The most common first reaction to our news about embarking on this 6 months working contract on the cruise ship: ‘what if you get the sea sickness?’, so let’s get that one out of the way. You most likely will at some point.There’s a box with sea sickness tablets on the 1st deck next to the crew office, they work immediately but make you drowsy, which as you can imagine is not the most ideal scenario when you’re expected to work 12-14 hours a day.
We have found our sea legs pretty fast - the only mild sea sickness symptoms manifesting after we’ve (against the advice of senior crew members) attempted a run in the treadmill in our crew gym. We’re talking a zero gravity training - due to the constant swaying of the ship, you lift off the treadmill like an astronaut one second, only to be pressed down into the floor like if you weight a ton the next.
You’ll soon discover though the bouncing in between the walls left and right and swinging chandeliers are just movie tropes - in real life, you mostly feel the sea on the inside as opposed to on the outside. When you lie down at night in your bunk bed, you don’t rock back and forth, it’s more like your insides - your organs and bones and blood are shifting gently inside your body towards your feet and then back towards your head. I sleep great. But probably mainly due to an absolute exhaustion.
There’s a special channel on the TV in our cabin that displays informations about our crossing. I geek out on that one a lot. Our nautical chart is like a map of a fantasy land from a kid’s tv show. We have just passed the Isengard Ridge and will be sailing through the Porcupine Sea Bite, which is a stretch of muddy sea bed approximately the size of half of Europe.
Atlantic ocean is very unremarkable. I will never forget the moment, two days after completing our voyage from England to US and departing on a little round trip around Caribbean, when we came to the deck 5 to discover that the Sargassum Sea turned a beautiful shade of blue. Still no whales or dolphins, but a blue promise of sunny days (and some much needed break, even though just for the first half of each port day) to come. Yes, I cried. Trust me, the absolute mental & physical exhaustion combined with the fact you’re a prisoner (albeit voluntary) of a metal box lit up by electricity sailing for days on end through a completely unchangable cold & grey ocean world, will do that you.
For now, my bold day dreaming of swimming in the warm Caribbean waters in the middle of the winter, getting the fine white sand everywhere, feeling it grinding in between my teeth when serving our guests just a few minutes after gulping cocktails on the beach, praying that none of the security officer would breathalyze me and nursing a lobster sunburn, grow more realistic with every hour of sailing. And that’s good enough for me.