My day started with a call from my Dad to make sure I had woken up on time. He had got the time difference mixed up and thought it was 7 am but it was actually 5 am. It didn’t really matter as I hadn’t slept a wink from nerves. I felt so sick with anxiety which was a strange feeling as I am not the anxious kind.
When starting to get ready I knew it was going to be a bad make-up day as my hands wouldn’t stop shaking. I slicked my hair back so tight I looked like I’d had a facelift, and wiped the mascara from around my eyes where I had completely missed my eyelashes, and headed out.
I took a taxi to the ship, en-route I picked up Hannah. We rode in silence to Circular Keys Port.
I reluctantly got out of the taxi and very slowly walked towards my future floating home. I just stood there for a long while looking up at the bow. The ship was huge! When I finally finished gawping at it, moving my neck back into its normal position proved quite a task!
With a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach, Hannah and I walked towards the Terminal. We pushed against eager passengers to get closer, and then it was like they all parted to reveal a queue of about 30 people, all with enormous cases and mounds of documents in hand. Also, the fact it was made up of a range of nationalities gave the game away too.
A huge smile appeared on my face when I saw Anna, the girl I had met on the plane. I rushed over to her and made our introductions. After talking for a while Hannah left
with a very emotional goodbye. I watched her as she walked away trying hard to hold back the tears and the snot.
After a long wait, we all were escorted on board and taken to a huge ballroom where we spent the next hour filling out forms. Slowly but surely people were greeted by there manager and taken away until I was the only one left, just sitting on my own overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge. A large bubbly woman ran in apologising profusely and going on about all the things she had to do and why she was late. Her name was karen. She gave me a firm handshake and then grabbed my hand luggage and started walking away. I hurried to pick up my 32kg soft case with wonky wheels and followed her but, my case kept tipping off the wheels so I was just dragging it across the floor at this point, shouting questions at her to try and cover the sound of my case scratching the floor. Nothing like a good first impression.
Karen walked me down the narrow corridors to my cabin. She opened the door and gestured at me to go in. I switched the flickering LED light on, which revealed the plasticky oak furniture and 2 bunk beds in front of me up against the wall. I opened the door to the bathroom which was the biggest shock for me, it was so small! I could shower, pee and clean my teeth all at the same time. I looked around rethinking my decision to work on ships. With Karen stood behind me watching me analyse my new room, I could sense she was waiting for some kind of reaction. So, I said enthusiastically “it’s lovely”. She scuffed. I think we both knew that was the fakest thing I could have said.
The cabin was completely empty. I felt a slight bit of disappointment not having a roommate, but at least I got the bottom bunk. I was told to get aquatinted with my new room, unpack and she would come and pick me up in a few hours and take me to lunch.
As the door slammed behind her I felt very alone. I didn’t have any signal so I couldn’t call anyone and I had no idea how to get around the ship also i was worried that if I left, I wouldn’t be able to find my way back to my cabin. The first thing I did was make my bed and then unpacked all my things into the wafer-thin wardrobe.
I was picked up at 12 and taken to the mess for lunch. The smell of curry filled my nostrils and the clattering of plates and pans made my ears ring. I sat with just my manager at lunch, we ate in silence because she was doing other things while eating and then as soon as she finished her lunch she asked if I was ready to go, which I clearly wasn’t as I had half a plate of food left but, as anyone would, I replied sweetly “yes, of course, ready to go” . A bit of overkill thinking back.
Karen took me up to the spa which smelt of fresh laundry (one of my favourite smells) and then into the hair salon where a ring of about 18 people were sat waiting for the ‘start of cruise’ meeting. I walked in and felt all eyes on me. I gave a nervous wave which got a few smiles but then all eyes were on the manager. They went around discussing everyone’s individual targets and what they had achieved the last cruise and how they were going to meet their target of this cruise. Lastly, she announced that my target for the two-week cruise was $7,000.That knot in my stomach reappeared. “how the hell was I going to make $7,000”!
When the meeting was finished then people approached me and introduced themselves. I was shown to my treatment room which had a perfectly made inside and a trolly full of perfectly arranged products.
As I had joined the ship on ‘Embarcation day’ which is the day all the old passengers get off and the new ones get on, the day was spent showing the new passengers around the spa. I wasn’t the best at this having just joined myself, but the team were very helpful.
As it got to 8 pm and the day was coming to an end, the jet lag really began to hit. I went to dinner with all the spa girls and tried so hard to make conversation but at one point, I thought I was going to fall asleep in my naan bread.
I retreated straight back to my cabin which took 3 people to guide me in the right direction and was ready to crash straight into bed. However as I walked in I realised, I now had a roommate. She had put all her stuff on the bottom bunk and moved all mine to the top bunk. She wasn’t in the room but it was quite clear she had marked her territory. In hind-site I should have moved her stuff and claimed the bottom bunk back but, I couldn’t be bothered. I was so tired and the last thing I wanted was a falling out over a bed so I just climbed into the top bunk, set my alarm and slipped like a baby.
The first day of any knew job is exhausting. There is excitement, nerves, in my case jet lag but, its all good fun.
For those of you who wanted to know what day one on a cruise ship is like, i hope this has answered your questions.