Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Cruise Ship Days

Photo: Stock Xchng/strakplan (not the ship I was on, but comparable)
I was 18 when I got the cruise ship gig. I found out about 3 days before I was to fly out to Miami to rehearse for 5 weeks, and would spend the next 3 months living and working on the cruise ship. It was crazy getting everything done in that short period of time (including getting a passport), but next thing I knew, I was in the airport saying goodbye to my parents.

I didn't go away to college right out of high school. I had a TV series, and when that got canceled, I was still living the life of an actor; auditioning, working part-time jobs and being available for the next "yes." So I packed up my studio apartment, left my cat with my parents, and I was off.

It was a phenomenal experience. I was doing what I loved, and getting paid for it. I met people from all over the world, and I got to see some beautiful places.

I loved coming back to the ship from a shore excursion and calling it "home." I loved my cruise ship duty in the Library, where I would read and write phenomenally long letters home to friends and family. (This was before cell phones and international plans were the norm.) Whenever I wasn't loving life, I would simply go out on deck and watch the water meet the ship, and it calmed me.

I learned how to dance in 17 foot waves. I learned how to handle difficult guests without compromising my own sense of self. I learned how to find privacy in a crowd. I went horse-back riding in Puerto Vallarta, spent my 19th birthday in Bermuda, and marveled over the beauty of Alaska's glaciers. I learned how to survive without Mexican food and even came to appreciate Cuban cuisine.

I wish Facebook had been around back then. I've since lost touch with everyone from that time, and I'd love to know what they're doing now.

I loved living the cruise life, but I was also happy to come back home. I was ready to get off the ship and back to reality. Cruise ship life isn't real life, but it makes for some great memories.


Missy June said...

What a fabulous part of your history! I wish I had done more before grown-up responsibility and limitations took over. I bet you could locate some of those pals on FB today?

Joseph Walker said...

Can't imagine how you manage to do it. I mean getting on a cruise ship without being able to call your parents or friends and all you can do to communicate with them was to write letters. At least now making international call from a cruise ship is getting more and more affordable.

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