ewAruba is a constituent country still ruled by the Kingdom of Holland and based in the southern Caribbean sea, along with Curacao & Bonaire they are collectively known as the ABC islands. It is a small island only measuring 20 miles from northwest to southeast and was my first port of call in the Caribbean but everyones biggest complaint was tiny amount of time we acutally had in port. We would offically dock at 6am and all aboard time was 1pm for a 2pm sailaway, and thats a 1pm all aboard if your a crew member and as such you also have to wait until the gangways are clear of guests before you can get off the ship yourself. These people were on vacation and most of them were not getting up at 6a.m in the morning!
In Part 6 I talked about some of the onboard events we had to cover (or as I later learned didn’t ‘have’ too) but on the Corals run probably the best event the entertainment staff ran was called Dancing Through The Decades (which you can see in the above link) which spanned the 1950’s - 70’s and also involved 3 costume changes for the cruise staff throughout the night. Starting with a 50’s rock n’ roll vibe, they’d be dressed up in outfits directly stolen from ‘Grease’. What I loved about the events was the character work that the cruise staff would put into it, you had the geeks and the jocks and an Elvis competition where three unwitting members of the audience would be pulled up onstage given an Elvis wig and blow up guitar and have to give there best Elvis to win a $2 bottle of shampoo (cruise staff joke not mine!).
Each cruise Heather would make our schedule from the ships F&E (Food & Beverage), this document would list all the days of the cruise and she would circle what events she thought or we would be required to film. As a senior videographer you can generally pick what you film in conjunction with the photo manager and entertainment departments, as a junior videographer you just get told what to film, though generally with a good senior you’ll rotate the events so that you don’t film the same events every cruise. Also the schedule has to take into account how long the port day filming will be as well, if you are going to be up at 7a.m and get back to the ship around 7p.m then you will need time to eat, shower and power nap before editing the footage you’ve just filmed that day. This also means if you’ve been on the long excursion you shouldn’t be filming the onboard events that evening, although as you'll see later this does happen!
I woke up in the video room with beer bottles to my right and equipment manuals to my left, and some of the head office bosses from Los Angeles were staring at me! Thankfully I wasn’t in trouble (despite the empty bottles) and they were just onboard as there was a head office Photo/Video conference in Vancouver that week and they were doing a quick ship visit to see how things were going onboard. I’d been by myself for a week already and just completed my 2nd cruise as the only videog with no disasters, but on todays turnaround day in Vancouver I had to film my first onboard wedding. One of the photogs was going to man the wide camera for me and I’d be doing the close ups, having never shot a wedding before I had to research the Princess company style and also use wireless mic kits for the first time in my life. So the night before I’d been in the video room getting everything ready and fallen asleep in my uniform.
I joined the Coral in August 2007 and within the first month I’d began to adapt to my surroundings namely a much larger alcohol intake and surviving on 2-3 hours sleep a night was the new normal, work was picking up and I was getting more confident with my editing and things were going well.
The first person who met me in the terminal was Richard the ships Senior videographer who would be training me throughout my contract, we walked into the labyrinth maze that was the M1 (crew name for the deck 4 through-fare that stretched the whole length of the ship). First stop was to go and drop off my luggage at my room and meet my first roommate, ‘We’ll just drop these off as he’s probably still asleep’ Rich said, I just nodded thinking ‘wow he sleeps late as its already 11am’. As I opened the door ‘turn the fucking light off’ greeted me! I left my suitcases and quickly got out, Rich then explained that there was big party the night before for the guy I was replacing Kevin and everyone on the team was a little worse for wear that morning.