Category Archives: Bahamas

Nassau to Puerto Rico: Life, Boats, Lifeboats


Parents wave bon voyage!, originally uploaded by funchilde.

Nassau was a blur, well the part that I got to see was interesting but training for the round the world (RTW) gig has been amazing because I’m loving the people. Unfortunately I got to get up close and personal with this Starbucks (not a huge fan) but didn’t get up close or even close to ATLANTIS, that disneyland for grownups with all kinds of sexy fun to be had…or so I hear.

Everyone is working hard and between training, lifeboat drills and studying the crisis management manual (what to do if there’s a 1) kidnapping, 2) man overboard, 3) we run out of libations in the faculty lounge….page 37)…there’s been no time to chillax. I did however make an emergency supply run for some “grown-up juice” before the students boarded and we set off.

 So, the students have indeed arrived. All 701 of them. I’m used to working with 17 year olds with the LEAD Program and the average age of my MBA students is 26, so I am recalibrating to build relationships with this group (average age 20-mostly college juniors and seniors). They come from 271 different universities and are an amazing group of budding scholars with a fantastic average GPA and generally great attitudes. We got them boarded and they waved goodbye to their parents before turning their tears into mischevious smiles and shouts of joy when their parents were no longer in sight.

I am excited that the students are on board because it means the training wheels come off and we can get this party started. It also brings home the awesome responsibility we have to the student’s safety and academic health. I guess that was something I didn’t figure in when I dreamed about this journey. I’m a leader here in ways that really could be life or death.  Fortunately, I think the rest of the team is amazing, no one person counts more than any other and we continue to grow in our affection for each other daily. This experience is intense, we spend 18 hours a day together, we live, eat and work together and there really aren’t any weekends or days off.  

We are under way, a $30 million dollar floating city, headed eastward around the world, at 20 mph.



Naughty Nassau

I’m totally in lurve with the whole crew of the MV explorer, but there are super-crazy anti-fraternization rules (is that like boycotting a college party?). For one, the crew (of the ship, not necessarily staff like myself) will be immediately dismissed if they are found to have an inappropriate relationship with one of the students. This apparently happens ALL.THE.TIME. Unfortunately most of the crew are not nearly as well off as most of the student’s families.

The staff isn’t supposed to fraternize with the crew either, but I think if it happens it is supposed to be discreet. But the consequences could still be dire as we will be living in a 900 person community that is as small (or big) as a cruise ship. And there are NO secrets around here. Then of course, the staff (like myself) aren’t supposed to have inappropriate relationships with the students either. So each group (crew, staff, students) basically must pluck from within its own pool so to speak, to assuage any romantic leanings (am I the master of the euphemism (sp?) or what?).

Anyway, I guess I just realized we’re about to go around the world at 20 mph with duty free liquor, a swimming pool, a stunning view and a don’t look, don’t touch policy! This isn’t really that hard for most people who have been academic administrators. I don’t expect it to be a problem here, but ooooohhhh, what lies ahead?

They Call Him What?

One of the perks to being on the executive team is that we get access to all sorts of secrets and inside information regarding the ship, the students, etc….actually, I’m lying. The real perks are things like breakfast with the Captain (pictured in white captain looking uniform). Captain Jeremy is from England and is hilarious in an English kind of way, meaning the humor is dry and you get the joke like 20 minutes after you brush your teeth and get in the bed.

His official title is Master Jeremy. Now, for reasons I won’t even get into, there is no way in the world I’m calling him that. Fortunately Captain seems to work just fine, and he’s so busy running this small floating city that I haven’t seen him much. The vessel that Semester at Sea used prior to this one was the SS Universe, so his official title in England was “Jeremy K, Master of the Universe”, I DO think that is cool. Master of the Explorer doesn’t quite measure up, but the ship is beautiful inside and out.

Nassau, Bahamas: Stunning on So Many Levels

Okay yall, I have some confessions to make. Well, I won’t make ALL of them here because the list of people who have access to this continues to grow and include ever scarier prospects like clients, staff of clients, new crushes, etc.

We made our way slowly from Florida down to the Bahamas sailing mostly under cover of night. The ship continued to rock in a gentle way that now permeates my whole reality. Whenever I lay down, I feel the motion, even when we aren’t moving…groovy.

I literally could not sleep through our approach into Nassau. I jumped up, brushed my 32, and grabbed my Nikon D50 and headed for the 7th deck. The sunrise was stunning. Watching the smaller boats whose sailors still slumbered under a full rainbow in the quiet, warm, breeze was the best way I’ve woken up in…months? years?

The ship in the picture is not ours, this is the ship we docked next to on our approach into Nassau, our ship, the MV Explorer, is about 3/4 the size of the one you see here. These ships are out of control huge. We saw one that had an outdoor track on top and another that had a fake rock climbing wall! Here’s a shot at the warm caribbean blue water that I spied off the deck before we got into harbor. Here’s another look in the shallower water near the pier. Yes, even the water is stunning. And our pilot boat, these are the guys that work for Nassau Port Authority who come out to the cruise ships, climb aboard and THEY actually steer the ship in, not the vessel captain. We backed in even, which is fun becuase its neat to watch the ship’s wake when we make a U turn in waters so blue.

Confession #1: The weather is stunning. At last I have escaped the chilled to the bone blues of the east coast. Even Florida was chilly!

I’m settling in nicely. I love my cabin, love my office, love the deck 6 outside bar (its even prettier at night) and I REALLY love the faculty/staff lounge liquor selection. And I will not be going anywhere near this thing once the students get on board. I think we actually have one of the best teams I have ever worked with too. Unfortunately we don’t have much time left together during training. We pick up the young’uns here in Nassau. I’m REALLY going to need that duty free liquor.

Confession #2: I caved and bought a Nikon 70-300mm lense. While nowhere near the $700 of the lens I was looking at when I bought my new D50, she is AWESOME. I was really puketastic about this expense but after I saw the results I knew I had made the right choice. My trusty Coolpix S6 is still my first love and go-to gal. She just tucks so nicely into my cargo capris.

Confession#3: I wear cargo capris.