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Many people might think that working and living on board a luxurious and amenity-filled ship might feel at times like a permanent vacation, much like working at Disneyworld! And sometimes “WRONG!” doesn’t even begin to cut it. Working on board and sailing on board is just as different from each other as working on board and working on land! And that results in a few interesting ways both lives are so completely different.
One main difference is that working on board, for however long your contract will be, means you’ll work every single day of the week. As a result, week days mean nothing to crew members, and our “week” (which doesn’t even necessarily consist of 7 days) is directly related to the start/end of the cruise, particularly the embarkation day – our Monday day of the week, if you catch my drift, even if this day is not really a Monday on the calendar.
Much of our plans for the week will be based on the day when the mandatory crew emergency drill will be happening, which, combined with our working schedule, may or may not keep us from being able to go out and enjoy the port. It’s easy to imagine, then, how crew members feel about the drill or drill day. Of course, we’re aware of the importance of being prepared for emergencies, but sometimes not being able to go on a long-awaited excursion, or to take advantage of some free time at the beach only because the drill happens that day just hurts!
When working on board, you’re not only an employee, but also a seafarer. That comes with 2 full sets of responsibilities, and training on both sides is constant (more like never-ending).
But not everything is a disadvantage. One of the MAJOR ways my life improved when I started working on board, as opposed to working on land, is commuting. I remember spending at least 1.5 hours a day getting from home to work and back, which basically added to my working schedule, as in 1.5 hours of my day I couldn’t enjoy as free time. Don’t get me started with the traffic jams and the continuous fear of being late! Commuting on board is limited to how long the elevator will take or how many stairs to climb inside the ship! Just lovely.
Vacation time is also a huge advantage. Now, let’s still keep in mind the months we work at a time, but when we have vacation, it’s normally at least 1.5 months in length, which allows us to take awesome trips with our families, take courses, handle home improvements and such, and this happens at the end of each contract, meaning it might happen more than once per year! Considering most people on land can’t take more than a month a year, it really is a great perk I bet you wish you had.
Finally, the other obvious perk of traveling. Yes, there’s a lot of jobs on land that involve a whole lot of traveling, but nothing like waking up in a different city/country each day!
I know many people working on board complain a lot about the working conditions, which, in many cases, do warrant the occasional whining, but I can’t find one single issue with those working conditions that are guaranteed not to happen on a land job. Bad bosses, horrible managers, creepy colleagues, long working hours, and so much more, the grass always looks greener on the other side, and I make it a point to keep that in mind. The one thing I do crave and miss a lot while on board: going to the movies. – ThatGuy (onboard)
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