As I sit on yet another flight over to L.A, (I sound like a right pretentious jet setter don’t I?) I began gazing at the stat of the art ‘Moving Maps’ app on the personal in fight entertainment system Norweignair boast. ( FYI- budget, but pretty good as it goes if you can forgive the 3kgs less allowance on luggage) As a became more and more obsessed with sliding my finger around the world and zooming in on destinations I have visited over the last 6 years, I came across the Suez canal and was transported back to the first leg of the world cruise I worked on back in 2012 with Fred Olsen cruise Lines. But more of that adventure another time! (I’m just wetting your appetite so you come back, blog promotion tactics, ha!)
Actually, it is not just the map, but a few things that have transported me back to my happy time on Fred with Mirage Shows and Productions of late. The second is right this instant; as I look out of the window, we are flying over Narsarsuaq, Greenland, I can see the huge ice fields and glaciers below me, it is quite simply breathtaking. My first visit here was back in 2010, along with my Nana and Mum in tow in fact!
The third was yesterday; clearing out my Granny’s house with my uncle Jo and Dad (it’s for sale as Granny Mason is now looked after in a home). We were sorting through old paper work and photo’s in the study and Dad came to me with all the ‘Daily Times’ wrapped in a cruise log that Granny and Grandad had saved from a cruise they took with Fred Olsen on their former ship- the Black Prince back in 1998 to Iceland and Norway! As I gandered excitedly where they had been and what entertainment they had watched, a name jumped out at me straight away- ‘…with your cruise director, Ronnie Finch’. I couldn’t believe it.
Some 12 years before I landed my first job on a cruise ship, Granny and Grandad were being entertained by a man I would later work with! ‘The names Ron, Ron Finch’- as he first introduced himself to me as back in 2011, he was cruise director for a large part of our World Cruise. What are the chances?! It was a lovely warm feeling, though rather strange. It made me realize how far cruising has come and how much it has changed over the years. It also left me feeling somewhat united with my dear grand parents- knowing they shared a small common ground with my career. Even though Grandad wasn’t around to see me live out my dream career, I know now, he experienced the world in which I’ve predominantly made my home over the last 6 years. It left me feeling proud of my achievements, I only hope he is too.
I’ll get to it now, the memoir!!! I’m going to jump back to 2010 and the final email from my first contract at sea and it’s that time I was reminded of just now- Greenland…. Enjoy folks.
Good evening to all my Blog readers, family and friends,
I’m writing to you all once again for a much anticipated and long overdue update on my resent travels on the M.V. Black Watch (ok, so maybe not that anticipated from the majority of you, but just my dear brother Sam who relies on such information to feel like he is actually in touch with his sister because phone calls are far and few between).
I’m sorry to have over looked Augusts’ shenanigans as they were indeed some of the best yet, and I even got to share two blissful weeks of that particular month with my beloved Mother and Nana ( obviously that was totally sincere and void of sarcasm J…). In all seriousness it was lovely to have them on board and for them to witness the shows and experience what cruise ship life is about and why it’s so addictive!!! So addictive I’ve provisionally accepted another two potential contracts with Mirage next year! One being a world cruise at the start of 2012- very exciting indeed.
August took us from the desolate and icy Greenland to Ireland’s fair city- Dublin, and dozens in between. Those who have spoken to my mother since her trip have probably heard all about her travels already so forgive me if I bore you with the same information!
After four long days at sea to arrive in southern Greenland we got off the tender boat to a wet, cold and miserable Norwegian looking village- I was thinking ‘how much have Nana and Mum paid to see this?’ Our cruise director Alan had warned us that Greenland had little to offer but I remained the cock eyed optimist until I could judge myself. With a very high unemployment rate and low population you can see why very few live there- it’s literally endless green mountains! Anyway the best part of Greenland was the second port- Narsarsuaq in which we took a boat tour to see the Ice Fjords. The icebergs were amazing and beautifully shaped by nature. Some were really deep blue in colour, this happened in the highly compressed bergs as the oxygen particles turn from round to oval, and when the light hits them it changes the appearance from white to blue. There is a fact you probably didn’t know!
After Greenland we arrived in Iceland and one of my favourite ports so far- Reykjavik. The city is very quaint and boasts the most bizarre yet fabulous looking Cathedral. But the highlight of this trip was bathing in the Blue Lagoon with Mum and Nana. Hannah, my friend on tours had promised I could escort this tour so I could go with them for free. (pays to have friends in the right places…) It was wonderful, and we couldn’t have asked for a better day, the sun was beaming and we lay with the silica mud on our faces and relaxed in the lagoon! It was a health spa so we enjoyed the steam and sauna rooms as well.
Then came the cruise around the U.K, so I waved goodbye to Mum and Nana and welcomed on board my boss- Wendy for the week. She was on to check up on our shows and how we were working! I think I passed as she offered me another job! The U.K cruise took us up to the Scottish Isles including Stornoway and Kirkwall, both stunning places-but best of all we had British phone signal for a whole week. That may sound ridiculous to regular land folk, but to us sea folk, its luxury!
On to September which saw Paris, Athens and turning 25! I was so excited to head to Paris at the beginning of the month. We had an overnight stay in Rouen in France and we found out it only took an hour and a half on the train into the city. I made the most of the short day trip walking from Paris station past the Lourve and then to see the Notre Dame Cathedral. We stopped and had some lunch-I had a Croque Monsieur (keeping it French!) and then made our way to the Eiffel Tower on the Metro.
The tower was amazing and quite a challenge to climb. The first two floors we executed on foot and then took the lift to the very top. This was slightly out of my comfort zone due to the vertigo my father handed down to me (thanks Dad!). This is funny to read now, as four years later I was to watch as Dad took the same glass elevator up to the top looking sick and quite pale the whole way!!! Going up in the glass lift, I was reminded of Charlie in ‘Charlie and the chocolate factory’ breaking out of the factory in the glass elevator, it felt like we were never going to stop! Eventually it stopped and the view over Paris was breathtaking. Well worth the ride up!
September also saw a return visit to Norway and Iceland, then off on a 28 day cruise around the Black Sea. This is the cruise I’m currently on and I’m writing to you from somewhere between Turkey and Crete. I was lucky enough to be in Piraeus in Greece for my Birthday on the 26th. We cut a deal with a crazy Greek taxi man called Sefenos who took us to the Acropolis and old Olympic stadium in Athens. Great day, really hot and perfect birthday venue! In the evening the hotel Manager let all 8 of our team dine in the main restaurant and they spoiled me with a beautiful meal and lots of wine and attention. The Philippino staff serenaded me with a birthday cake and sang happy birthday- in front of the whole restaurant! Very embarrassing, all the passengers the next day asked if I had a head ache!?
So, yet another year older, I recovered from a good night in the Lido Bar with a forgiving sea day before we arrived in Odessa, Ukraine. Three Ukraine ports later, I’ve decided the Ukraine isn’t for me. A bit strange to say the least, full of cats and dogs and old McDonalds! Oh well can’t win them all!
I hope all the Masons are well and all my lovely family and friends reading this feel more informed on the last two months of my life! I miss you all very much and I am now home on the 10th December. I’m staying an extra month to help out the hosts while the new team set up, oh and get to go to the Caribbean too! Wooo hooo. This also means that SJ, you cannot have this baby early, ok? My best friend was due to give birth to a little boy who later became my gorgeous godson- JJ. And if you were wondering- I got back in the nick of time!
Until next time- keep smiling and loving life!
All my love to you all
That wraps up the memoirs from my first contract, now if you have persisted until the end of this epic post this has an exclusive…..
I have just signed the contract for my 8th adventure at sea, it’s the Carnival Breeze and the biggest ship and contract to date! I think it might make a perfect grand finale, but who knows…. Watch this space for exciting posts back at sea!
For now, I’m gonna chill in LA for a bit- Laters aqua babes!