IMG_2266-01.jpgI did it again and signed up for another contract with Carnival. My dream came true with my assignment on the CARNVIAL SPIRIT which is ‘the’ special ship that everyone wants. Reason? It’s going to Hawaii and Alaska. I don’t know why, but I’ve been REALLY lucky so far with my ships. Brought out the Valor, brought out the Liberty with her European run, will (hopefully) see Hawaii and Alaska in a few weeks. Aloha!

After the contract on the Liberty, I flew to Germany and enjoyed three fantastic weeks at home with my family. I mainly relaxed, recovered from a nasty cold I was bothered with for 10 long weeks, saw a few friends, pretended I was living a REAL life. Then, a friend from the ship, Andrea from Hungary, came to visit me for 5 days and we’ve had quite some fun: We went geocaching in Erfurt, jaunted up to Berlin and went cross-country skiing in the Thuringian Forest.

Well, it was time for another adventure in Calgary / Canada, so I packed my stuff (I chucked the suitcases which have bothered me since day one and went back to my good old McKinley backpack and a newly purchased duffel bag). Canada always makes me feel good. It’s like an addiction. I stayed at my friend Liz’ and mainly relaxed, walked the dogs (twice a day – and I really enjoyed it), exercised getting up at 7.30AM, took tons of photographs (most of which I deleted for reasons of dissatisfaction), went to see a strip show which wasn’t too spectacular, unfortunately, ate out, hung out with friends, got two geocaches, attempted to convince my soulmate that there’s a connection between us and so on. Nothing in particular. Just like when I was at home: Time flew by. Way too soon Sunday arrived and I had to leave for San Francisco.

San Francisco? That’s not a port Carnival utilized for their voyages. Right! The SPIRIT was in dry dock for a bit of repair and make-up – 7 more days. There weren’t too many projects left for me to participate at, I just tried to give a helping hand here and there. Plus everyone tried to fight one’s fatigue. A/C was one of the repair projects and temperatures on the ship and unfortunately in the cabin too rose over 30C (85F). Not good!

Soon enough everybody made plans for going out to see San Francisco – seeing that we were docked pretty much downtown. I joined Alain for an NHL game at the HP Pavillion in San Jose one night. Too funny, because the Calgary Flames played against the San Jose Sharks. Two days after this event Alain and I got the entire day off. We did what simply needs to be done when you’re in San Francisco: Chinatown, Alcatraz, Cable Car, Blazing Saddles. Blazing Saddles? They rent bikes for your crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s been so awesome. My butt hurt for 3 days straight! But it was well worth it!

We set sail from San Francisco one morning, crossed underneath the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge and took our time going back to San Diego. Usually after dry dock, they perform sea trials (stopping, turns, accelerating etc.) so they’re allowed some extra time. We had an overnight in San Diego but none of us managed to get off the ship, we’ve had too much stuff to do. The dry-dock aftermath plus regular user support – rather more than less. My camera and I were able to sneak out to an open deck every once in a while and so I got some interesting shots of the downtown skyline…

I’m still hoping that I’ll get used to the ship. It’s very awkward after two startups – you’re dropped into a mass of unknown people – some of which you work with on a regular basis, most of which you don’t. Different to a startup where you are getting used to all the relevant co-workers first. I’ve been to the crew bar twice. It was way too smokey, way too crowded and I wasn’t able to handle it and hid in my cabin. Which wasn’t too bad. They’ve put me into a tiny filthy hole which needed (and got!) some serious cleaning. I’m almost where I feel comfortable now. The extended bottom bunk bed is bothering me – it takes away too much of the little space that I got in this cabin and makes it really hard to open the doors of the closet. But apparently this is my only chance to remain in the cabin by myself as they can’t put anyone else in this cabin than a boyfriend because movements from climbing up and down the bunk bed would be too disruptive. Fingers crossed!

Other than that, I’m working in a wonderful team – Chad and Alain, the two Canadians I’ve worked with on the LIBERTY. We’re still a bit stressed out from dry dock but soon this will be the past and we’ll be the rock stars of the ship! Stay tuned!