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THE GOOD AND THE BAD: WORKING ON A CRUISE SHIP

05 May 2018 |

THE GOOD AND THE BAD: WORKING ON A CRUISE SHIP

So you heard about this job, working while traveling with the cruise ship. Perhaps your friend is doing it and you are tempted to try as well. Before jumping on a decision, surely you want to know a little bit about the onboard life.

1. Income

(+)   The currency of the salary is based on the country of the company, like USD, EUR, or SGD. The salary seems quite big after the amount is converted to the crew’s home country currency. The salary is paid per two weeks. You don’t need to wait long to buy stuffs. No tax for overseas sailors. No food and accomodation fee while working. Therefore, you can save your salary and only spending it for personal use.

(-)   No increasing of income unless you change your position. For tipping position, extra income will depend on how hard you work and how you please the guests.

(-)   There is no unpaid leave or religious celebration bonus ( THR in Indonesian system).

2. Food

(+)   Free food from breakfast till supper are provided by your cruise ship. You just need to stick to the schedule. There are some food party for celebrations. You can taste the a lot of food from other countries.

(-)   Even if it’s free, you will be bored of the same menu over and over. Sometimes, the taste are not up to your expectation. That is quite understandable if you are cooking to feed thousands mouth!

3. Cabin

(+)   You will live in a free cabin shared by two or four people depends on your position. For staff level, there is a cabin steward assigned for cleaning the room.

(-)   The cabin is very small. I hit myself so many times. The bunk bed is narrow. You can’t even sit on the bed without bending your head. Say goodbye to your comfy bed at home. There is no window for good air circulation.

4. Colleague

(+)   You will make friends from all around the world: Southeast Asian, Eastern European, African, Carribean, Latin American, UK, and American. More experience and cultural knowledge. Plus, you can teach each other’s language. Maybe, you will also have interracial relationship 😉

(-)   We are coming from all different side of the world, so expect some cultural clashes. Some people are very upfront, some are quiet. For those who are from reserved countries, be ready to see some stuffs that are not suitable to your own culture. The same sex relationship, the drinking habit, the body revealing clothes. Don’t judge. If you don’t like it, you don’t need to follow. In the end, you will learn to be more tolerant.

5. Work

(+)   Hospitality industry needs a strong interpersonal skill. You will find yourself becoming more friendly, communicative, confident and helpful person. You become well-disciplined and aware of rules, especially for safety.

(+)   Working with people from all around the world is once in a lifetime experience.

(+)   Pressure builds your character.  

(+)   Going to work is very fast. You just need 5-10 minutes from the cabin to anywhere on the ship. No getting stuck in the traffic jam or spending time on the road to the workplace like on the land.

(-)   Long hours of work ( 10 or more hours ) everyday will drain your energy. Hours off or a day off is rare unless you have a good manager or working in a specific position.

(-)   The same routine will make you feel bored. The accumulated work pressure is overwhelming and so are the physical and mental exhaustion.

(-)   Seniority is the unwritten rule of work system.

(-)   Bad manager means bad contract ( unbelievable schedule, unpleasant atmosphere, no hours off and stressful work life )

(-)   If you are a photographer, you will spend 2-3 hours working under the sun and freaking hot weather.

6. Fun Activities

(+)   The most exciting part of being a crew is TRAVELING! You can visit a lot of countries when the cruise ships are docking at the ports of call. This is the fun part where you can create beautiful memories around the world.

(+)   The afterhours is the socializing time between the crew. Cheap drinks and snacks at the bar. No drink? No problem. There are Play Stations, billiard, and foosball to play.

(+)   PARTY, PARTY, PARTY! From dance, acoustic, karaoke, and even bingo!

(-)   Spending time for party means cutting your time for the rest. The next morning you need to wake up early for work and you feel like shit from hangover.

(-)   Party = no sleep. Sleep = no social life.

7. Love & Family

(+)   Long distance can make you appreciate the moments you are home with loved ones.

(+)    You can have an interracial relationship which is fun and new to you. Maybe he/she is your other half you are looking for.

(-)   You will miss your family and friends a lot. You can’t celebrate some moments together. The time zone sucks. You need to find a right timing to call them.

(-)   Many relationships fall apart as the cheating are not a strange thing, sadly.

8. Health

(+)   There is a medical center provided for the crew and it is free of charge.

(-)   Sickness is easily spread because of the bad circulation. Non-stop freezing AC around the ship. The noisy engines and reparation machines cause the less quality of sleep. No sunlight or window in the cabin. You always rely on the alarm to tell the time.

(-)   On the rough sea days, you still need to work even if you feel bad. And yes, baby, flu will not give you a medical off unless you get a high temperature.

9. Get Connected

(+)   There is a crew phone voucher you can purchase and call to anywhere from your cabin phone.

(+)   Some ports have free wi-fi connection for the crew.

(-)   No free wi-fi onboard ( except photo dept )

(-)   The internet connection is slow

After all, working on a cruise ship is still a good experience to have. Your home, your office, and your playground all in one place. It is a very different world compared to the ‘normal’ life on the land. It is worth a try.





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