Working on a cruise ship: the good, the bad and the ugly

Ever stop to think that when you trudge down to lifeboat drill on the first morning of your cruise, half the crew are smiling their best party smiles through crushing hangovers?

This is just one of the funny and revealing facts in a long and heartfelt discussion on the Facebook group ‘Working on Cruise Ships’. Members were asked what they liked least about their jobs and yep, they let rip!

Crew area

What goes on below deck?

Smelly roommates (remember, the crew have to share), early morning US Public Health inspections, norovirus, cruel spa managers, unsociable working hours… it’s enough to put you off a life at sea forever.

Mind you, some of it sounds self-inflicted, with shades of the hotel workers’ raunchy party in Dirty Dancing.  Reading comments like “Getting up for gangways at stupid o’clock after a heavy night in the disco” and “I hated feeling so tired and unhealthy because of the long partying hours and the bad food” makes you wonder just what it’s like down there in the crew bar.

Some responses are more poignant; a lot of people hate saying goodbye to their friends, and no wonder, after six months at sea together with barely a day off. I found this one: “Missing tender ports when your family is waiting on the shore” particularly touching.

Passengers, naturally, come in for a hammering and we deserve plenty of it. “Guests asking stupid questions!!! ‘Does the crew live on the ship?’ (we will be on our second sea day) or ‘is the toilet water fresh water or salt water?”’ (put a cup in and find out for me).”

And how about “Passengers picking up their kids one hour later after ‘closing’ the kids zone activity center (midnight) because they were in the bar having too much fun, or picking them up during the day all drunk.” Ouch!

Then there’s the tipping. “The worst thing is the attitude of most of the passengers, they will demand all your attention the entire cruise and on disembark day give you $5 tips, come on!! Or give you hugs and I wish the best. I don`t need it.”

We bet you don’t. So put yourself in their shoes. If you worked on a cruise ship, what do you think would annoy you most? Vote in our new poll here!

SJB

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5 Comments

Filed under Opinion

5 responses to “Working on a cruise ship: the good, the bad and the ugly

  1. It’s always fascinating to get a glimpse of the life going on behind the scenes, like in the Arthur Haley novel ‘Hotel’. Did he ever write one about life below decks on a cruise ship? Someone should!

  2. Bob

    My father taught me to be the best you can be, no matter what your job is. He was not a rich man. He did not have a great job ( a factory worker). My father worked hard and long hours. He supported the family and never did I hear him complain about how bad his job was. He drove a rusty car but always kept it clean. The morale of the story if you don’t like your job do what you can to get a better one, other wise do the job the best you can and don’t complain.

  3. Sound words, Bob.

    Mike, your comment reminded me of something. A few years ago we featured a series of stories on life “below decks”. They were written by the incomparable Joyce Gleeson-Adamidis, who, after many years working onboard in a variety of positions (from hostess to cruise director) knew what she was talking about!

    So if you’re curious, go to this section: http://bit.ly/9rfw6S.

    Joyce ultimately married a Celebrity Cruises captain and they cruised together for years, even bringing up their son for a few of ‘em, until he retired….

    CSB

  4. Pingback: Are cruise passengers annoying? Looks like it! « Cruise Critic UK's Blog

  5. Nancy Jenkins

    I worked on cruise ships for over 5 years, ans other than some really rude guests it was one of the best experiences of my life..I made life-long friends, got to visit places I never thoought I’d go…and all the time had meals, clothing, etc. Tho the seven days a week did get a bit much….
    If I was younger I’d do it again in a heart beat!

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