my lunch, especially when I wore white.

I don’t know whose idea it is for us to be wearing white uniforms but it is a bad idea, especially for me. I sit in something and my butt looks as if my “Aunt Flow” has made a surprise visit, only I’m unaware of this. I walk about the I-95 for about half an hour before my friend Kryn (we signed on together; she’s from The Bahamas) informed me of that was going on behind me. I’m mortified and wonder, “How many people saw this?” “Who saw this?” “Why didn’t someone say anything?” I spend the rest of the day asking people, “Did you see my butt earlier?” Everyone looks at me as if I’m crazy. Maybe I am.

Filippo (my wonderful Italian boss) has given Laarni and I a very challenging project we are calling “The Matrix”. It is kicking our butts. My Excel skills are pretty good but I can’t quite figure out what to do to get the results that Filippo wants. At the end, it to collect a bunch of different data and generate a number of pie and bar charts. It’s the formula that I can’t quite get right yet. But like Barack Obama said “Yes, we can!” and we will…even if we pull out all our hair trying! Lucky for me, my hair is very short already.

And of course more training again today. Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) and New Crew Orientation which I’ll be teaching soon. I’m anxious to start teaching but I haven’t had a chance to review any of the materials yet. Laarni thinks it will be week three before I’m able to teach. That’s a long time for me not to be doing what I love but with the job shadowing, training, the Matrix, all the other learning and my duties as an officer, she may be right.

The voyage continues…


I make learning fun...and sticky!