It’s officially my 19th day at sea on the MS Maasdam and boy do I have a lot of stories to share. I finally understand the “Ship Vortex” as my previous ship dancer singer colleagues warned me about. The concept of time, relationships, meals, habits, adventures, memories, travels, is a huge blur. It’s as if the whole world around you stops for a few months—when in reality, everyone else is still going about their lives. The first cruise on the Maasdam was quite the overwhelming and beautiful process. I boarded the ship after a quick and emotional goodbye with my dad, dragged my million pounder suitcases up the gangway, and turned a sharp left onto the crew deck and immediately found my cozy bunk bedded cabin with Brittany. From that moment on, ship life came upon us in full swing. After several safety drills and meetings, we began 14 days worth of rehearsals, shows, costume fittings, gym sessions, dress techs, and late nights on the stage. It was quite the whirlwind considering we had to not only put our shows up on stage but we also had to adjust to ship guidelines and ship living whilst on board. It was A LOT to take in- and the hardest part? Waking up to a beautiful island and knowing you can’t get off the ship yet because you have rehearsals. However, now that turnover is over and I have 7 months to enjoy ports and many hours to myself I can no longer complain. My schedule has opened up big time, I have more free time to read, exercise, and work on myself than ever before, I can get off at almost every single port for lengthy periods of time, and I can enjoy the perks of cruising with a wonderful crew alongside me.
A lot can happen in 19 days on a cruise ship. In 19 days I have seen islands more beautiful than I could have imagined. I’ve learned some interesting things about myself that were quite challenging to admit. I’ve confronted issues and personal matters head on rather than skipping around them. I’ve gotten 4 sunburns. I’ve made hundreds of new friends. I’ve been courted by men (LOL I know all of you were dying to hear that one—yes the rumor about ship-mances is true, men are on women like hawks) I’ve swam in the bluest waters. I’ve danced in 6 incredible shows. I’ve figured out maritime diction and how to navigate parts of a big ship. I’ve done yoga on the bow of a moving ship (warrior 3 is damn difficult). And most impressive, I’ve danced in 3-inch heels on a really rocky show night! Needless to say this job has provided me with plenty of growth already. I feel pushed out of my boundaries more than ever.
The biggest adjustment of all has been the lack of communication with my family and friends. Not having my loved ones to fuel my heart and to catch up with on a daily basis has been a bit more of a struggle than I expected but I am learning that sometimes we have to fuel our own spiritual stability. Sometimes God wants us to be spiritually vulnerable and on our own in order to recognize our faults and identify what areas of our heart that need some repairing. And that’s exactly what He’s doing right now in my life. So far, the ports I have actually been able to get off on land have been: St. Maarten, Half Moon Cay, St. Vincent, St. Croix, Fort de France, Basseterre, and San Juan. The Caribbean is a beautiful area and each island has something entirely different to offer. Different beaches, mountains, volcanoes, cultures, languages, art, history—who knew so many islands in the same area could be so different and unique?