Sunday, March 6, 2011

Life on a Ship

Some of you have been asking (and I’m sure ALL of you are wondering) what it’s like to live on a ship.  So, here’s a montage of photos to help you visualize it.
DSC_0318We live on the starboard side (right side) on the 6th deck.  The first deck is the engine room and we have not ventured there, and don’t know when or if we will.  Our deck is home of many including most of the Academy (the pre-school-grade 12 school aboard), several family cabins, the crew galley, the laundry room, the mid ship lounge, and the International lounge.  I’ll try to identify these as we go.
If you step out of our cabin and go down the hall to the right, this is the view you see. This area is the mid ship’s lounge – it includes parts of deck five, and seating areas all around these stairways on deck six.

DSC_0366 (2)Here are the two lounges on the starboard side (our side) of the ship. Kylie & Savannah’s bedroom is immediately behind this television and telephone.  Since the walls are about as soundproof as tissue paper, you can imagine how quiet their room is at bedtime.DSC_0383 (2) 

DSC_0325 (3)On the port side of deck six (where the people are standing in this photo), the Mid Ship’s Lounge continues.  At the top of the stairs where the person in the red t-shirt is walking, you’ll find: DSC_0368 (2)the internet café – there are 18 computers for use here.  To the right of that, is this lounge area where this afternoon you’d find many Manchester United fans and other “football” fanatics catching the game (now that the Satellite is connected), or people checking emails in the wi-fi area, reading, playing a game or catching up with friends. DSC_0367 (2)

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Here we have some girls having fun and hanging
out in our cabin after school one day.  DSC_0349
There is quite a load of girls ages 6-11 so they have had
lots of fun getting to know Kylie and Savannah.         Here they are having movie time (in the main room of our cabin).                                                          

DSC_0356 (2)Here is the welcoming sign to the Academy, with the pictures of all the students, and their nationalities.  Each grade has their own teacher, with the exception of a couple of grades that are combined with the next level.  Savannah is in second grade, and there is one other student with her.  For half the day they partner with the third graders as well, so it’s a nice bunch.

Here’s a look at the door of Savannah’s class, and here’s what it looks like inside- not too bad for a class of two!DSC_0358 (3)
TDSC_0362 (2)his is the welcome banner for Savannah outside of her class!

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Here is inside the third grade class – there are two more rows of desks going back to the right, so there’s just enough space for the seven students when they combine with second grade.

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This is inside the SCHOOL Library! Yes, the ship has a separate library for the kids!  There’s a computer lab in the middle of the room, stacks of books all around, and over to the right (not pictured) is a science lab area.

DSC_0361 (3)Inside that same “Big Room” they have lockers for the junior high & high schoolers.  Here they are.

Here’s our doorway from the hall.
DSC_0363 (3)It’s easy to get turned around on the ship, but we’ve gotten some pointers.  For instance, all the stairwells at the stern of the ship are painted blue, all the ones at the bow of the ship are painted red.  

Deck seven is home to many more families, some of the other classrooms (including Kylie’s which was locked tonight so I didn’t get a good picture of it), and an outdoor area.  This is where recess takes place for all the kids three times a week, as well as a nice place to hang out as a family.  There are scooters, a playhouse, some swings, and “turf” to play on.  They netted in the sides so balls (or children) can’t go overboard. 

Deck 8 is the top of the ship, and is open to the real world – you can see it in our ship arrival photos. 


DSC_0369 (3)Now down to Deck Five.  Deck Five is the level you enter off the gangway onto the ship.  All of the official offices are on this level (director, HR, PR, etc.).  Also on Deck Five are some of our favorite places: here is the Ship Shop where you can get snacks, toiletries, baking supplies if you want to use the crew galley, Mercy Ships’ logo items, and notecards. 

This is also homoe of the mid ship’s lounge (aka Town Center) with a coffee bar called Starbuck’s Café (all the coffee beans are donated from Starbucks). So while I can’t get a Signature Salted Carmel Hot Chocolate, you can get some yummy lattes.  Before our Thursday evening meeting, we were treated to ice cream sundaes.  This was the first time I’ve had ice cream topping squirted out of medical syringes!
DSC_0324 (3)In this same area there is an upright piano, and we enjoyed some wonderful, live jazz music – piano with trumpet accompaniment. (our cabin is directly above this piano).

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Here’s the seating area around Starbuck’s café on a Sunday afternoon- people are checking email, playing cards, or getting together to chat.

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Here’s my favorite room on deck five (except maybe the dining hall): THE LIBRARY! This amazing resource is open 24-7 and has more than one room of books- all catalogued, and organized, and marked.  Virtually the entire collection has come from donations of crew members.  It is a great place to hide from the crowd, or find an excellent book. This is the main room of it where you can find fiction, books in other languages (large selections of Dutch, Afrikaans, German, Norwegian, Swedish, French…), children’s books, and the dvd collections.
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This room is to the right, where you can find non-fiction books, as well as classics. (and here’s the other side of that room).DSC_0372 (2)

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Here’s a look in the dining hall.  There are hot and cold drinks available at all times of the day, and the meals are available at designated hours every day, just like a dorm cafeteria. We have become fans of the panini grilling machines and have turned plain ham and cheese sandwiches into delicious grilled ones most days.  So far the food has been delicious and we can’t complain at all!
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DECKS FOUR and THREE: housing & hospital - stay tuned for photos in our next post...

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Down in the doldrums of deck two (along with many engineering rooms and in the nitty gritty of the mechanics of the ship), you’ll find a couple of treasures.  One is this charming weight room.  It’s about six feet wide with some free weights, a mat, and a couple extra fun resources (like Becca!)DSC_0378 (3)
DSC_0380 (3)Next door is the weight room part too- a couple of bikes and a rowing machines – it’s quite warm in this room, but not as hot as running on the dock, so it’s a decent alternative.

Next door to the gym is a little treasure called The Boutique!  It is a place for current or departing crew to leave their treasures behind, and other crew to shop.  It’s a Free-Cycle shop which I am sure will come in handy! (it opens on Wednesday).  Hair things, clothes, shoes, sunscreen, books, magnets, lamps, etc… you name it.  Note: there is a three item a day limit. Smile

That ends my tour today.  Stay tuned for more close ups of our cabin and other interesting areas on the ship.

There are some more rooms like the laundry room, dining seating area, reception area, etc. if you're interested!

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