Jordan Bauth is on her second contract as a professional ice skater for Royal Caribbean Cruises.
She told Insider how she got the gig and what it's like to be back after a year without cruising.
Bauth said a cruise ship "is where I'm meant to be," and that her coworkers have become family.
Jordan Bauth is a professional figure skater on Adventure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's first ship to resume operations in North America.
Spanning nearly 1,000 feet long, Adventure of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean's 24 ships. It holds about 3,800 people, including more than 1,000 crew members.
This spring, the massive ship became Royal Caribbean's first ship to restart operations in more than 16 months.
Onboard Adventure of the Seas is Jordan Bauth, one of the ship's professional figure skaters.
Bauth has been a professional figure skater for a few years, but her ice-skating career started at the age of 5.
Bauth told Insider that she laced up her first pair of skates when she was just 5 years old.
"I fell in love with it the first time I stepped on the ice," Bauth said. "I was terrible, but I loved it and kept on with it."
Her mom was a professional skater in Disney on Ice, which is a touring ice show produced in part by The Walt Disney Company, so naturally, Bauth's mom taught her how to skate.
Growing up, Bauth's mom also played the role of coach as Bauth began competing in figure-skating competitions.
Professional skating was something Bauth had always wanted to pursue, so during her senior year of college, she applied to skate on cruise ships.
As Bauth's college career came to a close, she started weighing her potential career paths as a professional figure skating.
She considered Disney on Ice, just like her mother, and learned that some cruise ships also hire professional skaters for their entertainment shows.
And while she didn't know much about skating for cruises — much less cruising in general — Bauth's coaches urged her to apply.
During her senior year of college, she applied to skate for Royal Caribbean.
Bauth told Insider the application was straightforward. She sent in a taped audition and a paper resume, which landed her a phone interview.
After that, Bauth received an offer to join Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas as a professional figure skater.
The second time Bauth ever stepped onto a cruise ship was for her six-month contract with Allure of the Seas.
As a kid, Bauth had been on one cruise-ship vacation with her family, which Bauth admits she hardly remembered.
So, her first time working as a professional skater would also be her second time on a massive ship.
Adjusting to cruise life was a big change, but Bauth said she adapted quickly.
"I started a couple of months after graduation, and I fell in love with it immediately," she said.
She didn't know a single person on the ship and didn't have any clue how to navigate her enormous new home, but she said she dove right in.
"You can't tiptoe into it," she said. "You're just thrown right into it."
Bauth finished her first contract just as COVID-19 was becoming a global concern.
In March 2020, Bauth signed off in Barcelona and flew back home to Buffalo, New York, the same day the US borders closed in mid-March.
Bauth said the year without cruising was tough. Ice skating was her passion, so she quickly learned to find joy in other things.
Bauth said she couldn't skate for three months, since gyms and ice rinks were closed. But eventually, she got back on the ice.
Finally, this spring she received an email that she could go back to the ships.
This summer, Bauth is back skating, but this time on Adventure of the Seas, which was the cruise line's first ship to set sail since the pandemic started.
As early as spring, some cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruises announced they would resume sailing.
And once Bauth had the green light to cruise again, she had four weeks to prepare for the lifestyle switch.
Finally, on April 28, she stepped onto Adventure of the Seas, where she will spend the next nine months figure skating for passengers.
"I had to pinch myself," she said. "I teared up a little bit signing on. I had been waiting for that moment for so long, to be back where I'm happiest and where I thrive."
To prepare for the return of passengers, Bauth quarantined for two weeks and learned all of the show's choreography - without ice or skates.
Before Bauth could welcome back passengers and start rehearsing with her fellow cast members, she had to be vaccinated and go through a two-week quarantine.
Isolated in her cruise-ship cabin, she spent most of the time rehearsing for the upcoming show and virtually getting to know the nine other figure skaters on the ship.
Bauth said she had to learn the entire show's choreography from her tiny cruise-ship cabin where they had daily Zoom rehearsals with spotty WiFi.
"I definitely kicked over a few chairs trying to do the choreo," she said.
When she wasn't rehearsing, she filled her day with crossword puzzles, workouts, and meals that were delivered to her room.
Most nights she spent nights bonding with her team over Zoom.
Toward the end of the two weeks, Bauth said the group was counting down the days until they could see each other in person.
Once the quarantine was over, she spent a month training in person with her team.
Bauth said before COVID, her figure-skating career never relied on floor choreography. That changed after learning an entire routine inside her tiny cabin.
By the time she was out of quarantine and on the ice, "it was almost like muscle memory," she said.
The group had about a month before passengers would arrive, so everything from costume fittings to dress runs were squeezed into that short window.
Bauth said the first show was "like Christmas day as a little kid."
"I'll never forget that feeling," she said. "This last year, it felt like it may never happen again … so just to finally see the guests' faces was incredible."
Bauth performs about two shows during sea days. With Royal Caribbean's current COVID protocols, only 150 guests are allowed into the show and passengers sit socially distanced and about two rows away from the stage. Typically, the studio fits about 700 people, she said.
But even with the distance and COVID changes, Bauth said their energy is "contagious."
There are still plenty of signs of COVID on the ship, but Bauth said she's happy to be back sailing with coworkers she considers family.
As a performer, she would typically dine at a crew-specific, self-serve buffet, but that's currently not the case.
Crew members are served instead, and Bauth wears a face mask when she's not performing.
"It's different, but in a lot of ways it still feels the same," she said.
Bauth didn't have a roommate while she was quarantined, but afterward, she was placed in a room with another ice skater.
Even with the changes, Bauth said she's grown close to her coworkers and loves every moment on the ship.
"I know that I've already made friends that will last a lifetime through this experience," she said. "This is where I'm meant to be."
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