Month: May 2017

My second overseas trip (leg 6)

The sixth part of our trip included a stop over in Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, and finally to Port Canaveral in Florida, which would become her home port.

First a bit about Castaway Cay:  Although this was technically my third time on the island, it was definitely also my favourite!

 

We booked the Stingray Experience as well as snorkelling for our day on the island, and wasn’t disappointed by either.

With the stingray experience, we got to not only see them up close and personal, but also learnt a lot about them, and even got to feed the stingrays – an experience I will never forget!

We also enjoyed some quality relaxation on the white sand beaches of the island, cocktails on the beach, and a little bit of exploring the other things to do on the island.  Lets not forget about the food.  In true Disney style, we were treated to an island barbecue, with all the meat, salads and other condiments that go with a traditional barbecue (or braai as we call it in South Africa).

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From the island we continued our overnight trip to be welcomed into Port Canaveral, as the Disney Fantasy arrived for the first time in her home port.  Not only did people from all over Florida flock to the port, but the Disney staff at the Disney Cruise Terminal were out in full force to welcome her to her new home.

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Once again, the excitement in the air was extraordinary, as a new chapter began for Disney Cruise Line.

Keep a look out for the next part of our journey in my next post…

 

An unexpected application request…

As I have mentioned several times in previous posts, and the whole point of this blog, is that I have a dream to work in the cruise industry.

I have been keeping an eye on available positions not only at Disney Cruise Line, but also at various other cruise lines.  I would be delighted to work for many of them, although not all.

One of the lines I have sent my CV to is Holland America Line’s Entertainment Recruitment Team.  Although there weren’t any positions available immediately on their website, I took the chance regardless.

I recently received an email from them, saying that they looked at my credentials, and invited me to do a first round of video presentations for a Cruise Director position.

Now, the thought of applying for a Cruise Director position hasn’t even crossed my mind, but I certainly wasn’t going to let such an opportunity go by.  After all, I do have a fairly good understanding of what the responsibilities of a Cruise Director is, thanks mostly to my cousin who has been a Cruise Director for several years, and having had several opportunities to see him in action and also often talk about his job.

So, I bit the bullet, and submitted the application with the videos they requested.  Even if I am not successful for this position, perhaps they will see that I really am interested, and that I am willing to make the effort to show my passion to work in the cruise industry.  Perhaps someone will see some potential in me?  That’s all I wish for, to be given an opportunity, to prove myself, and show just how passionate I am about making this dream of mine come true!

My second overseas trip (leg 5 – The Big Apple!)

My second overseas trip (leg 5 – The Big Apple!)

This part of the trip was probably my favorite!  Not only did I get to see New York for the second time in my life, but we also strengthened some great friendships during the time in NY.

Because it was the christening of the Disney Fantasy while she was in New York, all the guests had to spend that night off the ship, and were treated to a stay in the Times Square Marriot Hotel, and complimentary entrance to The Lion King show on Broadway.

This was my friend’s first time in the big city, so it was quite fun to show him all the sight seeing attractions, and for some, it was my first time too.

I absolutely love this city, and wish I could go there once again.

Since we were not on the ship the night she was christened, we watched it on television in the hotel room and then the next morning on the local news.  The excitement about having a Disney ship in the New York harbour could be felt in the atmosphere all through the city, I mean, the Disney Fantasy did make one hell of an entrance when she entered port, playing “New York New York” on the ship’s horn, and one could hear it echo throughout the entire Manhattan!

Here are some pictures of those very special few days in New York:

My second overseas trip (leg 4)

The next part of our trip was the longest one and the most relaxing one.  It was the part where we actually crossed the Atlantic, en route to New York.

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This was pretty much what we saw for several days.  Just open blue waters.

If my memory serves me right, we spent about 12 days on the open seas, where all you could see around the ship was open ocean, and great sunrises and sunsets.

This was the part of the trip where I really formed an appreciation for the work that each and every crew member does on the ship, and what it means to be a Disney Cruise Line employee.  I also appreciated the hard work each and every one of them do, and began to form an idea of what it means to be on the waters for extended periods of time.

With each day that passed, the ship really started running more and more like the well oiled machine it was bound to be.  Keep in mind that many of the crew were new, it was a brand new ship, and although the operations were not running at 100% capacity as yet, there was a lot of hard work being done behind the scenes to get her ready for her full capacity cruise.

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Of course I couldn’t resist another photo op with my favourite Disney character.

We spent our days lounging around in the sun, enjoying the on board entertainment, making friends, and eating.  It sometimes feels like all we did was the latter, but there were some other fun times in between.

Allow me to take some time on the food:  It was everything and more one could ever imagine!  From breakfast, to lunch, to supper, and all the snacks and things between, “Every Meal was a Moment”, as we often said as we took pictures of the wonderful and delicious food that was available or served to us.  At some point, and I can’t exactly remember when, all we wanted was just a plain old home cooked meal!

Just a few of the many lovely dishes we were served.

Apart from the food, there was some great entertainment too.  I fondly remember the nights that we spent in the “Adult club” area, dancing and drinking the night away.  The best nights were those nights that we moved an hour on, as we were crossing different time lines.  On such nights, the bars would stay open an hour longer, and the crew would all go to bed an hour later, as they could get up an hour later the next morning.  There was a certain untold excitement each night that the clock moved an hour on, which you could feel in the air, and subtly see in the behaviour of every crew and passenger.

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Many of the days now seem like a blur, although we were “busy” all the time…

The seas started becoming rougher as we went along, and I remember one day, standing at the aft of the ship, looking forward, on one of the top decks.  Although one could not feel it, the ship was moving quite substantially.  One moment, looking towards the bow, you would just see sky, and no horizon.  The next moment, as the bow of the ship ducked down, more than half of your view would be ocean, and the rest the horizon.  This ship is so big, that if one didn’t see that, you wouldn’t believe how much the ship was actually moving.

One other moment where I realised just how rough the waters were, was one night, where I went outside on the fourth deck to have a smoke, and the sea spray from the bow hitting the swells came up all the way to where the smokers were standing.  That, together with the strong winds, made it nearly impossible to get a cigarette lit, never mind smoke it.

Like I said, those days were a blur, however, it was during these blurry days that I realised something again (and this was not blur at all, it was clear as daylight): I knew I wanted to come back to this ship, but not as a passenger, as a CREW MEMBER!  That dream has not yet come to fruition, but, I am working on that, now more than ever, to make that dream come true.

In my next post, I’ll be sharing some of our adventures in New York.

 

The answer

I have been told by recruiters and in prospective job interviews (both recently and a few years ago) that I had too many interests listed on my CV or résumé.

It’s been a question I have been asking myself for many years, even when I was at school, as I couldn’t decide what I wanted to become one day or what career path I should take.  I think my parents would attest to this more than anyone else, as I think I have let them down a couple of times in my life, especially when I quit my university studies in my second year of Mechanical Engineering.

I was then going through some of my posts I shared on LinkedIn, and found this one which I posted a while ago, and only now did it really dawn on me that his was the answer to that question I have been struggling with for so long:

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And who other was holding the answer to my question than Walt Disney himself?

The risk with having so many interests, however, is that you become the proverbial Jack of all trades… (master of none).

I have decisions to make, on my future and on my career, and on making my dream to work for Disney Cruise Line a reality: which trade am I going to choose, and become a master in? (Or am I already a master in at least one?)…

My second overseas trip (leg 3)

Our first port of call on the Disney Fantasy after leaving Bremerhaven was Ponta Delgada.  I thought it was an island itself, but it turns out it is a municipality on the Sao Miguel island, a Portuguese Island North West of Africa, and to the West of Portugal.

This beautiful island is a little piece of paradise in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.  The ship was welcomed into port with the water canons celebrating her arrival, we got to do some retail therapy during our day on the island, and got some really nice photo opportunities.

We did a day excursion with a bus which first took us through the narrow streets of the town, then up to the pineapple farms just outside of town.

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The tour continued up the mountain, where we also got to see some fantastic views of the island, the harbour (where the beautiful Disney Fantasy was docked) and some other scenic views.  After a short walk into the forest, we arrived at a natural sulphur hot spring.  The sulphuric fumes could be smelled long before we got to see the spring, and it felt as if we were walking through a tropic paradise.

I don’t know where the time went that day, but before we knew it, we were due back onto the ship before it departed for the 12 day journey crossing the Atlantic.  We stood in that line to get onto the ship, and as my friendly fondly reminded me this morning, made it just in time.  We were ready for the long sea days, and nowhere to go but somewhere on the ship, for 12 days!

More about our sea days and adventures on the ship in the next post.

 

My second overseas trip (leg 2)

I was so excited about yesterday’s post, that I almost lost track of the journey, but allow me to continue…

The second leg of our trip found us flying from Paris to Hamburg, Germany, via Scandinavia with a connecting flight.  We literally flew right over Hamburg to Scandinavia and then back to Hamburg!

We arrived in Hamburg late in the afternoon, and were picked up from the airport by my cousin to travel back to Bremerhaven to join the Disney Fantasy where she was in port.

What I can remember of this journey from Hamburg was that it was quite cold, but I had my first experience on the Autobahn, I saw a wind turbine for the first time, and I was surprised to see porn magazines and DVD’s being sold at the rest stops next to the highway.

 

We arrived in Bremerhaven and saw the Disney Fantasy, in all her glory, for the first time.  Once again, that little “thing” inside me was stirred, that butterfly feeling inside your stomach which you cannot control or explain.

That evening we went to “The Last Bar Before new York”, where we had German beer and a lovely dinner.  It’s a small little restaurant/pub in the harbor at Bremerhaven, one that I am sure that the crew of the Disney Fantasy frequently visited during the time that the ship was being prepared for its maiden voyage from Bremerhaven.

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The next day my friend and I explored the shops in Bremerhaven a little.  There wasn’t much to explore, but it was great to experience a different culture and language again for the first time.

If my memory serves me correctly, we sailed away on the maiden voyage of the Disney Fantasy later that afternoon.  A 14 day journey crossing the Atlantic was about to begin, and you could feel the magic and the excitement in the air, especially on the ship!  Although the ship was not full, there were still a lot of guests sailing, many of them land-based Disney employees, and some who I had the pleasure to meet and get to know over the next few days.

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This was on the Disney Fantasy while still in Bremerhaven. It was wet and it was cold!  Mind the ladder in the background, the ship was still receiving touch ups.

The ship was still not 100% complete during this journey, as there were still finishing touches being made as we sailed, and even though many of the crew were new, we were treated in a way only Disney can.  The food was tremendous, crew where ever you went were friendly and helpful, and it still was a truly Disney Magical experience.

Our first port of call on this Journey was a couple days later, on a Portuguese Island called Ponta Delgada, but more of that in the next post…

Please follow, share and comment!  More to follow soon.  Thank you to everyone who do read my posts 🙂

I couldn’t wait to get home to write this!

Between last night and today I was attending a conference for our department at my current workplace.

Last night the department manager (and she will probably read this), asked me whether I was looking for an opportunity to work on ship.  I answered honestly and said that I was, but also that it is still a process in the making, and that it will probably take a couple of months at least before I will be able to make such a move.

Then at today’s conference, there was a guest speaker, and there were two points which he made which really hit a nerve with me.  I couldn’t wait to get home to write about this before I forgot most of it, but more than that: I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! Please allow me to explain:

The first point he made was that if you are in a job or position that you are not happy with, you are doing the company, your department, your customers, your managers, and especially yourself, a disservice.  This brings me to the second point he made, which is a little more complex, and I was more surprised at my own thoughts than what he was actually saying.

He asked us a couple of questions, and although my recollection might not be 100% verbatim as he said it, you’ll get the just of the matter.

I’m going to list the questions he asked, and then what my thought patterns on each of the questions were afterwards.

Question 1: Do you believe in your company’s brand?

Question 2: Do you believe that what your company sells or the products your company offers to customers is worth more in value than what the customer is paying?

Question 3: Do you believe that you are achieving your full potential in your current role at your current company?

and then, as part of a different discussion but in the same presentation, he asked another couple of questions (for the sake of the flow of this post, I’ll just continue numbering the questions).

Question 4: Is your company contributing to your success?

Question 5: Is your manager contributing to your success?

Question 6: Are your colleagues contributing to your success?

Question 7: How big a part of your success are YOU responsible for?

Now for the answers.

The presenter highlighted that we should answer for our current position and company.

Answer 1: Yes, mostly.

Answer 2: Not always.

Answer 3: Although I am extremely passionate about what I do, the answer is no.

Answer 4, 5 and 6: To a small extent, which was what everyone in the room, including myself, agreed on.

Answer 7: A HUGE resounding “the biggest part of it, in excess of 90%”.

The problem was, and this was the part that surprised me, was that I was not only answering these questions for my current company, position, role or job, but I couldn’t help putting myself in the shoes of when I will be working for Disney Cruise Line, and what my answers would be then.  The answers to questions 4, 5, 6 and 7 remained the same.  These were my answers on question 1, 2 and 3:

Answer 1: YES!  Without a doubt!

Answer 2: YES! Without a doubt!

Answer 3: I know that I will.  All I need is for a decision maker to give me that foot in the door, that opportunity, to see just how serious and passionate I am to work for DCL and how much I can and will make a success of it!

That said, there are things I need to do, things I need to get in place, and things I need to sort out, to make this happen.  Many of these things I have been putting off and procrastinating on.  I am now, more than ever, motivated and determined to do what I need to do to get my life in order, to align everything, to make this dream of mine a reality.

One last thing: The presenter ended off by holding a piece of paper in the air with just two fingers, and told the entire audience to imagine that the piece of paper will tear in half, just by the collective power of our minds.  Needless to say, it didn’t happen.  He then took the piece of paper in both his hands, and ripped it in half.  The point he made was that no dream will come true, unless you take action.  He took the action of tearing the paper.  I am taking the action to get my things in order, to make my dream of working for Disney Cruise Line, come true!