Ketchikan, Alaska - May 27, 2018
Ketchikan, Alaska. Our first port. It’s only been 4 days since I started this journey, and yet I feel like I’ve grown into another person since last Thursday. I flew from Minneapolis, MN to Vancouver, Canada on the 24th, my first time out of the country. This was mostly unremarkable except that their money is a new material that deters hard use, that is, unless you bend it in half. That is frowned upon - as I discovered when I pulled a creased bill from my wallet to pay for my dinner. The more you know.
On the 25th I caught the 7am shuttle from the hotel to the cruise ship. There were roughly 25 other crew members joining the Celebrity Millennium as well, all of them seasoned to the cruise ship life except for myself and one other guy. Pulling up to the Millennium, I had a rush of nerves. I knew this was where I was supposed to be in this moment. All of the setbacks and hard work towards getting here were proven worth it when I saw this massive ship that I now call my home. It took 2 hours for us to board. We went yet again through customs and security, and had the crew medical team look over our already approved medical forms before we could step foot on the ship.
I should mention that during all of this, it wasn’t the standing in lines that got to me. It was carrying my duffel bags. I read somewhere on the internet (never trust the internet) that I should purchase duffel bags because suitcases won’t fit under the crew bed - nope. Never again. I will be purchasing suitcases before my trip home to save myself the sweat-inducing, back-breaking pain of carrying all of my life in two bags without wheels.
That evening I was shown around the ship, and got settled in. The person who had my cabin before me trashed it - grime and wrappers and trash and old, unwashed clothes strewn about. It wasn’t until 9pm that someone could come clean it. This was a good moment to practice patience - all I wanted after 2 days of travel and lines was to close the door to my private space, take a shower, and take a nap.
Other crew members commented that I was handling the motion of the waves well for being a first timer. I thought so too. But that night the captain picked up speed drastically to get us to our first port in time. I fell asleep feeling my stomach churning from side to side, in sync with the swaying of my cabin.
Deceptively Calm Water - Prince of Wales, Inside Passage
Saturday, the 26th, I started right in. It was a sea day, so all the guests were restless and needed something to keep their attention in between the buffet, the casino, and the shopping. I had 3 sets, at 3 different venues in the ship. I also had several hours of safety training that was less than exciting. But the anxiety in me paid close attention because, in the event of an emergency, I wanna, ya know, not drown. I started my first set with a nice sweaty glaze from motion sickness.
Today I had an early wake up call to meet with US Immigration, as we were re-entering the country through the Inside Passage of Alaska. I am still figuring out time zones, and ended up waking up at 5am instead of 6am. Something felt eerily still when I woke up, and I realized we had docked at Ketchikan, Alaska. I headed up to Deck 4, the outside deck, and was met with an up close view of my first land in 2 days. I was off the boat just long enough to hand Alaskan authorities my passport and browse one shop, and then jumped back on board to start 3 back-to-back sets at the busiest cafe on board.
Ketchikan was dreary and misty and chilly and everything I hoped it would be. I can’t wait to swing back this way next week and get a chance to really explore the town. Ketchikan is the Alaskan town most known for Totem Poles, and I hope to have time to see their museum dedicated to this.
Overall, I feel really settled in for only being on the ship 3 days. I’ve gotten lost more than I count below deck in the crew areas, but hey, most Americans should be walking more. It was strange being so far out at sea that we were disconnected from land, including all internet/cellular service. It felt…. nice.
I’ll be updating more as internet allows.
And now, I’ll end my blog with a section called “Passenger Quotes.”
“You should be on America’s Got Talent. What’s the worst that could happen?”
“Do you know any John Denver? I love John Denver.”
“You should go on America’s Got Talent.”
“Ok listen dear, I’m three sheets to the wind, but that was lovely.”
“Have you considered auditioning for a talent thing?”