Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Allure: Stuck on a boat!

Well I’m still here working hard in my floating shopping centre, going slowly mad. I’m back at my blog again to try and keep my sanity by talking about it. And I have time for my blog because my favourite people here both left last cruise.

I think I’ve talked before about ship relationships but it’s something I want to write about again. When you work on ship, you work so hard and give your all that you can’t keep a front up, sometimes you can’t be nice, I was never tactful anyway (!) so very fast people get to know the real you. And when you’re showing all your weaknesses and find people who accept and support you, it doesn’t take long to create lifetime bonds like you never would in the real world.

I’ve been here two months now and in that time I made two very strong bonds. Lavi and Jr. Lavi has transferred to another ship, it’s one of the reasons we got on that we both want to not be on this silly big ship! And Jr has gone on vacation. Here’s some pictures of me having a good time with them!

So of course everything is ever changing. I still have friends and they are actively giving me hugs because of losing the others. I seem to be doing well at the job, in the areas I like anyway (!) like studios and dealing with guests. I shoot the busiest studio on formal night getting 1100 images in 5 and half hours, this was Jr’s studio for the last 4 months so I’m happy to take it over.

An English guy joined the team to replace Lavi, Andrew. I thought it was going to be weird but I didn’t realise he was a new hire so at least he has no pre-conceived ideas. It’s hard with the English as what I’ve discovered being on ships is that we’re a lot more similar than we know. When you surround yourself with nothing but other cultures and then encounter your own, you realise that you can communicate a lot with just a look or gesture. It’s very odd, it makes you close instantly, but when you might not want to be. Anyway it’s good for me to make an English friend for a change and he’s really good in the team.

We had a mini adventure with hurricane Irene, it changed our itinerary last cruise and we were at our nearest point 220 nautical miles away. The boat really rocked and you could hear the waves crashing but only for a day. Everything was hot and humid as usual at Laberdee today.

I think I’ll be writing again soon…. Write to me if you want ;)

Monday, 8 August 2011

Allure Photostory Part One

Last cruise I had a night off and one thing I desperately wanted to do was get some pictures around the ship with my wide angle for my blog. Another thing I wanted to do was have a martini in the Viking Crown where you can actually see the sea as the sun set, having achieved this these pictures were taken slightly drunken but there’s still some good ones. This is my view of the ship at night; there are still some stunning views from the top decks I need to try to find time to get photographs of.

The photographing started in Central Park following dinner.

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And here’s me and Jr taken at our professional Central Park photo studio.

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Then down to the boardwalk, the popular outdoor back part of the ship with the climbing walls, aqua theatre, carousel and various shops.

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Onto the photo gallery. These are the files where we display the guests’ pictures individually for them. But when we don’t know whose picture it is you can also see the regular displayed pictures to the left.

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These are the stairs I climb everyday from the Promenade to the gallery.

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Now onto the Royal Promenade. Very different to the one on Navigator! This is the Rising Tide bar as it is rising up to central park and the fountains underneath.

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Now some views around Royal Promenade

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The car is one of our most popular photo studios. I’m still trying to come up with more interesting poses to do here!

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This is the view from the other side of rising tide so you can see the gallery on deck 6. We have a good, wide open over looking view of the promenade and it means we get a lot of footfall through but we are a long way from any ‘outside’.

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More of Rising Tide and the sign for Champagne Bar is also one of our studios!

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The last two now, the casino and the dining room, deck 4 view as I know these pictures will be of interest to my ship friends. The dining room looks surprisingly small right!? Similar to Nav when it should be twice the size, I’m not sure how they managed that!

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So there’s many more pictures to take but I’m sure you wanted to see these!

No news on transferring yet, I had my first really low day yesterday, it’s hard to explain it’s like there’s this really good front or outer layer but being here is wearing me. For some reason I find all the crew and guests who relate with my views on smaller ships would you believe, my opinions are not just mine.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Allure: A story told a different way

So, you may have noticed all my previous posts have gone. My voice was heard a little too loud and some things were completely misinterpreted resulting in upsetting people so I’m very sorry about that.

And so I’m starting again.

I think it’s fair to say I don’t like being on the Allure, I’ve been here a month now and although things have been changing and obviously I’m getting more used to it, I’m still very unhappy here. This ship is beautiful in some ways but I refer to it as the floating mall as it bears many similarities to the Trafford Centre at home in Manchester. And I didn’t do this job to work in a shopping centre!

I’ve learnt a lot about the company I work for coming here too, good and bad, but I’m going to skip all that stuff now.

Actually as a result of this blog I keep getting messages from people hoping to join Image/about to go to their interview etc. I’m sorry I’m not replying guys, ship life is just a little too hectic. However you’re all asking the same thing and I will continue to say: absolutely go for it if the idea excites you! Be prepared to work harder than you ever have, but it’s something you’ll never be able to understand or explain until you’ve done it! And I still want to be doing it.

So yes I’m really unhappy on this ship. It lacks the community of smaller ships. Just the photo team by itself is so big! I hate not seeing or feeling the sea, there’s nowhere nice to just look outside in passing, you have to go out of your way to get anywhere. There’s a lot of stuff about how we work that makes me unhappy but most importantly it’s that most of my peers agree with me when I bring these things up! This ship makes the best money of the whole fleet so people stick it out, but I feel it is just horrible to work alongside people who are unhappy like you. Empathy is only good to a point. These are the strongest reasons why I’ve asked to transfer, please cross your fingers for me!

I wanted to mention how worried I was about getting to photog 3 or the senior position on just one contract and one ship. It worried me that I didn’t have enough experience to move between ships but actually I got here and felt on a level with my fellow p3’s so that was really good. I do know how to set up and work in the gallery and take a good picture! I pushed through to the p3 position on Navigator in competition with my very good friend Antonio. Not having that kind of driven working relationship with someone is something I’m really missing here. I wish Antonio was here for me to show him that I do know what I’m doing without him! Isn’t that weird?! Anyway, yes Antonio and Sanda, I miss you guys so much because you make me want to do the job, and I’m rapidly losing that drive here. Never did I actually want to go home before.

I’ve made some good friends on the team here already, as ever on ships you meet amazing people from all over the place. Here’s a picture of me with Jr after my 2nd shopping trip to St Maarten.

Typical me, I’m making more money so I’m expanding to spend it! So far I bought a D7000 and a fixed 85mm 1.8 lens. I think I need to get out of the Caribbean where these things are so cheap! But not before I’ve bought my iPad!

I’m going to take some pictures around the ship this week and hopefully do some kind of posting about that. And Facebook will be the place that knows when I can hopefully escape this ship, so watch that space!