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 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!
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
So with everything I choose to do in my life I love to play the waiting game. This is not true. I am the most impatient person I know. However I decided a long time ago that I wanted to live the life I wanted. I wanted to travel the world and be paid for it. I want to live for the experiences and enjoy life to the fullest.
So I have constantly found ways to reach these goals and fulfil my wanderlust and lack of money.
So if you guys have been following me for a little while you’ll know that since I finished my Disney International College Program I have been trying to get on to the Disney Cruise Line. Last time we talked I was mid-way through my application process.
I have filled in the application, which was pretty straight forward … Upload resume….. Now type out resume in the following screens. I found having a reference from within Disney was really beneficial here, even an old manager.
I had a phone interview which lasted around an hour – hour and a half. In which my recruiter a lovely lady by the name of Jan talked to me about my job, my resume, my time at Disney, why I felt I was right for the team, working on a cruise ship and of course my next steps. Have a look at my post “applying for the DCL” for more hints on the interview and this process.
After the interview I had to get a medical check-up which consisted of lots of blood work and immunisation history as well as an eye test and a hearing test. To start with I did have some trouble with this as I was not provided the information for the medical tests until I had already had the meeting with my doctor. This was a very expensive part of the application. This cost me $25o for the first appointment and blood work. After I was provided the correct paperwork I had to get more blood tests done which was an extra $70. I then had to try and track down immunisation records and ended up having another blood test to see if I was immune to chicken pox. Turns out I am, I believe I was immunised as a child but there were no records of it. I also had to go for a hearing test which was slated to cost another $80. Luckily enough it was free in the end.
I also had more information to fill in online, passports, flight availability, marital status etc.
During all this run around I had also booked my visa appointment at the only consulate in New Zealand which is in Auckland. I did however go on the wrong day the first time and felt like a complete dick. So I went back on the right day. Dressed up all professionally I took;
- Both my passports,
- My receipts of the interview
- Confirmation of the DS-160
- Letter of employment
- American Passport photo (5cmx5cm)
Once I waited in line and it was finally my turn I handed all the paper work and my New Zealand passport over and went to sit until they called me for my interview. When they called me up to the second window, they asked
- What I was applying for? A c1/d visa
- Why I was applying for this? Because I had a job with Disney on the cruise line
- What had I done before? Worked as a concierge for Walt Disney world.
The interviewer then told me that I should know what I was doing and advised me that my visa had been accepted and that I would receive my passport by courier within the next week. I was over the moon!!! I did receive my passport 2 days later and I found that my visa was valid for 5 years!!!!
So I uploaded a copy of the visa to the documents website, I am now just waiting on the last of my medical records to be finalised.
So I spent the better part of a week going stir crazy waiting for that call to say they wanted me right now!! I even sent a message to one of the Disney reps to see what my hire status was, and she replied that they would do their best to get me a job by December. DECEMBER!!! Omg I was momentarily devastated. I didn’t want to wait that long. I was going crazy with nothing to do at home, I have had no luck in finding a part time job since I’ve been back.
Finally on September 30th I received an email with the news id been waiting for!
I of course accepted straight away.
I then received a second email.
And now I’m just waiting on confirmation of flights.
23 days to go!
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.