Real Estate and Forex and Life, Oh My!

Apparently I don't know what it means to be a consistent blogger. Anyways there are a few things to be updated in my life. 1. Real Estate Investing Since last November I have been interested in investing in real estate. I Read more

Time Keeps Marching

The summer has been a whirlwind of fun. My parents were here for about 6 weeks, though they did travel a lot during that time. I was able to spend about 8 days with them down at my sister's Read more

Made It Through The Winter!

Well it seems that the winter is finally over. In fact there wasn't much of a spring around here. As my friend Casey put it, in Wisconsin there is winter, and then there's a death match between winter and Read more

New Job Finally

I've been back in the States since October and have had a couple of jobs here and there, but they weren't very good and didn't last long. Well it's been just a bit over four months and I finally Read more

I've Been Everywhere Man

Well I have now come to the end of my career on cruise ships. I thought it'd be nice to provide a little list of all the places I've been in the last 3 years. Most of the names Read more

I'm Off to See the Wizard

The wonderful wizard of Alaska!! Yeah I can't wait to be back in Alaska. Sounds strange to say that because it's gonna be 5 long months of hard work but it's gonna be a nice change - at least Read more

Skydiving in Honolulu

Well, this is definitely something worth writing about. I jumped out of an airplane. The airplane was 14,750 feet in the air. The free fall was 60 seconds. It was amazing. I had never thought about sky diving before Read more

Next Contract - Panama Canal and Alaska

With also a few other places thrown in such as Tahiti, Bora Bora, Hawaii and Christmas Island!! If you're interested please see below my itinerary for this next contract on the ms Statendam. I'll be joining it during dry dock Read more

Caribbean 2010-2011

I’m Freeeeee!!!

I’m currently in the Charlotte airport on my way back to Indianapolis. It’s hard to believe that I’ve left my home for the past 8 months. Anyways, I just want to say that my current address to receive mail is:

924 Lindberg Rd.
Anderson, IN 46012

Once I get to my next ship I’ll update with a new address.

Posted on in Caribbean 2010-2011, Cruise Life 5 Comments

What Makes Success?

Has the last 8 months of my life been a success? Well the answer is a resounding YES. I haven’t changed the world, been hired by National Geographic or cured cancer, but I have done a few particularly good things. I have been to more countries in the last 8 months than the rest of my life. And that’s saying something. I’ve made a lot of GREAT friends. I’ve made (and saved) some money. I’ve learned a lot of great skills in photography, sales and basic dealing with people skills. I’ve had SO much fun.

I’ve learned a lot about people too. Living with so many different kinds of people really forces you to get to know other types of people and learn to either like it or deal with it. I think working on a cruise ship is a great way to broaden your horizons and stretch yourself out of your comfort zone in a big way. My next contract isn’t official yet, but I’m pretty sure I know what it will be. I’ll post about that later once it’s official. I do know that I’m coming back to Indiana for sure on February 27th, which is this Sunday! I’ll have around 6 weeks vacation to sleep, eat and see friends. Don’t ask me to do any work, I won’t. 😉

For the rest of this week, I’m gonna be having a lot of fun. I’ll be going to a nice waterfall in Jamaica, going around Cayman with Mrs. Fraizer, hanging out in Cozumel with friends, and enjoying the last night on the ship in the OB. I’m gonna miss all you my Ryndam friends, the cool thing is though that I’ll see many of you again on another ship.

And now I must return to the ship or I’ll be left behind here in Keywest…

Posted on in Caribbean 2010-2011, Cruise Life 6 Comments

Count Down To The Future

My contract has been extended one week because of some inspections that the ship is going through. Apparently I need to be around for this, so I’m staying on one extra week for that. This means I’ll be going back to Indiana on February 27th. I’m gonna have about 6 weeks break and then my next contract starts on April 13th. I’ll be joining the Volendam in Singapore and traveling north around Asia for about a month before the ship goes over to Alaska. After Alaska it will be going down to Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. So I’ll have another very interesting contact coming up.

As I mentioned in my last post, I participated in the Miss Ryndam contest. I didn’t win, but I sure had a lot of fun. Apparently I was in the running to win but I didn’t change my dress between the talent portion and the portion where you answer a question. Apparently I was supposed to be wearing a different dress for that, but I didn’t know. Anyways I had a ton of fun and I know most of the people there wanted me to win…why…I’m not sure. I will say however that since the show, every single day I have had someone tell me that I make a beautiful girl. The first two days I couldn’t keep track of how many people told me that, but it’s been more than a week and people are still commenting on it. Don’t tell anyone but…. I secretly liked it. Shhhh…. The sound system was screwed up so I didn’t do as good at the dancing part as I would have liked, as I couldn’t really hear my song. But there is a video and I’m currently trying to figure out how to convert a .vob file to .mov without buying a program to do it. Once that is figured out I’ll upload a video to Youtube. In the meantime a few photos will have to suffice.

Posted on in Caribbean 2010-2011, Cruise Life 8 Comments

The Day That Never Came….Until Today

Today is the first day that I got a full day off. We’ve been having this competition the last 4 weeks in the photo department on who gets the most Black Label bookings, who sells the most photo packages and things like that. Well I won and so the reward is that I get a whole day off. My goodness, let me tell you how nice it is to get a whole day where I don’t have to talk to passengers, deal with the printer, or touch a camera. It’s been super nice and I feel truly refreshed.

This coming Friday is the Ms Ryndam competition, aka Miss Ryndam. This is a cross dressing Miss America type competition. Each department is supposed to have somebody competing, so I’m going to be the cross dressing addition to this year’s Ms Ryndam competition for the photo department. Oh yes, it is going to be quite a sight. I’m not sure exactly what type of dress I’m going to be wearing, but I will indeed be in some sort of dress. There’s also a talent competition. I wouldn’t spill the beans if I expected any of you to be in attendance, but as you won’t, I plan to sing along with Vitas, a Russian singer. The particular song that I’ll be singing with is the very high pitched screaming that he does. I’ll also definitely come up with some super talented dance moves to go with the song and I’m sure it will be a treat for everyone who happens to be at this competition. There might even be some video recording that takes place, so I might be able to post a link to the video on YouTube some time in the future, but please don’t hold your breath for that. Anyways it’s gonna be a lot of fun to be a complete idiot in front of all my friends….


Posted on in Caribbean 2010-2011, Cruise Life 8 Comments

Thank God It’s Friday

If you think of my 8 month contract as a really long 5 day week, and the time that I get off between contracts as my really long 2 day weekend, it is SOOO Friday. My 8 month contract has exactly 245 days, and I have currently worked 204 of them. That means I’m 83.265306% done. Now if you think of that in terms of a 40 hour week, that would be 33.3061224 hours. If you also assume I worked from 9-5 5 days a week, that would mean it is currently 10:18 on Friday morning. My weekend is almost here.

I bet I saw more places this week than you. 😉

Also, Happy New Year! I’ve done and seen a lot of crazy things in 2010 and I imagine 2011 is going to be twice as crazy.

Posted on in Caribbean 2010-2011, Cruise Life 6 Comments

I Saw A Big Boat

A REALLY big boat. For comparisons sake, here is a photo of my ship, the Ryndam, next to the Allure of the Seas, which is the largest cruise ship in the world. I like to think that I am on a relatively large ship, but it is just that, relatively. My ship holds 1250 passengers, and the Allure holds 7000. The Allure has an ice skating rink, rock climbing and well just a lot more things than my ship. They have cabins above the top of my ship. Yeah, there’s a bit of a difference.

Also, Merry Belated Christmas! I worked for about 13 hours Christmas day so I didn’t really have much of a chance to be very festive. Honestly it didn’t really feel like much of a Christmas and I feel a little like I lost it this year. I kinda felt the same way about Thanksgiving because there was no football on TV or playing football with family, or really good food. The food was just kinda normal. For Christmas though I did get a pretty fancy meal. All the crew were invited to a Christmas banquet and I had lobster and some nice steak. The best thing about Christmas though was the I got to see my parents and grandma and a few other family members. They drove down to Tampa where my uncle lives and so my parents and grandma were able to take a tour of the ship. That was great.

I’ve got less than 2 months left on the ship, I’m getting excited about a break.

Posted on in Caribbean 2010-2011, Cruise Life 4 Comments

Please Don’t Leave Your Brains At Home

Ok after a while the things that passengers say can start to get a little annoying. I am always very polite and answer questions as thoroughly as I can, but I do need a place to vent. Here it is:

“How come Holland America stopped giving umbrellas to passengers? They used to be complimentary, that’s what you pay for when you go on a cruise.” (First of all, that’s a mighty expensive umbrella if that’s what you’re paying for. Secondly, I don’t know, I’m just the photographer! Ask someone who knows!)

Man at the entrance of the duty free shop: “Where’s the duty free shop?”

Man standing right in front of a bunch of tour guides holding signs: “Where do the tours meet?” (This wouldn’t be so bad if he was asking the tour guides just to clarify, but he was asking me, the photographer!!)

Man on the ship: “Where’s the office?” (I’m thinking, which office? Maybe you could specify??)

“I remember when the photos were $5!” (Oh yeah…and gas was 50 cents. Times change people!)

After spending 10 seconds looking for their photographs on the walls they throw up their hands and exclaim that they can’t find their photos and that they simply aren’t there. I take 15 more seconds and find them. Maybe try opening your eyes??

People don’t want their photographs taken because:

“I’m part of the witness protection plan.”
“I’m wanted by the FBI.”
“I’m CIA, no photos.” (You wouldn’t be saying that if you were, stupid)
“My photo is already in the post office.”
“Don’t take my photo, I don’t want my wife to find out.”
“I’ll break your camera.”
“Oh, we’re late!” (As they stop and wait for the tour)
“Oh, I’ll get ya on the way back.” (No you won’t)
“I have my own camera.” (Your own camera takes a photo of you?)
“I’m a professional photographer so you can’t take my photo.”
“I’m too old.”
“Does your camera have a filter to make me look skinny?” (No, but you could eat less)
“I would have let you take my photo, but you’re using Nikon!” (Ummm…so?)
“Oh, I see you have a Nikon, great camera!” (Again…so? It’s kinda about the photographer not the camera!)
“Go away…” (Excuse me? I just nicely said good morning to you and offered to take your photo…you freaking go away!)

Posted on in Caribbean 2010-2011, Cruise Life 8 Comments

Well It Was Worth A Try

I went to the passport center in Cayman today with high hopes of being able to get a Caymanian passport, seeing as I was born in the Cayman Islands. Well apparently you need to have Caymanian parents in order to qualify for that through your parents, or if you want to do it through yourself, you needed to have been born before 1982. Well I guess I was four years too late. It was definitely worth a try though, Caymanian citizenship would be awesome to have. I could still get status if I ever moved back, but a passport is out of the question.

On a side note, my parents seem to be well known in Cayman. I was talking to some random tour guide people on the dock and through the conversation I told them I was born here in Cayman, and they asked who my parents were and they said they recognized the name “Mrs. Kee”. Also the lady who worked at the passport center said she recognized my parent’s names. So, Mom and Dad, you’re famous. At least in Cayman. =D

Things are sure different around here with a new manager. Natalie is the new manager of the photo team here on the Ryndam, and having a new manager is almost like being on a new ship as far as the photo department is concerned. She has changed absolutely everything about how everything is run, and so now we are all scrambling to figure out what we need to do and when we need to do what and how we’re going to do it. Most of the changes are good changes and I like them, it’s just a LOT of changes all at once and the first couple weeks have been a little stressful. Everything should slowly return to normal, just a different normal.

My friends Clare and Chris and I rented 3 wave runners yesterday in Jamaica. It cost us $40 for half an hour, which I bargained down from $75. It costs $130 for an hour in Key West, so I guess we got a good deal. It seemed expensive but it was fun, so who cares. One thing I haven’t yet done is bungie jumping, but I don’t really know of any place around here that has it, so I may not be able to do that this contract.

Alright, well there’s a crew party tonight, so I’m out and I’m headed to find some people to party with…..

Posted on in Caribbean 2010-2011, Cruise Life 4 Comments

A Nikon For An Assistant Manager

I’ve been a Canon user my entire life. My first 35mm camera was a Canon. My first digital P&S was a Canon. My first SLR was a Canon. My first Digital SLR was a Canon. My next 3 or 4 DSLRs were also all Canons. Now, after all these years of using Canon, I have an announcement to make: I am switching to Nikon. This doesn’t mean that Canon is no good or that I will never buy a Canon camera again, but for the foreseeable future, I will be a Nikon user. I learned on a Canon 20D for most of my college career and that was a fantastic camera for the job and I learned tons of things about photography with that. Now is the time to make sure that I am using the best camera for the job, however.

When I joined the ship, one of the first questions my manager asked me was, “What camera are you using?” When I said, “Canon”, you could just see the disappointment. From then on the joke around the lab was always “buy Nikon” whenever there was any issues with images that I took, as if buying a Nikon would magically make my photographs perfect. Well obviously that isn’t the case, but I do believe that in this particular job, and Nikon is simply better. The D300 in particular is a good choice. I went ahead and spent a couple hundred bucks more and bought a D300s. It’s basically the same thing except that I get to use both SD and CF cards, I can take video, and I can shoot at 7fps instead of 6. It’s well worth spending $200 more.

So while Nikon isn’t magic and doesn’t make any photograph perfect, it does seem to do a better job at color rendition and overall handling. I used my manager’s D300 for a formal night and the photos that it produced right out of the camera were much better and required much less editing on the computer before printing than my Canon cameras. In a job where you’re printing around 8,000 photos a week, it’s nice to have the photos as close to perfect as possible so you don’t have to spend a lot of time editing.

In other news, I was promoted to assistant manager on Monday! Joanne, who is in charge of the S and R class ships came to visit us and gave me this promotion. Tino is the manager on this ship and he and his wife are leaving on the 21st, so I will be taking over the assistant manager position when they leave. We will be getting a new manager. I couldn’t have asked for a better person than Tino to train me, so I’m super thankful to have had him around. Five months from joining the company to assistant manager is apparently the fastest that anyone has ever done it. Oh yeah.

It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get on the ferries for my next contract, but I am still planning on getting on a ship in Europe if the people in my company will allow me to do that. It would still be a ship with Holland America and I have my eye particularly on the Eurodam, so we’ll see what happens.

Posted on in Caribbean 2010-2011, Cruise Life 8 Comments

New Places

I’ve sure been able to do a lot of traveling in this job. So far I’ve been to Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Florida, Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Curacao, Aruba, Honduras, Bahamas, Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Belize. I’ve been to several different ports in Mexico and a couple in Jamaica as well. Next contract I’m hoping to be in Europe so I should be able to see a whole new part of the world.

I’m having a lot of fun on the beaches here, and I got quite burnt last week when we were in Honduras. It’s all good though, I don’t mind this warm weather when the alternative would be very cold temperature in Indiana. I’ll come visit all you folks in cornville in a few months.

I just got myself a roommate. He’s training to be the videographer on the ship and when the manager and his wife leave in a month, he’ll be taking over the video job. He’s from London and he’s quite a nice guy. Unfortunately nice guy or not, he is taking up half the space in the room now. haha. Ah well, I was very lucky to have my own room for a little more than a month. Many things will also be changing in the job in a month when Tino and his wife leave. We’ll have a new manager and I’m sure everything will be run differently when that happens.

Posted on in Caribbean 2010-2011, Cruise Life 2 Comments
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