img_2399Wow, this contract has started at a fast pace and it hasn’t slowed down much. As mentioned earlier, I am transfering from one ship to another this weekend and am enjoying a few work-free hours with lightning-fast internet. So, what’s been happening with me lately?

There was a four-week “IS Manager College” where Sr IS Manager John and I instructed 7 newly hired IS Managers on all the aspects required to run IT on board Carnival ships. It was a lot of work as classes took place between 9 AM to 9 PM, and this doesn’t include preparation time for the next day.After 25 days , they all graduated and were given their first stripes and ship assignments.  It was truly international bunch, representing Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Indonesia, Ecuador, Peru and Dominica, and Germany and Canada of course – us instructors…

Oh, this might be a good time to mention that I have rolled back to an older version of the gallery viewer so that the browsing function doesn’t carry over to the next gallery.  Once you are at the last photo and there is no more ‘forward arrow’, simply click on the photo itself to close the gallery and return to the text.

John and I were scheduled to fly to California, him joining the Splendor and me joining the Spirit three days later – conveniently both on the same day. We quickly agreed on a master plan: Rent a car, ride roller-coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain, and go on a photo trip to the San Bernardino Mountains. Our car was a beautiful Toyota RAV4 mini-SUV which I like a lot, in fact, if I had to buy a car it would probably be this one.

For the roller-coaster park, I did not bring my camera, for obvious reasons, therefore I’m going to provide you with a few links shortly. I’ve always loved roller-coasters but this park has taken the rides to an extreme: Standing up, floor-less, lying down, freely swinging, high-speed, vertical drops, wooden coasters, backwards – it’s all there. And this isn’t all: We rode in the front row on each ride because the park wasn’t very crowded and the additional wait time was acceptable. It was so worth it !!! I am still stoked just thinking about it. Alright here are a few links:

Wikipedia:  Six Flags Magic Mountain

Scare Factor #1X-2 (partly backwards, an adrenaline rush)
Scare Factor #2Tatsu (lying down, only held by harness)
Scare Factor #3The Green Lantern (partly backwards and spinning overhead)

Fun Factor #1:  Superman (high-velocity backwards, then vertically up, rode it 2x)
Fun Factor #2: Apocalypse (superfast wooden rollercoaster, rode it 3x)
Fun Factor #3: Colossus (superfast wooden rollercoaster, rode it 2x)

Honorable Mention #1: The Riddler’s Revenge (standing up)
Honorable Mention #2Goliath (255 ft drop!)

The trip to Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains was spectacular – pure nature within an hour and a half from L.A. and we’ve found the perfect photo location for sunset pictures.

My visit on the Spirit was completely taken up with work. Just once I dashed up to the open deck to photograph the Carnival Paradise and the sunset. After a short 8 days on the ship, I flew to Miami to attend the first IS Manager Conference where 24 IS Managers and our shoreside management met for three days to exchange knowledge about each others’ work environment. It was very beneficial and a lot of fun.

And my gypsy-life continues: I went to a ship for a brief 5-day visit, got off in New Orleans, took a pre-arranged work-break and sailed with Jason on the Voyager of the Seas for five days.  First, we explored New Orleans…

Then – after two days at sea – got off in each of the ports: Jamaica (visiting the Good Hope Sugar Cane Plantation), New Orleans (diving Devil’s Grotto) and Cozumel (geocaching and lunch). That’s where I changed ships again, going back to Carnival for another ship visit. I’ve stayed on board for a little over two weeks, being able to unpack and settle in for a change :-)

Back in Cozumel two weeks later, the two ships met up again and Jason and I have spent another day together, this time renting a Jeep and driving around the island. Anything that’s not close by the tourist masses is fabulous, of course, and cruising along the East side of the island is always a great thing to do.

Today, I’ve explored the sea wall side of Galveston (towards the Gulf of Mexico) – it was stormy and chilly at what felt like 10C. Still, there was some lonesome trooper girl surfing all by herself…

And that about sums it up. I am going to the Carnival Magic tomorrow, that’s Carnival’s newest ship, and yes, it’s the one I’ve helped get into ship-shape in Italy earlier this year. It’s where I’m going to spend Christmas – and believe it or not, for New Year’s I’ll already be on my next ship. It never gets boring in my life, that’s for sure :-)