Having spent a busy month dressed as one of Santa’s little helpers, a ghetto elf with pink shades, I finally find myself with a relaxing bit of time on a beautiful beach in Aruba where I can write about my third contract out of the four I’ve done so far.
I’ve been unbelievably lucky with my contracts so far, each one has taken me to a different continent and Ovation of the Seas gave me the opportunity to see Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia before doing a similar itinerary to my first contract on the Mariner, sailing out of Singapore, around Malaysia and Thailand and finally sailing from China and visiting lots of Japanese ports.
Ovation of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class ships, meaning it is the second largest design of ship in the company holding almost 5,000 passengers if it was full. For the first week on the ship I felt like a new hire again trying to find my way around. I now take for granted the awesome things that Royal floats around the oceans, like rock walls, surf simulators, sports courts and theatres but on the Ovation: bumper cars, an indoor skydiving tunnel and an observation tower that raises up to 300 feet above sea level really do need to be seen to be believed.
It was an amazing contract for me, workwise I lucked out, I arrived the day that Australian summer holidays finished and we went from 1,200 kids on board to just 300 and I left on the day that the Chinese school holidays started so again avoided the cruise where the number of children on board went over a thousand. I managed to keep hold of a cabin with no roommate for almost 2 months and the ship was forced into an unexpected dry dock and so we had a week and a half with no guests at all.
The ship sailed out of Sydney, which provides one of the most spectacular ‘sailaways’ that I’ve witnessed on ships, for a bit over a month and then we changed our home port to Singapore, again for just over a month before relocating again and sailing from Tianjin, China. I had overnight stops in Tasmania, Thailand and Japan, I visited Universal Studios Singapore and Disney Land Hong Kong and explored a remote Chinese island while we had to have repairs made to one of the the ships propellers.
The only – I’m going to say – ‘difficult’ part of my contract was dealing with Chinese guests. Something else that needs to be seen to be believed. My team of Chinese staff were all amazing such friendly and attentive people. The guests on the other hand…… Spit, push and pee everywhere.
Bare in mind that on a ship you are constantly within a 1 minute walk of the nearest bathroom, guests (especially the grandparents) would encourage toddlers to pee wherever they are. Inside, outside anywhere they’d just whip the kids pants down to pee. Some kids (admittedly in China as I never saw it on the ship) have trousers with no back so they are walking around bare-ass just in case they need to do their business.
Lining up during Chinese season was a madness. Trying to get off the ship often ended in guests swinging at each other, again, especially the older generation. I witnessed two different occasions where old ladies hit other guests whilst lining up. I avoided the buffet at all costs so didn’t have to witness guests eating with their mouths wide open, hacking up flehm and allowing kids to pee in bottles.
But my overall impression of the Chinese was saved by my team who as I mentioned before were amazing. Lana Banana and myself survived- as the only non Mandarin speaking staff for quite a while (even though our rock n roll night with 25 kids who couldn’t understand a word we said was unbelievable) – thanks to their help.
Working every day for 5 months, as I’m sure you can imagine, takes its toll but I was less tired after my contract on the Ovation than I have been after other contracts. I don’t think I will strike that lucky on a contract again but as Share-bear would say….. Put good vibes out into the universe and you will get them back.