News From Mistral August 2nd-4th…Making Friends

Friday August 2nd   Edinburgh

Today, my first day onboard, I went off ship and walked around the port. We stopped or a couple of beers at a nice little Scottish pub before returning to the Ocean Terminal for some shopping and boarding for dinner at about 730pm.

There was no show because it was the acrobats who are amazing!

We did what’s called a “Goodbye.”  This current group of passengers disembarks tomorrow and a new group embarks.  I carried a flag and we did a little boogie on stage. Afterwards there was a slideshow presentation for the dancer I am replacing.

I met a Spanish guy who looks like someone I know.  He asked me, in very broken English, to have a drink with him at the crew bar. I went there with Erica, one of the dancers who is also in charge of the costumes, but he wasn’t there.  Oh well! It is very difficult to communicate.  Erica and I were allowed one beer only, she is Hungarian, cannot speak any Spanish and very little English.

Silvia, my current roommate, is head of animation, meaning activities and such with the passengers.  She and I went on land with a couple of guys.  One of them was speaking to me the whole time in Spanish!!  Ha-ha but somehow it worked out. He had lived in New York for 4 years without learning any English, he says he’ll teach me some Spanish!

We went to a big ASDA on land at 2 am.  I bought some laundry detergent and febreeze.  On the way back I spoke with the gay acrobat. His name is Aday (no, Tomorrow is not his sister…hehe). His nickname is Ken Barbie, guess what my nickname is now too??

In the Ocean Terminal I got on the internet briefly.  It is now 4:37am. I am extremely tired. Tomorrow I finally start rehearsals!

We have to scan our crew passes when leaving and boarding the ship.  We and our bags are X-rayed too!

Because of debarkation the crew have put all the passenger luggage in our gangway…here is what just a small portion of it looks like. 

LuggageSaturday August 3rd 2013  Edinburgh

I didn’t go to bed last night until 5am, so I guess it was this morning! I had to be up at 9am in order to go to rehearsal, I missed breakfast yet again. I did manage to get a cup of coffee, instant.

Rehearsals were with Bori (her surname is Kiss) and her boyfriend, Norbi, who just arrived yesterday to replace a male dancer who was disembarked for drinking too much.  We learned a salsa number with some partner work & the opening to the ‘Welcome Show’ to the song, ‘Celebrate’.  New passengers are onboard tonight.  I had lunch and got online a bit with terrible reception I tried to Skype people. I left the ship and found a Starbucks, the reception in Scotland is terrible!

Passengers are arriving on board and there are suitcases everywhere again. It’s a bit deserted today with crew, I’ve no idea where anyone is!  But I have ket myself busy. I am very full from lunch, tandori chicken and rice!  Mayonnaise is my new best friend to cover up the AMAZING taste of the staff mess food.

I haven’t had a proper shower yet, because I am living out of my suitcase and by the time I get around to having time to shower, I can’t be bothered to dig through my stuff.  It’ll be nice when I can unpack everything in my permanent cabin.

It is strange having a roommate so far, only because I am super considerate and don’t want to be loud if they are sleeping or doing something quiet.

I just had a run in with the cleaning lady, she was rambling on and on in Spanish, I stared at her…I said,

“No I don’t speak Spanish,” she continued in Spanish. Then I realized she was telling me that my new cabin would be free at 6pm. So that’s all good now!

I still don’t have my uniform. I will try again tomorrow.

We, the dancers, are provided with a case of water each week.  The bottles are huge and I never know which one is mine…I guess it’s a good thing I brought a marker, I’ll be that obnoxious girl who writes her name on everything!

I am also given my own dance shoes; the character ones are really nice!  I need to buy a hairpiece for the show; apparently I can get it one Estonia, so I have to wait a week or so. The dances are in heels or ballet shoes (rarely) lots of fishnets and costume changes.

We did two shows today, one at 845pm, one at 1030pm. The costumes were great!


Performing was amazing; it felt so good to be in front of an audience again. The acrobats are incredible! They do some crazy things that I didn’t know were physically possible for the human body.

I spoke with one of the male singers, Alvera, he is from Madrid, and he used to sing Gospel. He also worked for Ford while he was in a cover band for the Blues Brothers. He composes music and has himself a little fan club in Mexico.  I spoke with the girl singer, she is Italian and very sweet.

After the shows we have dinner. We, the dancers, are allowed to eat whatever is left over from the passenger dinner.  It’s a special deal for the whole entertainment team since we are in a show during dinner time they let us eat afterwards… the leftovers!

Then we went to the crew bar, I got a VERY full glass of red wine, and it cost me .50 euros. That’s good and cheap.

I tried Internet again, it was a very bad connection because so many people are connecting to the one port.

Watching people speak to me is interesting.  They use their faces a lot and make noises as they try to find the English word they are looking for. I find myself doing exactly the same when I am trying to get them to understand me. I have to speak very slowly, but some people speak pretty decent English, so it’s not terribly bad!  Shouting may work!

Sunday August 4th 2013  Edinburgh/Sailing

I found out that Bori (head dancer/dance captain) is engaged! Norbi, the replacement for the male dancer who was disembarked, is her fiancé!

There is a backstage to the theatre, it’s not too tiny. Upstairs there is a long corridor with all the costumes and feathery head-dresses along it. To the right is one changing room, to the left at the end of the corridor there is another changing room. I am in the one on the right. It’s very big.

The female dancers have numbers, I am #1.  All my costumes, my shoes and spots are labeled with the numeral 1.  The male dancers have letters.

Erika (dancer) is also the Costume Mistress so if we have anything that needs to be sewn or washed, she is the gal to take it to.

Bori, head dancer, is rather strict which is good.  Sitting in rehearsals yesterday watching all of them try to figure out a formation was like watching a train wreck. None of them speak the same language, and their English is terrible. It seems to be awfully stressful.   There are the 3 Ukrainian guys speaking Russian (Roman, Slava and I don’t know who) and there’s no way of knowing if they are bad mouthing you or what. Then there are the 2 Brazilian girls (Manuela and…didn’t get her name yet either) speaking Portuguese, and the 2 Hungarian girls (Bori and Erica) chatting away in Hungarian.  All I can do is just sit there and watch their mouths and faces move. As Shelby says, “‘How can that possibly be an efficient crew if nobody understands each other?”  Extremely true.

They have asked if they can call me Leah…because MUH-LEAH is too hard for them to say.   They say Maria!!  Go figure!  Some girls call me Barbie, some call me Texas, I’m fine with that.  However I don’t think Malia is a very difficult name, clearly I am mistaken.

Today I met the tailor on board and I don’t remember his name. He actually lives in Mesquite and Miami.  Before I knew that we had this conversation:

He asked, “Where are you from?”

I said, “Texas.”

“Where in Texas?”


“Where in Dallas?”


“What part of Garland?”

“Where Plano, Richardson & Garland intersect.”

“Ohh I live in Mesquite!”  He used to work at Parkland hospital. So we spoke about some of our Dallas hotspots. He has been on the ship for 14 months, non-stop. He was with another ship for 8 months and then came over to Grand Mistral and “accidentally” signed on for 7 more months. He goes home for 1 month then is back again.

We had a drill today, we all had to get our lifejackets and go to our muster station, D for me.  I stood and held the sign that said D. that’s it. There was a tiny girl who had to put a life vest on; it drowned her (no pun intended, haha!!).

I have moved into my new cabin, all settled in. It is sooooo nice!! I have my own wardrobe, and drawers. It actually makes it look like I don’t have much! Surprise, surprise.

We rehearsed today and I learned two numbers which I performed in the show tonight. It was amazing how quickly I learned them and how I caught on. One is to Lady Marmalade, with a chair, I am in the front center.  The other is a tango where I am also front center and I had a solo too!! Both went really well and everyone was very supportive!


The backstage guy is called, Peluchi which means Teddy Bear.

We had dinner after the show, I had spaghetti and meat sauce. Then I went with Manu, my new roommate, and Leechie (Lydia) both Brazilians, to the crew bar. A guy walked in who they had spoken about and they introduced me.  His name is Daniel and he’s Cuban. He lived in America for 17 years and is very easy to talk to!  He took me and Manu to see the Crew Deck, where we go to the backstage of the theatre. It is at the bow of the ship where everyone knows Titanic from.  The view was absolutely stunning, we watched the sunset. It was breathtaking.


There is another Daniel, he is 2nd electrician which means he is officially An Officer.

When the crew bar closed, at 2am, me, Manu & Lydia went to his HUUGE cabin, listened to music and got to know each other. We were out until now, so we got to watch the sunrise. Also beautifully amazing!

Tomorrow is Invergordon again, but I have color (Evergreen) so I cannot leave the ship.  It’s sleep and rehearsals for me!!

It is 5am now, so I should sleep, but I had a good night/morning bonding with my roommate and friends.


Marsha, Bori, Norbi, me, Manu (roomate)

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