Crazy Stories From Cruise Ship Workers — What They Won’t Tell You
There are specific jobs that everyone should try at least once in a lifetime. If that job gets you around the world – it’s definitely a must. This is something that cruise ship workers know and live. Living on a cruiser must be glamorous, right? You get to travel the world, eat free food, and encounter friends across the globe. However, it turns out that this job is anything but glamorous.
Working on a cruise ship means that you can experience geographical and cultural diversity, but it also means that salary isn’t spectacular: shifts are long, and social caster systems can be harsh. Nowadays, many claim that unions need to better advocate for crew members. Is this life for you? Are you are thinking about it, or you merely want to know how cruise life for workers looks like? Read on. Here are the most shocking stories from ship workers that no one has an idea about. After reading this, you might want to ask yourself again if you are willing to give up the land for the sea.
30. Single Rooms
When you are on a cruiser as a worker, you have to adjust. With so many employees, it is reasonable to share everything. From kitchen space to cabins, and chill areas. You must also forget about the silence areas. However, one level of employees is blessed with private rooms.
Officers get the privilege of sleeping in a single room. This is the ultimate perk if you are a fan of leg space and came and quiet nights. It’s not possible to rent this room to another employee. Did you know that cruisers have a caste system?
29. Caste System
The caste system is usually linked to India and their separation of Hindus into four main categories. Some people see this system as outdated and unfitting to modern times. However, this is still active, and even cruise ships use it.
Some former employees claim that the caste system is active on cruises and it’s linked with salaries. How? Apparently, where you are from matters, so wages can range from country to country. For example, an Indonesian cruise might work 12-14 hours a day, for ten months, and make about $600 a month, whereas a worker from America might work 6-10 hours a day, for four months, and make about $3,000 a month.
28. Social Life
It’s not easy being on the water, and people need to have a vibrant social life and content to survive long days with no land on sight. So, many reach out for alcohol. According to former employees, alcohol is relatively cheap for them, so the party can become pretty wild.
Moreover, for employees, a crew only bar and beers are $1.50. That’s relatively cheap. Working on a cruise is a hard lifestyle to keep up, balancing sleep, work, and social life. Still, many say that’s it’s totally worth it.
27. Do You Remember the Last Night?
Since the alcohol is so cheap, and people are stressed, drunken nights aren’t unusual. According to one Reddit user, a drunk night on cruisers are impossible to forget.
“Think of a time you did something embarrassing while drunk at a bar. Now imagine having to see every single person who saw you do that embarrassing drunk thing, every day for months and months. That’s what ship life is like.” Here is what employees had to say about privacy.
26. Lack of Privacy
It can be tricky to have your own space when you are stuck on a cruise with hundreds of people. Moreover, when you have to share your cabin with other people, it can be hard to have your routine. Simply said, while working on the cruiser, you won’t have almost any privacy.
Not only that you share your cabin with others, but you will hear the others as well. Cabin walls are uber thin, and you can listen to your neighbors. Plus, you are stuck with your roommates, and if you get into a socially weird situation, you can’t avoid awkward conversations.
25. Crew Food
Do you know those buffet pictures with fantastic food? That’s only for the travelers. The cabin food is a completely different story. Some would even describe it as really bad and almost inedible.
“Food is provided, but the two most common ethnicities on my ship were the Philippines and India, so the crew cafeteria was usually full of food I wasn’t used to, like pigtail stew & fish heads. I ate a lot of salad & mashed potatoes on my contracts.”
24. No Love Drama
Some rules are flexible, while some can send you home immediately. Hooping up with passengers can only get you one thing: one-way ticket back home. This is the biggest no-no.
One Reddit user wrote what hookups do happen. If the management learns about it, the crew member will be sent home at the next port. This rule is strict because cruise companies want to avoid any lawsuit, that can be linked with harassment and various accusations. Crew members are not even allowed to ride in the same elevator with a single passenger, as a precaution.
23. High School All Over Again
When you put a massive number of people into one place, things happen. This means that planned can escalate to unplanned in no time, while sudden and unexpected situations are an everyday thing.
Some employees reported that working on a cruise is like being in high school again. Plus, everyone gets into trouble all the time. The reason? Apparently, everyone sleeps with everyone.
22. Up in Each Other’s Business
When you get to spend days and nights with the same people, you can easily learn everything about everyone. Feels like high school all over again, right? A former employee wrote on Reddit, what working on a cruise ship is like being to high school once again, with a grasp of jail.
Everyone knows everyone’s secrets. Everything is out there in the open – who hooked up with who, who did what last night and so no. Since you have stuck into a giant can somewhere int he ocean, you can’t escape them. A policy – if you can’t fight them, join them, it seems fitting.
21. It’s the Little Things
Employees don’t pay for cabin rentals. However, there are some basic necessities for which they have to pay. Some of them are drinking water, toilet paper, and extended internet access.
For example, employees might pay for a WiFi $5 a day 24-hour access to limited social media apps or $10 for 100 minutes unrestricted. Some employees complained about the internet that they simply spent too much money on the internet. On the other hand, without the internet, they are entirely shut out from the rest of the world.
20. To Save Money, or Not to Save?
Since food and lodging are free for the crew, and they don’t go out, it only seems logical that they can save a bunch of money, right? However, this is kind of far from the truth.
It turns out that if they are not careful with on-cruise expenses, they can end up losing more than planned. Since there is no cell service, people usually spend the most money on WiFi, which is from $5/day to $10/hour. All in, if you are not careful, working on a cruise ship can cost you money. Here is how long they can work without a day off.
19. Extra Long Days
Working on a cruise ship means they you are the first one to get up and the last one to go to bed. So, you can expect to feel tired of a fair amount of time. Many claim that they aren’t paid enough, considering the fact that they are working almost all day long.
Crew members have claimed that they didn’t receive fair pay fort he number of hours worked. Moreover, they often spend weeks and weeks working without a day off. Some claim that they have worked without a single day off for 6-8 months at a time.
18. Do Anything For Fun
Let’s face it – there isn’t much to be done on cruisers. Once off-duty crew members can usually sleep, rest, or spend time with other crew members. Simply said, there is no entertainment for the crew members.
With a lack of content for fun, it comes as no surprise that a huge number of crew members use some substances. When bored, people would do anything to pass the time. Here is how the band members manage their cruise time.
17. Cruise Band Member
Different jobs come with different job descriptions. For example, the waitress has longer working hours that the band members do. For regular employees, a typical working day is between 6 to 10 hours per day. However, that’s not the case with band members.
Band members usually have a well-designed schedule. They get together to practice one to two hours per day and then go directly to a show. Basically, they are only working four hours a day. After that, they are free to do whatever they like.
16. Getting Paid to Travel
One of the ultimate perks, when it comes to working on cruise ships, is the ability to see the world. Yes, you can travel the world and work at the same time. Those who want a year gap often choose to join cruisers, because traveling and getting money is a win-win situation.
Traveling the world and setting some money on the side can’t be bad, right? If nothing, its easier to find motivation when you know that you will step in Hawaii, over Old Continent up to Asia. Crew members get to see every continent and visit more than 50 countries.
15. You Can’t Get Sick
Cruisers are like big canes. If one gets ill, everyone is in danger. That’s why the medical check is mandatory for each employee. But, what if someone gets sick while traveling?
Having sick passengers on a cruise ship is less than ideal. Everything can spread in one day, and many may be stuck in their cabins or removed from the cruiser. If staff falls ill, they can be isolated for as long as a week, even for a mild caught.
14. There’s a Morgue on Cruise
Unfortunately, unplanned things happen even on cruisers. Not only that, people can eat something bad and spoil their stomach, lose their pills, or miss medicine, but some also die.
Therefore, cruisers have a morgue as part of their facilities. The truth is that morgues on board and small, and luckily -no often used. Still, they are mandatory, especially on a cruiser that caters to the elderly. Here is how they fight off pirates.
13. Pirates Are a Real Thing
Jack Sparrow may not be a real person, but pirates most definitely are. Its the crew’s job to keep their eyes wide open for any sign of modern pirates. It’s challenging to take over a huge cruise ship, but it’s still possible.
In the case of the attack, the procedures are clear. The passenger will is asked to step away from the windows, and crew members will spray the intruders with giant water cannons to keep them apart. Some cruisers even have a mechanism for deterring pirates with sharp and robust noise.
12. Cruise Ships Have a Special Medicine, for a Stomach Purpose
You might not be used to traveling with cruise often, so you may have some stomach issues. To help people deal better with life on the water, every cruise will give you a special sauce without you knowing it.
Cruisers are armed with secret battle sauce. Their secret sauce is a type of extra fat that tends to have a laxative effect, causing stool to soften. This is designed to aid the smooth sailing of the ship’s plumbing by maintaining good pipes.
11. Tourists Can Influence the Crew Paycheck
Crew members have a fixed salary, but a tip here and there is welcome. During the trip, passengers can’t affect the crew’s pay much. However, if they leave them a poor review, their salary might hurt.
At the end of a journey, cruisers will likely be asked to rate their experience and share any praise or complaints on a comment card. If these reviews mention a staff member by name, it can affect the member’s salary up or down. So, review matters.
10. Cruise Crews Have Their Own Corners
Working on a cruise ship means that you are working in an international team. There are people all over the world. Every step is filled with diversity. Sometimes, people from the same region or those who have the same mother tongue tend to separate and spend time on breaks only with each other.
Not only that, they share the same language, but they are responsible for specific goods. According to former employees, the Indian crew was always capable of getting food for the crew after-parties, while the team from the Filipino knew where’s the best drink. The economy in small. Seems organized.
9. Crew Members Live Double Lives
It turns out that real love drama happens on cruise ships. People are stuck on the cruise, and many choose to spend their days simply working on their love life. Even if they are married.
The time on a cruise can serve people to be what they are as well. This is why many choose to be out of the closet on board, while super straight on land. Also, those who are married decide to remain quiet on that fact and have new love conquer.
8. Crews Often Have Their Own Language
Crew members must react super fast in certain situations. Their job is to serve and protect the passengers, and they must act responsibly. One of their hacks to keep everything in order is to use unique codes.
They have codes for everything. Everything from fires to medical emergencies has a system. These codes are designed so they can communicate with each other without panicking passengers.
7. Big Brother Watches Everything
Cameras are everywhere on the cruisers. You can’t make a move without Big Brother watching. However, this is all for passenger security. Plus, passengers are being monitored discreetly.
Basically, if you are outside of your cabin, you are probably on camera. In the event of any kind of crisis, they could pull security footage at any time.
6. Cruisers Have Jail
People can do stupid stuff from time to time. For those bad apples, there are specially designed places – jails. Plus, most cruisers have a security force for any type of criminal activity.
If a criminal activity occurs, passengers or crew members can find themself in a holding cell. These cells are usually small padded rooms. In some cases, offenders might be locked into bodily restraints.
5. The Doors Don’t Lock
You may know this, or not, but the truth is that the doors to your cabin do not lock. Actually, according to captains, most entries on the ship remain unlocked, and there is a good reason for it.
Doors must stay unlocked in case of necessity. So, on the ship, the only way to keep someone outside your cabin is to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign. This is your only chance of privacy. And yes, you should keep your stuff in a safe place, just in case a curiosity gets the best of passengers.
4. Captains Have the Best View
This is an open secret – captains have the best seat in the house. For passengers, the best view is usually next to the pool. What captain see is nothing to what passengers get to experience.
Passengers are focused on resting and have fun by the pool, while the captain and those next to him have the best view ever. They get to see flying fish, birds, dolphins, and a whale.
3. Crew Members Exchange External Hard Drives Frequently
As mentioned earlier, the crew must pay a significant amount of money fro free WiFi. So, those with more experience and those who keep researching know they need to bring their data with them.
Crew members pre-load hard drives with movies, music, and other entertaining content, and they exchange them. Since their route can last for even six months, an exchange is more than welcome. This is one of the few ways they stay sane.
2. They Will Leave You Behind
If you choose to explore the world by cruising, make sure that you are on time. Otherwise, they will leave you behind and won’t think twice about it. If you late, you are messing with the company’s finance.
Cruise lines pay huge amounts to overstay their port time, so be sure that they will leave you if you are late. Always be on time. If you are late, you will have to pay and organize to get to the cruiser’s next stop.
1. There Are Private Pools and Secret Sunbathing Areas
On A desk, you may find all of the crew and staff facilities, like the crew store, and ever-popular crew bar. This bar is only for crew members. Passengers aren’t allowed.
Crew members also have unique swimming pools and sunbathing areas. These areas are great for relaxing between shifts and more than essential when it comes to burning out moments. Also, crew members aren’t allowed to use public areas when off duty.