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

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

Bad Weather Is Really Good Sometimes

This week the plan was to go to Belize, Costa Maya and Roatan. Well because of a hurricane, we were forced to go to Nassau, Half Moon Cay, and Grand Turk. Oh how terrible. I’m super excited because none of those ports were on our itinerary for the entire season, so because of this hurricane we get to go to some new ports. We’ll still get to go to Belize and the others because we would regularly go there anyways. There are also rumors that the hurricane is going to prevent us from getting back to Tampa this week. I’m not sure what will happen other than maybe we’ll dock in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami instead. Who knows what will happen. I’m just ready for adventure.

I’ve uploaded some new photos, check em out.

I swam a ton yesterday. It’s been a long time since I’ve been swimming in the ocean and it gets tiring after a while! It’s so fun though, especially when the water is so clear and so beautiful and there’s fun people to go swimming with. On that note….I think I’m gonna set down this laptop and take a dive….

Posted on in Caribbean 2010-2011, Cruise Life 3 Comments

Ya Man

It’s been 7 years since I’ve been to the Cayman Islands and so it was awesome to be able to be there yesterday. I didn’t really get to see much of it because there was no time. I was supposed to shoot gangway photos from 8-10:30 but the ocean was too stormy so the passengers didn’t even start getting off the ship until 9:30 and then it was really slow because everyone had to be really careful when getting off the tenders. So I had to stay shooting gangway until noon. All aboard was 3 so I only had a few hours to run around. Next time I’ll go snorkeling and maybe even go out to String Ray City if possible. I did however get to have some chicken and beef patties!! Oh they are so good and I get to look forward to having those every two weeks when we are here.

I’m looking forward to having US ports again so I can use my phone. I’ll be in Tampa and Key West every week so I’ll have a little more connectivity to people in the States.

Last night was the crew cast show. This is a very modified version of what the cast usually does for the passengers. When I say “very modified” I mean VERY modified. It was pretty awesome actually. At one point, Paul, one of the male singers, put on a peacock dress outfit that is usually for the female dancers, and he pranced around the stage and then came into the audience. It was quite exciting. It’s sure a nice change for me to see a show that is completely staged and posed and the same. The photo gallery is right next to the show room so I get to see and hear the plays about 4 times a week. I’m sure it was also very refreshing for the cast to be able to do something fun and different.

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

Caribbean Ho!

Well I went through the Panama Canal two days ago, and I am now officially in the Caribbean! Panama Canal was quite the experience. My camera lens fogged up really badly as soon as I stepped out onto the ship deck and took a good 15 minutes to clear up. The humidity was incredible, rivaling even that of Zhanjiang. The nice thing was that it was only 77 degrees and so I only sweat 5 gallons instead of 20. Apparently on the northbound trip it was in the 90s and made life almost unbearable. It was a lot of fun for me though. They have these things called Mules which are like trains that pull the ship through the canal. They run on tracks on either side of the canal and pull and push the ship. They each cost like $2 million. It’s amazing how powerful they are and how they can pull such a huge ship through, and pretty quickly too.

I am now in Curacao, and island just north of Venezuela. It’s in the 80s or 90s here and very humid as well, but not as bad as Panama. I’m enjoying exploring and getting some great photos. I’ll be uploading more in the near future. Tomorrow will be Aruba and then two days after that Grand Cayman!! I’m super looking forward to that. Meat patties here I come!

I have started training as a printer. That means that once I learn everything about printing, I’ll be eligible to be promoted to assistant manager and be in charge of getting all the photos printed that we take. That’ll put me well on my way to being photo manager, which would obviously be nice. I plan to do at least another contract after this contract, so I decided to take advantage of my current manager because he’s really great to work with and does a great job training people. He’s leaving at the end of November so I need to do my best between now and then to learn all I can about printing. He said by the time he leaves I should be able to print an entire formal night by myself. That involves editing and printing around 1,400 photos and usually takes from 11pm to 6am. Can’t wait to start!

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

Repositioning

Alaska is officially gone. Well I suppose it’s still there…but I sure ain’t! Today I had the pleasure of having Rebecca Saxton visit me on the ship while I was docked here in San Diego. I had a great time getting to show her around the ship and catching up on the last few months. Unfortunately David couldn’t get off work, although I could see his ship from the deck of my ship.

The weather is noticeably different and it is more than welcome. I’m gonna have a bunch of really great ports over the next three weeks. We are disembarking about 500 passengers who got on the ship in Vancouver, and embarking another 500 to replace them. The next three weeks we will have the same passengers so it’s going to become really slow as far as photo sales go. It’ll be nice cuz we get to close the gallery every now and then. My itinerary is as follows:

September 24: At sea
September 25: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
September 26: At sea
September 27: Acapulco, Guerrero
September 28: At Sea
September 29: Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
September 30: At Sea
October 1: Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica
October 2: Scenic Cruising (Golfo Dulce)
October 3: Enter Panama Canal
October 4: At Sea
October 5: Willemstad, Curacao
October 6: Oranjestad, Aruba
October 7: At Sea
October 8: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
October 9: At Sea
October 10: Tampa Bay, Florida

Also, my new mailing address is:

ms RYNDAM – Ian Kee – Image Creator 77538
NOLA Port Agency (Tampa)
301 West Platt St.
Ste. 446
Tampa, FL 33606

Posted on in Caribbean 2010-2011, Cruise Life 10 Comments
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