Never did I ever dream, back in 1997 when I started teaching cake decorating, that over 25 years later I’d be teaching classes for over 3 months on a cruise ship. Isn’t it amazing where life can take you? I guess saying yes to exciting opportunities, no matter how many hurdles seem to be in the way, helps. It also helps to be inquisitive. I love to learn, try new things, and explore what’s possible. There again a good dollop of hard work and giving your best is also, I believe, key. Mix this up with a little bit of luck e.g. being in the right place at the right time, help and support from special people, and hay presto amazing adventures happen.
2023 World Cruise – The Ship
The ship on which I was teaching cake decorating, was the MSC Magnifica. To give you an idea of size, it’s neither big nor small – for this trip, the ship was carrying approximately 2,500 passengers and 900 staff. For me, it was a bit like going home or going back to somewhere really familiar. Why? Well, it was the ship I taught on back in 2019. It makes life a lot easier when you know your way around from the get-go.
The MSC Magnifica World Cruise Route
I’ve always wanted to visit South America, so I was absolutely thrilled to be offered to teach on sea days from Europe to Peru. That was the plan, however, as things turned out it was impossible for us to disembark in Peru. You may remember, that back in February 2023 Peru closed all its airports and tourist sights due to the escalation of violent protests and political instability. Luckily for us, we had enough sugarpaste and cake boards to teach sea days across the Pacific Ocean, in fact, all the way to Sydney, which is what we did. Obviously, once all the relevant parties had given their approval.
If you have been following the Lindy’s Cake Ltd Facebook page, you will know that our trip didn’t end in Sydney. We were asked by the ship if we could stay onboard longer. Teaching all the sea days back to Europe was too much, remember we’d only originally planned to be on the ship for 6 weeks. We, therefore, compromised on teaching cake decorating classes until Singapore.
Teaching Cake Decorating Onboard
Tell me if I’m wrong, but as I type, I don’t believe there are many opportunities to learn cake decorating on onboard cruise ships. Art classes – yes, craft classes – yes, bridge classes – yes, dance classes – yes. It is for this reason that I feel really privileged to be given the opportunity to teach on the high seas.
As you can probably imagine, lots of preparation goes into these classes. From designing the lessons, and organising the paste to working out how on earth all the necessary equipment for the students will fit into our luggage allowance! This time around we also had the added stress of ensuring we remained Covid-19 free over the Christmas period just before we sailed in January.
When did I teach?
As I’m sure you realise, ships compared to cars, trains, and aeroplanes travel relatively slowly. For example, the MSC Magnifica’s average cruising speed is usually about 18 knots: 20.71 mph or 33.33 km/h which means it takes time, sometimes many days, to get from one port to the next. These sea days are when my lessons are held.
On this particular trip, we had two great oceans to cross. The Atlantic and the world’s largest, the Pacific. I’ve sailed across the Atlantic before it takes 4 or 5 days, depending on where you cross. The Pacific in comparison, is vast and with the exception of a few islands, deserted. It took us 6 days to travel from Arica in Northern Chile to Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) then another 5 days to get to Papeete Tahiti, and another 4 teaching days before reaching Auckland, New Zealand! The pacific ocean kept me very busy!
Who did I teach?
Absolutely anyone who wanted to try their hand at sugarcraft:
- Young and old, male and female.
- Passengers from all around the world: Many French, some German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. Plus Turkish, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Russian, Australian, South African, American, etc plus a sprinkling of people from the UK.
- Artistic and creative people who were game to try a new medium.
- People who said that didn’t have an artistic bone in their body but could follow instructions.
- Those that choose not to follow instructions but enjoyed finding out what was possible and what they were capable of.
- Children, who came as part of their lessons, learned languages as well as sugarcraft.
Most passengers were complete beginners, never having used touched or sugarpaste before. There are however always exceptions and the exceptions this time around were five lovely people who I’d previously taught on the 2019 world cruise. Thank you all for coming back for more, I was thrilled to have you in class.
What did I teach?
I love teaching cake decorating and inspiring others with my passion for the craft. I like to choose projects that I believe will appeal to everyone, many are ocean-based like crabs, turtles, and whales, while others are based around the ports we visit. For example, when we visited Australia we made kangaroos, Koalas, and crocodiles amongst others.
Teaching Thank You’s
As with most things, teaching cake decorating classes is only possible with the help of a whole bunch of people. So I’d like to say a huge thank you to the two Paola’s: ‘UK Paola’ – my wonderful agent who arranged for me to join the ship and ‘Ship Paola’ the assistant cruise director and my main onboard contact.
The classes wouldn’t have run so smoothly without my unofficial translators, so a huge thank you to all of you that helped. I would, however, like to say a special thank you to Julie and Lise for the French translation and to Nadine for the German. I really appreciated your help and support.
Thank you to everyone that came back to classes time and time again, our regulars. You helped make classes fun and educational – I loved all your questions and challenges. Certain classes would never have come into existence without those challenges!
As you now know, I originally only had lessons planned up to Peru so it was inevitable that we were not going to have enough sugarpaste or boards to teach as far as Singapore. Luckily with the help of Christine, a fabulous sugarcraft friend from Tauranga, we were able to stock up on supplies in New Zealand. Thank you so much, Christine.
Previous trips teaching cake decorating around the world
If you’d like to take a look at any of my previous trips here are a couple of links:
Bringing world-class sugarcraft into your kitchen