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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 9, 2011 (at sea)

We are still at sea. It’s getting rougher but I’m feeling pretty good though I look as if I’ve had a few too many drinks as I maneuver the decks swaying from one side to the other and back again.

The day starts with a 08:30 meeting of the Heads of Departments. It is cool to be in the same room with my fellow officers and hear more about their operations and their challenges. Some identify where training can help and I take notes furiously. The food is fabulous! There is a tasty variety of pastries, cold cut sandwiches, breads, and hot and cold beverages.

More training. It is Sanitation Training and boy is it important to put things in the right places on a ship. Other than training today, I start shadowing the other departments so that I can get more familiar with ship operations. I’ve got this pre-planned schedule but I have to call folks to make sure they can accommodate me in their areas. Some are keen to give me a peak into their areas. Others, not so much.

I shadow with the printer, pest control, crew cleaning staff, and the tailor. I am being to understand that all these people are essential to the operation of the ship. The printer ensures we have all the printed materials we need both for crew and passengers. Every day he prints two version of the Freestyle Daily, one for crew and the other for passengers. The Freestyle Daily is a schedule of what is happening on the ship for the day in a flyer format. All crew is to carry the crew version of the Freestyle Daily in their pocket in case a guest asks a question about something they wouldn’t normally know; they have the information at their fingertips.

Funny but I wouldn’t even have thought about someone handling pest control but someone has the job and he does it so well that crew and passengers can enjoy pest free environments. He shows me the traps for various types of flying and crawling pests and explains the schedule he follows to ensure the ship stays clear of pests. It is all very cool!

As James Brown was the hardest working man in show biz, our Tailor is the hardest working man on the ship. Antonio is a little Filipino man with the energy of the Energizer bunny! He’s the only tailor on the ship and he is responsible for making sure over 1,000 crew look good in uniform. He shortens, takes in, and otherwise nips and tucks our uniforms until it fits just right. And, he usually does it with a smile!

The crew cleaning crew are a group of hardworking men. I find that some of the jobs onboard are clearly delineated along gender lines. This is one of them. These guys are responsible for keeping the crew area clean and tidy. They have their work cut out for them! Not all crew members are conscientious. They drop food and other garbage anywhere and it is the job of the crew cleaning area to pick this stuff up, wipe walls and other surfaces, mop floor, dust, vacuum, clean restroom and a myriad of other things. These guys are busy but always take time to smile and say hello. My favourite is Arun who is a tall shy man from India. He is very polite and calls me “madam”.

I’ll be shadowing for another couple of weeks yet and I’m looking forward to the seeing the Galleys (ship term for kitchens). I know most of you aren’t surprised to hear me say that I’m most interested in seeing the kitchen! I do love to eat!

I get to be a part of another reception line this afternoon. I’m only a few people away from the Captain but I haven’t official met him yet. He seems nice and down to earth, approachable even. He is Greek and I’m wishing I could recall all the Greek I learned growing up in the Pape and Danforth area in Toronto, so I could dazzle him, but I can barely recall how to count to 10. We stand in the hallway between the door and the seating area and greet the guests as they come in. After half an hour, my face hurts with all the smiling but I’m feeling great because the guests are feeling great. The Black guests smile proudly at me as they pass and even call me by name. I beam!

I only get lost three times today and feel as if I’m getting the hang of moving around the ship.

Another late night and I finally get to bed by 11:00. My bed dips in the middle. Did I notice this before? I’m not sure. I’ve been so tired at the end of the day that I could have been sleeping standing up and not noticed. I’ll speak to my steward tomorrow about flipping the mattress to see if that helps. Sleep, glorious sleep!

The voyage continues…


I make learning fun...and sticky!