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If there’s something cruise ship crew members are known for (more so than on land, dare I say) is being polite, helpful and eager to go above and beyond to assist with your every need and wish. Kinda stating the obvious here, but they really are. This kind of warmth can lead to more familiar conversations and interactions beyond the duty at hand, but it’s important to keep in mind a few things in order to stay within the lines of acceptable behavior and avoid making things awkward… even if behind your oblivious back.
Should – Ask about their personal life. Just like everyone, crew members will love to share details of their life, like their newborn baby, their recent wedding, their home or how proud they are of their country (or if they’re from Peru, it’s food) and such. If you feel the connection with a particular worker has granted you access to ask, feel free to inquire about their place of origin, their family, career and customs and traditions. You might learn something fascinating about a place you’d never heard of, or marvel at the fact that your Room Steward, for instance, is also a talented singer!
Shouldn’t – Ask about intimate details. It’s said you should never discuss sex, religion and politics. Cruise workers are no exception, especially since they’re at your service. Beyond that, asking questions about how much money they make (or subtle variations thereof, like “do you make a good living”), details about the cruise line’s dirty secrets or gossip about other crew members or fellow passengers is simply not advisable. Throughout my career I have learned to dodge such bullets elegantly, but not everyone will have that skill.
Should – Ask for favors. You’ll have to make use of your common sense, but asking for help with certain things might help your cruise experience be even better than it could’ve otherwise. For instance, asking if they could store a large suitcase or bulky equipment away during your stay could make a huge difference in the amount of available space in your room. Similarly, asking for advice on activities in town, activities on board, or even future cruise itineraries can certainly make a difference.
Shouldn’t – Express superiority. We all know that working on ships, as much fun, and great of an opportunity to move ahead as it is, also carries a fair amount of sacrifice. There is a big difference between saying “you must really love what you do” and something like “I could never leave my children behind for so long”. Along my many years of working on board, I have heard certain things that, with or without intent, have sounded judgey and even demeaning. Things like “Do they ever let you go out in port?”, “You must really dislike your family” or even “Working here must feel like prison” are easy to resent.
Should – Offer to help (within reason). There are things that deserving crew members will love you for, and many of them don’t even cost a thing, like commending them on a job well done, saying a heartfelt please and thank you or greeting them back with a “how was YOUR day?”. Other things are sharing a treat with them or finding out if they like something in particular from outside, like a magnet or a souvenir. As long as you feel good about it, I can tell you it will make the cruise more memorable… for both!
Shouldn’t – Offer to help (beyond reason). Whether it’s meant to solve a problem the crew member should NOT have shared, or to show off the power to do so, everything you offer a crew member should be reasonable. For instance, offering a better job to someone you’ve only met during your cruise (due to any hardship they might have told you about), or saying you’ll write an unrealistically good (and unreal) letter to the company in order to help them move up, are things the crew member might either think are bogus, or even worse, get their hopes up in vain. – ThatGuy (onboard)
Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. FrequentFloaters and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities
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