For the past two months, I have been living and working on board a cruise ship. My position is Entertainment Host, which involves planning and hosting events around the ship to keep the guests having fun while the ship is at sea. You can check out my first blog post about this job HERE.
One of the questions I get most frequently from guests and friends/family back home is “What are your living arrangements?” so I thought I would take a minute to answer those questions! Of course, these answers depend entirely on the cruise line, ship and position, so I can only speak for my current situation.
My position as Entertainment Host is considered an entry level position, which means I share a room with one other person. The rooms are small, but manageable considering we spend very little time in our room other than sleeping and showering. We do have bunk beds (thankfully I snagged the bottom one!), and have our own personal bathroom. Some crew cabins are set up a bit like dorms where there is a hall of rooms with a community bathroom for male and female.
We are each allowed one closet with two dresser drawers, along with a desk drawer and an under-the-bed drawer. As you might guess, there is not much room for clothing and personal items, which means the rooms tend to get cluttered. One major perk is we have a room steward that comes in daily to clean our room, bathroom, change sheets and towels, free of charge. First contract packing can be difficult, because you don’t know what you’ll need (and won’t need). I have uploaded my personal packing list on this blog, which you can find here → https://sevenseasnme.wordpress.com/2016/07/16/shiplife-the-packing-list/
I hope to be promoted to Assistant Cruise Director for my next contract. One of the perks of this job is a single cabin, meaning I wouldn’t have to share with another crew member. The higher rank you are on the ship, the better your cabin, sometimes even situated on higher decks of the ship.
Most of the crew live on Decks A, B and C, which are below the decks which accommodate guest staterooms (and are sometimes below water!). It is nice to have all the crew living in the same area, because we can all communicate with one another and have a bit of privacy from “guest areas.” The crew office, crew infirmary, crew laundry, training rooms, gym and crew mess are all located in this area as well, which makes running errands convenient.
The crew areas of a ship reveal an entirely different atmosphere and community than you’ll see on the upper decks. Many of our crew members come from the Philippines and Indonesia, and it seems like each person has their own unique talent. We jokingly refer to the community below the water line as ‘The Filipino Mafia,’ and every mafia has it’s leader, who connects those in need with those who can provide. Need to destress with a massage? There’s someone for that. Need a haircut? Five dollars and you have a deal. Need a sari for your friend’s wedding after contract? She’ll have it made within the week. Want to sell your laptop? The mafia leader will have you three buyers within a few days. It’s really quite an impressive and intricate system, and handy to have access to while away from home for many months.
The theme on board cruise ships seems to be ‘work hard, play hard,’ as we consistently have social events happening to relieve the stress of working long hours, every day of the week. About once a month we have a themed crew party to celebrate the hard work of everyone on board, which is always a fun time! Crew members volunteer to DJ, serve drinks, sing and even perform dance or talent routines throughout the night. We usually have these parties on an hour back night (when we change time zones) to ensure everyone gets their fair share of sleep. We also have fun themed nights, such as karaoke, bingo, raffles, movie time or unique foods being served in the crew mess. Every once in a while, the exciting events on board are moved off the ship and on to land. This can take form as a 5K run around a beautiful port of call, or if we’re really lucky, the ship will rent out a local club on an overnight, for crew members only! One fun event the crew put on is the “Crossing the Equator Ceremony,” pictured in the feature photo. This is where pollywogs (people who have not crossed the equator) have to go through a ritual of amusing heckling by top officers to become a shellback (someone who has crossed the equator). Every crew member must be initiated on their first crossing.
The ins and outs of ship life are intricate, and it is truly an environment like no other on Earth. Working on board, so far away from the comforts of home, can be lonely at times. Thankfully, the close knit community of crew members from all over the world help create fond memories that keep us coming back, contract after contract.
Have fun! And don’t forget to follow my page and subscribe to my YouTube channel for updates on my travels around the world! ❤ Jess