The world of today is officially far more liberal with differences than it was even 10 years ago. However, while this is the official line, ground reality can be a little more conservative. This attitude is particularly seen regarding tattoos on cruise ship crew.
A large percentage of cruise passengers, especially in the US, are older people. They grew up during a time when having a tattoo was considered rebellious, and could have meant that you had been to jail or were involved in illegal activities such as dealing in narcotics or belonging to a violent gang.
For this reason, having cruise crew with tattoos attend to them could make them feel uncomfortable. Even though general perception may have changed, tattoos may have a negative effect.
Corporate culture in the US evolved to a very professional image, where personal appearance made a big difference to business. Older folk grew up believing that if you looked professional – clean cut, well dressed and polished, you could win your clients’ trust more easily.
With their client profile in mind, almost all cruise line companies have regulations regarding tattoos. While the companies might not have anything against the art, they are always looking out for the comfort of their guests. The general rule is that tattoos should not be visible when cruise ship crews are in their uniform and in passenger areas.
For staffs who wear shorts, skirts, or short-sleeve shirts, this would apply to tattoos and other body art on their calves, shins, forearms, and perhaps even their ankles. Those who wear trousers and long-sleeved shirts can get away with these tattoos.
Tattoos on the neck – an increasingly common trend, and face – such as tribal tattoos – are highly discouraged and may not be permitted. You could face termination if you do not comply with company rules.
One way to overcome the issue of very visible tattoos is to consider laser removal, particularly if you are looking at a long and successful career in the cruise line industry. However, this is expensive and can be quite painful. The process also takes a number of sessions and can have side-effects including blistering and temporary scarring.
Another easier and painless option is to use make up to cover the tattoo. Depending on the size of your tattoo, this can be a time-consuming process. In a world where long working hours are the norm, this is something you will have to consider before completing your application process for cruise ship jobs.
When applying for a cruise ship job, always asks the recruitment agency about the company’s policy on tattoos, whether you already have one or are considering one. If the company has a very strict policy, you can think about other firms or defer getting your tattoo to a later date. If a relatively liberal policy is at play, consider areas of your body that will not be visible in your uniform – shoulders, back, upper thigh, torso, etc.
At work, ensure that your tattoo is well covered. A small tattoo on your wrist can be hidden using a band or watch. Others should be concealed using long-lasting make up, touching up as and when necessary.