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December 22, 2013

Living Aboard A Giant Cruise Ship: Voyager of the Seas

     There was a time when I lived aboard a ship, waking up everyday in a different place, eating for free and just walking to work a few decks above me. When I was working as a Medi-spa physician aboard Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas, I became exposed to the ship life, experiencing the life of a seaman working far from home, away from family, traveling the world for free.

    I remember the very first day I arrived in Galveston, Texas where the ship used to dock. I didn't know what to expect. Finding my own cabin was difficult enough, trying to navigate the maze-like deck for the crew. Because I came a week earlier than they expected, there was no available cabin for me yet so I had to spend 2 weeks in a guest cabin instead.

    It was difficult at first, trying to adjust to this new home. After 4 weeks, I was able to get the hang of it. I have my own favorite spots on the ship. Of course, as a medi-spa physician, I could eat in the Windjammer for free anytime together with other guests on the ship. I liked eating at Windjammer because it was a deck below where I worked. However, eating at the mess hall for the crew was the most comfortable way of eating.


   I worked at the spa so almost every after work, I would go to the gym and get a work out again for free. The spa on the Voyager is a hit among guests. It includes a sauna pool where you can just dip and relax and then maybe afterwards get a facial or a massage upstairs. It even has a salon where you can get your hair done. The guys at the gym would usually organize a spin class for the spa team as a way of bonding as a group.



    During formal nights, we couldn't just go out of the public areas without wearing something nice.

     I had a solo cabin so I could enjoy my own privacy and enough space for my own stuff. However, I would also spend time with the rest of my fellow crew in their own cabin, either just hanging out or pigging over some "smuggled" food.

    Of course the port days are fun and when the ship is docked either somewhere in the Caribbean or in the Mediterranean, it was time for me to do my weekly shopping, do some sightseeing or taste "land" food which is always far better than "ship" food.


  During my free nights, I could either watch a show at the theater or just hang out in the crew bar at the back deck either getting some drinks or catching some internet to do some webchat back home.


I kinda miss my "ship life" but most especially I kinda miss the many friends I made while spending a little over 6 months in this giant ship I once called home. This Christmas season, my heart goes out to my former fellow OFW's who have to work far from home in order to make a decent living for their families here in the Philippines.

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