celebritysilhouette

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FAREWELL SILHOUETTE!

After 4 months, 20 cities and 13 countries our contract on board the Celebrity Silhouette has come to a close! We had the best last 12 days with my parents on board to enjoy our final swan song. It was so fun to feel like proper tour guides of these cities we’ve so enjoyed getting familiar with throughout the Baltic. Many other musicians joined us for different sets throughout our last week and the final night we had a full band of nine people! Videos to come soon! Onto our next adventure!!!

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Photo shoot in Russia

There is currently a contest for our ship for a new campaign they are launching “the Grass Is Greener” with Celebrity Silhouette! Honestly it makes no sense to me because the grass is greener means the other option is always better….BUT as a crew member if you send in a photo in the grass and win, you get a mac book air! So Mads and I went out and took some photos in St. Petersburg with the hope of winning! The bottom one is the photo i submitted. Here’s to winning! Will let you know if I do!

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Enchanted with Edinburgh

We are somehow on our 7th cruise (time flies when you’re traveling the world!) and this UK/British Isles cruise focuses on the British Open. For anyone that knows me my interests do not lie in sports, let alone GOLF, but 600+ specifically came on board this week to attend the British Open in St. Andrews. Unfortunate weather kept us trapped on the ship the first day we got here so we ended up extending our two day visit to three days! Woo hoo! A crew members dream!

The ship is too large to dock in a port so we have to tender or drop an anchor further away from the shore and take life boats “tender” boats to land. We started our Scottish adventure on the top, outdoor level of the tender boat on a beautiful and sunny Sunday. My California self cannot believe the words out of my mouth when 65 and sunny means “what a gorgeous day”, but that’s what summer in the Baltic and UK will get you! So we made it ashore, a local bus ride later, we were in now rainy Edinburgh. Supposedly Edinburgh experiences four seasons in one day, so you always have to prepare for anything with an umbrella and sunglasses in your bag at all time. I just kept saying it would’t be an authentic Edinburgh experience if we didn’t get a little wet, and nothing was raining on my parade! Perfect segue because as we got off the bus we found ourselves in a parade! It seemed to be some sort of African celebration, with bright costumes, colorful Lion King-esque head pieces and banners. We caught the tail end on Princes St. and then celebrated the cars being blocked on the closed streets as we rebelliously walked through them. Everything was so green and crisp, the architecture was very grey but beautiful and well maintained for how old I imagined it was. We wandered into West Princes Street Gardens after being lured in by drumming and all kinds of music. From the street, theres a ramp and staircase that leads you down into this park that is below the Edinburgh Castle up on this hill. It seemed the parade had ended and led everyone to the main open air auditorium within the gardens. The African celebration continued and we got there just in time to see the rain start and a dance of umbrellas start to pop open, almost as if it was a choreographed thing, as people scattered for shelter. We giggled and I had one of those magical, “I love traveling because this is only going to happen once” moments that the combination of the rain and a new city can often bring and we walked through the gardens. I was overwhelmed by the beautiful green in every direction and the looming castle just above us, it seemed like the whole world was in Edinburgh that day and I couldn’t have been happier. We definitely had landed there on a festive weekend day. We followed our nose out of the gardens and back on the street to a beautiful gothic statue, the Scott Monument.

We started moving in a direction towards the castle, walking down the famous “Royal Mile” street which was crowded with tourists and interesting street performers-mimes, musicians, bagpipes, costumes, statue-like people, there was everything. One fellow in all white (face paint included) patiently froze without even blinking on a bicycle while little kids poked him. One little Scottish boy looked to me and said “there’s no way he’s real, right?”. The only thing I love more than new accents in a foreign city are little adorable kids with those accents. We hustled through the rain and found ourselves in “The Elephant House”, aka the Birthplace of Harry Potter, as the sign on the window explained. Once we managed to wait in line to get an overpriced (but delicious) coffee, we found ourselves in the café that J.K. Rowling wrote the first and second Harry Potter books. (SQUEAL) Supposedly, she had spent her winters writing in there because it was cheaper to get a coffee then pay her electric bill for heat in her apartment. There weren’t any obnoxious signs saying “she sat here” with an arrow, like I had expected, and I thought that was nice. The windows in the main room looked out to the castle so it was easy to imagine her dreaming up Hogwarts and all the HP friends. I will say it had to have been WAY quieter and not so busy for her to get anything done in there.

It just so happened that the Edinburgh Jazz &Blues Festival was going on this month of July! Basti recognized one of the artists as someone he had seen at Berklee before so we made our way to the Festival Theatre to purchase tickets for that evening’s performance. YAY Edinburgh, fueling our musical souls! If we were gonna miss the Fringe festival (a world famous theatre festival all August long) then at least we were managing to soak up some awesome live music! And awesome it was, we saw a Scottish trio, Trio HSK, with Cory Henry a Brooklyn native who shredded on the keys. It reminded me a lot of Berklee jam sesh, about 2 ½ hours of guitar, piano and drums solos but overall very moving. Cory Henry was a solo pianist that had was gospel jazz, and Trio HSK was “academic” as Basti said, “non-intuitive &studied”, in a rock, jazz genre. There was more reading of sheet music and less soulfully felt, but I respect what great musicians they all were. Overall, it was money well spent, to be off the ship and experiencing the local scene. Once it was over it was about 10:30pm and we had four hours before our curfew so as we were planning on heading back to the ship, we bumped into the solo guitarist on the ship, our friend Gordon. So into a bar we went, and we found a goldmine: kilt wearing-rock and roll/ Scottish pub song-playing old men in a band that got the crowd moving and grooving, as we threw back some beers and celebrated feeling like free humans with the evening off! I thoroughly enjoyed Edinburgh with all it had to offer! It’s definitely on the top of my list of places I would like to go back to!

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Paris, Je t'aime!

We took a two hour bus into the city from La Harve, the port our ship was docked at and marveled at this wonderful city. Four hours was a painful amount of city since Basti and I wanted to stay four weeks but we made the most of it! We met up with his friends, Archie and Vita from Berklee that live in the city, had coffee and croissants at Archie’s beautiful apartment and were so happy to be in a home. Then we wandered in Montemarte, my favorite artsy area of the city and bought some paintings from local artists in the area that Van Gogh and Picasso lived many years ago. We then had a crazy experience getting back. Basti thankfully speaks French and asked a woman where we could get a cab in the area because our time was running out. She explained we couldn’t get one close but that she would give us a ride, my stranger danger mentality went off but she was a 40+ year old mom so we hopped in and thankfully she helped us get back to our bus station! Thank god for the kindness of strangers! It was very hard to leave but the race back helped distract us!

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ESCAPE GLASGOW!

Loved this Scottish city! We signed up with friends to do this Escape Glasgow adventure. We’d done it once before in New York City and you pay to escape a room that is boobytrapped with clues. This one was science themed so we were scientists looking for a cure and then the cure would lead our way out. Only 40% make they’re way out and we managed to get out with 10 minutes to spare! Woo HOO!

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BEATLE MANIA!

Liverpool was Beatle crazy! We went to Matthews Street with the famous Cavern Club, the venue that the Beatles played at 250+ times. They called it the home of the Beatles, and all the bars around claimed similar things. Really cool to be underground in a place where they were first nobodies! God bless the Beatles!

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?Channel Islands?

Honesty, the pictures tell more about this lovely island than I can. We were tendered in this port (not to be confused with TINDER the popular dating/sexytime app…I always say the wrong thing) meaning the ship is too large to dock on land therefore creating too much of a current at this harbor. So we have to take the lifeboats to and from the ship to the main land…and it’s a pain in the ass when you’re crew and on time restrictions. The entire UK itinerary consists of tender ports and that’s sort of inconvenient but it is what it is!

Not knowing what to expect, we hopped off and had a gorgeous day. I didn’t learn much about St. Peter’s Port (a second glance at the map, I realized that’s what it was called!) The ship’s information source said it was the Channel Islands, which I learned is multiple islands and this specific one was called Guernsey. It’s been apart of the British Isles from the 18th century, other than that all I know is that wealthy people used to be able to hide money here like Switzerland and Grand Caymen Islands. That’s just a fun fact from the 50+ year old Dave, that plays saxophone in the orchestra. Overall, we enjoyed the warm weather and wandering through the foreign cobblestone town.

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CABIN FEVER!!!

I’ve mainly been speaking about our travels so for those of you interested in how it is as a crew member on board the Celebrity Silhouette, here it goes! Below are pictures of our cozy cabin, that we’ve made homey with photos, collectables from our travels thus far, Christmas lights, a wall of maps and smuggled in succulents (shh don’t tell!) It is good, not glamorous, not exceptional but we have a nice room with a window and as musicians on board, we cannot complain.

I like to describe working on a cruise ship as a social experiment. There are 1,200 crew members amongst the 3,000 guests every week, coming from 66 different countries, it’s a microcosm of the world. Coming from my privileged American bubble, it’s been an eye-opening experience. Celebrity takes care of it’s crew, don’t get me wrong, we are all housed in warm places and are overly fed but there is a lot of inequality, that I’ve never had so obviously in my face. Coming from a first world country accustomed to Western lifestyle, freedom is something I expect. This rule heavy environment, where you are constantly at work and therefore on surveillance, has been an interesting transition. That’s why not many Americans work on this ship, we like our freedom and are more entitled than people I’ve met from other countries. I’m grateful for the life I have raised with by my hardworking parents but even more grateful for this humbling experience that has given me friends from all walks of life. Khatibu from Tanzania, Fa from Indonesia, Mohen from Mauritius, people who come from vastly different backgrounds. Whether they support families back at home, or have gone to university like myself, everyone has a dream, and that is the point in which we all connect. We are all the same and I’ve never felt so isolated and similar at the same time. Uniforms, positions, rank and privileges can often separate people but more often than not this experience has made me realize we are all floating in the same boat. Literally. We bleed the same blood, we feel the same joy and pain and no difference in skin color, social status or position of power makes anyone better or worse than anyone else. Life naturally keeps us secluded in our own bubbles but having this multi-cultural experience has only furthered my travel bug. The more you walk in someone else’s shoes, or in this case alongside, the more appreciation you have for your own. Someone will always have it better but more often than not someone has it much worse. It’s not so in your face on land, the awareness is there but the cultural differences and experiences some see that I will never understand in this lifetime are so blatantly obvious, you can’t ignore it if you tried. As much as I’m traveling out in the world, the real cultural experience is underneath on Deck 2 where the crew highway is. This perspective is invaluable and worth a lifetime of traveling. It’s brought a new gratitude and mindfulness of how lucky I’ve been to grow up with choice and not obligation.