Saturday, October 29, 2011

Playing catch up... Cruises 6-8; sorry it's long!!

OKAY WOW I haven’t written in a while and I apologize! I’ve been caught up with tours and shows and just have been too lazy to update my blog… oops! But I have some time now, and I’m going to try and catch you all up on the highlights of the last 3 cruises =)

Cruise #5 (continued)
I last left off about our Ballroom show, which I’m sure it went well. I’ve done six shows of that since that particular cruise, so I can’t remember the specifics about it. All I know is that all of the shows are beginning to feel like second nature to me and I LOVE IT! I don’t stress out about anything and I feel good performing onstage =). The next day was Africa, and Sarah and I got to go on tour to Carthage and a small city called Sidi Bou Said. Let me say that Africa was basically everything I expected it to be. I mean, we ported in Tunisia, and it looked sooo poor. It wasn’t a bad tour, but there wasn’t anything good to buy there. Carthage was cool to see, lots of it is still up, but I’m over ruins at this point HAHA. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I got to see it, but there’s only so many broken buildings you can see before they all start to look the same ;) The next day was Palermo, in which we had our Vegas show, so I didn’t get off the boat. Unfortunately, my roommate had a very minor eye infection and wasn’t allowed to dance in the show, so we had to reblock, and then she also couldn’t come on tour with me the next day in Naples. We were scheduled to go to Capri, but I promised her we’d go together, so I asked Shore Ex to put me on my second choice, so I got to go see Mt. Vesuvius! We took a 4x4 up the side of the volcano and then walked to the very top and I could see inside the crater; it was pretty awesome! Afterwards I went to our favorite pizza place, Castel Nuovo, and got rooms and I pizza and brought hers back to her on the ship. And that was really all there was for the rest of Cruise #5!!!

Cruise #6: The Last Eastern Med Cruise in Greece
Day 1: Civitavecchia obviously. Didn’t do much except for free wifi at my regular café that I go to, then had the normal boat drill, company meeting, tech rehearsal, and our LUEY performance. Easy day!

Day 2: Sea day, so we did Ballroom Blitz. We had our tech at 12pm and our two shows in the evening!

Day 3: Dubrovnik, Croatia. Sarah and I didn’t have a tour planned so we walked into town so we could pick up some gifts, and then did some grocery shopping at the grocery store right by the port. We were going to go cliff diving but it was a little too chilly for that. I took some really pretty pictures of some of the cliffs instead =)

Day 4: Corfu, Greece. Again, we didn’t have any tours planned so we just walked around to look for some shoes we had found previously and got some more souvenirs/gifts. When I got back, I called my sister so I could talk to Avery because it was her birthday and they were going to the Taylor Swift concert =) I was SO glad to talk to them!! Day 5: Katakolon, Greece. I had
IPM so I didn’t get off the boat, I must have slept in and was a lazy bum lol

Day 6: Santorini, Greece. Today was finally a tour! Roommate and I went to Oia and got to walk around and shop. I got myself another piece of jewelry that matched my ring and earring set, as well as some more gifts. HOLY COW it was very cold, windy and rainy this day! After about an hour of free time in Oia, we went to Sigalas winery and got try the greek wines they produce. They were all very good, I actually liked the sweet red wine the best interestingly! Sarah bought a bottle of it, so we might be enjoying that later on this contract haha. After that, we spent the rest of the time walking around on our own. We had lunch at a café over-looking the sea and we had the best greek pizza ever, and I also had the best cup of hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted! So despite the rain, it was a good day =)

Day 7: Kusadasi, Turkey. No tours this day, we had a game plan of getting coffee and getting the rest of the gifts we needed to get for some people. After we got all of that accomplished, we sat in Starbucks the rest of the afternoon to use free wifi and, of course, have a cup of Starbucks coffee!!

Day 8: Athens, Greece. We just did the transfer to Athens so we could have wander on our own for about 4 hours. We actually didn’t buy anything this time! We did a lot of window shopping and tried stuff on, but we didn’t buy one thing =) The only thing we bought was Starbucks, because we found one while we were walking around lol. On our way back to the bus, we saw a “peaceful protest” in the street…. People were marching by the government building because they had all taken a third pay cut. Nothing got out of control, but it was crazy to be standing right next to the protestors!

Day 9 was a sea day, so we had Vegas, and Day 10 was Messina, Italy, and I had IPM so I wasn’t able to get off the ship. And that about sums up Cruise #6! The last of my Greek cruises for a while! Overall, I really liked Greece… despite its terribly economy; it’s a really beautiful country. 

Cruise #7: The last complete Western Med before the Crossing
Day 1 was Civitavecchia and I got some new black boots, some groceries and did free wifi. Day 2 was Livorno, but I had IPM so I couldn’t go anywhere. I wanted to go to Florence, but I can save it for future contracts =) Day 3 was Monte Carlo, and we had our Ballroom Show and I had IPM again because I had switched with someone else in the cast. The only thing I remember about the ballroom show was the during the first one, the pit got stuck about a foot down so we all had to lay down and hide until it finally moved all the way down; it was pretty funny =)

Day 4 was Barcelona. Sarah and I got on the tour that took us to see the Montserrat Monastery. I was a little weary at first because I’m a little tired of seeing cathedrals and monasteries, but this one was beautiful! It’s over 2,000 feet up in a mountain and the views are gorgeous. The monastery itself is gorgeous too. It’s also the home of the Black Madonna and a famous boys choir. I got a lot of good pictures, and was pretty satisfied with the tour itself. We got back to the ship around 5pm, and immediately had to get ready because we were going to have a special dinner and see a flamenco show (another tour offered). It was way cool! It was a dinner theatre, and they served us seafood rice, chicken and veggies, and the best mousse dessert ever! We also had bread and Spanish wine and the show was really great! Sarah and I took pictures with some of the dancers afterwards =) After dinner was a panoramic tour of the city at night, which was alright. Since we do overnights in Barcelona, I had already seen pretty much everything they were taking us too, so I was just ready to get back to the boat. We were going to go out that night and meet up with some cast members, but after touring all day, we were too tired and called it a night haha. The next day in Barcelona, we went to the post office to mail a bajillion post cards, get Starbucks, and get the last of the gifts we’d wanted to purchase. And that pretty much sums up our last overnight for Barcelona.

Day 6 was Palma de Mallorca and we walked to the mall… AND IT FELT SO GOOD!!! I’ve missed malls! I definitely did a little shopping (oops) but I keep telling myself that I’m in Europe, so why not!? ;) We just spent the day at the mall because it felt like an American thing to do on a cloudy, gloomy day haha. We had lots of rain this last couple of cruises… fall is coming! I’m glad I get to see some of it before I get to the Caribbean; especially since fall is my favorite season!

Day 7 was a sea day so we did our Walls show, which went well. After that was Africa, and even though I had IPM, most people don’t get off the boat so I just went and used free wifi at the same restaurant I always do. Day 9was Palermo, and we did our Vegas show, so we had our tech at 10am, and then afterwards, Sarah, Ali, Susan and I got off the boat to go grocery shopping and have lunch. The shows went well that evening; I spotted my favorite passengers of this cruise in the front row! Their names are Paul & Nicole, I met them on the last cruise (they were doing a 20 day cruise) and they are from Vermont… so sweet! I had quite a few tours with them so I got their contact information so we could stay in touch. They have family in Oklahoma as well! Hopefully I’ll get to run into them later in life =)

The last day of the cruise was Naples. We wanted to go to Capri but we couldn’t because we had traffic director training, however, it was chilly and rainy so the tour to Capri may not have been a good idea that day. Instead, Sarah, Ali and I walked around to get some things for Kellie and then had lunch for the last time at Castel Nuovo and said goodbye to Antonio, the owner. Soooo that about sums up the last cruise of this itinerary! It was pretty good; I enjoyed it =)

Cruise #8: The LAST European Itinerary and the CROSSING TO FLORIDA!!
YAY for beginning the last of my cruises in Europe! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a blast here, but I’m ready to be home. I want to use my phone and see regular stores and buy regular food and have a million pumpkin spice lattes LOL I’ll at least be able to do this every time we’re in Ft. Lauderdale, and we’ll see how much usage I can get out of my phone on the other ports. But I really can’t wait to call all my family and friends when I get back into the states =) SO with that, here’s how this cruise has been so far:

Day 1 was Civitavecchia BUT roommate and I got on the tour to the Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica so it was back to Rome for the day!!! I was so glad we got this tour, it was all so amazing! After we walked around the Vatican museums, we saw the Sistine Chapel and then went inside St. Peter’s Basilica. It was all very stunning. Also, outside a TON of chairs were set up because I guess every Wednesday the Pope speaks and does some sort of dedication… but it was just cool to see the whole thing full of chairs, compared to the last time we were there and it was just wide open space. AND, I’m not sure how many people know this, but the Vatican City in Rome is actually the smallest county in the world… it’s a legit country with its own laws, government, etc. The cars’ license plates always have SCV and there’s special Euros that can only be used there. So basically I was in two different countries in one day… haha! After all of that tour, we got to have lunch at restaurant called Papa Rex, and the salad and pasta was amazing! The wine was also pretty good, and the tiramisu dessert was delicious! The best part though was the espresso after everything; definitely the smoothest and most delicious cup of espresso I’ve had in Europe! :) After lunch, we did a panoramic drive through Rome, and I just love how BIG everything is. It’s pretty awesome. I could definitely live in Rome if I really wanted to I think… it’s a really pretty city =) We headed back to the boat around 3pm and Sarah and I barely made it to our muster stations for the boat drill… we were literally running from the bus to the gangway, to our rooms to grab our lifejackets and then to our stations. It was pretty hilarious. We finished off the night with company meeting, tech rehearsal and our bumper show.

Day 2 was back in Monte Carlo. I didn’t get off because I was super tired from the previous day, so after our morning tech of our Ballroom show, I napped for the afternoon. The shows went pretty well, both crowds were pretty full and loud, but I just felt tired throughout them. I need to learn to get better sleep!!! LOL you think I would with all my extra time on the ship… lol I just wear myself out between tours, the gym, and all my performance duties I think.

Day 3 was Barcelona, and I walked around the city with Sean, Sarah and Zac. We went to the post office, Starbucks, the grocery store, and checked out a couple of Halloween stores. Sarah and I are going to the Halloween parties onboard as Thing 1 & Thing 2 from Dr. Suess, LOL we’re borrowing matching red onesies from two of our cast members, and found the blue wigs at one of the Halloween stores. PERFECTO!! I didn’t do much of anything else for the evening; I had dinner, made an appearance at the VIP party onboard, walked Deck 3 for 45 minutes, then read myself to sleep =)

Day 4 was a new port!! Cartegena, Spain. I took a tour that took me to Elche, which was an okay tour. We saw a cathedral where a famous play is done, and then saw some palm tree/botanical gardens. Nothing too spectacular, but it was still interesting. I think the coolest part though was that there was a medieval festival going on to celebrate All Saints Day, so it’s only happening this weekend and we got to be there for it! It reminded me of the Renaissance festival, so I saw lots of people dressed up from that time, jewelry stands, random knick-knack stands, and different kinds of room and drink from that time period.

AND FINALLY CAUGHT UP… today was Malaga, Spain. What a gorgeous port!!!! It reminds me a little of California and a little of Miami; lots of palm trees and resorts on a beach =) Sarah and I got to go on the tour that went horseback riding in the Mijas mountains; which was sooo much fun! Such beautiful views and just very peaceful! Before, we got to eat some Spanish snacks: bread with a super delicious garlic dressing, garlic tomatoes, prosciutto, cheese and of course red wine. All the wine is very sweet and light here! After the tour, we came back to port, and since we had 4 hours before all aboard, Sarah and I went to walk around the city a little bit. We got our spoons and magnets, and then had lunch at a café. I had a yummy chicken & strawberry salad with a yogurt dressing, Sarah got 2 seafood tapas, and we ordered Sangria! The sangria in Spain is the best Sangria EVER! We finished off the whole pitcher that they brought out (which is pretty big) and felt a little giggly after, but nothing too extreme lol. After we paid, we got some gelato on the way back to the boat since we only have a few ports left to get gelato (which is 1000000000x better than ice cream!) Now we’re back on board being lazy in our cabin and watching tv!

So there you have it, all caught up! SO sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve posted! And I’m sorry this is more lengthy than I wanted it to be… it’s to summarize ten day cruises I suppose lol! Tomorrow is Cadiz, Spain followed by Lisbon (Portugal) and then we have one sea day after that and our final port of call, which is Madeira, Portugal. Then… ITS SEVEN DAYS AT SEA MY FRIENDS AND THEN I WILL BE BACK IN THE USA!!!! I cannot wait!! I’ve been craving a pumpkin spice latte for 3 months… and I’m going to drool when I get one!! Lol Hope everyone is doing well and I miss you all!!!! Until next time!!! <3

This is a REALLY old post!!!

I'm so sorry I've been slacking on my blog updates!! This blog is from awhile ago, it's about cruises #4 and #5... which is the same one that my roommates parent's came on, haha! (And now I'm currently on cruise #8)! I'll post this since I took the time to write it, and I'm going to go write another and post it later =)

As much as I am loving Europe, and I am having a lot of fun, I’m almost ready to get back into the states so I can at least use my phone as much as I want every ten days. I’m going to look into my plan and see if I can get text messaging options while I’m in the Caribbean just because I use more texting that I do actual phone minutes. I’m not sure how well that is going to work out, but it’s something I can investigate. That’s why I’m also going to try to do an Alaskan cruise the next ship so I can at least keep my phone around longer. Not that I REALLY need my phone, but it gets hard sometimes to not be able to contact anyone whenever I feel like it, especially when I get homesick.
But anyways, as for the end of the last cruise, it went pretty well. Athens I stayed on the boat all day. I slept until 1pm (holy cow!) and then I tried to tan outside but it was actually pretty chilly and really cloudy. The weather has definitely started to cool down from when we first got to the Med, so it’s been really nice for going on tours and stuff. I don’t feel like I’m sweating all my layers of skin off anymore haha

After Athens was a sea day, so we had tech in the afternoon for our Vegas show and after that I taught the Foxtrot with Jacob. They were probably the best crowd I’ve taught yet. They all seemed to enjoy themselves and they were all really friendly. The shows in the evening went really well, no major mishaps. Riser 44 is still broken so we’re still running our modified show. (We use 4 risers in this show, and since is broken we can only use three. Hopefully it’s getting fixed by the next cruise).

The next day was Messina, and I went with Sarah and her parents to Taormina, which is a really pretty town. It reminded me a lot of Lucca. There wasn’t much to it; we saw the different style of cathedrals and the theatre that was there, and that was really all that there was. There were a lot of shops of course, and Sarah and I looked around, but all the shoes were super expensive, and I didn’t really look at a whole lot of clothes because I’m trying to reduce my spending haha.  We came back and had to get ready for the backstage event for the passengers, which is when we just do the two beginning numbers of Vegas in rehearsal clothes and they all get to ask questions after. Short and sweet, and I’m pretty sure that after that I went back to the room to take a nap because I was pooped from yesterday. In the evening, I got to go to dinner with Sarah and her parents to the Pinnacle (the onboard restaurant that costs extra to go to) and the food was AMAZING! I had French onion soup, Filet mignon with asparagus and mashed potatoes and dessert was coffee, vanilla, and chocolate flavored crème brule! SO yummy! I liked the different flavored butter that they gave with the bread in the beginning too. They had regular, garlic, and sun-dried tomato. The only bad thing though was that the service is REALLY slow. We had reservations at 8:30pm and wanted to make it to the 10pm show, but didn’t get there until almost 10:30pm… but we weren’t too upset because we all really didn’t care for the show afterwards anyways HAHA. After the show we had a midnight rehearsal for Walls, which went pretty quickly.

So that was the rest of Cruise #4, and now onto part of Cruise #5. On home port day, I got up early to go to breakfast to say goodbye to Sarah’s parents, and then came back to sleep for a few more hours because I headed out to my normal café for wifi time. I was planning on leaving around 11am, but we had a surprise fire drill at 10am so I was up earlier and headed off after the drill was over. I got my normal espresso and got to Skype with my mom! It was nice, but the videos were a little slow, but at least it was better than nothing. I also uploaded all of my photos, of course, and did my usual catch up day online. After that, I walked around with Sarah to see if we could find anything interesting, and we didn’t but we did end up getting some gelato. Mostly everything was closed anyways because it was Sunday. We got back on board, we did our traffic director drill, had our company meeting, did our tech for Luey, and did LUEY at 9:30pm.

Day 2 was Livorno, and I wanted to go to Florence this time, but I never ended up getting off the boat. First off, we had our Walls show this day instead of Day 3, so we had tech at 10am, and after wasn’t enough time to get to Florence and back (it’s about a 2.5 hour commute). I have IPM the next time we’re in Florence, so I probably won’t ever get to Florence, but that’s okay. Maybe another contract, and at least I got to get to Pisa! I don’t think I did much of anything during my break between tech and shows, but I think I went to the gym and had dinner and then just got ready for the shows. They were good, the second show had hardly ANY audience, but I bet it’s because everyone was so tired from their tours in Livorno. The first day after home port day is such a long port day for the guests… so they don’t really show up to the shows at the beginning of this cruise.

Day 3 was Monte Carlo, and I GOT TO GO TO FRANCE! I went to see Nice and Eze, two really pretty towns in southern France. I got a bunch of silly souvenirs because they were from France (like Paris magnets… LOL) Nice had a flower market which was really cool, and the beach was really pretty there. It was rocky, but the water is such a gorgeous blue that it makes up for it haha! I also ended up getting a cute simple grey dress because I was determined to buy at least one article of clothing from France ;) After an hour of free time, we drove to Eze (and we saw Elton John’s house on the way!), which is a super tiny medieval town up on a cliff of a mountain. I didn’t get anything there, just enjoyed the beautiful surroundings and an espresso… had to try it from France! After the tour was over, we got dropped back at the ship, but Sarah and I went to walk to see the famous casino that Monte Carlo is known for.  We didn’t go inside, but we took pictures outside and also took pictures of the Hotel de Paris =) After we took pictures, we walked around in search of food (and shopped at the Zara we found) and ended up just getting a pizza by the slice on the way back because we didn’t find much of anything. The two outside pizza places we went to, no one came up to us to serve so we left lol The pizza I had was okay, I still think Italy’s is better! We made it back on the ship and then just relaxed the rest of the evening.

Day 4 was Barcelona (Day 1) and we did a bike tour!! We rode 14 miles around the city and got to see some things I hadn’t seen before. We had a few accidents, but nothing extremely serious, but I really think people should be super confident in controlling a bike in small spaces and crowds… just saying. Jordy was another guy that worked for the company and he rode at the end of the line with us, and hopefully all of us will get to meet up in Barcelona next time and hang out! We finished the tour kind of late for various reasons, and then Sarah and I got some groceries and went to the post office to mail some postcards! (So yes, some postcards are in transit! I have many more to send, but I only sent six this time because I was afraid of them never making it to the states, so I figured losing six instead 30 was a better risk to take… lol) If they’re received by the next time I go to Barcelona, I’ll make the rest out in 20 days! =) After that, we walked back to the ship to change because we were going to dinner! We finally ventured off after 8pm, and had a really ridiculous situation to deal with (if you want to know about it, message me and I’ll let you know. I won’t put the details up here because I don’t know who all sees this, so I’ll inform you on a private basis lol). But after we made our escape to a Starbucks, we finally landed at a restaurant recommended by our tour guide earlier that day and had the most amazing tapas! I had veggies and gnocchi, and a glass of rose wine, and Sarah had a hummus, babaganush, and guacamole dish, sushi and a cab sav. It was excellent! I took my menu (because it was a paper one) for a keepsake! After that we walked around for a little, got amazing gelato and got bombarded by people trying to get us to go to the clubs. We almost did, but we had to be up early for the next day’s tour, but we might try to go next time just for the experience. We’ll see.

Day 2 was good too! I did a Guadi tour and got to go inside La Sagrada Familia, that amazing church I mentioned last time. The inside is just as stunning. I can’t wait to see what the complete project will look like. I actually want to come back in 15 years to see its completion; it’s on my bucket list! I ended up buying a book about it because I’m so curious about it, its symbolism, and how it’s built. I think I just love that it’s still a work-in-progress and that I get to be alive during the time it’s making history…. Cool!! After the tour, I tried to wait for Sarah to get back, but I think she was way later than I was, so I walked back to the ship by myself and slept until she got home, since I was tired again lol (I have a bad habit of staying up late when I need to get up early lol). She got back and we both napped until dinner, and after dinner we got some coffee and played scrabble and card games in the library haha it was fun. We came back to the room to watch movies and both passed our pretty early.

Today we are in Palma de Mallorca, and I have IPM, so I got to sleep in today! And boy did I, I slept until almost 2pm! I never sleep like this! It’s so weird to me, but I guess it’s just because I’m always on the go helping out with ShoreEx and then doing all the shows/techs/rehearsals that I’ve barely given myself downtime. So today has been a day of sleeping, and I haven’t done much since I woke up. Just been watching tv and updating my blogs :)

So tomorrow is a sea day, so we have our Ballroom show. The next day is Africa, and we’re hopefully going to Carthage that day, and I’m hoping to catch up with the internet then with pictures afterwards as well. The day after that is Palermo, and the last day is Naples. I’m hoping to go to Capri when we’re in Naples, I heard it’s stunning!! =) So that’s about it for the latest news… I miss everyone from home so much! Sometimes it feels like I’ve been here forever, but when I look at the dates, it’s only been a month and a half =(  It’s my lazy days that make me homesick… I have more time to think about everything. If I keep myself busy, it keeps my brain occupied and makes time fly. Six and a half months and I’ll be home! Love you all and miss you tons!!!