Last week I celebrated my 28th birthday on board the ship. I have now celebrated my last three birthdays while on a contract. People that you meet and grow close to on ships always do a great job of making birthdays special, and memorable, but it is a different feeling on board than what you have grown used to on land. I am very fortunate to get to work closely with some friends that I have known for a couple years now on ships, and even have the luxury of a friend from home who is currently working on board the same ship. Having either of these on a ship is very rare, and the fact that I have both is extremely lucky.
Birthdays on board is a great excuse to get everyone together and celebrate. Though we are all away from home everyone on board becomes your adopted family, so we try to take care of each other. Often times people will stake out a corner of the Crew Bar, hang up some Happy Birthday signs and order some food from room service. Which coincidentally is the fastest way to make new friends in the Crew Bar. People see a tray of food, and are automatically drawn over to it. Though, we don’t necessarily need a reason to get together, people often take these opportunities to go all out, and make a production out of a birthday, a bon voyage, or a welcome back.
However, some people you get close to over the course of a contract have to work odd hours, and if that is their shift, that’s their shift. There isn’t an option like with similar jobs on land to shift swap, or get covered. If something is planned for a celebration, it’s just understood that inevitably certain people will be unable to join in. On land, if you want to attend an event, workday or not it’s possible. Whether you need to have a shift covered, a baby sitter hired, or just the time to find a ride, it’s possible. However, no matter what the day, event, or holiday is while you are on board, it is business as usual.
This year my birthday happened to fall on the back end of a cruise in progress, and toward the end of each cruise, we always have made friends with some good people that have come to watch our sets, and sing a long with each song we play. At midnight the band coaxed our audience into singing happy birthday to me, quite the change of pace from a normal evening, them singing for me, but of course it was a nice gesture from the guys in the band, and the guests we had become close to. Of course the show then had to go on, like I said, business as usual. At the end of night a group of guests even bought me a beer in celebration, and I found out it was one of their birthdays as well, and the whole group of them were on a birthday cruise. Cheers to September birthdays!
The last three birthdays while on board have been great, and have provided some good times, and memories. But, I can’t wait to have a birthday in a backyard. with some Barbecue… Or Chipotle. Yeah, Chipotle…