And so it goes...

October 12, 2010 - Agios Nikolaos, Greece

This is my last entry, so sad!  But, it's an exciting one...

 

Everything changed in Athens.  Here's a Day-by-Day of our chaotic "last cruise".

-Athens, Greece-

Day 1-

We checked everyone in, just like normal.  Boat drill, block party, same old thing.  We found out that night we were in Athens that because of a propulsion issue, we would be staying overnight and technicians were coming to check everything out in the morning.  No big deal, right?

Day 2-

By the morning the captain announced that the cruise had been cancelled.  Because of the propulsion issue, Regent was forced to cancel the whole cruise.  That means we would miss Israel, Egypt and our second run around Greece.  It came as quite a shock to us and even moreso to the passengers on the ship who had just flown in from all over the world.  It was chaos because they all have to get flights rebooked.  Destinations created some tours for the passengers, and in between that all of the passengers were in the atrium asking questions, complaining, and whatnot.  I tried to stay out of it because I didn't have any answers to any questions and when the passengers see a name tag they assume you know everything that's going on.

The first day was exciting and we were all still in shock.  We had no idea what was happening, at first the passengers were to be off the ship by the 6th at noon.  We didn't know if we'd be leaving then or what, so we just went along like normal.  We did Ballroom Bravo and still socialized (although it was hard to answer everyone's questions since we didn't know anything).  We were waiting to find a place for dry dock (where the ship is out of the water so they can do repairs).

Day 3-

The next day we were antsy for news, but we decided to go into Athens.  We walked up to the Acropolis.  It was so neat!  It was a really nice day and it was great to get our minds off the broken boat.  We had a photo shoot and then walked back down into town to Plaka and had some lunch.  I had a nice greek salad and fried cheese and then we did some shopping.  We needed to get back to the ship at that point and when we went to wait for the shuttle but it just drove by.  We waited for a little to see if it'd come back but then we decided to take the public bus.  For 1 euro we took the bus from the 1st stop to the last and it took forever.  I was feeling a little car sick and had to rush to get ready to socialize.  It was fine, but it took us 2.5 hours to get back to the ship!

The news we got when we got back was that the passengers now had to be off the ship by the 7th at 8AM because we had found a place for dry dock and were leaving Athens at 8AM.  We had Sailing Through Broadway that night and then we went to the bar.  It's hard to not have any idea when you are going home- since this would change things!  We needed to relieve some stress.  We're not good with not knowing...

Day 4-

The next day I had to run games (not too many people wanting to play...) and we went out in the afternoon for Starbucks and internet, which we found at this cute irish restaurant/pub.  It was great.

We made it back to the ship for Listen to the Music, which was our official last show.  It was fun, since it's such a goofy light hearted show it was kind of perfect for our last hurrah.  Dionne, our cruise director was so sweet and had us come out on stage at the end for a champagne toast.  She's really just the most genuine person and I'm happy she was there during the chaos, she calms everyone down.

Since we were leaving Athens the next morning (without any passengers), we decided to make use of our lounge privileges and went up to Observation for our last lounge drinks.  We chatted and then had a little photo shoot out on the pool deck.  Beckie, Erin and I went up to the crew deck in our comfys and looked at pictures from our contract.  It was a nice night.

Day 5-

I woke up on the 7th around 11AM and was so happy to see the ship moving!   We were on our way to France.  We still were not sure of what our next few days were going to look like, but as long as the ship was going somewhere we were happy.  We didn't find out any news that day, so we just hung out on the empty ship.  It was fun because everyone was in normal clothes and finally able to breathe after the past 4 days.  That first night they had some festivities for the crew.  They served a really delicious meal up in la Veranda and then everyone went to Horizon Lounge, where a crew band played and the bar was open.  We hung out there for a while, trying to get some answers out of the engineers, like I said we're not good with not knowing what was going on.  We knew we'd be going home early, but we didn't know when.

Day 6-

The next day we went up to the passenger pool deck to lay out (we got in trouble, because we weren't technically allowed up there...) and I started packing.  We had a meeting that day and found out we'd either be getting off the ship on the 10th or the 13th.  The ship would be arriving in Marseille, France on the 11th and there was a strike in France on the 12th...  The band, because of immigration issues, couldn't disembark from France so the ship would have to make a stop in Monte Carlo, Monaco.  We begged to get off then, because we were so antsy to get home.  We were literally doing nothing on the ship, we had nothing to do and at that point we just wanted to be home.  We all were exhausted from all the back and forth news and just wanted definite answers.

Day 7-

We found out on the 9th we would be leaving the ship on the 10th.  We were so exciting!!  Of course, Dionne tried to fool us and tell us we had been extended until December 1st- but once she saw our faces, she told us the good news.  We had disembarkation meetings, and had to finish packing.  It was a busy busy day.  That night they opened up the pool bar upstairs for the crew and we had a fun night, our last night on the ship!

Day 8-

On 10/10/10 the 10 of us, after 10+ months made our final preparations to leave.  It was a very tricky day (nothing is ever simple).  We had to bring our luggage to get checked and then wait around until we were in the right spot to tender.  We were supposed to tender into Monte Carlo, but because of weather, we had to go to Cannes.  The idea of putting all of our luggage on a tender was hilarious to me and the added factor of bad weather made me curious to see how it would all unfold.  We were told to take sea sickness medication, so by the time we were getting ready to get on the tender we were all very groggy.  The Captain made an announcement all over the ship, wishing us well, which was really nice.  We were supposed to meet at 4pm to leave, but didn't end up getting on the tender until well past 5:30.

Carly and I were the first in line, and we made it on... but once I got on our Safety Officer who was driving the tender stopped letting people on because it was getting too rocky.  We made a little circle (meanwhile, the tender operators are getting soaked from the waves and it is really really rocky) and went back to the ship to get everyone else.  It was chaos, everyone was yelling, "GO GO GO" and everyone ran down the gangway and hopped into the tender, we only had a certain amount of time before we capsized I guess.  Once everyone was in (including the HR manager with barf bags) we set off to the dock.  A windshield wiper flew off and we were just generally laughing, because what can you do?

Once we got to the dock, again it was rush rush rush to get out of the way of the other tenders.  We lugged all the bags up stairs and to the bus.  There were 22 members of the band and cast in the bus and the baggage didn't fit underneath, so the bags were in the aisle of the bus.  It was very exciting.  The GM, Crew Purser and HR Manager all said a little something to us and wished us well.  And that was it with being on a ship.  It was all over.

Well, that part was over.  Obviously we had a lot more happening in the next 30 or so hours.  The drive from Cannes to Monte Carlo was nice.  Turned out we had been booked in a youth hostel, so that was fun, especially since there were no elevators...  We went out to eat, the sea sickness meds had made us all so out of it, but we ate and eventually went to bed.

Day 9-

Erich and Gabe left at 5AM to get to the airport.  At 7:30 me, Beckie, Carly, Kaitlyn, Erin, Sharmaine, Dan and Nic met for breakfast at our ho(s)tel and then all of us but Beckie were off to the airport.  It was really hard to say goodbye to Beckie, she'll be so far away now- but she's coming to NYC soon and I'm sure I'll be making my way back to London.  The rest of the 8, once again moved our luggage into the vans and were off to Nice (Nice, France that is although it was a nice airport).  All of us but Dan were on the Nice-JFK flight, so we had to say goodbye to him at the Delta terminal.  Then, we trekked inside with insane amount of bags and hit the next speed bump.

I checked in and they told me they had oversold the flight.  I told them I wouldn't offer up my seat, I had been away for over 10 months and needed to get home.  She was very nice about it and told me to wait by the desk area for a seat assignment.  Well, the same thing happened for Erin, Carly and Sharmaine.  So, it's about 9:10AM, our flight is at 10:25AM and naturally I start panicking.  I kept my cool, but I knew if I didn't get on that flight, that Nice airport wouldn't be so nice anymore.  They told us they'd tell us at 9:25, and at that time the Delta ladies were just talking and letting other passengers get assignments and just not paying attention to us.  Well, finally the lady I had checked in with, brought over tickets for Erin and I.  When we looked so desperate and needy, it wasn't long after that Carly and Sharmaine got theirs.

We flew through security (even though I forgot to take out my needlepoint scissors and they had to look at them, but still gave them back...) and passport checks.  We didn't even sit down, we found Kaitlyn and Nic and started boarding right away.  We were finally on our way!  I was very lucky because I only had the one flight, whereas everyone else (including Beckie going from France to England...) had 1 or more connecting flights.  I couldn't wait to see my family!!

When I got through customs and baggage I had to say goodbye to everyone.  It was so quick and so strange to say goodbye to people I had literally been with 24 hours a day for about 11 months.  It was surreal.  After the goodbyes, I hauled myself and my 250 pounds of luggage out to the gate, where my parents and best friend Mike was waiting for me!  He surprised me, it was so great.  I said goodbye to Erin, who was heading back home to Long Island and then we went to the car.  I was so excited!

We drove to Brooklyn to meet my sister, and we all had lunch and then Mike and my sissy went their separate ways, so we could head back to Connecticut.  It was a long day and I went to sleep at 9pm and woke up at 9am, I needed to catch up.  I was/am so happy to be home with my family, friends and my dog.

 

Especially after this whole ordeal at the end, it's going to take some time to adjust back to normal life.  Working on a ship means you eat, sleep, work and play at your job, which can be hard.  I had such an amazing time with this cast, I obviously will never forget this whole experience.  It was so much more than just another "dance job"; I got to see the world and be part of a great group.  There were parts of the whole experience that I didn't enjoy, but on the whole it really was amazing.  I can't say I'm going to go for another cruise ship any time soon though.  This was something I wanted to do and I don't know if I could top this contract.  I went to so many countries and places, if I did another contract it just wouldn't be the same.  Never say never though, I guess!  At this point, I'm going to be home until January, spending time with my family for the holidays and even going to Nashville to visit Soren and Vanessa in December!  I'll probably pick up some random jobs here and there, but I'm mostly just going to get back to normal and enjoy the holidays.

 

Thanks for reading my blog.  Hopefully I'll start another one, one day- maybe I'll travel the world with my sister sampling desserts...  But thanks for tuning in and letting me share my awesome experience with you!  I'm going to go take a nap... I'm still pretty jet lagged!

 

Until Next Time...


2 Comments

Nancy (Auntie):
October 13, 2010
What can anyone say, you said it all. I am so happy you got home safely. At the same time I am sad for this journey to end. I have been enjoying so much reading your journal. Many memories of my traveling/performing days have come back to me as I read about yours. I hope you have a lot more to share with everyone. love you lots, Nancy
Terri:
October 16, 2010
Kelsey,
It was such a pleasure meeting you and I am so glad to have shared, what ended up being your last cruise! It was comforting to know that your cast all got along so well during the past 10+ months or so. It is amazing that you all did such a great job and enjoyed your time together in such close quarters and 24/7 together. You are all such amazing people and it is truly enjoyable to have been able to share your experiences through your journal writings. I hope to see you again at some point in your performing career. Keep us posted on any jobs you may have near or around Pittsburgh, PA! Good luck to you in the future and I wish you nothing but great experiences. Erich's Mama.
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