Cruise-ship jobs have numerous factors that separate them from
land-based jobs, like the fact that your “office” doubles as your
home and is often moving.
Eight former cruise-ship employees told Business Insider what
advice they would give anyone planning to spend months working on
a ship. Their former employers include cruise lines owned by
Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise
Line Holdings. Five requested anonymity because of a fear of
reprisal from their former employer.
Here’s what they said.
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Be prepared for anything
Luis Jamarillo, a former restaurant supervisor for Royal
Caribbean International, said living in a cabin with three other
people taught him to be prepared for anything, including his
roommates having a party in his room while he was sleeping.
Save some of the money you make
A former chef for Oceania Cruises said it’s important for
cruise-ship workers to save some of the money they made.
“When you leave, you will leave with nothing if you didn’t save,”
Bring clothes for multiple seasons
A former retail employee for Princess Cruises, which is owned by
Carnival Corp., said workers should bring clothing for multiple
seasons, but not too much, since they might not have a lot of
space in their cabin.
Don’t completely fill your suitcase
If you don’t leave extra space in your suitcase for the things
you buy during your contract, “you’ll have to end up doing what I
did and buy a whole new suitcase,” a former photographer for
Norwegian Cruise Line said.
Bring your own bed sheets
Bringing your own sheets can help you feel more at home, the
former Norwegian photographer said.
Decorate your cabin
Decorating your cabin with photos, for example, can also help you
feel more comfortable, the former Norwegian photographer said.
Bring your own soap, towels, and washcloths
“Bring your own hand soap,” said Abigail Segner, a former
regional training manager for American Cruise Lines. “Don’t rely
on the soap on the boat. It’s gross.”
Segner also said workers should bring their own towels and
“I was sleeping above one of our engine rooms for about a week
and a half and I didn’t get any sleep,” Segner said.
Explore the ports where your ship stops
“Definitely take advantage of your time off the ship and
explore,” a former Norwegian bar server said. “Don’t go to the
places where the crew hangs out. Go to where the guests go or the
locals go and hang out.”
“The rooms are very small,” said Kristy Berlin, a former event
manager for Holland America, which is owned by Carnival Corp.
“Definitely pack light. Don’t pack heavy. If you need anything
else, you can definitely buy it while you’re there when you go
off into port.”
Savor the little free time you have
You don’t get to leave the ship often, so make sure you do when
you can, a former waiter on Disney Cruise Line said.
“Enjoy all the time off you have,” he said. “You don’t have too
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