For the guests.
Not for the crew.
It's a little better than prison.
1. THE VACATION.
My rotation is 4 months on, 2 months off. Which means I get about 4 months of vacation total per year. The majority of the crew members on my current ship work 5 months on, with a 5 week vacation right after.
But I have to admit, my ship is a little different from the rest.
The crew members on the other ships usually work 6-9 months on, 2 – 3 months off.
Still not bad, right?
I do not have an apartment or a mortgage. Sold my car before I did my round theworld backpacking adventure. I don’t have any utility bills or insurances that I need to worry about. Nada.
So for me, this set-up is ideal. That even if the salary is lower than my previous corporate job, my take-away or my “cash on hand” is either even, or a little higher because I am factoring out the bills I used to have to pay.
If you are in the Philippines, or somewhere in South East Asia, or Eastern Europe, or South America, or the Caribbean– the salary is even better because you earn in US Dollars, not in your currency. Great opportunity to save and send money home to your families and loved ones.
It is seriously a United Colors of Benetton advertisement, when you are sitting at the crew mess having dinner with a dude from Jamaica, a chick from Peru, a guy from South Africa, and a nice lady from Nepal. These companies take on crew members that hail from all over the world, and it’s really super fun to get to meet all these people and learn about their cultures.
My current ship is sort of unique in that we are the only US Flag ship in the world, so by law, we are required to have about 75% American workers, and 25% International.
But… it’s still fun… you know… getting to know someone from… uh… Delaware…
|Shenanigans at the Crew Bar|
My first ship took me to the Caribbean - and I hadn't seen any of those places before, so --- score!
|This was in Cozumel, Mexico|
|I think this may have been Costa Maya or Roatan in the Honduras. I can't even remember anymore.|
I am permanently assigned to our Hawaiian ship, and it’s pretty spectacular! But if you’re there year round, you can hardly consider that traveling anymore, especially if you look like a local. So after my 4 month contract, off to wherever-else-I-haven’t-been-to I go!
|Beautiful photo I took of the Napali Coast in Hawaii|
1. YOU WORK 7 DAYS A WEEK – NO DAYS OFF.
In fact, some days, I find myself staring into the ceiling of my small cabin, wishing for at least one day off. Out of my 4 months. I was wishing for 1 day out of 4 months. And my contract isn’t even that long. The other crew members who are working 8 – 9 months are probably wanting to throw their shoe at me right now.
Like in college, only worse.
Because of the position that I am in, I am one of the more fortunate ones who get to enjoy the privilege of having a solo cabin. It’s small – but it never really bothered me as long as I was by myself.
|This is my current cabin. And that's Falcor, my dog.|
|Essentially, this is what a (contraband) Cabin Party looks like, in a normal Crew Cabin :) It's nice and snug.|
If not… If you get roomed with someone weird, or messy, or OCD, or someone who is downright crazy --- then, good luck.
This story gave me nightmares for weeks.
Sometimes you're too busy, and you have a crap schedule, that you don't really have time to get off the ship. And sometimes because you're so busy, that even if you do, you'd rather sleep. Living and working and eating and breathing inside the ship can make one go a little crazy if one doesn't take care of one's self. You don't really have the luxury of driving out to a pub to meet up with your friends after a hard day's work. All you have is the crew bar. And you have to watch your alcohol intake, because cruise ships have a very strict alcohol policy (Your BAC can't go over .04).
Let's see... What were my favorite things to do on land after work, that I couldn't really do while I'm on the ship:
- Grocery Shop and then Cook
- Go and watch a movie
- Happy Hour Thursdays with my friends
- Happy Hour anyday with my my friends
- Boxing & Muay Thai
- Watch a concert/show
- Go have a picnic in a park
|Look at that CUTIE!!!|
This job is not for everyone. It's a lifestyle choice, and it either suits you or it doesn't. Having said that - I really do think that the experience of working at the cruise ship is what you make of it. I know a lot of people who have made a lifetime career out of it, that allowed them to pay off debt, buy a house, and send their kids to college... not to mention, travel the whole world!
I also know people who quit after working for a day. Claustrophobia or something. And good for them... better quit earlier than endure something you clearly don't like.
As for me -- at themoment, it works. I think at the beginning I resisted the idea. I thought I was only going to do one contract... and now I'm on my fourth. Time flies...
Besides... once you've gotten used to the long hours, the 70 hour work weeks, the cabin fever and the sea sickness... Working at the ship can actually be a lot of fun.
Well, I... at least make my own fun. ;)
Have you worked for a cruise ship? Are you interested in working for my ship? Leave me a comment below and I'll help you get started!