I’m writing this from our little cabin on deck 5 as we sail through the Pacific Ocean in a very big tin can. Occasionally you can hear enormous bangs on the side of the ship due to miss-navigation on the bridge resulting in accidentally hitting a whale.
Ha only kidding!!! So here we are! On the crossing from Hawaii to LA and I’m writing our first proper blog post on this crazy journey so far. We are almost at LA, and we’ve been at sea for a total of almost 2 weeks this cruise. For anyone who has been at sea before, you will understand how long this really is! Sometimes 3 sea days are painful!
We’ve now been on board the Crystal Symphony for almost 2 months and it has been an incredible trip so far! This is our first contract as a duo since both Harry and I performed as part of party band E4A and we literally could not have wished for a better start!
Now the Shoresound website is up and running, I thought it would be a great idea to start a blog of our lives at sea so we can share with you this incredible journey. So for anyone who wants to follow along…I’ll start at the beginning!
We boarded the Crystal Symphony on February 23rd after flying from the UK for almost 2 days. We flew to Oman and then to Bali, and it sure is a killer of a flight. We saw a couple in first class when we boarded and they clinked their champagne glasses and smiled at us…… “One day we’ll be you” we said, I bet they bloody slept well in their deluxe 4 poster double bed they had going on in first class.
We arrived in Bali, absolutely knackered and it was boiling! We didn’t actually get to see much of Bali, which I was really gutted about. We were immediately met by a very nice taxi driver who took us straight to the ship. The car ride there was pretty much like a real life non-cartoon version of Wacky Races. I don’t know why cars in Bali have indicators because they absolutely do not use them! When we got to the dock, we realised that the Crystal Symphony was actually anchored and not in port, which meant that we had to board via a tender boat. Tender boats are like little lifeboats that transport you from the ship, if it has to anchor, to the shore. Usually the ship will anchor if the waters are too shallow to dock or if the port is occupied. This would’ve all been all well and good If we didn’t have 4 suitcases, 3 guitars and 2 pull along hand luggage with us!! It was definitely the most interesting embarkation we’ve ever had!
The first few days on board the Symphony we spent in a guest cabin as they didn’t have a crew cabin available for us…..it was bloody brilliant! We had a balcony and a bath and everything! Don’t get me wrong, our crew cabin is cosy now I’ve made it pretty with fairy lights, but we don’t have a balcony any more.….or a bath for that matter! :-(
The first few weeks of any contract are always a bit of a blur. You’ve got massive amounts of jet lag for a start and you’re eating when you should be sleeping and gigging when you should be going to bed. Its like adjusting to a new little world and every ship has a very different vibe amongst crew. Everyone is really friendly on this ship. It’s a lot smaller than our last ship, with only approximately 600 crew, so everyone knows when you are the newbies on board! We soon settled in however, once we got used to where everything is and started meeting more of the crew. We were even invited for brekkie with the captain one morning in his quarters which was very nice! The last thing he said to us was “I hope you’ve enjoyed your morning here and hopefully you wont be back ever again” You will only ever find yourself in the Captains quarters for two reasons; because you are invited, or because you are in big trouble!
Our first port on the Symphony was The Philippines! We arrived at Boracay Bay and headed straight for the beach! The mode of transport was a motor bike with a side cart with no back to it so If you didn’t hold on you would fall out and get run over by the 7 other motor bikes that were riding so close to us they were almost touching our knees! The beach was busy but beautiful. We didn’t have a great deal of time there as we had to get back to play Tea Time at 3.30pm but in our short visit to Boracay Bay, we still managed to leave with third degree burns on our tragic white English skin. The next port of call was Rombion Island but I’m really sad to say we didn’t actually make it out of bed to visit it! Jet lag had us in pieces!
The following two ports we visited separately because initially we were put into different IPM groups. IPM stands for Import Manning Duty, which on some ships, you have to do. Basically all it means is, there has to be a certain number of crew manning the ship at all times in case of an emergency. IPM is once every fourth port, which can be a little annoying but you can always swap with other crew members. Also a little questionable because if there was an emergency…..what on earth could we do?!? ;-) So for the next port, I ventured out into Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia on my own and had a look round. It was a beautiful day and the harbor was nice. I couldn’t make it to the temple as it was too far away so I just wondered. It was very city like and busy. Harry said that Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei was much the same except for a temple he visited.
With a few sea days in between before we knew it our first cruise was over and we had arrived in Singapore!
We loved Singapore! It was very new and so clean and shiny and very futuristic in its design structure. I thought it was like something out of the Sims! The first night we didn’t have a clue where we were going and after walking for almost an hour, we realized Singapore was bigger than we first thought! In the end we took a taxi right to the centre where there was a huge shopping mall surrounding a lake. It looked really pretty all lit up at night. Everything is lit up, but not in a bad Christmas tree kind of way, in a way that everything sparkles. It was tastefully mesmerizing. We don’t finish playing until 11pm so by the time we got out many places were closed for food. So we got some noodles from 7/11 and sat on a bench in the middle of Singapore! The next day was brilliant. We took a cable car across to Sentosa and went to Universal studios! We walked round all the worlds and went on all the rides it was so much fun! You could easily spend a good few days in Sentosa it literally has everything and would be good for a family holiday I think. We finished off our day in Singapore with some yummy Pad Tai from the street food market before heading back to the Symphony. We then performed 4 sets in Palm court, had and a very late night call home to the fam and then crawled into bed and set sail for Thailand…….. Next blog post coming soon folks!
Bye for now