Following a very pleasant journey to Bristol airport, we boarded our flight to Venice. On arrival, we were met by two nice young Italian chaps who carried our luggage to their taxi and drove us to the port. Venice was not at this point identifiable, it looked like the outskirts of any foreign city – no gondolas, no ice cream! We were taken through the security gates, names checked, luggage scanned and photograph taken for our cruise identity card. By now it was 7.30pm so dinner was in full swing but we still needed to be given our rooms and a thorough safety briefing. After a little bit of wandering up and down corridors trying to locate our cabin numbers (which served to further confuse our already confused sense of direction!!), we were given a very serious and through safety briefing – fire doors, water tight doors, fire drills, muster points, life jacket. It was quite reassuring though as our cabins were windowless and on the 4th deck (below water level!). We were guided round the rest of the ship and shown our ‘training rooms’ – a very nice state room for CPR and the corner of a restaurant for the pool training Everyone was very friendly and organised everything to be in place ready for the first days training.
Once released, we went to the buffet for dinner, planned the logistics of our next days training and went on deck to watch Venice leave us – travelling up the grand canal we finally got a view of the famous canals and of course gondolas. It was magical.
After a fairly early night, it was very surreal getting up and seeing the coastline of Croatia gliding past the window of my ‘training room’ in the Alexandria Restaurant. It didn’t take long to set up and I was ready for the first session.
The next day we awoke to the beautiful city of Dubrovnik, bleached white buildings topped with terracotta, lush green mountains sitting patiently behind and an array of boats – big and small! Little bit like Groundhog Day, same drill different faces! It never fails to amaze me how different groups can be with the same topic, it’s warming when you spot a character who will lift the others!
For my morning and afternoon sessions, the candidates to the pool safety and recovery sessions were predominantly bar stewards or security guards who spent most of their time working around one of the 3 pools on board. It was great to see the commitment Carnival UK were giving to training staff working around swimming pool with basic swimming pool safety training.
After my morning and afternoon sessions finished I went to the other training room where I would bolt on the pool safety and casualty recovery training to the candidates who had just completed their CPR/life support training. It was great to approach the Uganda Room and here the laughter and quick fire questions going both ways! The feedback at the end of the sessions was always positive and one comment I heard was ”it’s the best staff raining I’ve done for 20 years, practical, informative and reassuring – gives me the confidence to use the skills and especially the AED which can be scary!”
We woke one morning to find a very steady sway unlike any other day, this was due to us being at sea rather than securely docking in a port, the crew were all very busy but there was still time for training with people now actually requesting to join training as it has been seen and heard to be a lot of fun and very beneficial.