3:30pm Cincinnati, OH
Here I sit in the Cincinnati airport on a layover and I am reflecting over my last six months on board the Carnival Paradise. Why they would send me so far north to go southwest I’ll never understand… But, I digress.
It’s a bittersweet feeling the day you sign off of a ship. On one hand you finally get time off, time for yourself, and the freedom to use your time how you’d like. Still, on the other you know that these experiences with this particular group of people have come to an end. As crew members you develop a bad habit of counting down the days till then end of your contract. “Only 5 cruises left!” “Only three more boat drills!” “Seven more dinners in the mess!” Though, now that it’s come, and every time it has in the past, you realize the things you’ll miss. This being said, I can’t express how happy I am to not have to do that safety briefing today.
The best part of going home is having your time to yourself. No finite times to be back to the ship. No definite places to be, and having the ability to be able to go somewhere, anywhere, at whatever time you want. You have no idea how much you miss the freedom of just being able to drive somewhere, or just drive nowhere! No matter how much time you have in port, it is never enough. Each time in the states, or whichever port of call you are in you only have X amount of time until “back on board”. Even just a day spent on your laptop replying to emails, and keeping in touch with your family and friends gets away from you quickly as you countdown your hours and minutes till you can take the latest possible taxi or Uber back to ship.
Vacation for me is going home, while vacation for the rest of the world is leaving it, oftentimes to a cruise ship… Strange how these things work out. The only similarity between them is work, or the lack thereof, and with this the absence of a paycheck. Though time off is important, the idea of being out of work between contracts is not a nice one, and in the already feast or famine world of entertainment, this is increasingly so. Anyone need a guitar player?
I’m going to miss so many people that I met, or was reacquainted with while on this contract. It is tough to say goodbye to people that you have sent every day with for upwards of six months. They truly do become your family while on board. And while you’re onboard together griping about how much longer your contract is, you don’t realize how much you’ll miss these people, these places, and these experiences. There is always the possibility of being reunited with a handful of people on each next ship, and that is what you have to hope for.
To everyone I met on this most recent chapter of singing at sea, both guests and crew alike thank you for another great contract, and helping me create great memories with great people. There are so many moments that I will remember for a long time to come. Though this chapter is over, the story is far from finished. And hey, at least we don’t have a safety briefing tonight, right?