Ex-Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line workers reveal the things they couldn’t live without on board

Workers for cruise lines like Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line can be away from home for over six consecutive months. Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images
  • Six former cruise-ship workers described to Business Insider the things they couldn’t live without while on the job.
  • Their answers included clothing, technology, and cosmetics.
  • The workers’ former employers were Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and American Cruise Lines.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A cruise ship is an unusual work environment, keeping employees away from their homes for months at a time. Some workers sign contracts that have them working on their ship every day for over six months.

That means cruise-ship workers need to be thoughtful about what they pack, since they might not have the opportunity to return home for an essential item for over six months.

Six former cruise-ship workers told Business Insider what they couldn’t live without during their contracts. They worked for Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and American Cruise Lines. Four asked for anonymity due to a fear of reprisal from their former employers. Their identities are known to Business Insider.

Here’s what they said.

Makeup remover


“Being able to wash your face at the end of a 16-hour day just felt so good,” said Abigail Segner, a former regional training manager for American Cruise Lines.

Clean and comfortable socks


Having good socks was essential because her job required her to move a lot, Segner said.

Good shoes


Like Segner, a former photographer for Norwegian Cruise Line said she was on her feet a lot, so it was important to have shoes that were comfortable and easy to put on.

Items that remind you of home


“You are away for so long and it gets lonely,” the former Norwegian photographer said.

Sleeping pills


“You have roommates walking in and out all night because their schedule is different than yours,” said Kapri Hockaday, a former waitress for American Cruise Lines.



“If you’re not good at making friends or you don’t have people to hang out with, it can be very isolating because you’re thousands miles away from your family and friends,” said a former bar server for Norwegian Cruise Line.

A cell phone


“If you can’t talk to your friends or your family once in a while and say, ‘Oh my god, this is what’s going on then,’ then what?” said a former learning and development manager for Princess Cruises.

A pillow from home


A former Carnival Cruise Line youth staff worker said she would not have been able to sleep as well if she didn’t bring a pillow from home.

“I don’t think the pillows on the ship were that comfortable,” she said.