For the average person, cruise ships are essentially giant floating playgrounds full of crazy amenities like zip lines and planetariums, as well as a smorgasbord of all-you-can-eat buffets and restaurants.
But for cruise ship workers, who spend months on end on the high seas, it’s a very different world.
A new Reddit thread asked crews around the globe what it’s like to work and live on a cruise ship. From crazy hours to lots of partying, here’s what they had to say.
It’s crazy long hours
Often, crew works up to eight months without a single day off. Many of them aren’t even allowed to disembark at ports.
“Crew members are super hard working and work weeks are 70 hours a week without a single day off for 6-8 months at a time. […] The best way to describe no days off is waking up to your alarm and every single day feels like a Monday morning.” – teddersman
“The best way I could describe it is this: Work hard, play hard, work harder, play harder, die a little and do that cycle for almost a year.” – Shynxie
It’s an insane amount of partying
“We had a saying ‘Every night is a Friday night and every morning is a Monday morning. Every day is ground hogs day.'” – rmmyyz
“We actually have more fun than the guests. Sure we’ll work the big white hot party that you’re all going to, but once we finish our shift all hell is breaking loose in the crew bar.” – Pixielix
The hookup culture is rampant
“Everyone sleeps with everyone.”- MirtaGev
Sleeping with guests is a no-no
“Crew members sleep with crew members. Crew sleeping with passengers is strictly (like, kick you off the next day strictly) forbidden.” – chockythechipmunk
It really pays to have a solo cabin, which few employees do
Only certain crew members (usually officers) have cabins to themselves. The rest share rooms with one or more colleagues.
“If you have a solo room then you might as well write a blank booty cheque. Girls (and guys) go crazy over you as you have a solo room.” – [deleted]
There are crew-only areas
Depending on the ship, crews have their own gyms, lounge areas, dining rooms, and decks. Almost every ship, however, has a crew bar, where workers spend most of their precious free time. Apparently, every single night in a crew bar is like a college frat party.
“There is a crew only bar, and beers are $1.50. Some ships have a crew only hot tub.”- MirtaGev
It’s sort of like high school
Crew members essentially have no privacy — they sleep, work, and eat with the same group of people for months on end.
“Ship life is basically high school mixed with jail. Remember high school, where everyone knew everything about everyone’s business? Who was macking whom, cheating on so-and-so, doing this-and-that, being a such-and-such? Well, that’s ship life in a nutshell.” – JMPBass
“Think of a time you did something embarrassing while drunk at a bar. Now imagine having to see every single person who saw you do that embarrassing drunk thing, every day for months and months. That’s what ship life is like.” – too-tsunami
It’s kind of like the army in terms of a rank-based system
There are generally three kinds of cruise ship workers: officers; staff members (like entertainers); and general crew (bartenders and waiters), and each group has different privileges, like being able to disembark at ports.
“Things are very divided by position. There is almost a caste system in place with officers at the top, then entertainment (this includes everything from musicians to photographers and — for some reason — the shop workers) then front-of-house (wait staff and concierge), then back-of-house (engine room and cleaners). These groups are usually divided by nationality too, so there isn’t a lot of interaction between them.” – TickleMafia
“SHIPS ARE A VERY CLASSIST SYSTEM!!! I can’t stress that enough. If you’re in to social justice, it’s a case study worth exploring.” – JMPBass
It’s a great way to see the world
“In 5 years on cruise ships I literally travelled the world. I went to Europe, Canada, North, South and Central America, including Alaska and Hawaii, Asia, including China, Japan, and India, and Africa. I basically visited every continent except Antarctica, and went to over 75 countries. I took a sled dog ride in Alaska, white water rafting along a river through the jungles of Costa Rica, visited Alcatraz, and had an authentic curry in Mumbai.” – Seastar321
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