Well, here we are again… it’s now September, and I haven’t posted since June! Clearly I haven’t been on top of my blog as much as I’d would have liked. I will be backtracking to share about June through August, then there'll be just a few more weeks until this contract is over. It feels so weird that we are starting to near the end of this contract. Having been in three different countries so far since March, I feel like I’ve been away from home for years already.
Last I posted, we were finishing up our time in the Netherlands as the ship got ready to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Today’s post is all about the crossing. On June 9, we departed from Bremerhaven, Germany. Our route took us through the English Channel, stopping at Ponta Delgada (on São Miguel Island, Portugal) and Disney’s private island Castaway Cay before finally docking in Port Canaveral for the first time on June 20.
Our first few days were full of more of the same; lots of rehearsals, trainings and costume fittings. The day we departed, we had a rehearsal in the afternoon before going up to the deck to watch the ship sail away. We heard statements from our assistant cruise director Ashley and DCL vice president Sharon Siske thanking the crew before music celebrating our departure was blasted throughout the deck (My personal favorite was Come Sail Away).
The following Monday was an exciting day. We started off with our first ever soundcheck in the Bayou so we could make sure the mix was to our liking. Then the ship docked in Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores archipelago of Portugal. Despite only having a few hours, we made the most of our time there. First we did some shopping, as most of us had some things we needed (or perhaps didn’t need, but wanted 😂). We stopped to sight-see and take photos en route to the mall. Then we visited a gorgeous garden, Jardim Botânico José do Canto. I was enamored by all of the tall and colorful plants! Finally, we had arguably the most memorable meal of our entire contract at A Tasca. Everything was delightful, from the wine to the appetizers (including a slow-roasted sausage lit on fire at our table!) and especially the main courses like my duck and chorizo risotto.
Our day in Ponta Delgada
At long last, the day arrived… we got to perform live for the first time for the guests on the crossing! Starting Tuesday, we performed every night in the Bayou, premiering the sets we had put together for the guests, our creative team and our peers. The energy we were met with was heartwarming and oh so rewarding after the journey we went through to arrive at that point.
We continued to have drills, rehearsals, costume fittings in the morning and performances at night throughout the rest of the crossing. We also had a crew rally where the crew went up to the pool deck and celebrated with Disney executives. The last day before we arrived in Florida, we stopped for the first time at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. I was so excited to check out the island! I had a relaxing afternoon with my friends at the crew beach, swimming and soaking up the sun. I couldn’t believe how blue the water was.
I awoke bright and early on the morning of the 20th to my 4:30 AM alarm, quickly washed my face, threw on some comfortable clothes and headed upstairs so I could watch the ship arrive at her home port. My friends and I got to wave to the hundreds of people who lined the water as the ship headed towards the Disney Cruise Line terminal. I was shocked at the sheer amount of people who showed up! When we arrived at the terminal, a crowd of cast members was waving, cheering and holding up signs for us. I’ve never been outside of the United States for this long, so when the crowd yelled “WELCOME HOME!” I started to cry. We got to watch from behind as Captains Minnie and Mickey celebrated with fireworks. Later that day, each crew member had to go through immigration. It was a long process, but we were greeted by welcoming cast members and given some cool opening team merch!
There were no guests on board for our first few days in Florida, so we continued with rehearsals. Sadly, I ended the week with a positive COVID test, so I needed to pack a bag and head to a different cabin to isolate for five days. That meant I missed the first time our pirate deck party cast got to see and rehearse with pyrotechnics. I was bummed and started to go stir-crazy, but thankfully I tested negative on day 5.
Thanks for following along my journey so far! More to come soon…