When I first accepted a job to work with Carnival, my immediate reaction was of course excitement. I was excited for a new adventure. I was excited to travel to the Bahamas, a place I had never been before. I was excited to meet new people, face new challenges and get out of Louisiana, albeit temporarily.
When the news sunk in a little more, I started thinking about all of the things I would be missing. I had created an amazing friend group that I had just met in November/December, and I would be leaving them. I would miss out on all of the major holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Mardi Gras. I wouldn’t have a reliable line of communication with anyone back home. One thing I told my friends was “I’ll be celebrating my 27th birthday with strangers.” Of course, that definitely wasn’t true.
I had the most incredible time celebrating my birthday onboard. I felt such an outpouring of love from all of my co-workers, and I couldn’t have thought of a better way to start my 27th year. There were so many awesome things reasons why celebrating my birthday on the ship was amazing.
YOU CELEBRATE FOR AN ENTIRE CRUISE
At home, I probably would have celebrated my birthday on the weekend after my birthday. Onboard, I got to celebrate for an entire cruise. As soon as we set sail on December 12th, the ‘happy birthdays’ began because even though my birthday falls on the 15th, with rotating schedules, I got to celebrate in different ways throughout the cruise.
YOU GET SUNG ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’ A PLETHORA OF TIMES
It just so happened that my birthday fell on the cruise that I would be working until 1 am, which meant that I was on the clock when it struck midnight and my birthday officially began. On that day, the youth director gave me a ‘happy birthday’ pin to wear (which I proudly wore for a full 24-hours), and my co-worker paused the movie we were watching and had the kids sing me happy birthday. Plus, I got sung to twice more by the kids later that day and by my co-workers as well. I even had a few kids notice my pin and sing me a personal happy birthday just from them. Kids are the sweetest.
RANDOM PEOPLE WILL COME UP AND WISH YOU A HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Every day, a newsletter comes out for the employees to share important information, including people celebrating birthdays and work anniversaries. On my birthday, I had many people come up and give me hugs and wish me a happy birthday. I felt all the love.
SWEET GIFTS FROM KIDS
I have a feeling I’m going to be one of those sentimental moms that keeps everything that my kids give to me. I officially have a section of my wall space dedicated to artwork, crafts and cards that kids give to me. It melts my heart. While I didn’t get any actual birthday art from the kids at camp, I did have a girl put the princess crown that she made on top of my head and tell me that I should wear her crown because I’m the birthday princess. I also had one little boy color a t-shirt and say that it was for me, but of course I gave the shirt to his mom so he could have it for later. There are many reasons why I love working in kids camp, but one of the main reasons is that children have no filter. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and their reactions to situations are always genuine because they don’t know how to behave to any other way. So when I child reaches out to me or give me a gift, my heart is always full, and all of the love on my birthday made it that much more special.
YOU CAN TREAT YO’SELF ON A HIGHER LEVEL
Fellow lovers of Park & Rec understand that importance of treating yo’self, and celebrating your birthday is the best excuse to do just that. For my birthday, I decided to treat myself to an excursion, and I had the most incredible time. Two of my friends and fellow youth staff, Nono and Lauren, came with me. We decided to do an all-inclusive package for a beach in Freeport. We had an absolute BLAST! The food was good. The drinks were good. There was an obstacle course in the water that was so much fun. It was the perfect start to a perfect birthday cruise and worth every penny.
SHOUT-OUTS FROM THE DJ
I know people get shout-outs from the DJ all the time for many occasions, but it’s even more special when the DJ is your friend. While there are 900-ish of us working on the ship, it’s impossible to get to know every single person on the ship because people are constantly signing on and off, and you don’t get to see everyone in every department on a regular basis. Most of my friends are on youth staff, in the entertainment department or in the cast. The DJ is part of the entertainment department, and he was nice enough to give me a birthday shout-out while we were at the night club. It just made it even more special that it was coming from a friend even if no one apart from the people I came with knew who I was.
YOU’RE GETTING PAID TO CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAY ON A CRUISE
Honestly, this is the life. When I think about the fact that I’m getting paid to travel, it makes me so happy. The fact that I also got to celebrate my birthday while getting paid to travel was just an added bonus.
Lots of thanks to everyone who made my birthday so special, both on the cruise ship and at home. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the outpouring of love. Here’s to another trip around the sun!