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
I know it’s been forever since I last posted. This is due to several things the least of them being my contract with DCL.
My contract started on October 27th 2014 and ended on March 30th 2015. It was originally supposed to be March 27th but I pushed out my contract by 3 days in order to have a vacation in Orlando before flying home.
What can I say about my contract? It was a steep and severe learning curve for me and also a complete and utter culture shock. The college program did almost nothing to prepare you for what life on board is like.
My first month on board was the hardest time of my life. I felt completely useless and unwanted most of the time. I messed up everything there were living challenges as well as working challenges. Managers who won’t back you no matter what and being so exhausted you don’t know which way is up. You are thrust into a completely new environment and in the guest services position you have to know everything about the ship, the itineraries and also what’s on offer in each port. This of course gets easier with time and one of the ways I learnt about the ship was my trainer used to tour me around the ship after work. We would go for walks and find all the places. She would fill me in on handy hints and common questions and answers.
At the end of my first month I was ready to quit. I was so tired I had no friends, internet on board was a crazy $20 for less than 500mbs. Because of this I felt like I couldn’t talk to my friends and family. I cried while texting my mum and dad but ultimately decided not to quit as this was a dream I had been working towards for so long.
Months 2 thru 5 were a lot easier, to start with our management team changed and I found a lot of support I didn’t realise I was missing. Our team got stronger and stronger and soon we were bringing in results that 3 and 4 day cruises had never seen. Due to this my team earned first a half day off and then at the end of contract a whole day off!!!! This in itself was amazing. I also came 3rd top Guest Services Hostess twice which is an amazing confidence booster.
Some Notable Moments:
- Swam with Dolphins and stingrays
- Living in America mean free shipping on online shopping which then equals mail!!
- Making new friends from all over the world
- Breaking Disney records for friendliness and problem resolution
- Captains recognition parties, my favourites being the dessert gala and St Patrick’s Day in the guest nightclub area.
Earlier I mentioned I had extended m contract by three days, this was due to not being able to exit the ship on my B1/2 visa at the end of my contract unless I finished work in a Bahamian port. So this took a long time and a lot of frustration before it was finally resolved and sorted. Basically in the end my manager approved the 3 day extension and the crew office approved a flight delay. This ensured that I could spend a week in Orlando before flying home.
By the end of my contract I had decided that I would be returning. My end of contract review was outstanding and I am hoping to explore a couple different roles once I get back on board.
If you guys have any questions in regards to life on board or of my experience on board leave a comment below.
Bye for now
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!!!
All right my children it is story time
As you all know I have been working my way through the DCL recruitment plan since early august and it is now early September. The fun parts that stick out the most have been not getting the forms that are apparently time sensitive and necessary on time.
I have another chapter to add to that today ……YAY!
I recently go in touch with another lucky, wonderful Disney bound crew member who will also be joining me and countless other on board the Disney dream. Woot for making friends. However through our chat I discovered that she already had her flight information?!? I was quite shocked how did she get hers when I didn’t have mine? So as we were talking about it I email the dcl casting assistants to enquire when I could expect my flight details and they kindly informed me that they were waiting for me to complete a form……. Sigh….. Yet another form I hadn’t actually been provided.
So now I’m checking no on the boxes asking me if I have been to any countries with Ebola and signing and sending the form through to DCL and waiting hopefully, tentatively that at last I will receive my flight details soon!!!
Also a word of warning for all those getting a C1/D visa, at the same time you are applying make sure you get the B1/2 as well it doesn’t cost any extra and allows you to spend some time at the end of your contract travelling the united states before you fly home.
Only a short one today my lovelies