Adventure is now…

This post is updated after each step and then uploaded once I reach any Wi-Fi signal.

 

Packing

 

My journey to the other side of the world began very early on Saturday morning. My very first flight departed at 6:20am. This meant I had to be at the airport by 4am, which in turn meant leaving the house just before 3am.

At around 1am I received a call from Qantas staff advising that my connecting flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles has been delayed an hour. The trip hadn’t even started yet and already plans were changing. This delay shouldn’t have too much of an impact as I have a 3-hour window in LAX before my connecting flight to Chicago.

Flight One – Auckland to Brisbane

Made great time to the airport. Had the traditional al maccas breakfast and tank juice before wading through security and dosing my gate. My flight was delayed three time before we actually took off. Supposed to depart at 6:20, it was pushed to 6:40 and then to 7am before we finally departed.


I think I got about an hour of sleep before breakfast was served. Fairly average scrambled eggs and baked beans with sausage and hash brown. I did quite enjoy the lemon muffin though. I then decided to watch how to be single which had me alternating between laughing out loud and crying quietly – definitely do not recommend to watch in front of other people.

 

Eggs and Baked Beans

 

Flight Two – Brisbane to Los Angeles

Arrives into Brisbane at around 9am. First purport was get somethings. To munch on. I decided to get a boost Caribbean green juice smoothie and some BBQ pork buns for lunch. I then visit the transfer desk and got my seat changed from a middle seat to an aisle seat. I had originally hoped to get a row to myself but there were no free seats on the flight.

After sorting food, I headed down to the departure gate. After we were advised of 2 more delays I asked about my connecting flight but they didn’t have any information. But they did need to put my visa information in the system. The flight itself was pretty uneventful I watched several movies: sisters, joy, and wild. They were all quit good. I cried in almost of them. I got a couple of hours sleep before breakfast.

Flight Three – Lax to Ord

Landing in Los Angeles was minor lily stressful because I was waiting for information on my connecting flight and we landed at just before 8am with my next flight departing at 9:05am. I was advised at the gate that I had been rebooked and I would find out more at baggage claim.
Side note: passport control at Lax is really smooth. If you’d been into the USA in the same visa and passport before they let you check min at these machines which prints you out a receipt which you take to CBP officer and they wave you through.

After I picked up my luggage I got my new flight details. I had been rebooked on to an American airlines flight departing LAX at 2:15pm and arriving in Chicago at 9pm. So this wasn’t going to work because my Train was departing at 8pm an hour away from the airport.

So I lugged my luggage up to the recheck desk where a lovely lady got me rebooked onto a virgin America flight departing at 10:30am and arriving at 4:0 pm. New ticket in hand I checked in my luggage and went in search of terminal 3 to check in for my next flight.


The lines in the terminal were ridiculous. I wanted to change into fresh clothes and get some Starbucks for my flight but there was a line 20 people long for each activity. So I choose bathroom and instead of getting completely changed I changed my shirt and reorganised my bag in the waiting area.

Last flight of the journey went quickly and smoothly, I managed about 2 hours sleep and watched some TV. Nothing else to report, they don’t feed you on domestic American flights.

Chicago

I arrived into Chicago airport, I was on the lookout for a cell phone store to pick up a sim card but I couldn’t find one unfortunately. But I was feeling pretty time conscious because I still had quite a way to go to get to Union station and catch the train to New Orleans.  At this point I’m running on around 5 hours of sleep over the last 2.5 days.


Get all my luggage and I start following the sign to the CTA trains to the city signs. I bought a ticket to the train and it was $5, I only had $10 notes and the machines don’t give change, so I tried to use my Qantas cash card but it wanted a zip code for the transaction and I had no idea what that was and it wouldn’t accept so in the end I used my MasterCard visa to pay for the ticket. All the trains from the station are the blue line heading to forest park. The stop I wanted was Clinton and was I think 15 stops away from the airport (approximately). Once I arrived at the station I heaved my luggage up the stairs and wandered along the street till I found Union Station. It was after 6pm by this time and I still hadn’t found a cell phone store.


Check out my next post for the next step in my trip

Trip Disaster

Hey Wanderers

So my trip back to Florida has been eventful and stressful couple of days. 

On May 20th I was up at 3am to have breakfast and coffee, finish packing and say goodbye to my grandfather. My dad and I drove out to the airport where I checked in for my 3 flights which would take me to Orlando, FL.

Everything was pretty smooth that morning, dad and I had coffee at the airport and then I headed on through security to pick up bottle of water and find my gate. My dad headed off to work. My first flight of the day was Auckland to Sydney 7:35am NZ time landing at 9:30am AUS time. 

We landed in Sydney and I got through transit customs in record time. I checked the flight boards and saw that my Sydney to Dallas was scheduled for a 1:00pm. I ended up at McDonalds as it was really the only thing worth eating at 10am and there was strong free Wi-Fi. I stayed there until 12:15 when I picked up a bottle of water and some jols and headed to my gate. I had been there no more than 15 minutes when an announcement came across that there was a problem with the plane and there was currently a 2 hour delay to our service. The staff were very nice and issued everyone a $20 food voucher for the delay. 

2 hours later however they announced that the challenge was still being fixed and we were now “hoping” that the flight would be ready by 4pm. no compensation was offered at this time.  

Around 3:30pm the captain announced that the flight would “hopefully” be on time for a 6pm departure and boarding should commence at 5:30pm. By this time I was getting super ancy and annoyed. This was only flight 2 of my trip and I had now missed my connection due to the delay. I talked to the attendant at the counter who advised that at this point we may have to overnight in Sydney if they can’t fix it by 6pm. 

So I email DCL and let them know what’s happening just in case. But fortunately we boarded the plane in record time at 5:30pm and were in the air by 7pm. the flight was smooth and the crew were amazing. I enjoy flying Qantas long haul as they feed you a lot you get 2 meals as well as alcohol and ice creams. 

We landed in Dallas at 6:30pm USA time, as I exited I was handed a new connection ticket for an 8:15pm flight. I headed straight to the passport control desk and was in line for 1.5 hours as they had only 4 people on and 2 huge international flights had landed at the same time. Eventually they started to move us to different lines to try and get us through faster. 

After passport control I ran to customs picked up my bags cleared them and re checked them (read as: threw them to the luggage guys shouted Orlando and took off running to security). After security I had to catch a tram from terminal D to terminal A. I made it to the gate as they were calling for boarding. I had no time to grab any food or any water and internal American flights you have to buy everything if you want it. In frantically updating Facebook and texting my parents to say I made it to Dallas and heading straight to Orlando. We land in Orlando right on midnight. So three flights and a 6 hour delay and its only just changing days. Yay time zones!!!

Once in Orlando I head to pick up my luggage which surprise surprise isn’t there. So I head over to the counter and log a lost luggage form. They say it’s on the first flight from Dallas in the morning and I’ll get the next afternoon at the hotel. 

I then call for a pick up from the hotel but get lost trying to find the pickup point and end up asking my friend to pick me up some food and then me and take me to the hotel. 

The Next Day

The next day I wake up super sick. I am violently ill for the entire day. I drag my ass out of bed and my friend takes me out to Walgreens and me down some Pepto-Bismol on the way to Walmart. That’s where I hit rock bottom. I throw up in Walmart. After which we checked out and headed back to the hotel where I contacted DCL medical and was given an extra 3 days at the hotel to recover before joining the dream on Monday. 

All in all one of the worst travel stories I’ve had yet. 

 

Bye for now

Xx

My 1st Contract in Review

Hey wanderers

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

xx

Resignation

Hey all

So I resigned from my receptionist role this week. I did this because it is only 35 days till i leave for the states.

This is probably the most stressed I have been at any point during this process. this was probably because I was afraid they wouldn’t let me stay for the remaining month, and I also have a personal fear/hate of letting people down no matter who they are.

However on Wednesday I resigned and my boss was very understanding and everyone at work is excited for me 🙂

This has released a fair amount of the stress i had put my self under :).

I’m slowly but surely checking everything off my list;

flights: check – Flight #1:leaving Auckland 7:15pm August 1st arrive San Francisco August 1st Midday.
Flight #2: leaving San Francisco August 4th 10:30pm via chicago arrive Orlando 9:30am.

Visa: Check

medical insurance: check – Policy 2A $1925.00

resignation: Check – Completed 26/06/2013, my last day will be July 26th.

packing: not yet but in the process of acquiring everything i need.

registered for classes: check – Monday’s (8.30am – 1pm) cast exploration & human resources and Exploring guest service.

Need to do:

Organise a leaving dinner/party

Go shopping/make a shopping list (next payday July 15th)

Pack

Look at travel insurance

Look at things to do in San Francisco

Complete the housing DORMS (opens 10 days before check in )

byeeee

Nutmeg