The cruise ship had 2,000 passengers and about 1,000 staff. Most of them were from India and the Philippines, a few Americans, Brits and South Africans. Lots of Ukrainians, but only a handful of Russians. To get a job on the cruise, you need to have good English.
— What did you do on the cruise ship?
— At first I worked as an Assistant Waiter. Honestly, it's not an easy job, it's tough physically, emotionally draining too. Then I got promoted and became an Assistant Hostess to the youngest hostess at the restaurant. And that was another level, management level, a different schedule, different work. It was much more interesting.
A cruise ship is basically a small town on the water. A huge construction with a fully developed infrastructure: restaurants, pools, spas, a kindergarten. Bigger ships have gardens, fountains, rock climbing walls, water parks.
My first contract was from Florida. We left the port in Miami and headed to the Caribbean, Jamaica, sailed through the Bahamas and Cayman islands, and on to Mexico. There are so many small countries there that many don't even know about!
The cruise would span 3-5 days. The ship leaves its port, docks into some other ports for a few days, makes a loop and returns back to Miami.
After half a year I returned to St Petersburg, finished my degree and left again. The second contract was for 4 months, this time in Los Angeles. We would travel to Alaska, Hawaii and again to Mexico.
The whales migrate to Alaska in the summer, and spend their winters closer to the equator, near Hawaii. To be honest, I get a little sentimental when I remember those days!
We would sail past icebergs. The same icebergs that are currently melting. The seals for example , swim around in the ice floes. It's wildlife at its finest, absolutely unsurpassed! It's simply breathtaking! (Laughs).