So I know I always talk about how much I adore my job, and I do! More than anything else in the world I love working and living on a cruise ship.
I love to brag about all the places I’ve seen and people I’ve met, however, with every breathtaking high, there are some pretty difficult lows. And let me tell you, working on a cruise ship, is not always as glamorous as it seems! There are definitely Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming an Entertainer.
1.) Non Exsistent Personal Life
First of all, let’s talk about how you never really fully escape work. Crewmembers are ALWAYS working! Even if you’re off-duty you’re never fully away from it. Not only do you live where you work, but the majority of us work seven days a week and are always “on-call”. Whether the ship has an emergency or not, there are rules that crew have to abide by their entire contract. Alcohol levels have to remain low, cabins are inspected, you aren’t allowed to unplug your cabin phone and appropriate clothing/badges must be worn whenever outside of the cabin. Even though we leave work, we never really “leave work”. It becomes our life and our identity.
2.) The Food
Every so often we get the amazing benefit of eating in the passenger buffets or restaurants BUT THE MAJORITY of the time we have our wonderful crew messes to choice from. Depending on the size of the ship, there are bigger, smaller, multiple, or single messes. My last ship had 3 messes connected to make one big one-each section being a different type of food style. (Fast food, Mediterranean and Asian)
But, my first ship, all the messes were divided by “class”. Officers got the best food, (not to mention nice diner wear and silver wear), staff had it slightly worse, and the crew mess was always the busiest and didn’t usually get the special treats the other two messes received. You can “eat down” –for example, officers can eat in the crew or staff mess as well if they liked- but you can’t “eat up.” Crew can only eat in their one mess.
By the end of your contract, you are so sick of the very repetitive foods and are craving some home cooking terribly.
3.) The Wifi/Connecting Back Home
On my cruise line, we pay for wifi-and it still sucks. It is so hard to communicate back home in-between work schedules, time zones, terrible connections caused by all the aluminum and metal walls. The longer you work on board, the more it just becomes normal to not speak to your family for weeks at a time. I fall way behind on what’s happening not on the ship and social media. (Scrolling eats up my date too quickly and I’m not good at saving it!)
4.) Living Spaces
As I’m sure you’re already picturing, the living spaces are super tiny-AND we usually have roommates! I’ve never lived with more than one person, but some crew has to live with multiple roommates and it gets so tricky not only trying to fit stuff for multiple months at a time but ever get proper alone time. My packing skills have improved every contract as I’ve had to adapt to smaller and smaller rooms! Oh! And the bathrooms are sooooooooo small!
I linked my favorite packing travel products below too if you're interested ;)
5.) Going Back Home
The ships will break your heart over and over again. By the end of your 7,8,9,10 months etc. you’re dying to go home, see your family and get some rest. Then when you’re home you’ll be dying to return. The people on board are the most incredible group that not only becomes your friends but your family. There’s something about “ship life” that no one else will ever understand back home. No one quite understands your stories or jokes, or why you keep doing anything you do-that is other than your fellow crewmembers.
Have you ever worked on board?! What are some of your least favorite things? Or are you curious about what life is actually like??? Make sure to comment below or share this with your friends that have considered living on a ship too!