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There are quite a host of services you will receive when you vacation on a cruise ship, and you will meet a ton of people onboard who are eager to provide them. There are also some things you should never request onboard. The consequences may not always fall on you, but rather on the person you’re making the request of, which is in no way less of a reason not to do it! What kinds of things are we talking about?
One of the things crew members are most prohibited from doing is fraternizing with guests so no the can not be your dance partner onboard. It’s true, we’re only human, and from time to time attraction may be so strong that it would make this rule difficult to obey. The crew as well as guests are expected to maintain a professional relationship and avoid engaging in conversations or body language that would invite anything that crosses that line. This applies to the time you’re a guest onboard, while you’re ashore, or after the cruise.
Adult Beverages, Etc.
Any illegal requests (mind altering drugs, escort or companion services) will of course immediately be denied. There are sometimes requests that only go against the company policy, like retrieving a confiscated bottle of alcohol, or allowing sharing of an unlimited beverage package. This puts the crew member in a horrible position, as we don’t like to say “no” (in fact, we’re trained not to… up to a point). I have met a few fellow workers who were sent home due to situations like this. Whether it was because they were committed to providing excellent service, or because they were expecting an outstanding tip (the latter being the most likely), the reality is that many times refusing to “go the extra mile” this way might result in the daily interaction with the guest being less friendly. This is something we would like to avoid… Again, up to a point.
Having crew from so many nationalities means also having contact with a wide variety of cultures and religions. As most people know, there are 3 things we are not allowed to discuss: Sex, Politics and Religion. Any mention of these will in most cases result in a crew member desperately trying to change the subject. Asking a crew member to talk about their religion, and the habits involved (restrictions, fasting…) is generally not a good idea, unless it is approached with the utmost respect and in a simply curious way. This happened to me recently, and I simply could not make it clear enough that I was not going to participate in the conversation. Also to be avoided is asking crew members how much money they make, how the company is doing financially or if they are well treated by the company. Taking a personal interest in crew members is fine, but stick with safe topics like their family, the length of their contract, or how many they share a cabin with.
There will hopefully always be crew members you feel there is a special human connection with and by all means it’s perfectly OK to be friendly and kind. It’s all about keeping things professional, as you would anywhere else. Some of my best friends in the world I met while working onboard, and whether it resulted in lifelong friendships or friendly acquaintances for a short while, I have met truly wonderful people, some of which have become part of my extended family. This is, by far, one of the best parts of working in the hospitality business. – ThatGuy
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