In between the semesters when I was studying for my Deck Officer's ticket, I managed to get a job for Christmas and New Year on m/s Mariella, she is a passenger/ car ferry between Sweden and Finland and in those days she was sailing between Helsinki and Stockholm. Mariella is owned by Viking Line that is based on Aaland Island and is the competition to Silja Line that is the remnants of the once mighty FÅA (later EFFOA) Company. Mariella is 176 m long, built in 1985, carries 2774 passengers and 3000DWT cargo and has a gross tonnage of 37799.
I was as OS onboard and was doing 6h on/ 6h off watch duty. It was heavy going as there was a lot of temptations in the gardens of sin but I resisted and did my duty. By this time I had broken up my engagement to Tiina-Maria and we both had gone our separate ways. Unlike my relief he was always a pain to get up from bed as he was doing his duty 6hrs and then after duty he ran another few hrs after skirt.
Compared to todays familiarisation routines my only familiarisation was when I came onboard that I was taken by a senior AB through the fire patrol route and at one corridor he cautioned me that "don't pass out here, unless you prefer boys..." Words of wisdom. In addition to ur fire patrol there was security patrols also and at times they asked us to come and help if there was a severe ruckus somewhere.
For the Christmas Eve and Day the ship stopped in Helsinki and a crew party was arranged. I was still doing fire rounds and gangway duty so it was not much fun but I managed a few beers with the guys. This was my last time I was working as a rating as by summer I would receive my Officer's license...