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Cruise Ship Employees Tell All

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Everyone who has ever taken a cruise finds themselves wondering, at one point or another, what it must be like to work on board the ship. If we’re lucky, we’ll find time to chat with a bartender about their experiences, but a recent thread on the social networking site reddit took things to a whole new level when a poster started a thread by asking, “What’s it really like to work and live on a cruise ship?” As you can probably imagine, the answers are making for one heck of a fun read, especially for those of us who love getting “behind-the-scenes” glimpses into the workings of a cruise ship!

Work Hard, Play Hard

With nearly 5,000 responses – and counting – the thread has proved what you probably already suspected: With ships being small cities, their populace covers a broad spectrum of personalities with different opinions of their experience. There are tales of debauchery (“Any vice that you have,” wrote PowdrdToastMan21, “whether it be drinking, smoking, having sex – you will do more of it.”), tales of finding true love (“I ended up meeting my wife onboard,” wrote Urban_bear. “We both quit together to start a life together.”) and, more than anything else, just how hard the job can be.

Now, if you’ve been hoping to have a little romance with a crew member, the vast majority of posters indicated that this was strictly forbidden. (Others, however, made it pretty clear that it does happen on occasion!) “Fraternizing with guests was against the rules and strictly enforced,” wrote TheHosemaster. “This was one of the few things I actually saw people get fired over!”

See The World!

One thing that stands out is how many people write about the miserable side of the experience… before admitting they wouldn’t trade it for the world. “Long working hours,” wrote Seastar321, “very small shared cabins with walls thinner than paper so you can hear everything your neighbors are doing, crew food is bloody awful unless you like living on boiled rice.” Sounds pretty dire, right? “But,” he adds, “none of that matters! In five years on cruise ships, I literally travelled the world.”

User too-tsunami echoed both sides of the sentiment. Her complaints ran the gamut from bad food to the lack of laundry facilities (“Fighting for an open washer or dryer is hell on earth!”), not to mention an aspect we hadn’t really thought about. “Think of a time you did something embarrassing while drunk at a bar,” she says. “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.” But in the end, she, too, declared the experience “awesome,” saying, “You travel for free, drink for cheap and save a lot of money since you aren’t really paying for anything unless you want to. I’d suggest it to anyone who has no strings attached and is willing to work hard for six-to-eight months at a time!”

Of course, many of the most extreme comments (and trust us, there are some pretty crazy ones!) have to be taken with a grain of salt, given that the site’s posters are generally anonymous and, as a result, their tales are unverifiable. To read the thread, head here. Then hit our comment section to tell us whether you’ve ever – or think you could ever – work on board a ship!

featured photo: flickr/creative commons

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