Learning about Leigh

Learning about Leigh

 17 Jan 2019

For this weeks blog we have decided to take some time out to learn a little bit more about our newest recruit - Leigh.  I quizzed Leigh earlier this week about her cruise ship career to get an insight about what it is like working onboard and then moving back ashore.  
What did you enjoy most about working on a cruise ship?
The crew – everyone was from a different nationality/background/religion however we all got on so well and worked hard together as one team if only the world was like this! And of course the travel.
What was a typical day at work like?
A typical day dependant on the position you were in could be anything from getting up in the middle of the night /early morning to clear the ship either prior to it arriving into port or once it was alongside in port with the local agent/immigration and authorities.  Going for breakfast with the rest of the officers and working until the afternoon, then having a break in the afternoon to go ashore if in port, or if not sunbathing on the crew deck if the weather was nice.  I would then be working in the evening clearing the ship for departure and confirming all back onboard and sending the necessary paperwork off via email for ships departure/clearance.  Going for dinner with the officers and maybe once finished having a quick beverage in the officers wardroom. We worked long hours most of the time over a 6 month contract, where you did not get a day off.
Where was your favourite destination you travelled to whilst working on the cruise ships?
Australia – purely for personal reasons due to my aunt living in Sydney, she emigrated to Australia when she was young and is currently an Australian citizen.  We usually did an overnight in Sydney with the ships when we were doing the world cruises.  I loved the various tourist things to do, the bars, restaurants, shopping and nightlife and found that the people were quite laid back.  Plus they have some pretty amazing beautiful beaches. I was lucky enough to join the ship one time in Fremantle, Australia and spent the day at South beach which was lovely.
Tell us about your most memorable moments from working onboard? (good or bad)
Good – visiting some pretty amazing countries/places – getting the opportunity to do crew tours to the Russian Ballet/Blue Lagoon in Iceland/visit the pyramids in Egypt/sky diving in Hawaii/learning and being certified on how to launch and drive a lifeboat and of course meeting my husband.
Bad – leaving people behind as they didn’t get back to the ship on time, dealing with onboard bereavements and unexpected problems onboard.
There is one memorable moments with mis-communication between crew members from another nationality -  where I received a call on the emergency line phone one day in the pursers office to be told one of our guests had “passed away” near the Queens room (which was the main ballroom) I dispatched the medical team to go to the area where the passenger was and had specific members of crew cordon the area off so that other guests and crew did not see the body only to find out that what they actually meant was that the guest had passed out due to fainting not passed away as in dead. 
I won’t miss crazy on the spot questions like guests asking if postcards will go today whilst at sea? Or random things like "I saw a light in the distance from my balcony last night do you know what that was?"  Unfortunately our company motto was we never say no, we offer alternatives so we always had to have a response or say we will find out and come back to you and follow up.  Constant crew/man overboard drills.
Did you find it hard moving from ship to shore when you returned home for work?
Yes because I was sad to leave all my work colleagues behind, the salary was good as it was tax free and I thought it would be easy to find a job in the maritime industry straight away which it wasn’t and it was always too easy just to say one more contract!
Have there been any people in your career that have influenced or inspired you?
I guess from an influence point of view – my family and friends.  I never had the best of everything as I grew up, I got what my family could afford.  However this taught and encouraged me to work hard to earn my own money.  This started off from a young age, when I was old enough to do my first paper round, moving onto a Saturday job and then a weekend job.  And as I got older into full time work so that I could save my own money to buy the things I wanted and become independent.   
My friends, from the perspective of, if I saw they could do something I would encourage myself to think if they can do that I can do it too i.e. buying my first property, doing driving lessons and passing my test.
Tell us something about yourself that not many people would know? (for example, have you ever been on a game show or something similar)
I have travelled round the world twice, I auditioned for Finders Keepers game show when I was younger and auditioned for The Chase last year – unfortunately I was unsuccessful for both.
Also when I went on holiday to Thailand I missed my flight home and got stuck in Bangkok for 2 Days by myself.
What would you want to tell your 20-year-old self-knowing what you know now?
Travel and go out and see the world, do not be afraid to try new things and make the most out of any opportunity and experience available to you.  Remember the 'jar of life' story to put important things first.  Yolo!


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