My Top Five Reasons to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship
Many people ask me about working on cruise ships. I have spent six years working on board as part of a ship’s crew and many more years leading groups on board. All of my work has been on small ships meaning 300 passengers or less. I find it more personal to work in this atmosphere. If I was a 21 year old, I might feel differently and opt for a large ship with lots going on but the small ships fit better for me.
Here are five of my top reasons for choosing adventure jobs at sea.
World Travel With a Cruise Ship Job
If you want to “see the world”, working on board a ship is a great way to do it. Especially if you choose a cruise line that has many varied itineraries, you can cover a lot of countries, perhaps even an around the world cruise. You travel while you work and travel while you sleep so there’s no “wasted” travel days. You don’t have to make any of the arrangements and you wake up in the morning with your office in a different place every day. How amazingly cool is that?
Now, with that said, how MUCH of a place you actually see will vary. If seeing the world is a top priority, then be sure to get yourself the type of on board job where you can actually get off the ship and see the port of call. If you work in an on board shop for example, then the shop actually must be closed while in port and if you don’t have other responsibilities, chances are you’ll have a great deal of free time to explore. Or perhaps work in the Shore Excursion department where some of your job may be to escort tours. Yes, you will be counting heads and keeping an eye on your guests but you too will be seeing the wonders of the world and get paid to do it!
Making International Friends With A Cruise Ship Job
Not that my friends at home are boring but it’s so mind opening to meet and develop friendships with people from around the world. The current ship I am working on hosts employees from Indonesia, Philippines, Ukraine, England, S. Africa, India, The Caribbean, Poland and the USA and this is a minuscule crew of less than 100.
Today I had lunch with a new couple just arriving to work in our casino. They are newlyweds and she is from S. Africa and he is from India. That may seem like an unlikely couple until you realize that they met on ships. Every day, our Ukranian Chief Engineer asks us about how things are going in the US and do people like O’Bama and how various things work. We learned that you can get any type of certification in the Ukraine by simply buying it and that it is outrageously expensive to learn to drive there. Every day, I have fascinating conversations with my international friends and learn just a little bit more about our diverse world.
Family Atmosphere in a Cruise Ship Job
This doesn’t mean bring your kids and get a job on a cruise ship. This means that all the crew I work with are like a family. Because we are a small ship we take care of each other. We celebrate the special holidays together no matter if we are Christian, Muslim or Hindu. On board a cruise ship, because you eat, work and sleep so close to each other the time frame to become close shrinks. I know more about the crew on board this ship in a month than I still know about friends I have had all my life at home who I meet once a month for dinner. We cover for each other when necessary and keep each other in line when needed. Everyone is welcome at our table at any time.
Intense work/Extended time off With a Cruise Ship Job
Working on board a cruise ship is very different than working a 9-5, Monday to Friday job. There are no “days off”. Cruise ships only make money when they are sailing with guests. You don’t drop off guests and have a couple days to recoup. We disembark at 8:30am and embark new guests 4 1/2 hours later. The work is intense and tiring but everyone’s pulling the hours so we all pull together. We work a six month contract so 180 days straight. Some crew members work as many as ten months straight. But, the reward for this is that I have two months off at the end.
Think about what you can do if you had two entire months free! You could do anything from volunteer somewhere to climb mountains to rent a villa in Italy to backpack SE Asia……the possibilities are endless. You are now not limited to 2 weeks out of 52 and then straight back to the grind. This is a HUGE advantage to this type of lifestyle. One vacation, we took a month and cruised all over Australia and then up to PNG to go diving. This vacation, we are leading a group to climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro, then heading to Mozambique to go scuba diving and then to S. Africa for a safari.
Domestic Chores With a Cruise Ship Job
How much time do you spend doing domestic chores? Think about it and read my blog post, How do you spend your life? One of the great reasons to work on board a ship is that you do not spend ANY of your time doing laundry (I just stick it in a bag and leave it on my bed!- all ships vary). I also don’t clean my own cabin, make my bed or vacuum. And while I do like to cook, I don’t have to cook ANY of my own meals. Just show up, eat and hand someone the dishes to wash. If you were to calculate how many hours a week you spend doing all these chores and then multiply that by 50 (give yourself two weeks of vacation a year) you’ll be surprised at the number. Then think about what you could do with those hours? Learn a new language? Spend it on a beach with a margarita? Learn a new sport?
Cruise ship life is NOT for everyone but if you are thinking about giving it a go, these are five great reasons to go for it. Be sure to watch for my next post on my five top reasons NOT to get a cruise ship job!
To Your Adventures!