Friday, March 30, 2007

Playa del Carmen

Hey - not a lot to say. We're almost finished.

We were joined by our new castmate, Martin, in Mexico. He played in the improv show with us and it was much fun. Welcome, Martin!

We met some friends from Maine, Michelle & Danny, in Playa del Carmen. So here's a photo of them and many more from Playa del Carmen and the ship. Enjoy!


Sunday, March 25, 2007

2.5 Weeks...

Hi! Well it’s weird to say but we’re almost done here. We have a five day, a nine day and a five day left. This last cruise we didn’t do much. We took it very easy. I think we’re conserving our energy for the last big push. What we did do was great....

I already blogged about our trip to the Emerald Pool on Dominica but here are some photos.....

All of us in the van....

Heather with the “tree monkey”


Self-Portrait in Rainforest

View of Emerald Pool from above

At the Emerald Pool

Nice to be Nice Sign aka home of the rhyming, screaming, laughing fruit guy

Mr. Nice with Heather who’s like a feather and controls the weather...ahahahah!

In Barbados we went back to the church to see if the organ was being played.

No luck so we wandered around bought some presents and ate at Chefette’s.

In Antigua we did the same...well almost. Bought some presents, drank some wine, ate some pizza and drank some Ting!

On Tortola we got up very early (because the ship leaves Tortola at 1pm and we have to be onboard by noon) and headed off to Brewer’s Bay. I have never had this experience before....we arrived at the beach to other person sitting on this huge beach! It was incredible.

There were Pelicans everywhere dive bombing the water and hanging out on the rocks. The beach was made up of very soft fine sand and there was only one other person on the beach!!!! In the water there were two other was amazing. The snorkeling was great. Lots of really big (3 to 4 ft) parrot fish, angel fish, grouper and a bunch of other stuff. I really need to get that reef fish book so I can start identifying these fish.

Tortola cow we saw on they way...

Brewer’s Bay - one person!

Brewer’s Bay looking down the beach

Looking out of Brewer’s Bay

Pelicans of Brewer’s Bay

L with Ting!

I got an underwater camera in Miami today so I’m going to take some photos and then I’ll be able to identify all the fish!!!

Now we’re off to Cozumel and Belize. In Cozumel we’re going to take the ferry over to Playa del Carmen to meet some friends from Bar Harbor. Michelle, who hosts my knitting group, and her boyfriend, Danny, just happen to be vacationing in Mexico. I love meeting people I know in places I don’t know.

In Cozumel, we’ll also be joined by our new cast member, Martin. Yay!

For the last couple of months our Cruise Director has been Clint Wells and he did a great job. He was easy to work with and always pleasant to chat with. He signed off today and we’re getting a new Cruise Director named Simon. I’ve heard great things about Simon so I’ll look forward to getting to know him. We also got a new Captain this week. And next week we get a new Hotel Director and a new Assistant Cruise Director. It’s strange to have all this turnover so late in our contract but then I’m reminded that it’s not all about me. Good luck, Clint! Have a great vacation!

2.5 weeks and counting.....


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blah, Blah, Blah...

Ahoy Mateys!

Well we did our first five day cruise without Andy and as a 4 person ensemble. Since Andy left a week earlier than planned, we had to restructure the show for four people. So this meant that we had a bit of extra rehearsal and we got to do some new scenes or scenes we’re not normally in...this version of the show ran for the last cruise and this nine day cruise. Even though we missed Andy, the shows went very well. At the end of this nine day cruise, Martin will join us and we’ll be back to our original show.

Speaking of Andy, Heather gave birth yesterday (3/18/07) to a baby girl!!! All are well and after I get permission from Andy, I’ll post a photo of the little bugger. Yay!!! Baby!!!

The last five day cruise was pretty uneventful. (I just realized that I now measure my life in five and nine day increments. Okay.) Larrance and I had lunch with Tommy, from the Cruise Staff, at Pancho’s Backyard. Pancho’s was recommended by Sue Salvi and it’s fantastic. I recommended the Enchiladas Verde. It was Tommy’s last cruise so we had a nice lunch togehter to wish him farewell.....then we just wandered around Cozumel.

I should mention that the last five day cruise was the height of Spring Break. The ship was overrun with screaming, drunk, half-nude late teens to early twenty year olds. They would spend the whole day drinking and hanging around the pool except when we were in port. Then they’d go ashore to scream, drink, and scream some more. To me they looked like a pack of drunk monkeys. Turns out those drunk monkeys made a pretty good audience - they loved the Stardust show and our second “adult humour” improv show was super packed. We do our improv show in the Spinnaker bar and it seats 360 - I’m almost sure there were 700 screaming, drunk, half-clad, get the picture. It felt like we were doing a show in the Thunderdome. But they loved us, they even loved me when I yelled at them to move and threatened to step on their drunk fingers. It was unconditional, drunk, screaming love.

Belize was a ship day. Belize is entering the beginning of its hottest season so sometimes the idea of going ashore without the promise of the ocean or a lake is out of the question.

At the end of the cruise, I got a sllight case of illness. I was awoke in the middle of the night and it lasted for about 24 hours. I feel fine now. I don’t recommend being sick on a ship. The motion of the ship made it even worse.

Now we’re on our next to last nine day cruise....all this time I’ve been working on the schedule for our next season. I’m two hundred pages away from finishing War & Peace. And I have bulging biceps from being in the gym. Well not bulging but slightly defined.

Today we were in Dominica. At breakfast we met up wtih Heather & Katherine, two of the dancers, and we decided to join forces to go to the Emerald Pool Waterfall. The whole group consisted of Heather, Brent (tech director & Heather’s boyfriend), Katherine, Michael, Larrance and me. The Emerald Pool is accessed through a short walk through the rainforest - we timed our visit just right so that one of the cruise ship excursion groups was leaving as we were arriving - so we had the pool all to our selves. The water was cold, fresh and green due to all the algae. It was lovely. I’ll post some pictures on Sunday. We stayed about an hour and just as we were leaving another excursion group (from the Pearl) was coming down. Perfect timing!

From there we went to the “It’s Nice to be Nice” fruit stand. We met Mr. Nice who was a rhyming, fruit selling, business card giving Dominican. He rhymed at us from the moment we got out of the taxi. He had a selection of bananas, pineapples, cocoa beans, raw cocoa, coconuts, grapefruit, boiled banana, salt fish and coconut candy on his table. As well as a bunch of machetes....

The first thing he said to us was, “Okay. You do what you need to do yourself. And I’ll do what I need to do myself. Yourself. Myself. Do what you need to do....YOURSELF. Your. Self. My.Self.”

I was a bit worried that we were going to be in a for an uncomfortable time but then he laid eyes on Heather and his whole mood lightened. Heather had found the coconut candy in a pan - shredded coconut, sugar, water, nutmeg, cinnamon boiled into a candy - and we were set. He loved rhyming her name - Heather is a like a feather,who controls the weather, she wears leather, that’s Heather.” He was stumped by Jen and especially by Larrance. For Larrance he was said, “Larrance? Larrance is like....Larrance.” I’m not kidding. So back to the coconut candy - that stuff was good on everything but it was especially good eaten with a freshly roasted (baked?) cocoa bean or pair all of that with a banana = heaven. So good. The pineapple was sweet and very fresh - like right off the plant by his house. Pineapples grow out of the ground like a shrub...or sort of like an aloe....I thought they came from trees...but no. The stop at “It’s Nice to be Nice” was a bit surreal but worth the time and the small amount of cash.

It was really nice to spend time with Heather, Brent & Katherine. We’ve chatted over drinks but this was our first outing. I hope we can get in a couple more before we have to leave in less than a month!!!

We have plans for the rest of this nine day but I’ll post about those on Sunday.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Getting Down To It.....


Well it’s been an eventful nine day cruise.....Andy had a visitor, Paul, on the ship this week and it was Andy’s last nine day so there was much adventure to be had. As it turns out, this was Andy’s last cruise for this contract.
His baby is going to be born sometime during this next week so Andy’s signing off today. This is a boo and a yay all at once. We’ll miss him but we’re excited to meet his baby.

More about our adventures...

We started the week off with a whale watch in Dominica. We were there bright and early but the whales must have all had a meeting and decided not to show up. We saw a few flying fish but not even a blowhole of a whale. Boo Whales!!! What gives!!! We did get to ride on a Catamaran which was great. When the trip started we were all sitting on the seats and then they announced that you could go out on to the net part on the front of the ship. Paul and I were the first ones out there....quickly followed by Andy and Larrance.

The flying fish were very cool but I was miffed at the whales. When I see them back in Maine, I’m going to give them what for!!!

After that more bad luck, the pier we ususally swim off of wasn’t open because the Pearl has higher security than the other cruise ships. As we entered the water the port police, who in the past simply waved as they drove by, got on the bullhorn and told us to get out of the water ASAP. Boo Pearl!!! Let us swim and see the fishes!!!

After that we went to the little boardwalk bar to get a Ginger Shandy. We joked that the bar would be out of Ginger Shandy...well, guess what? They only had one left!!! So we ended up with Lime Shandy which was okay--but come on!!!

We took it easy in Barbados because we had a big day planned for St. Lucia. In St. Lucia, Michael, Andy, Paul, Larrance and I chartered a taxi to take us to La Soufriere and Anse Chastanet. This involved an hour and half drive both ways which was actually pretty fun...Here’s some pics from along the way...

Statues in a Yard

Guy on the side of the road with a Boa Constrictor

Banana Tree - from this tree we had fresh cut bananas!

L drinks LLB - lemon lime and bitters

Anse La Rey - a fishing village we passed through

Pitons - national symbol of St. Lucia

Our first real stop was La Soufriere. Otherwise known as the drive-in volcano of St. Lucia. We took a short tour of the caldera and enjoyed the sulphorous air. They say the fumes from La Soufriere are good for respiratory ailments. We all felt much better after going there..

La Soufriere

Oh, that smell!

La Soufriere in the background


I feel better!

Me too!

From there we went on to Anse Chastanet...this is a small resort with a beautiful beach accessed by a terrible road. Once you get there, you’re on a fantastic little beach with a cute bar, showers, bathrooms and some of the best snorkeling since Belize! Yay! Larrance was particularly pleased since there was no music playing. No Reggae, steel drums, “Hot Hot, Hot”, Margaritaville, no Sexy Back! Just the sound of the waves crashing on the beach.

We went out to snorkel in small groups. The waves were a bit strong but once you fought through them you found yourself just off of a rocky reef area that was thriving with marine life. There were huge brain and fan corals and all kinds of fish: NassauGrouper, Black Grouper, Parrot, Tangs, Jacks and Squirrel fish, just to name a few. At one point, I was in a very deep part of the reef and I was surrounded by thousands of tiny silver fish and another school of tiny electric blue fish. There were so many I couldnt’ see through them which at first was fun until I realized that on the other side of this huge cloud of fish could be a big mouth with lots of teeth. Speaking of which on my way back to the beach I passed a Great Barracuda. It was swimming slowly away from the beach so I swam quickly in the opposite direction. This trip made me decide to buy a reef fish identification book so I can learn all the fish’s proper names. We saw hundreds of different kinds of fish and I can’t name them!

On Antigua, we went swimming at a place called Turner’s Beach which was very nice. And then we met the Magicians, Bob & Sarah Trunell, for a glass of wine at the C & C wine bar. This is an establishment just off the ship and it sells some very good South African wines. We all had a bit too much to drink as Bob regaled us with tales of the cruise ship industry back in the day. Bob & Sarah have been working on cruise ships for 19 years. 19 years! They both had some great stories and we look forward to having dinner with them in the future. If you want to learn about how the cruise ship industry got started, Bob suggested a book called “Devil in the Deep Blue Sea.”

On Tortola night, Andy appeared in his last Liar’s Club game show along with fellow cast member, Ben. Also on the panel were our cruise director Clint and the guest ventriloquist, Ken.

Ben had a fight with Ken’s puppet, Mr. Byrd.

Andy did a puppet show of his own.

After that, we had Paul help us take some cast photos....

Then we came to the last two days with Andy still on the ship. These days were filled with many dinners and drinks and stories. We feel so lucky that we got to be on the ship with Andy so our parting is bittersweet. We’re sorry to see him go but we know we’ll see him again in the future. Kisses to Andy!