Many times I get asked why is it so much fun to be on a cruise ship and apart from boring bingo and dull trivia, what else is there to do? Well, I am not gonna lie, these activities ARE happening and both are always well attended, but throughout the years the entertainment world has evolved way beyond horse-racing and belly-flop competitions. The most ships nowadays offer state-of-the art Arcades, Flow riders, ice-skating rinks, bumper carts, lazer-tag, escape rooms, zip-lines, water-slides, rock-climbing walls and many more amazing amenities onboard. There is a first class show in the theater every night and often celebrity headliners perform for our guests. Of course, on smaller ships there may be a limited offering in comparison to the larger and newer ships, but as far as Royal Caribbeans is concerned- there is never a dull moment onboard.
Saying that, guests have often indicated that the most fun activities are those where crew get to participate.
During long cruises, we are often encouraged to come up with activities inspired by some reality shows on land or participate in some sort of a talent show. I can honestly say that even though this takes a bit of effort and always coincides with my nap time, I have had the best fun taking part in judging Sexy (male) legs competitions, getting eggs in my hair or competing in Dancing with the Stripes or Master Chef, than anything else. Traditionally guests and officers compete against each other, but there are events, where crew members will perform for the sole entertainment of guests onboard.
You can see below some videos of a fun ceremony that our Cruise Director Steve Davis came up with, when the ship was passing through the Panama Canal. The “Panamanian Chief” has to punish selected officers and crew for their ”crimes”, such as “using guest internet to watch Netflix”, ”selling tours for a port that we have already departed”, “serving decaff coffee instead of real one”, “making flatulent sounds over the PA system” and many other equally entertaining infractions. The punishment consists of rubbing eggs, cream and pasta on the poor victims’s heads and the most senior officers get to kiss a frozen fish to redeem themselves. Contrary to what it may look like, the eggs in the hair served as a great protein mask and I was actually looking forward to this bi-weekly hair nourishing routine:-)
A word of advise though- if you ever get eggs in your hair, do take a cold shower soon after, mind you NOT a hot one, or you may end up cooking the eggs on your head, sporting a nice omelette bits for the rest of the day…:-)
Another crowd pleaser and my “favorite” activity, albeit nerve wracking is Dancing with the Stripes, where Officers, coupled with professional dancers have to compete amongst themselves. You get a couple of weeks to prepare a dance routine of your choice and while it may sound like the easiest thing- I often thought that this would be the end of me. On one occasion , I cracked a couple of ribs and on another I fractured my ankle. Suffice to say, that after this rather pathetic attempt at career change, I kept my day job…:-)
While there was a great deal of humiliation and embarrassment on my behalf during these performances, I was incredibly lucky to have three amazing dance partners- Uros from Serbia, Mattias from Argentina and Danilo from Brazil. We did two separate routines on different occasions and I had the best time practicing with them, really, I could not have found more patient and talented Tango partners.
Jeravna, Bulgaria- International Festival of folk costumes 2019.
This was the 12th year this festival has gathered thousands of enthusiasts from all over Bulgaria, Europe and beyond, for a memorable weekend in August. The rules were strict- on the territory of the festival during these 3 days, you are to enjoy the traditions of our ancestors and under no circumstances you can import or use any contemporary items, like phones, watches, plastic, etc.
The festival offered a colorful display of traditional costumes and dishes, while the 8-hour program included interactive performance of folk groups from various regions of Bulgaria. The onlookers had the chance to join the traditional “horo”- a Bulgarian folk dance, where men and women of all ages link arms together in a dynamic quick step dance. From a distance, it seemed like the easiest thing, but this horo soon turned into an intense cardio and while barely keeping up with it, I couldn’t help but wonder how our ancestors managed this exercise after a long day working on their farms.
At night time, a joyful bonfire gathered the dance enthusiasts, who kept going till the wee hours of the morning. The festival, in the spirit of a true international fiesta, was attended by fans from all over the world- they too had to wear their own folk dress and bring the tradition of their mother land.
It was refreshing to stay away from our phones for hours and days, enjoy the real food of those days, when life was simpler, but rewarding, where people worked hard, but knew how to have fun together as well.
This was truly an amazing experience, I can not wait for next year!
Below are some fun pics from various parts of the world- from snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, to enjoying the Aurora lights, swimming with a jaguar, riding the waves on the back of a horse and performing can-can in the ice from Hubbard Glacier.