In my opinion, the best way to wrap up a long contract on the high seas is to a place where you can completely lose yourself in nature, get off the ship alone but not feel alone, and get lost on a path that leads you to waterfalls. There is no better way to conclude that time in any other place but in Norway.
I’ll tell you why.
The endless weeks after weeks that turn into months on end in the Caribbean filled with sun filled beach days drinking cocktails on the sand with your eye on the clock to get back to the ship can sometimes feel daunting (I’m not complaining even though it might sound like it). It’s great to visit the Caribbean but honestly not to ever live there. It’s great to visit but it gives me perspective on what I need in my daily life on land to be happy and not many checks are marked off in places like St. Kitts or Antigua (even though there’s nothing wrong with these places). Some ports you begin to favor and enjoy more than others sticking to your favorite go to restaurant joints as a system of finding comfort away from home like how I visit Tamarind in St.Kitts because I need my Indian fix.
Once our ship began the transatlantic crossing en route to Lisbon it all became smooth sailing. With long days at sea the reward became closer and closer. At night after a long day at my desk and a glass a wine later I would put my head down on my pillow to dream about the Portuguese tarts and warm cappuccinos waiting for me. Eventually once we reached Lisbon I enjoyed an entire “me afternoon” with those two things plus a little shopping to follow. Norway was next.
I did the same itinerary last year so there wasn’t a ton of suspense as Bergen, Alesund, Flam, Stavenger, and Geiranger were all on the itinerary but I couldn’t wait to come back to my favorite spots, cafes, parks, and fresh air!
For any crew member who gets the chance to go to Norway take the first offer that comes your way. Why? Because there is no place like Norway in the world. Maybe New Zealand a little bit, but still. Cruising through the majestic fjords truly took my breath away. It was nothing but glorious. The cold fresh air and snow covered mountains left me speechless. Late sunsets at night took my breath way. I was glad to be far from the Caribbean and back into a magical land covered in snow where I could eat fresh waffles at a top of a mountain in Flam in slow motion. I don’t know many other experiences more magical than that. Truly.
The time I spent off the ship in Norway eased my exhaustion, worry, and mindless thoughts my thinking does to me from time to time. It’s the end of contract exhaustion I’m talking about. Where seven months of your life have been compacted into a small cabin, you have seen so many friends come and go, a few tears, lots of smiles, but you’re just ready to go home and cuddle with your dog and sleep forever.
Immersing myself in nature was just what my mind and body needed. After eating yummy Vietnamese food at the Zen Cafe in Bergen Jayson and I walked through a beautiful park to see flowers in full bloom. We were both equally surprised to see such greenery come to life and how multi cultural Bergen was as the second largest city in Norway. There were so my families from all over the world who seemed to be locals (speaking the language). I’m talking Chinese, middle east, Indian, and so on in Bergen. Super cool! I kind of lost myself in the local park at the greenery and spacious paths. It felt like time stood still a little bit and then I looked at the time and had to go back to work.
Thank you nature, snow, fjords, yummy Vietnamese food, excellent coffee shops, and flowers Norway. It was wonderful. I can’t wait to meet you again.
For more information on how to get a job on a cruise ship check out Amanda’s guides here. Amanda at Get a Life at Sea has more than ten years of experiences working for a handful of cruise lines with a variety of job skills. She is the go to lady to talk to if you are serious about working on a cruise ship.