What is it really like to work on a cruise ship?

Cruise insiders tell what it's like to work on a cruise ship.

What is it really like to work on a cruise ship?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel the world and be paid for it? Has working on a cruise ship ever crossed your mind?

I was also curious about the life of cruise-ship staffers, so I did some digging and found some insights from a few cruise industry employees about what life is like on the high seas.

1. The crew have their own special spaces
They may not have the most comfortable rooms, but they do enjoy similar amenities to the passengers up top, only the crew’s gyms, hot tubs, pools and bars are way less crowded.

2. They work hard and play harder
“Working on a cruise ship is pretty much like being in college,” says one cruise staffer. That means long hours and parties that last until dawn.

3. No such thing as RDOs
Crew staff will work seven days a week for the term of their contracts, which is usually around eight months long.

4. Always on duty
Evidently, a 100-hour week is not uncommon, and that often occurs week in week out. Cruise staff are always on call, so they have to be prepared to go on shift at any given moment.

5. They make bloody good money
Some positions make a salary similar to land-based employment, only they don’t have to pay for food, rent, bills and, sometimes, alcohol. And many cruise lines pay in cash, too.

6. Love is in the air
Seems The Love Boat got its name from real-life cruisers, considering the crew often indulge in onboard romances with other crew members and passengers alike – even though the latter is usually strictly forbidden.

7. Multicultural is an understatement
Some crews can consist of over 60 different nationalities, so adapting to and learning from different cultures is one of the hidden perks of cruise work.

8. There’s a ‘cruise caste system’
There are three kinds of cruise workers and each receive different privileges: officers, who are allowed to mingle with passengers, see live shows and events and go onshore; staffers, such as dancers, comedians, casino workers and musicians, and general crew, such as bar staff, waiters, deck hands and stewards. The last two groups must stay on board at all times and are advised to steer clear of passengers unless required.

9. They are like restaurant staff on steroids
Dining rooms can go from zero people to 900 guests in a matter of minutes. Imagine feeding all those hungry passengers at breakfast, then turning a dining room around in time to serve lunch, then dinner? A cruise ship feeds around 3500 passengers in less than five hours a time. Could your local café do that?

10. They perform super-fast turnarounds
In as few as three hours, a cruise ship can be completely unloaded, cleaned, refuelled, reloaded, change crews and ready again to take on a full complement of passengers for a new cruise.

Read more at Thrillist

Would you like to work on a cruise ship? It could be a great way to see the world and make some good money in retirement. Or have you ever worked on a cruise ship or travel-related field? Why not share your experience with our members?



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    16th Feb 2018
    17th Feb 2018
    Point 8 from above is incorrect, all crew are allowed to go ashore, but not all crew are allowed to go ashore at every port. As you say contracts are usually for 8 months which is a long time to be away from family, many staff I have spoken to say their intention is to only work on the ships for a few years which could set them up for the future, many others love the life on the ship and stay for many years.
    17th Feb 2018
    Conditions for staff depends a lot on which cruise company they work for .Been on 3 or 4 different ones and have talked to people who have worked for different lines and without mentioning anyone in particular have been told some are very hard to work for compared to others

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