Bags packed ready to leave the smoke filled corridors of the countryside hotel enroute to the Port. A different port. A far away land, miles from the beaches of my front yard or Paradise I call home on the Gold Coast. Port – yes the Port of Venice to take my place as a paying passenger on a Mediterranean cruise. Excitement to experience the other side of cruising instead of my usual ‘Good Morning – Welcome to Brisbane’ greeting as my guests from across the globe embark on their South East Queensland day tour to either cuddle the koala or feed the kangaroos, with so much excitement! Yes another day in Paradise as I share my Australia. (Well I was born in Queensland – travelled to many places and very blessed to be an Australian from Australian parents living in the Sunshine State – that’s Queensland. I am so lucky!)
The Port of Venice awaits as I do in the line and waiting in one queue after another queue before I even get to the reception counter for my official photograph and security card to finally board. But, alas, another queue to top all queues with the waiting time of forever (well over an hour on my feet) along the boarding bridge with the white ship calling me. Yes – I’m here. Now to find cabin 5020. Home for the next 7 nights. So big and beautiful as I search out the venue for the Shore Excursion Presentation and proceed to listen and watch with only 20 other passengers and excitedly complete my full itinerary of tours each day and the all important $600 Australian fee.
Expectations and excitement rolled into one and ready to experience tour guiding the Mediterranean way. And what a surprise! A disappointing surprise due to the lack of professionalism of my overseas guiding cousins.
Maybe my expectations were high as I had inside knowledge, though I did expect a little more cleanliness, both in the coaches and the presentation of the coach drivers and guides. I was amazed at the smudgy windows. How I can see out clearly at the changing landscapes and ancient cities if the glass is dirty and I’m sitting with rubbish around me? Yes rubbish in the aisles. And the driver smoked in the coach! Yuck!
Being amongst 50 other day tour passengers, respectfulness is the key to everyone’s comfort. On one tour the crew escort (who took front row seat) and fellow passengers seated behind her, were casually engaging in a loud conversation and rudely disrupting my ability to listen with no regard to the Guide, who was in full swing with her commentary.
My thanks go out to each of my guiding cousins for allowing me to experience the Mediterranean from a different perspective and one day I may see you again, this time in the Southern Hemisphere cruising Australia.
Shine on, my fellow Aussie guides from Paradise, as you and I, with happy face and CGA scarf am truly the professional in everyway possible. I am so proud to be there working along side you, and with you, as we showcase our piece of Australian paradise to international and Australian guests cruising around our beautiful country.
Deborah Janelle Smith