"It's much like being a shoreside doctor," says Shaun. "There's the two clinics and on-call time," but one big health complaint is decidedly ship-specific: motion sickness. it's easy to treat, however. A $10-ish pack of Avomine sets you right, but Shaun has a few tips to avoiding it altogether:
· Don't overeat, and stick to simple foods if you're prone to bouts of mal de mer.
· Pay attention to the location of your cabin on the ship. Lower and more center mean decreased ship movement. Sure, a level 10 stateroom forward may afford you better views, but you probably won't care about that if you're spending half the cruise in the bathroom.
· Consider ordering plates that include ginger, or just go ahead and seek out Avomine at the Medical Center.
As knowledgable andyea, totally genuine and massively hot as Dr. Shaun is, he's not looking to be perpetually at sea, a la The Love Boat's Dr. Adam Bricker. Nope, Dr. Shaun is something of a nomadic soul, having already traveled all around South America and to remote islands on his own. He flourishes in the closed ships conditions, however, by "traveling the world through the cultures onboard."
"Everyone has a story, and I enjoy listening to them," he simply states.
So what, at the end of the day, makes him feel as though he's making a difference from the bilge of the ship? It's more than treating people until they feel better, but "putting in place interventions." Of course he enjoys making correct diagnoses, but also sending passengers back to their vacations happier, informed and healthier is the major boost.
What he loves most about the at-sea lifestyle: Well of course, "to meet people and travel," is the most obvious reply to this. But Shaun elaborates that being from South Africa, the rest of the world (especially Europe) is so far away. On the ship, he's continuously discovering new cities and interacting with different cultures to which he wouldn't otherwise have the exposure.
Favorite port: Dr. Shaun has a thing for Italy, Rome in particular. Since Rome is landlocked aside from the Tiber River, the ship docks on the coast at Civitavecchia, and you'll find the good doctor enjoying Italian food, wine and the history found nearly everywhere you step in la città eterna.
Favorite on-land activities: "I get out of the ports; after five or six ports, they all tend to blend together," Shaun confesses. With the limited time in each destination, he really can't go too far, but engaging in adventure activities like mountain biking, hiking and local sports is a quick and refreshing way to experience a place outside of being shuttled around as part of a tour.
Up next: on Wednesday, forget everything you know about cruise ship food. We're heading into the kitchens...
Disclosure: We traveled to Norway onboard the Queen Victoria as a guest of Cunard, but all images and opinions are entirely our own (or those of the interviewees).
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for Jaunted]