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10 Reasons Why You Should Work on a Cruise Ship

Imagined that you just visited the Acropolis in Athens yesterday and today you are hanging out at the famous Paradise Beach in Mykonos, having a beer. You still got a few hours left before you have to be back on board, to sail to the Greek island of Santorini, where you will have some time to explore the famous city of Oia.  You still have two more days, where you will also visit Dubrovnik in Croatia and Kotor, in Montenegro, before heading back to Venice for embarkation. All of this in the span of 7 days. This is just a regular routine for someone working on a cruise ship and that someone could be you!

There are many great reasons why working on a cruise ship can be one of the best decisions you will make in your life.  You will expand the way you see things and it will change your perspective in life. You will also get to travel and see incredible places.

Perhaps the main reason someone chooses to work on a cruise ship is the allure of free travel combined with paid work and long vacations. Working on a cruise ship involves more than that and you will find out below my top 10 reasons why you should consider working on a cruise ship:

1 – You Get to Travel the World

Photo of palm tree with a sign showing country's directions - 10 Reasons Why you Should Work on a Cruise Ship
Photo by Deanna Ritchie on Unsplash

One of the main reasons people choose to work on a cruise ship is the ability to be able to travel the world and see awesome places that you might otherwise not be able to. Cruise ships are literally everywhere and wherever there’s a port, you can guarantee that a cruise ship will be docking there.

Working on a cruise ship, you’ll be able to visit the picturesque beaches of the Caribbean, the great ancient cities in Europe, the exotic pyramids of Egypt, the pink sand beaches of Bermuda, and the snow-covered mountains of Alaska, just to name a few.  The possibilities are endless and the world is waiting for you.

Horseshoe Bay Bermuda
Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda

By working on the cruise ship I got to see most of these awesome places because wherever the ship went, I went with it. I got to see places that I couldn’t imagine visiting before. A cruise ship gives you the ability to see many different countries and experience different cultures in a short span of time, a feat many people would take almost a lifetime to see it.

2 – You Enjoy Long Vacations

Hyatt Zilara Cancun
Enjoying our vacation in Cancun, Mexico.

Working on a cruise ship it’s definitely not a walk in the park. You often need to work long hours and your contracts are usually lengthy, ranging between 4 to to 9 months long without a single day off. You will get a chance to see the ports of call but you won’t have a full day off like you normally do on a land-based job.

There are no Saturdays or Sundays off but in retrospect, when you do go on vacation you have all of the time accumulated and you can get between 5 to 6 weeks and up to 2 month-long vacations.

“Every night is a Friday night and every morning is a Monday morning.”

For example, I had a 5-month contract with a 5-week vacation while working as Shore Excursion’s staff.  While on vacation, you get to choose what you want to do. Want to stay home and sleep all day? Yes, you can!  You will probably want to do that in your first week or two since sleeping in can be a privilege for a select few while working onboard.

3 – You Will Make Friends from All Over the World

Friends in Corfu, Greece
USA, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Philippines, Ukraine and Romania represented. Ship friends enjoying lunch in Corfu, Greece!

You will, without a shadow of a doubt, make friends from many different countries and cultures. Working on a cruise ship it’s like a small United Nations. Different countries and cultures all working together towards a common goal.

I have made many friendships from different countries with fellow crew members that I still keep in touch with. Some of my best friendships were made while working on ships, including my best friend for life, my wife. If you have an open mind when working onboard, the way you see the world will change for the better. You will learn new things and taste a new culture that will enrich your life experience.

Another incredible perk of having friends from different countries is the ability to crash at your friend’s, having a local showing you their country. No need to pay for a tour guide when you can have your ship buddy to show you around.

4 – You Might Learn a Second Language

Bienvenue à bord – Bienvenido a Bordo – Willkommen an Bord

If you are currently learning a new language or planning to learn one, there’s a great possibility that you will find someone on board from a country that speaks that language.  It’s very common to find crew members who speak two, three, or four different languages. So, if you want to become bilingual, all it takes is some time and determination. You can learn a language in a much shorter time while working onboard. If you’re single, perhaps dating someone that speaks the language that you want to learn might be the quickest way for you to be fluent!

5 – Free Food

Wine and Pizza at Brandi's pizzeria in Naples, Italy
Wine and Pizza at Brandi’s pizzeria in Naples, Italy

Cruise ships are known for providing food everywhere you turn. Food is available all the time, 24-7, but that is true for passengers and passengers only.

As a crew member, the food quality will be subpar. You will get free food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon, and late-night snacks served at the crew mess. Although at the beginning the food might look good, after working onboard for a few months you will get tired of having rice every day. There are options but it usually consists of a salad bar, Asian-style food with rice, soups and stir fry pasta, and normally another aisle for more Western-style food like pizza, pasta, and burgers. There’s also the mystery meat every now and then.

Depending on your position and rank, you might be able to eat at passenger’s restaurants, the most popular being the ship’s main buffet. You can also eat at the ship’s restaurants where guests eat, as long as it’s not busy and depending on the rules on the ship you are working on.

At the end of the day, the food is free for crew and when you get tired of ship food, you can always eat outside the ship when you have some time off. Fancy a pizza in Naples?

6 – Cheap Drinks

Bottle of Beer
Image by cattalin from Pixabay

The crew bar is the heart and soul of the cruise ship. It’s the place you get to unwind after a long day working and standing on your feet. The expression “drink like a sailor” is taken very seriously on cruise ships, if it is your vice of choice.  You can buy beer for as low as one dollar and glasses of wine for as low as $.50 a glass. Some cruise lines will have also mixed drinks available just like any bar. You could, but shouldn’t, get typsy with less than $5 dollars.

Cruise lines make alcohol affordable for crew members but you are never supposed to be drunk. There is a strict alcohol policy onboard that’s often enforced, so drink responsibly, or you could face immediate dismissal.

7 – Save Money

A great perk of working on a cruise ship is the ability to save money that normally would be more difficult to save with a land-based job. Essentially, you don’t have to pay for your own food, accommodation, and many other land-based expenses. All you have to pay is your personal consumption onboard, taxes in some situations, and when exploring a port of call. Many crew members can save a lot of money during their contracts and go home with big savings, especially if the dollar is strong against your currency.

If you’re working on board and don’t any have bills, you can definitely save a lot of money.  Working onboard can be a great savings account, especially if you don’t have a lot of time off to spend your money.

What to Pack Cruise Ship

Cruise ship life is very exciting and visiting awesome locations around the world is just one of the many benefits of working on a cruise ship. If this is your first time going to work on a cruise ship, you might be wondering what you need to pack for a cruise ship contract. This post might just be what you are looking for.

8 – You Will Learn to Manage Time

Hour Glass
Image by nile from Pixabay

You will become a pro in managing your precious time off. You will be surprised how much you can accomplish with only a few hours off. You will be a king, or queen, of 15min naps. You will learn not to waste time thinking about what to do and more time doing things. You will learn that time is valuable and when you go on vacation, you will be bored after the second week because the days will be slow when compared to ship life, where there’s always something going on.

9 – You Learn to Appreciate the Little Things in Life

sitting on a bench

Working on a cruise ship for months on end makes you miss things that you didn’t give too much attention to. I miss waking up on Saturdays, not having to go to work, brewing a nice cup of coffee, sitting outside, and waking up slowly. Sometimes, the small things in life are the ones you will miss the most. Cooking your own food, hanging out with family and friends, going to family events, etc. While on the cruise ship, you will be surrounded by friends and coworkers but a part of you always stays on land. Once you have been on ships for a few months and mostly towards the end of your contract, you will start to miss little things that you did back home which on the ship are a bit harder. These experiences will only help you grow in life and appreciate all the little things. There will be many things that you will miss so make sure you get to do those things you will miss the most when on vacation because when on vacation, you will miss the ship life, and that’s what makes people go back contract after contract.

10 – Escape the Ordinary

Cruise Ship Gym
A not-so-ordinary workout with a view of Mount Vesuvius, Italy.

You essentially live where you work and you work where you live. Your office and your home are constantly on the move. Your view changes every day. One day you might wake up in Miami the next day might be in the Bahamas, Cuba, or at sea. There’s never a dull day on the cruise ship, every day is a different day.

Each day is an adventure when working onboard.  There’s constant change and you’ll never be bored because there’s always something to do and some place to be.

Working on a cruise is not a job but a lifestyle. Are you ready for this lifestyle?

Cover the earth before it covers you.

Dagobert D Runes.