Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Carnival Cruise 2010 - Day 7

Day 7 - Today was our last day at sea. We decided since we hadn’t had breakfast all week in the dining room, that we’d give it a try. Ellen and I both ordered Eggs Benedict, but the eggs were WAY overcooked and it just wasn’t a fantastic meal. At 10 a.m., we had our last red hat event and the ladies played bingo. We first had a representative from Carnival come in to give the ladies a talk about debarkation and the process that occurs when leaving the ship in Baltimore. After the talk was over, we played bingo. I was the bingo caller, and I believe everyone enjoyed themselves. Since it had been over 3 hours since our last meal, we felt like we were going through withdrawal, so what did we do? We went and had lunch?! The Lido deck seemed the place to be. Today they had a special dessert which was a chocolate fountain station. Delicious!!!!! We were free for the rest of the day to do as we pleased. At 2 p.m. there was a Q&A session about life on board the Carnival Pride, so I went to that. I learned a great deal of information that I’d like to share.
1. Why is the ‘local’ news and weather on t.v. always broadcasted from Denver, Colorado? Carnival Cruises is the ONLY cruise line to offer all 4 networks on board, and the only satellite package that includes all 4 networks comes from Denver, CO.
2. What kind of living quarter’s do the crew have what kind of amenities do they have? The crew has dormitory style facilities where there are 2 to a room, with a private bathroom, and t.v. There is a common area where crew can socialize. There is a bar, pool table, and a foosball table. They pay at the bar like we do, but just at a cheaper cost.
3. How does the crew communicate with their families back home? The crew is given an internet package or they can purchase ‘cards’ so that they can use the internet to communicate back and forth to their families. The internet is available to them just like it’s available to passengers, but at a much cheaper rate.
4. What is the average contract for a crew member on board? The average is anywhere from 4-6 months depending on the position. After the contract is expired, the member gets a 2 month vacation and then they are under contract again for either the same ship or another ship in the fleet. The next contract, again, would be anywhere from 4-6 months. The captain for example is on a 4 month contract, 2 month leave. The reason is because being the captain of such a large vessel and in charge of such a large crew is a very stressful job and they want to make sure the captain doesn’t get burned out too quickly.
5. What kinds of jobs do these crew members have back home? Jobs back home range from doctors, lawyers, dentists, contractors, etc. The only difference is that those jobs don’t pay as well as they do in America, so they look elsewhere for other employment opportunities.
6. Do the dancers and singers of the Pride have any other duties on board besides entertaining? They do not. The only time you would see them besides entertaining, would be on the first and last days of the cruise. They wear red ‘ask me’ shirts and are on hand to answer any questions a passenger might have or assist a passenger in need.
7. How are these entertainers assigned to a ship? Carnival has try outs for entertainment positions all across the world, similar to what American Idol offers. It’s just on a much smaller scale. They go through a rigorous process and then it’s narrowed down to a select few.
8. How is the rest of the crew selected for their positions? Carnival has representatives all across the world. When a position becomes available, they post the position to all their contacts and then those contacts post it in their local towns and cities. They go through an interview process to determine if they are eligible for the position. It is a very tough job and it takes a special person to be able to live in such close quarters for an extended amount of time and to be living apart from their families for so long.
9. Does the ship stop if someone goes over board? (Yes, someone actually asked this question) Of course they stop. A ‘man overboard’ alert goes out. The ship immediately stops and they do a four point turn and go back to where the person fell off. Every crew member and every passenger must be accounted for.
10. How many weddings does the captain perform? The perception that the captain performs weddings is a misnomer. The captain isn’t allowed to perform weddings. He can do the renewal of vows, but no weddings. Weddings are only done in ports of call. Most times, the wedding is done on board; the wedding party is only on for the duration of the wedding and a small reception. The wedding party departs off the ship and the newlyweds are now on their honeymoon. In some cases, family and friends end up traveling together for the duration of the cruise.
11. How many crew are on board? There are over 920 crew members. What’s amazing is that they come from all over the world, and in some cases some of these countries are at war with each other. They put their differences aside and work hard and they don’t let the other stuff get in the way.

After the Q&A session, Carnival offered a gallery tour. We went to take a tour of where all our food’s prepared. It was fascinating to hear how much food an average ship goes through in a week. It’s somewhat disturbing to actually hear the numbers. The kitchen is all stainless steel and everything was so clean. There are specific stations in the gallery where different food items are prepared. They have a station for salads and appetizers, a station for meats, a station for side dishes, a station for seafood and a station for desserts. The most interesting thing I learned from this tour is how they dispose of all the scrap food. Instead of wasting it and throwing it away, they process it and grind all the food. They then release it into the ocean and the fish end up eating it. The rest of the waste, such as cardboard, etc is taken off the ship at the next port of call. They get all their food delivered in Port Canaveral. The waiters are also only allowed to carry 1 tray filled with 12 stacked plates. They do this because any more than that would be too strenuous on their backs.
Again, there was a small amount of down time before dinner. Our last meal on the ship was a sad one. We HAD to get our last taste of the Chocolate Melting Cake. Our waiter was gracious enough to get us a copy of the recipe to take home. The entertainment for the last day was a mixed talent show. There was a contest for passengers to try out to be in the show. It was some interesting talent. It was mostly singing and the Pride dancers would just dance in the background. After the show, we got our last ice cream cone and headed back to the cabin. We had a snake-animal-towel waiting for us upon our return.

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