Today, we turn the page and start, what I consider to be, the final chapter on our journey around the world. Today marks the end and the beginning to a lot of things. Most simply, it’s the conclusion of one cruise and the start of another. Today at embarkation, we will check in and welcome nearly 700 brand new faces to the Voyager. One special face, in particular, will be that of our new boss and Cruise Director, Dionne, which subsequently means that we have to say goodbye to Lorraine.
Last night, at our last Entertainment Department meeting with her, Lorraine made a champagne toast, thanking us for all of our hard work not only this contract with her, but also the first. She said (through tears) that she has loved working with each of us and will genuinely miss us when she’s gone. After the meeting, she invited just us PGT’s to her cabin where she told us that we have been the best cast she’s ever worked with and thanked us for making her life onboard easier. Then she gave us each a bottle of wine and the most perfect trinket to remember our summer together – a magnet of a piece of luggage listing every port we’ve visited in the Baltic.
Lorraine has been an absolute pleasure to work for and I very much admire her as both a Cruise Director and personal friend. She does her job so well and I have certainly made sure to take notes along the way, in case I ever follow in her footsteps! Thank you, Lorraine, for everything! We’ll miss you! I hope our paths cross again soon!
Now, as I said, we open the door to this last leg of our contract – the itinerary we’ve all been anxious for, where we are back to discovering new places every day, experiencing new adventures every moment and creating long lasting memories every step of the way. And just like how I chose to live during the World Cruise, I refuse to miss the opportunity to see a new place, no matter what the circumstances. That’s why today, even though I had to work embarkation, I got up early just to have the opportunity to get off the ship and see what Dover is all about!
Well, what I saw…was that Dover isn’t really ‘all about’ much of anything. When Nic and I got off the ship and trekked the lengthy walk into town, I quickly realized that for cruise ships, Dover is simply a transfer port for London; after all, they’re only about an hour and a half away from each other. In fact, that is exactly where Beckie, Kelsey and Erin were this very moment! They were the lucky three off of embarkation today (Beckie, of course, because it was not only her birthday, but also her home) and so they took the opportunity to train to the big city!
Meanwhile, Nic and I were in the process of exploring Dover, a very small city, outwardly very poor and struggling. The center of town, were we eventually made it to, was not pretty at all. The buildings were old, the stores were all rundown and the people were all very ‘white trash-like’. I almost felt a little uncomfortable walking around, especially dressed as we were. We both had put on our embarkation uniforms already, in case we’d make it back late, and donned with my long black trench coat and Nic with his campus jacket, we looked like two gay Mormon schoolboys trying to sell bibles. It was ridiculous! Haha!
One pretty thing that did catch our eye, besides the KFC where we grabbed lunch before heading back, was a huge castle that sat high on top of the hill above the harbor. We considered trying to see it, but agreed that we wouldn’t have enough time; so instead, we stopped in a Hallmark-type store, where we got gift bags for Beckie’s birthday presents, then started the long walk back, during which stopped to get pictures of us with the traditional red British telephone booth!
It wasn’t the most exciting of ports, but at least I got off the ship to figure that out for myself! I would have always been wondering what I missed if I hadn’t!
P.S. That night, we celebrated Beckie’s 21st birthday with a lounge crawl through the ship. She met two of us at each lounge, guided by the scavenger-hunt-like notes we’d hand her, ultimately ending (happy and drunk) in the decorated Officer’s Mess, where we had cake and ice cream and watched while she opened her gifts. HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY, BECKIE! You were definitely the drunkest girl at the party!