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You see us walking around, looking like we’re always in a rush (and we are), but there are a few things you don’t get to see. Here’s a list of facts you may not know about crew members and how we live on board.
Most crew members share cabins. No news there. Whether you share among 6 people, 4, 2, or you get your own cabin, is determined by your position or job on board. This entitlement extends to hotels when you are on the way to signing onto your ship.
There is such a thing as a single/shared cabin. Meaning the room is for 1 person, but the bathroom is shared (in-between). These are commonly referred to as Jack & Jill rooms.
We, of course, have a crew restaurant. Sometimes more than one (crew/staff/officer) depending on the ship. The food is different from anything available in guest areas, as many of the offerings are catered to the nationalities of the crew on board (mostly Philippines and India).
We do get special treats from time to time, like Waffle Nights, Junk Food night and such.
Some of our meal breaks are tight, as in 30 minutes and no more, that is why, when guests approach us as we are leaving, it’s not that we don’t want to be helpful, it just means we may miss lunch altogether because of a question they could ask while the venue is open.
My LEAST favorite question is “Do they ever let you out in the ports?” I mean, come on! Nobody signs up for a job on board to stay indoors for up to 9 months at a time! Depending on our work schedule, we might go out in most ports, or once in a while. Also, keep in mind some ports are not really worth going out in every week, especially when the alternative is a deliciously rejuvenating nap.
Most cruise lines provide flights from home to the ship and back. And yes, we get to keep the miles! 🙂
We can be friendly and warm, but fraternization with guests is strictly forbidden, as in get-sent-home-in-the-next-port-of-call strict. Amongst crew members, there is no issue, as long as one isn’t the other’s manager or direct supervisor.
We have crew laundromats free of charge. In addition, we can send laundry off, if entitled to crew stateroom steward. I have personally never done laundry on my own (I’d probably ruin my clothes anyway). Additionally, depending on the position, we get cabin service, where linen and towels are exchanged and carpet is vacuumed on a regular basis.
During our off time, we have access to a crew gym, crew bar, and crew recreation room, with books, games, DVD “rentals” and in many cases, foosball!
Except for a few rare exceptions, crew members work every day, Sunday to Sunday. That’s why days of the week mean nothing to us, and we‘d rather refer to specific days by the port we’re visiting that day (i.e. “Let’s go out for dinner Tortola night”). Go ahead and challenge your local crew member asking them something about Friday and watch their face?
I hope you enjoyed being let in on our little world within a ship. Stay tuned for more crew-related fun facts! – ThatGuy
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I’m just back from a cruise with excellent, hard-working staff. It is interesting to hear a bit about what they experience as employees. Thank you for sharing.
Great read! I’d love to see more of this first-person stuff. I’d love to know what your job is on your ship, just for perspective.
@jsn55 – Jumping in for ThatGuy – kinda like your user name he wants to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.