Working on cruise ships: 5 reasons why I love it and 5 why I hate it
Is not always perfect, but working in a ship is a great experience. You can save money, travel the world and meet new friends, but also it has its disadvantages, like being far from home and following many rules. Let me show you why I hate and love my cruise ship job:
- Work every day
Imagine working every single day for nine months in a row. Can you make it? Our crew onboard they do. We never have a day off. In my case my contracts is for six months, but still I never get used to work every day. Days like embarkations we have to work more hours, sometimes over 12 hours! I really miss the weekends and holidays. The best part of going on vacations is not listening to that daily alarm that interrupts my dreams.
- Cabin inspection
Every week the senior officers come inside every crew room to check if it is clean, neat and make sure you do not have anything not supposed to be there, aka food from the restaurants, liquor. I have heard many stories about lobster and steak found in crew cabins :). But imagine if you are worling night shift and somebody comes to your room during your sleeping time, well, there is no choice.
- Working night shift
Depending on your rotation, you might get lucky (or unlucky) and have to work during the night. Is hard to get used to it, your body gets so confused with the sleeping and eating times. The good side is you can go out in ports.
- Away from home
Of course you will miss your family. You have to spend many months away from home in order to save money and see the world. I imagine is especially difficult for the crew that have children. Buying phone cards and internet is very popular onboard because is the way to stay in touch with the family. In my case sometimes I spend more than $100 for Internet, of course it is excesive, but I try to keep my website updated as much as possible.
- So many rules
Schedules, training, curfew, policies, standards. There are hundreds of rules to follow in the ship. In order to give a great service, we need to follow many regulations. Sometimes, I miss my freedom. I hate to rush in a beautiful port because I need to go back to work at certain time. Other interesting regulations? You can not fish from the open deck, can not sleep with passengers, crew is not allowed to be in public areas after 2 am, and most of the management are zero tolerance to alcohol.
But, why I love it?
- New countries
One day I am in Venice, days later in a Greek island and today I wake up in Istanbul. This is the perfect job to move from city to city so easy. You go to bed and the next morning the ship is in a new country. You can taste the local food, wander their markets, look at their people; there is nothing more rewarding like enjoying the culture and interacting with the local people. This is the reason why some of friends envy me and they say I have the perfect job. I have to confess: I love to wake up in a new city every morning.
- Savings, no bills to pay
Here you do not pay rent, food, utility bills, transportation, taxes. If you wish you do not need to spend a penny during your whole contract and when you go home you have saved a few thousands of dollars. After working three years in the ship, I was able to buy my first house in Cancun, I was so happy that my efforts got rewarded and I got my first source of passive income.
- Crew parties
Free beer, wine and sometimes spirits, together with a DJ playing his mixes, is a perfect excuse to mingle with your fellow crew. The only thing can beat this point are the secret after parties, so secret I can not give details now, maybe one day…
- Free shows and buffet
Some of the crew is welcome to eat in the buffets together with guests and also enjoy the shows in the theater. World class performance give a perfect touch after a hard working day, I had the chance to watch the Blue Man Group for free in a previous ship. And the food in the buffet is always much better than the one served in the crew mess.
- No commuting time
When I lived in Mexico City, I had to commute in the subway to my boring land job. Every day two hours of my life lost in the road. Driving there, forget about it, the traffic is massive. Now in the ship, I can get to my workplace in 30 seconds from my room. (Sorry, no excuses to my boss for being late).
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Cruise ship job is like a roller coaster, it has its up and downs. Which one do you hate more? Or why would you love this job?