After rolling into my hotel as a hot a sweaty tourist with 2 large suitcases and a raging headache, I showered and took off on foot to start discovering all that New Orleans had to offer at 5pm on a Sunday. Too see my adventures getting here take a look at Adventure is now… and for a bit of background on me check out Solo Female Traveller on the Move
So I began my trip at 2am on Mondays the 27th of October. We had to ER up early so I could finish packing and coffee before leaving the house at 3:45am to get to the airport by 5am.
Said my goodbyes to my grandfather and my cat and then we were on our way. We got to the airport super early cos surprise! There is no traffic at 4 am. So we decided to have a McDonald’s breakfast a wee waited for check in to open.
Once it opened I went to check my bag and get my boarding passed for my 3 flights of the day. It took a while because she was really interested in what I do and why I was going. I also had a question about luggage that wasn’t easily answered. My question was on my itinerary it said baggage limit: 4 pieces. And that was it no actual information on weight or size also there no helpful information on the help pages. Tash had to ring 2 different places to find out and the answer that came back was it is 4 pieces of 23kgs each!!!! Holy crap that’s a lot of luggage. I checked one bag that weighed a grand total of 16kgs.
After checking we headed up stairs to get coffee and spend my last 2 hours in the gateway lounge. It was really tough leaving my dad but I found it a whole lot easier than last time when my best friends and family were there. Besides I knew I’d be back in April so it’s not like in going forever.
I bought a magazine, a bottle of water and for some money changed in to Australian dollars and some into American, I used the notes in my wallet making the most of my immediate resources. I boarded the plane to Sydney and it was tiny I felt like I had no space in my seat, I was also seated next to a giant man who took up all the room without trying. The flight took 3 hours or so. I think we landed a little late. I then had to go through transfer security where they made me throw out my water. I then spent the next 4 hours wandering through the airport, I found an Asian noodle place for lunch which was delicious and I felt much better after that. But the free Wi-Fi refused to work on my phone which sucked
The plane was late leaving Sydney. It was a 14 hour flight to Dallas, Texas. It was actually a really nice flight I enjoyed the food and the staff were friendly, it was just way to long. Speaking haha of food there was a tonne of it haha with dinner which was a honey chicken salad and fruit bowl I had a Bloody Mary and then a vodka ginger beer. In the middle of the night we got ice cream and sliders. And then scrambled eggs and beans for breakfast. They also had a serve yourself snack station as well.
We arrived late into Dallas, where I had to go through customs, passport control and bag pick up and re check. Then back through security and then find out I was in the wrong terminal all while my flight was boarding. After running through the airport for half an hour I finally get to the desk to discover my flight has already left and I had been rebooked on to a 7pm flight. So I spent 4 hours in Dallas, sitting in TGI Fridays drinking cocktails till I felt better about life.
This last flight was killer. I was so over flying g and being cramped in tiny planes. Luckily this flight was only three hours but it seemed to drag on forever. Once I got to Orlando I picked up my bag and wound my way to the Disney ground transportation and caught a Disney magical express to pop century.
Once I arrived at Pop I discovered once again the frustration of knowing how to do that persons job better than them but not being able to. So I went up to my room and met my roommate. Larissa 50 years Old Russian from Australia. She will be in merchandise on board the Dream.
And so ended my long Monday I left New Zealand at 8 am on the 27th and arrived 35 hours later I arrived in Orlando Florida 10pm on the 27th of October.
So if you have been following my process you all know that recently I dyed my hair purple and it was amazing!
However since I got the call to arms from Disney Cruise Line I have been battling the purple to get back to a natural colour. After I came back from Walt Disney World I was really broke. It is thanks to my wonderful father that I have been able to afford anything. I have been living on his good graces since I got home. Because of this scenario I have been trying to fix my hair myself as cheaply as possible.
So let’s take a walk down my extra fun crazy hair experiments.
Live it up large with purple hair, rock it like it’s the most awesome thing you’ve ever done because you love it.
Get a call from dream employer regarding position. Accept position realise purple hair not acceptable. Cry, cry a lot.
Put on your big girl pants and do all the web searches and watch all the YouTube videos about hair colour removal a home.
Mistakenly listen to your father and try to bleach the colour out??
Realise this doesn’t work. Research how to remove pink hair!!!
Try dying your hair a dark brown.
Discover it wasn’t dark brown.
Try vitamin C hair caps and other homemade solutions
- Baking soda and vinegar
- Baking soda, crushed vit C tabs, dish soap
- Anti-dandruff shampoo
- Baking soda, crushed vit c, shampoo, dish soap,
- Sterilising solution
Try dying hair a mahogany brown to mellow out the red.
Notice how dry and sad looking hair is
Pay a professional to fix your mistakes.
Love your new Disney approved hair colour!
So what is the moral of this story??? Pay a professional??? Don’t dye your hair crazy colours???
Be yourself and persevere through it all!
So I finally got my flight details and my sign on paper work!
I now know for sure when I am arriving in Orlando!!!!
However before we all celebrate and throw our sassy hats in the air, I have some details about my flights you may all be interested in.
The Dream Flights:
2am – wake up, breakfast, finish packing, freak-out. ETC.
4am – Leave for the airport, cue dad complaining about it being “the middle of the night” and “do you really have to leave?”
5:15am – check in for my first of many flights in one 24 hours period
8:15am – depart Auckland City for Sydney
Spend 3 hours on a plane
9:45am – Arrive in Sydney
Spend 4.5 hours at Sydney airport
2:25pm – depart Sydney for Dallas, Texas.
Spend 18 hours on a plane
1:45pm arrive in Dallas, Texas
(At this point I would like to note that it will still be the 27th of October)
3:25pm – depart Dallas for my final destination of the day ORLANDO, FLORIDA!
7:00pm – arrive in Orlando, be sick of planes. B excited for friends and Disney!!
7:30pm – catch a bus to Walt Disney World pop century resort!!!
8:30pm – meet roommate! Hope like hell my friends love me and are coming to visit, also txt mum and dad let them know I’m alive!!!
As far as I am aware I should have this day off (Food and wine any one???)
Contract signing and schedule review
Disney Cruise Line traditions and training
4:30am – roll outta bed and check hotel room for items that belong to self
5:00am – get on the bus for the Dream.
(Side note if you miss this bus you have to get yourself to the port at your own cost)
11am – begin living the Dream!!!
So now there are only 9 DAYS TO GO. I have to get my A in G quick fast.
To Do List:
- Buy black flats (Sunday!!!!!)
- Buy white socks
- Get my hair cut and coloured ……….. Professionally (Tuesday!!!)
- Pack my bags
- Get my “original medical papers” back from the doctors
- Have a margarita filled leaving dinner!!!!!!! (Friday!!!)
I’ll put up a packing list for you guys soonish….. Once I’ve finished deciding what I’m actually taking!
So as you know last month I applied for and received the C1/D visa which is a transient visa / seaman visa for working on board cruise ships. Once I received this I though bam! I’m so in! time to start planning my vacation at the end of my first six month contract with the Disney Dream. However when u sent an email to the casting assistants asking for my travel dates and asking about how I would organise my return flights as I would love to spend a week at Disney World and a week traveling the states, they said I would need a different visa.
A DIFFERENT VISA!!!!! Are you kidding me?????
So I did some research and it turns out I needed to get the B1/2 visa at the same time. If I had applied for it at the same time it wouldn’t have cost me any extra either. But because I didn’t I had to cough up another $192 NZD to pay for the visa. Unfortunately it’s not really an option to not get it as I want to visit my friends in the states before coming home. So on Thursday morning I quickly filled in the required ds-160 and made an appointment for Wednesday the 15th of October. Now I have been through this process 3 times already. In 2009 I applied for and received a j1 visa for camp America. In 2013 I applied for the j1 visa for Walt Disney world and then again in 2014 I applied for a c1/d visa.
So I’m pretty smooth at filling in all the required information and making the appointment. This morning the only paperwork I needed was my confirmation of employment, confirmation of appointment and my ds160. When I went in there was no one in line but most of the seats in the interview waiting area was full. Now they only have 2 people conducting the interviews. So it took around an hour to get from paperwork to interview stage. They said that the employment paper made it really easy to approve the visa, as it proves income. The only questions I was asked this time around were “Are you ready for your holiday?” And “What did you do on your last visa?” And then he approved my visa for ten years!!!!!!
So even though it did cost (my dad) an extra $200 it is well worth it. However learn from my mistakes and apply all together 🙂 So now I’m looking at Contiki tours as I would love to travel a bit of the great US of A before heading back to glorious New Zealand.
Here’s a few tips about the B1/B2 visa I found useful;
- B1 is the business part.
- B2 is the tourism part.
- The length of time you can stay in the USA for is 6 months at a time on the B2, but is subject to a case by case basis decided by your immigration/customs officer.
- My visa is good for 10 years (!!!) but they can be issued for as little as 6 months. Though word on the web is that on second application you would then be issued with a 10 year one.
- There is to be no working while on this visa. This is why I have combined mine with the c1/d
- You do not need a certain amount of money in the bank to apply, but I was told that my employment papers made it easier to get as it made me financially stable.
Have any suggestions on what tours I should do? Leave me a comment below!!!
So since I’ve finished at Disney I have had quite an exciting time with the Disney cruise line.
It all started on august the 6th when I received an email from a recruiter saying that she had received my resume and was I still interested. To which I replied that I was. Jan then sent me personalized link to fill in an application and what not. I filled it in. it was an application for a guest service hostess, ad t was just standard application from dcljobs.com. After filling this out later that day I received several emails once of which asking me to upload some information to a documents website and another arranging a skype interview time.
The skype date was set for Saturday the 17th of August which I readily accepted 7:30am! Well as it so happens I had just booked bus tickets to go and see my mum that weekend so I messaged her to tell her to fill up her Wi-Fi plan as I needed it for skype for a job interview.
Once I arrived at mums on Friday evening we fussed over the kitchen table clearing it off and setting up a sheet behind it so that it would give me a neutral back ground. My biggest problem was my purple hair! How in the hell was I supposed to hide that??? And it is most definitely not Disney look in any way shape or form.
So the next morning I was up at the crack of dawn quietly getting ready putting on my professional shirts over my pyjama bottoms and slippers (hehe). Did my make up and put my hair up in a professional bun. Success the lighting was bad enough my hair looked brown and not purple at all. I made a cup of tea, trying o not wake up the rest of the household. Logged into skype and waited for Jan to call.
At 7:35am I got an email saying hr skype was broken and she tried calling my mobile and it didn’t work, so I gave her the home phone, there is very little cell phone reception at my mum’s she lives in the middle of the native forest at the top of New Zealand. So the phone rang and Jan and I talked for over an hour, going over the job and my resume and answering my questions.
We covered things like have you looked into life on board? I mentioned I had done a cruise and she asked if the purpose was to find out what it was like and I answered that yes it was. She laughed and told me it would be a lot different as a crew member haha.
Right at the end I asked what I could do to move my process along to make sure I was offered a positon ad she said “ after this conversation I feel comfortable in offering you the position right now if you want to accept it”, I nearly fell over !!! I was expecting at least a 2 week waiting period. So I of course accepted and she wished me well.
Now during this conversation I had to admit I had messed up with my up loading documents, because I’m useless, and she laughed it off and fixed it right up for me J so don’t worry about messing up or making mistakes they generally understand that you’re human.
I then had to schedule a medical and it cost me $225 hopefully this will be refunded when I get to the port. I finally got everything faxed over yesterday only to find out that Disney was supposed to send me a medical package which listed everything they needed but they hadn’t done so. So I’m heading back to the doctors tomorrow to get all the forms signed and faxed over to Disney.
I’ve also today just had my visa appointment and been approved for my C1/D visa!!!!! Everything is lining up!!!
So here is a fun little story for you. Last Monday I had just had my medical appointment, had my blood tests done and as I returned home considerably more poor, a FedEx van turned up at my door. It was my employment papers!!!! Yay!!!! so I logged into the American embassy website and started filling out my DS-160 form (which takes hours and is so bloody confusing) last time Disney provided me with a whole bunch of information about how to fill it out and what information to put in, however this time they didn’t which was all sorts of fun and stress. But I eventually filled it out and paid for my visa (dad had to top me up with some money to afford it) and made an appointment. Now here is the funny part. I didn’t really look at dates, I just noticed a greyed out Blue Square which I figured was today and an open appointment for the next day. This was perfect!!! Dad had to go in early so he could drop me off on his way past. Quick mad dash for passport photos and printing out of documents. I get up at the ass crack of dawn stumble around and we zoom off into town. We finally get there and the security guard tells me “see right here it says Wednesday 10th of September” so that was next week haha! So shame faced I catch a bus back to orewa and while away the day till today!!!!
I’ve done nothing but mess up since I started this process haha
EDIT: while applying for your C1/D also apply for the B1/2 it has no extra cost and allows that wonderful chance to explore the USA after your contract finishes.
So several months ago one of my routes suggested a cruise to the Bahamas so we all booked and paid for a 4 day cruise on royal carribean to the Bahamas. We booked the first week in December, and for months we all played the waiting game of whether or not our days off would get approved. But we did get our days approved or managed to get our shifts swapped in time. We then got all our paperwork signed by the vArious people so we could leave the country and come back in again.
So day 1 of the cruise:
We awoke around 9am finished packing and showered and basically we’re far too excited for one small apartment. There are 8 of us heading to the cruise so we had booked a taxi to pick us up at 11:30am. Waiting for that time took forever !!!!! We eventually hoped into the van with 8 various bags all packed to the brim with swimsuits and sunscreen.
We spent about an hour in the car on the way to the port it was lovely cost us $20 each way per person. Once we arrived at the port we argued about whether or not to take our own luggage on. We decided to cos none of us had enough to tip Anyone to carry it for us.
We then had fill in some information and go through customs/ immigration. Mean while we are stuffing our faces with Pringles that I had packed for the ride. Because of course we haven’t eaten yet, no food in the house and far too much excitement.
As we board the ship they announce that the staterooms are ready for boarding also. So we head down to our room, and then meet up with Courtney and Evie to explore and find some food.
We wound up in the windjammer buffet there was SO MUCH food it was insane we didn’t know where to start. Soup, salad, pasta, burgers, stews, rice, desserts, fruit, the list goes on and on. The windjammer buffet was at the back of the ship it had windows as walls, gorgeous 180 views of the ocean as you ate.
After lunch we decided to explore the ship, we found the casino, several bars and an adults only solarium complete with a bar, hot tubs and a bakery. So we decided to go for a swim. On our way down stairs i discovered a Starbucks on board!!! So i went halves with Kat in the drink deal $20 perday unlimited coffee, soda and non alcoholic drinks.
After a quick change and 2 Starbucks in hand we headed up to the solarium. We found an empty spa and evie, Kathmandu and myself started to feel like gods. One of the crew stopped by and asked us if we needed medication from the bar. We declined but love the tongue in cheek of the waiter.
The evening drifted by slowly, the ship left port and things got decidedly rocky out on the ocean. We all felt decidedly drunk all night even though no alcohol did we consume. Kat and i discovered a vertical bungy jump which we both tried out. It was a surreal feeling bei.ng on the tail end of a large moving ship and jumping into the air. I found it very hard to go straight up and down and ended up mostly jumping backwards and forwards instead. While small children laughed at me.
I found it hard to sleep that night. We had requested 2 beds but they gave us a king instead, also the boat rocked in such an odd way i couldn’t sleep well at all.
Day two dawned early and brightly. The captain woke us, at the god awful hour of 7/8am to inform us that we had arrived just off the coast of their private island Cococay. The previous day kat and i had booked in snorkelling for 22 each. So we got up and sort out coffee and breakfast. Once again we ended up in the windjammer cafe. The breakfast spread was amazing, an omelettes station, eggs, breaks, fruit, meats, pancakes, waffles, desserts, fresh orange juice. Along with alcoholic beverages and everything else you could eat in life. Over breakfast ( once again minus courtney who was still sleeping) we made out plans for the day. Which basically consisted of go to the island, do some snorkelling, eat, explore, buy some useless items :).
After breakfast we headed back to our rooms to getready/wake and feed courtney. We then went to deck 2 and discovered a massive line. We joined the line it took us about half hour to get on a Boat from the boat so we get to Cococay. Once on solid ground we headed straight for snorkelling. Evie and courtney decided to join us. We got taken through our safety instructions by a south African. We then chose some deck chairs claimed them as our own And left all our crap all over them. We ventured into the water……… HOLY DAM IT WAS COLD!! months of living in Florida when the non heated pools at vista way felt like bathes had ruined us. It honestly took us like 2 minutes to ease our way into the water. But once we were in it was gorgeous. We snorkelled around pointing out fish and what not. Surprisingly enough it was the Australians who had never been snorkelling before. We swam out to a sunken plane where we met up with the other 4 we were travelling with. We had a great time taking underwater pictures and just lazying the day away.
Eventually hunger called us back to the beach where we discovered a bbq going in full force. We tracked down Kate’s and joined a line. Ribs, chicken, corn, hot dogs. Salads and desserts everything you wanted/needed after a day at the beach. It was glorious (all we did was eat on this cruise) we then checked out the markets. It was your typical things, everything said Bahamas and it was tshirts, dresses and weird Nik nacks. I didn’t buy anything, i didn’t see anything liked enough unfortunately.
Kat and i headed back to the ship after a bit, just to get out of the sun it wasn’t hot and sunny out. Once back in the cabin i discovered i come back either some odd tan lines. Before heading in t the water i had asked for some screen to be sprayed on my back. I now had one line across the middle of my back and a splotch with some drip marks down one shoulder. I thought this was a hilarious souvenir. Forgetting back to the ship kat and i participated in some harry potter trivia where we KICKED ASS! And won a pen each. We then heard a rumour of free champagne and so attended an art auction, which was very entertaining, even though we did big occasionally we did not ( thankfully) win anything.
We booked a table for 4 in the my fair lady dining room for 8.30. As there was several shows we wanted to see, in the ships theater. It turned out to be a fancy dress evening. We got our photos taken with the captain.
And free champagne just before going into dinner. The my fair lady dining room was amazing. The menu was extensive and there was a different one each night. You got an appetizer, a main and a dessert. I had the shrimp cocktail, can’t remember my main and then lemon meriengue pie and a chocolate dessert i also had a coffee. We rolled our selves up to the theater after dinner, so muchfood in our bellies. We watched the stand up comic. We wandered around the ship for ages and just relaxed.
After finally getting some sleep we slept in till 10am on day three. We had docked at the Bahamas. At the island of nassau. After a breakfast in the windjammer. We headed off the boat, passports and spending money in tow. Once on the docks we grabbed some maps and decided not to take a taxi and walk to the shopping area. After walking for an hour we decided it was still far away and we hadn’t gotten as far as we had hopped. So we hailed a taxi and got him to take us to the shopping district just over the bridge. We got out at a strip of shops, after looking at bathing suits and walking around d we discovered a shopping courtyArd. With shops like pandora, etc,. I found a Ben and jerrys and gitva mango smoothie. Kat found a star bucks it was another stunningly hot day and we were all thirsty.
However as we were exploring the giant hotel at the end of the courtyard, my body suddenly decided that horizontal was more appealing send from one step too the next i was suddenly on the ground in a lot of pain. I had sprained my ankle :(. This gave everyone a hell of a fright and evie took off to get ice. After about 10 mins on the ground with ice i eventually felt better enough to get back to the road to get a taxi back to the ship. Granted it took me a long time to get there. Back on board the couldn’t do anything for me. So i spent lot of time with my foot up drinking coffee and eating. So at the end of day 3 i still hadn’t bought any souvenirs. We did however par take in happy hour. I had a couple of delicious concoctions which left me feeling rather happy. Kat went to have a nap and i found a library, where i read for several hours.
We ate at my fair lady again for dinner. I had a garlic soup as an appetizer, roast duck as a main and then a chocolate mousse for dessert and a glass of wine. We also had a delicious shot with dinner as well. Good times all around. After dinner there was a love and marriage game show which we attended and i purchased an alcoholic beverage because it had a flashy glass that kat wanted. The waiter told me to take a drink and he would add some love to it for me. By the end it was very strong and made for a wonderful night.
This was our last day on the cruise ship. It was our day at sea. We slept late, and wandered around the ship all day. We participated in many raffles but didn’t win anything. We ate constantly and had a glorious time. We attended a napkin folding seminar. Some more trivia, and lazed by the pool for the rest of the day. That night at dinner all of the kitchen cast members and waiters sang .us a song and all kinetic up for us on the giant staircase so we could applaud them and thank them for the amazing job that day.
For dinner we feasted on fresh bread as we had every night so far and tried all of the delicious things they brought us. Things like escargoe, lobster bisque, etc etc.
This cruise was absolutely amazing and a complete eye opener. I really want to go on another cruise because i feel like i know now what to expect and what to do. I feel that we missed out on lot because we didn’t know what was going to happen or what to expect.
Sorry it took me so , ongoing to update i just kept forgetting.