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Reisverslag It took a while..
16 november 2015
It took a while..
Monday November 16th 2015
Yes, it has been a while since my last story and I’ve been in Arnhem for about a week already, but I didn’t feel like writing in those last couple of days!!
Anyway, we got an email from Fleetpro that they had come up with a contest for Halloween. They gave all of the ships 200 euros to decorate the ship and it’s crewmembers and then they wanted us to put our pictures and stories in a powerpoint presentation. This we had to upload to the portal and then 3 winners would be chosen, who would get some extra money for the crew.
The thing is that the Tranquility is a new ship, we don’t have any decorating material from previous years, like most of the ships do. So 200 euros isn’t going to go very far, especially when your idiot HM spends most of it on costumes and masks…
We also had the added bonus that Halloween was on a Saturday, our dis- and embarkation day, which is already a busy day for us. But as soon as the last guests were off of the ship, we started transforming our ship. Here the housekeeping were making the ship look like new and the HM and maître were putting cobwebs everywhere!! That must have made a clean first impression for the guests! We decorated the lobby, the restaurant and the lounge, with cobwebs, skeletons, spiders, cats and ghosts. And the galley team had put their creative efforts into carving pumpkins, we had a Darth Vader and for the others you needed your own imagination to make it look like something..
Then around 4 pm the new guests came on board and we greeted them as our usual selves. But before the guests went down for dinner, we all changed costumes and our Chef de Bar painted people’s faces! We had bought witches hats for the Housekeeper, Csilla and me. The girls of the Housekeeping team had their faces painted and the guys were wearing masks and hats. It was amazing to see what masks and paint can do to a person, they were really into their roles!! The service and bar team also had their faces painted, one of our waitresses looked like she just helped the galley team slaughter some meat…or someone?? The maître looked like the grim reaper and the HM looked like he was an extra on the latest Mad Max movie.
But the guests appreciated our efforts, they know Halloween is not a big thing in Europe. The HM took pictures, I wrote the story and Csilla and I made the powerpoint presentation. We uploaded it all, but we didn’t win unfortunately. Can’t remember who did and I didn’t see their presentations, but it didn’t come as a surprise to be honest!
In this new and last group, we had a group of Asians and a lot of vip travel agents, which was going to be heavy! One of the couples in the Asian group was celebrating their wedding anniversary and wanted a cake and some flowers. We were in Mannheim at the time, because of the low water we were not able to dock in Speyer at all. Which was a bit sad, I would have liked to go there before the season ends.
Anyway, I don’t like Mannheim, but I had to go out and buy flowers. The weather wasn’t very warm either, so I was very fast! I found a flower shop at the train station, now during the season we had a florist in Breisach and in Amsterdam where we got the flowers for the ship. Whenever we needed flowers for a gift order we would order them with these florists and there was always a big difference. When we ordered them in Amsterdam we got a pretty big bouquet for 10 euros, but in Breisach it was always small…and so it was also in Mannheim. They didn’t have anything ready, so they had to make one and really it had only one rose, a gerbera and another flower I don’t know the name of and the rest was all leaves…If I were to get something like that for 10 euros in Amsterdam, I would give it back to the florist. The Germans are good at making cars, I really do like their bread and pastries, but their music and their flowers are really pathetic!!! Anyway, the gentleman liked it so all was well.
The gentleman was not really part of the group of Asians, but now that he had met some of them, he thought it only right to have them also join in the celebrations. First he had ordered a cake only for the two of them, but now he wanted one more so he could share it with them. I thought it was a nice gesture, but I think it was also a matter of saving face….
I guess we were all coming to the end of our ropes. The galley team kept giving us a hard time, Csilla had to keep bugging them to get menus changes. And then when we finally got them, the chef was upset with us for talking to the HM about this…as if I would really go and talk to him about this! He is always sitting in his office, he wanted to check the menu’s before we printed them, so he always heard us talk about this anyway.
Then one night we had one tiny mistake on the menu, the sauce that went with the ice cream wasn’t what it said it was…of course the chef went nuts about this and cursed Csilla to high heaven and back, as he is want to do, but fortunately the maître told him off. Telling him that this was one tiny mistake in the whole of the season and that she helped him correct all of the menu’s, if she didn’t call them, there wouldn’t be any menu’s at all!! I’m glad he did that, I hadn’t been able to confront chef myself.
Once a week we have a German lunch for our guests, with the hoompapa music and decoration. This used to be on the day that the guests could go out for a German Dinner in Rudesheim, but since the food at the German dinner is really bad, the crd’s always ask us to do the German lunch on another day…
Normally Csilla would call the galley to tell them if they had made a mistake in a menu, but now, when she got the menu for the German lunch, when it wasn’t supposed to be given on that day, she didn’t bother calling them about it.
Well, no one said anything and we didn’t realize until we heard the hoompapa music coming from the restaurant…the crd was not very happy about it. So I asked our HM if we were supposed to be doing this lunch that day…and that’s when he realized something was wrong. He didn’t realize he was checking the German lunch menu when he gave the ok to print it, even the Maitre didn’t say anything, but happily decorated the restaurant…
I know this sounds mean, but it was actually kind of funny, that our ‘perfect’ HM made this huge mistake!
So on Friday the 6th of November we were in Amsterdam for the last time this season. I was able to get away to the library early, where I was writing, reading and I had coffee with one of our Dutch cruise directors.
And then on Saturday the 7th was our last disembarkation! As soon as the last guests were off of the ship we changed our clothes, so the laundry could wash our uniforms before we had to send them back. And that’s when we started cleaning and packing up. We were a little afraid that we were never going to make it, since our Nighty still had to work during the night. Most captains let the nighty work during the day and have the sailors do the rounds, but not here.
Around noon we left Amsterdam to go to Utrecht, where we were going to be docked with 3 other Avalon ships during these last couple of days. We were not docked in the city center, but in a suburb called Kanaleneiland, which as the captain says is not the safest place to be. He told us stories of how everything that was not nailed down, should be taken inside, otherwise it would be stolen. So our nighty had to do her rounds to make sure we still had all of our stuff.
Anyway, we managed to do it! Galley, restaurant and Housekeeping had a couple of staterooms available on the 2nd floor, where they stored all of their equipment for the next season. And we put everything in two rooms on the 3rd floor. We didn’t use the 1st floor, because the rooms could become damp and damage the equipment. But it all worked out.
On Sunday we sorted all of the uniforms, we threw away what couldn’t be used anymore and the rest ended up in boxes that were going to be picked up later. On Monday we were pretty much done, we had to hand in our lifejackets, clean the crew mess and our own cabins. Then in the afternoon we had a general meeting where we were thanked for our hard work and where we got our contracts for next year. Then we all got our last tips and our passports back.
Now for the final farewell dinner we got 25 euros from Fleetpro and 25 euros from Avalon as a thank you for a job well done. We managed to make a reservation at a Humphrey’s restaurant in Utrecht. Like I said we were docked in a suburb of Utrecht and all of the restaurants are located in the city center of course. Since we were a group of 37 people, I thought it would be a good idea to get a bus to take us there. So I talked to our last crd to ask him if it was possible to get the bus company that he uses for excursions to take us to the restaurant. He said it wouldn’t be a problem, so I asked for an estimate. Of course our HM said it would be too expensive, we had 50 euros per person to spend and he thought 10 euros pp was too expensive. So I cancelled the bus and ordered taxi’s. Now the previous evening the crew members of the other three ships had their farewell party, so that’s about 40 people per ship. They also ordered taxi’s and it took them 2 hours to get them all to the restaurant!!! I have no idea when they called to order taxi’s and I don’t know when they were supposed to be at the restaurant, but of course the HM and the captain were in a panic that the same thing would happen to us.
I had already thought about this, so I called the company in the afternoon to make sure we got the order in right. This was a regular taxi company, they take any ride they can get, so if they get a request to go to the airport at 6pm, they will not be back at 6:30pm to pick us up!
So in the end we got 3 taxi vans, who had to go back and forth, which of course the HM wasn’t happy with and complaining about….then the captain also came up to me to complain about it and I told him that we could’ve all been there already, but that the HM thought 10 euros each was too expensive…even the captain said 10 euros was peanuts…my thoughts exactly.
Anyway, we were all at the restaurant about 7:30pm, so only half an hour later than planned, which I thought was pretty good. I asked the manager if he knew a better taxi company for us to take us back to the ship that evening and he managed to get us 10 taxi’s around 10pm. So I told him to go ahead and book it, of course the HM was complaining about the costs. I told him that he had already gotten a good deal to get there, because the estimate was 28 euros per ride and now we only paid 20, so he could use the rest for the taxi back! Unbelievable!!!!
Humphrey’s is a well-known restaurant in the Netherlands, it’s a chain and has several restaurants throughout the country. Normally you have a 3 course meal, where you can choose from 8 different starters, main courses and desserts. But of course since we were a group of 37, we were not able to have so many choices, so we had 2 choices per course, which was more than enough. I had smoked salmon for a starter, mixed grill as main course and chocolate fondant for dessert. As soon as we were all done and the taxi’s were announced, I went back to the ship. I was tired and ready to go home!!
These last 3 weeks with this HM were really very tiring and I wanted to go home as soon as I could. We got all of the traveling details for the crew about a week before and it was amazing to say the least!! We were in a suburb of Utrecht and everyone was expected to take the train to the Schiphol airport….which meant they had to take a taxi to the train station first.
So we told HR that we could get taxi’s to get them directly to the airport for a fair price. Of course our HM had to ask permission for this, otherwise they wouldn’t cover the costs.
So we got it and we got 2 vans for 6:30 am and then 3 for 10:00am, which I had to change to 9:30am, because the HM needed a receipt and time to book it because the corporate was leaving early….
We had people going to Budapest through Warsaw, when they could have gotten a direct, cheaper flight straight from Eindhoven airport…and we heard stories of people having to go from London Gatwick, to London Heathrow airport, before going to Budapest…Unbelievable!! They should just give us an amount of money per person and let us get them the best ticket available! It would save them time and it would get the crew members home early! Now they were traveling all day, in what could have been done in half a day!
Anyway, I had already told the HM that I would be leaving as soon as I woke up, Terez was leaving at 6:30am, so why would I wait?? The HM had asked me several times if I really wanted to leave that early, it was a nice ship I could still have breakfast before I went….but it is a good thing I did go home early, because even on that morning of the 10th, he had slipped a note under our door to ask me to give him the invoice of the dinner party we had….an amount which I had already booked on Saturday, before closing the final cruise, as was instructed!!! Which also meant that he had already gotten that invoice, along with a list of all crew members that came to the dinner. So on his note I wrote my answer and where he could find it, in case he had lost it…if I would have stayed I would have gotten these questions all day long!!!
One of our waiters has relatives in Arnhem, so the HM asked me if he could come with me, which was no problem at all. I told the waiter that I was leaving at 6:30am and he had to call his relatives to make sure there was someone to pick him up. First I had wanted to take the bus to the train station, but we were not that strategically docked and I didn’t want to walk, so I ordered us a taxi as well. Good thing I did, because the waiter said he had big luggage, but he came up with one big suitcase, one small suitcase and a sports bag!!!
So in the end I was having breakfast with my dad around 8:30am!!!
After breakfast I just couldn’t sit down, I unpacked my suitcase and put all of my stuff away. Then on Wednesday I drove to Almere to say hi to my mom and to get Belle to come with me to Arnhem!
I’ve been at home for a couple of days now, but I don’t feel like I have a vacation yet, probably because I haven’t been able to shut off my mind yet! Still things I have to do! Haha Now I will get ready for my adventure in Australia, which will give more interesting stories for me to write and for you to read!!
Thank you for reading and responding to all of these stories, it’s been an adventure!!
16 november 2015 20:47 | Door: Michelle
Wow! I can't beleive it's over! I've enjoyd reading about all your adventures and I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip to Australia xx