BEFORE & AFTER: CRUISE SHIP CREW ACCOMMODATION...History has not been kind to cruise ship crew. Logs show that living quarters were cramped and comforts were almost non-existent. Cruise ship crews were just not considered important enough to be given decent accommodation.

Even on big cruise liners like the RMS Titanic, crew slept in large dimly-lit rooms, often dozens together stacked in bunk beds of three. Engineers, stokers, greasers and other similar crew were accommodated below decks, far away from passengers.

Often the accommodation was not climate controlled at all, with no ventilation to speak of. On warm days it would be hot and sweaty, while in the winter it could get pretty chilly. The cold metal bunks were topped with a thin mattress and bed sheet, and there was barely any space between two adjoining bunk beds. All shared a common bathroom.

Officers had a slightly more luxurious life. On the RMS Titanic, they were housed on the boat deck near the wheelhouse and had a promenade they could walk about on.

Crew below decks back in the day were susceptible to contagious diseases that spread very quickly due to the cramped quarters, shared toilets and bathing facilities.

Today, things have changed drastically. On most ships, no more than two crew members are accommodated in a single cabin, no matter their rank. The cabins are made as comfortable as possible while still economising on space.

Admittedly, cruise ship accommodation is still small and cannot be called luxurious by any measure. However, they are fitted with all the necessities required for a decent life at sea. Depending on the company, cabins might have a bunk bed or two single beds on either side of the room. Each bed has curtains that can be drawn across to shut out the light in case your roommate needs to get dressed for work at odd hours. There is a table where crew can keep handy items or use as a desk.

Most cruise ship crew cabins today have a telephone, television and are Wi-Fi accessible. If you are lucky, you might have a DVD player left behind by a previous crew member. The cabins also have plug points to charge mobile phones and laptops. Some have a porthole, affording the luxury of enjoying beautiful ocean views and natural light. These decks may be reserved for slightly higher ranking crew and officers.

Each crew member gets a cupboard. It may be small, but all you really need to carry are uniforms for the day and a few changes for when you are off duty. Each cabin is fitted with a mini fridge, which is shared by cabin mates. Typically, messy food such as gravies, cupcakes with cream, etc are not allowed in the cabin to avoid pests. Dry food such as cookies and water is permitted.

Every cabin has a bathroom and toilet which must be shared among roommates. You are provided with towels, hangers, air-conditioning and a full-length mirror. All cabins have life vests and smoke detectors as basic safety features.

Officers have the luxury of a cabin to themselves with an en-suite bathroom, and sometimes a porthole. Senior officers’ cabins can have separate living and bedroom, with a tub in the bathroom.

Cruise ship crew accommodation has changed completely since the beginning of the industry. As time goes by, companies strive to make their employees more comfortable and happy without compromising on space.

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Why Indians Are Important For The Cruise Industry…

Why Indians Are Important For The Cruise Industry...For years, South East Asians have been a regular fixture on board, working specifically in the hospitality sector of cruise ship jobs. Indians have been recruited frequently and have shown exemplary skill and determination to succeed in jobs that are often far away from their homes for months at a stretch.

Tens of thousands of cruise ship jobs are filled by Indians each year, offering recruitment companies such as Kamaxi Overseas Consultancy an excellent environment to flourish and grow. It also offers potential candidates a great variety of opportunities on board some of the major cruise ship companies in the world.

The currency exchange rate for the US dollar, Euro and Pound bodes well for both cruise ship companies as well as employees from places like India. For a relatively lower wage than what they would typically pay someone from a higher income country, the companies are able to offer world-class services to guests from around the world. Indian employees, on the other hand, earn wages much higher than they would on shore and also gain valuable five-star hospitality experience.

Thousands of youngsters from India apply for jobs on the cruise ships each year, many quitting after a few years to bring their skills and techniques home and set up entrepreneurial ventures.

According to the Indian Cruise Lines Association (InCLA), cruise tourism to India itself has excellent potential to expand. At the moment, any cruise line stops in India occur at any one of the five major ports – Goa, Mumbai, Chennai, Cochin and Mangalore. Even so, facilities that cater to the needs of guests on five-star cruises are severely lacking in these ports, although a few of them are receiving a much-needed upgrade.

In CLA suggests that cruise passengers spend an average of US$200-300 per person while cruise staff spend around US$100-150 per person on every visit. This brings in great business opportunities for land-based players such as transport, bunkering, food and beverage, etc.

The association further assessed the ratio of cruise staff to passenger as 1:3 or 1:4. By opening up newer ports and upgrading facilities, India could potentially cater to 700 cruise ships each year compared with the 158 that touched our shores in 2017. This means that the cruise industry could potentially generate more than 2.5 lakh jobs for every 10 lakh passengers.

Additionally, cruise lines are constantly looking for new destinations to offer their passengers and set themselves apart. India has more than 7500 kms of coastline; a sizable portion of it remains untouched by large-scale urban development. This offers the global cruise industry excellent options for expansion into India as well as the opportunity for the country to promote related employment in these areas and bring in foreign exchange.

Another facet of the relationship between India and the global cruise tourism industry is its potential as a market for players in the sector. The World Tourism Organization suggested that as many as 300,000 Indians would go on an international cruise by 2020 and that the country is one of the fastest-growing outbound markets.

This year itself, Tirun Travel Marketing, the India representative for Royal Caribbean Cruises, is offering a Christmas cruise from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai and a New Year cruise on the return trip. The company is also organizing cruises from Mumbai to Cochin and then onward across the East African coast to Cape Town in South Africa.

If India has not already made its presence felt in international cruising, it is certainly putting its best foot forward now.

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When Should Cruise Ship Crew Retire…

When Should Cruise Ship Crew Retire...Often, when you begin your career, retirement is the last thing on your mind. However, having a plan or career chart, however flexible, can help you strategise towards achieving your aims. Everyone’s hope is to finally retire with some sort of financial flexibility. When it comes to cruise ship crew, this is even more so.

Working on cruise ships is the forte of the able bodied. The high physical and mental demands of working long hours – particularly in cruise ship chefs jobs – can eventually take their toll. There comes a time when you will need to hang up your boots, and it’s always best to know how to recognise this time and plan for it.


One of the key factors to consider when thinking about retirement from cruise work is your debts. Perhaps you are paying your children’s college fees or paying back the mortgage on a house. You could even be paying back the loan on a business you set up back home.

If a major chunk of your debts have been paid back, you could look at retiring so you can spend time with your family or run your own business.

Physical ability

As we age, physical work becomes increasingly difficult. Cruise ship chefs jobs particularly can be very demanding on the body. It eases only slightly as you get promoted but the fact remains that your biological schedule is continuously tested with changes in meal timings and sleep schedules to accommodate the pressures of work.

If you develop health issues that could affect your work in the long run, it might be a good time to start thinking of other options.

Mental stress

The working life of cruise ship crew is anything but easy. Long working hours and months of labour without a day off can take its toll mentally. This is because safety cannot be compromised and quality is expected to be up to standards at all times. There is no chance to be lazy or let your guard down.

Many cruise ship crew also share their cabin with another member of staff. Relatively small living spaces can also add to the mental pressure. Stress can be compounded by the kind of colleagues, superiors and company policies you deal with on a daily basis.

Whichever way you look at it, your mental wellbeing should not be at the receiving end of unhappy working conditions simply because emotional breakdowns can cost you more in the long run by laying you off work and perhaps even requiring costly medication.

Family pressures

Cruise ship jobs require you to stay away from home for prolonged periods of time. For those with young families or sick parents, this can be debilitating. Many are able to cope with the pressures of being away, but circumstances are different for each one.

If you are required to be physically present to care for an ailing child or parent, or would like to be more involved in your children’s lives as they grow, it might be time to consider early retirement from cruise ships and find other options, if needed, back home.

Stable shore-based option

Often, cruise ship jobs are a gateway to shore-based employment. By working on a cruise ship, you are able to save more money than you would at a similar position on land. If you have a career path that leads you to opening your own business, you can use your years working on a cruise ship to provide the capital investment for your own business before retiring from cruise life.

Another reason to retire from cruise ship jobs could be a stable shore opportunity with a good company, perhaps with a raise or better benefits, and one that keeps you close to your family.

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Are You Cut Out For a Cruise Ship Job?

Are You Cut Out For a Cruise Ship Job?Cruise ship jobs seem like some of the most envious in the world. It appears to be a paid vacation, where the vessel stops at breathtaking ports and the galley cooks absolutely delicious food. In reality, it’s not all sunshine and smooth sailing.

Here are five questions to ask yourself to know whether whether cruise ship jobs are suited to you.

Do I get homesick?

This is a question not many ask themselves when presented with the opportunity to travel to exotic countries. You must remember that cruise ship jobs involve staying away from home for extended periods of time – around six to eight months in some cases.

This means that contact with your family and personal support system is restricted to long-distance phone calls or video chats during your free time. You will be expected to recover from any illness with care from just the ship medical staff, and ensure your mental well-being on your own.

Am I prone to motion sickness?

Often, one does not understand the full effects having to sail at sea for months at a time. While most cruise ships stay away from turbulent weather, there may be times when they encounter the retreating winds of a storm or a sudden bout of bad weather.

There is medication available on board to help you handle this, but if seasickness affects you badly, you will need to consider this well before accepting cruise ship jobs.

Am I a team player?

Hundreds of crew work together to keep the thousands of guests on board happy and relaxed. This involves working together as a cohesive team, to ensure that everything runs like clockwork.

Cruise ship jobs most often require that you work in collaboration with others who may depend on you to take over some of the burden at times. There’s a give and take involved, particularly on days a team member may not feel so well. The favour is, of course, returned in case you feel the same.

Being a team player on board a cruise ship also means working with people of different temperaments and personalities. You may have difficulties communicating if your teammate is unable to speak English fluently. Or you might have to work with someone whose habits rub you the wrong way.

Cruise ship jobs demand that you are able to work around this by developing behavioural mechanisms that contribute to better efficiency, or by speaking to a supervisor for help if needed. If this is difficult, working on board a cruise ship might not be your cup of tea.

Do I need my space?

When it comes to living quarters, cruise ship crew are usually teamed up in pairs to save on space. Cabin sizes are restrictive and you will need to share a bathroom and toilet as well as a desk with your roommate. Each will have a bunk and cupboard to themselves, but this is the extent of your privacy.

Those who are used to having their own bedroom or are unable to adjust to people with different habits in a small space will find it hard to adjust on board.  

Do I need my weekends off?

Working seven days a week for six to eight months at a time can take its toll. In the galley, cruise ship jobs often demand long hours on your feet. It is physically demanding indeed, but often, the mental pressure is overlooked.

If you are unable to work for weeks at a time without a day off, you should seriously consider whether cruise ship jobs are meant for you.

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Safety Systems For Cruise Ship Chefs

Safety Systems For Cruise Ship ChefsA cruise ship is like a floating island. While it is an oasis of luxury, comfort and fun, it can also be an extremely unsafe place, like a pin on the vast ocean surface. To maintain a certain level of safety for all on board the vessel, crew – including cruise ship chefs – must follow a strict guidelines.

One of these is the HACCP – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point – system which lists out all the standards of safety required in galleys to reduce the risk of hazards. Cruise ship chefs jobs require a thorough knowledge of HACCP and their implementation.

It can often be a nightmare for cruise ship chefs as volume demands must be met on time without compromising on safety. Unannounced checks by authorities mean they can never let their guard down on duty.

HACCP is a continuous ongoing process that seeks to constantly reduce the occurrence of risk at any point in the chain from food transportation, delivery and storage to service. There are two types of HACCP systems – a prerequisite programme and plans.

The prerequisite programme involves processes that are already in place when the cruise vessel is built and must be followed from its first day of operation. All cruise ship chefs are expected to follow these protocols at all times.

Other HACCP plans are developed during operation, suited to each process or product, and are tailor made to reduce the risk for that specific situation. For example, not all ships might make their cream cheese on board. For the vessel that does, the galley crew must formulate an HACCP system specifically for this, assessing any risks that the ingredients might face from delivery and storage, through preparation and cooking, to storage, service and disposal.

This effectively means there could be dozens of HACCP systems on board for each galley and cruise ship chefs must follow them to the ‘T’. It might seem like a nightmare, but the basis for each lies in the fundamentals learnt at good culinary schools such as the American College of Culinary and Language Arts.

Every HACCP system is based on seven basic principles. The first is going through the entire process to evaluate the various hazards that could affect the process – let’s say a delivery truck that supplies milk for the cream cheese sometimes carries raw vegetables or frozen meat on different occasions.

The next step is to pinpoint exactly when the hazards can be introduced to your produce or system. In this case, it could be when the delivery truck is being cleaned before transporting milk. There will be many different hazards that can be introduced and at many points along the journey. Each of these will need to be identified and assessed.

Once this is done, the team must figure out how to stop the risk from being introduced to the process. It could be the temperature at which the milk is maintained before it is curdled to make the cheese. Or it could be identifying a new supplier who does not use the same delivery vans for different products. It could even be as simple as washing one’s hands before scooping the cheese out of the whey.

The difficult part starts here, because this is where the HACCP requires monitoring of the process to ensure that critical points have been met i.e the risk has been eliminated at the assessed point.

Before setting out on a process, it’s also important that the HACCP system includes a crisis management or corrective action procedure should things not go according to plan. This means listing out any possible issue that could occur – say, the milk boiling over – and noting down what action the cruise ship chef should take if that happens.

Records are another principle of the HACCP system that can bog down a cruise ship chef’s day. They must note down how the system was developed and implemented, whether it is in control and whether or not critical points are being met.

Finally, the system is tested, and continually checked to see if it works, whether equipment is being monitored, records are being kept and if any corrective actions are being put in place.

All of this requires the constant attention cruise ship chefs while they go through the paces of their busy day.

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The Indispensable Role of Cruise Galley Crew

The Indispensable Role of Cruise Galley CrewThe cruise ship galley is like an ant hill – hundreds of staff work as a close-knit team to prepare and serve thousands of meals to guests every day. Each position has an important role to play, without which smooth galley operations could be severely undermined.

Due to volumes, each position may have several crew working simultaneously or in shifts. Still, even a single person missing from the chain could cause an increase in load for the team.

When one thinks of cruise ship galleys, the synonymous image is of food – beautifully plated, colourful and delicious. This is all done by the chefs and their assistants: the demi chefs de partie in the hot galley, the pastry chef in the cold galley, and the bakers in the bread department. These positions are responsible for the putting together the various ingredients of the dishes to the specifications laid down by the cruise ship company.

However, none of this would be possible without any of the crew members involved in preparation of the food. To increase efficiency, cruise ship galleys have an army of crew involved in setting the mise en place, washing and cutting produce. Positions engaged in these roles include the first, second and third cook – or commis, and trainee cooks.

Their job is to keep everything in place for the chefs to put together to create the dish in as little time as possible. This could range from julienned carrots to salad dressing, trimmed steaks to decorative chocolate shards. Without them, the demi chefs de partie would be unable to send meals out the galley doors quickly.

When you think of all the preparation that goes into making a meal, there’s a considerable mess left in its aftermath – everything from vegetable waste and egg shells to spills and dirty utensils need to be cleaned to a standard.

This is where the cleaning crew come in. Dishwashers and galley stewards or cleaners have a herculean task ensuring the entire galley is spotless at all times. Spot checks by public health authorities are common on cruise ships and low ratings could lay the vessel off until authorities are satisfied. They can also affect bookings.

Making sure everyone works in tandem with each other is the chef de partie, who assigns specific duties to each crew member in the galley and reviews the day’s menus from different restaurants. He or she also looks after the entry-level chefs, gives them advice on their skills and brings them up to speed.

Another indispensable arm of the cruise ship galley is provisions. Without someone keeping proper tabs on the amount of produce and various ingredients available to the chefs, the galley could run out before the ship has a chance to even hit port.

The provision master and his or her assistant keeps a close watch on every ingredient in the pantry and storage areas, noting the rate at which each item is being used and accordingly ordering food supplies well in advance.

Crew members involved in stores and provisions must be extremely attentive to detail as produce typically has a short shelf life. They need to be aware of the rate of ripening of fruit and vegetables, such as bananas and lettuce which ripen or wilt quickly.

Overseeing all of these various processes is the sous chef. He or she is the mediator between the executive galley positions and the ground reality, looking after quality control and monitoring the assignment of duties to various crew members.

Many cruise ship companies also have a culinary administrative assistant, whose job it is to look after facets of the galley that are not food related. These include scheduling training programmes, answering emails for galley management, working with the crew purser who handles payments, etc.

At the very top is the executive chef and assistant executive chef or executive sous chef, who are responsible for the entire galley operations. They perform a supervisory role and liaise with the director of food and beverage of the cruise line to make sure that all service is up to standard, and any changes in menu are implemented.

Together, the team works as a cohesive unit, ensuring that both guests and managing company are happy with the quality of food and service.


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How to Get your Grievances Addressed as a Cruise Ship Chefs

  How to Get your Grievances Addressed as a Cruise Ship ChefsCruise ship chefs jobs are among the more popular positions for young men and women in south east Asia today. The pay is good, relative to land-based jobs, and the chance to travel the world when one is young is exciting. It is also a great way to hone skills and work in a multi-cultural environment.

That said, the cruise ship chefs are expected to work approximately 10 to 12 hours each day without a holiday for the entire duration of their contracts. This is, no doubt, difficult but is quite acceptable in the industry.

However, cruise ship chefs are protected by certain maritime and international labour laws against harassment, work and living conditions as well as safety. Cruise companies are expected to have minimum facilities on board that ensure crew are well taken care of.

Some of these guidelines may be mentioned in your contract or orientation kit ahead of joining, but you are also entitled to ask your interviewer about them before you take the job. Many mainstream or big cruise corporations are constantly in the spotlight for working conditions and facilities available to staff, so they are more likely to have a proper grievance redressal system in place and low rates of complaints.

You should be aware of unreliable recruitment agencies who have poor track records or are mostly unheard of. Speak to people who have been hired by them previously to know the inside story.

Once on board, understand your rights as a crew member and know the procedure to get your grievances redressed on board. The most typical way is to inform your superior about your issue as soon as you are faced with the problem. This could be anything from a malfunctioning piece of equipment that has not been timely replaced or fixed despite repeated requests to bullying or sexual harassment.

Always remember that you should never have to compromise on your safety – physical or mental. It is the key to enjoying a productive contract on board a cruise ship. Formal complaints are often the next step after verbal requests. To successfully get your grievance redressed, you should have clear knowledge of the events that led up to your complaint.

It is important to note down any information you think might be of help to the grievance redressal committee – often a part of the human resources / crew / personnel department on board. To be able to do this, you must be aware of things as they occur.

If you find that safety is being compromised in the galley due to malfunctioning equipment, note down immediately when the each request to get it fixed was made and to whom. If someone is mentally or physically harassing you, note down the date and time of each incident and exactly what happened.

It might be painful to relive these instances, particularly if it is physical or sexual assault, but think of it as your ammunition against the perpetrator when the complaint is being looked into.

Inform your supervisor of the issue, in writing over an email, so there is a formal record. If your company has set guidelines over grievance redresal, follow them as closely as possible.

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4 Must-Dos For Cruise Ship Chefs

4 Must-Dos For Cruise Ship ChefsCruise ship chefs jobs demand hard work, attention and many hours. Despite the intensity, there are times when a little bit of time off can go a long way. It’s a given that cruise ship chefs will work with dozens of others from varying multi-cultural backgrounds every day, and also learn a great deal from superiors.

But there are other aspects that can promote genuine all-round learning as a cruise ship employee. Here are just four of these must-do / must-have experiences on board:


It’s a gamble whether you will have shore leave or not, but there will be at least a couple of occasions when your time off work and the ship’s time in port synchronise. Due to your long hours, the natural tendency may be to attend to your other chores – washing your laundry, tidying your room or even catching up on sleep, but it’s safe to say that you should take the chance to go on shore when you can.

Shore leave offers a great deal of opportunity to cruise ship chefs. For one, most cruise ships stop at some of the most coveted tourist destinations in the world. Many of the Caribbean islands are otherwise almost inaccessible for middle-class tourists from south east Asia, so get out and explore. Enjoy the beach, the local food and drink, and soak in the culture. These are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.


One of the big open secrets on cruise ships is the fun that revolves around the crew-only area. Cruise lines are aware of the fact that they demand more than six months of their employees’ time, seven days a week and sometimes up to 10 or more hours a day. They ensure the crew have sufficient entertainment and leisure at their disposal.

There are whole teams assigned to schedule and organise crew events – themed gigs, sports competitions, DJ nights, festival celebrations. While it is up to each person to ensure that they are fit to work the next day, these parties can be unrivalled by land-based dos. As always, you must not do anything you do not want to, but seeing how staff let their hair down cruise ship style is something you do not want to miss.


Many cruise ship companies offer volunteering activities in their ports of call as a way to give back to the less fortunate in the countries they visit. These may include anything from beach cleaning to activities that help endangered animals or helping underprivileged children.

Signing up for these activities will give you a chance to give back to the communities that indirectly impact your life. It will give you a new perspective to the places that you work in. The crew activities department ensures that interested employees are easily able to give back to the communities during their time off. Take the opportunity to do a good deed.


Life would not be the same without an unannounced health inspection. It may be a rare occasion that a cruise ship chef avoids a health inspection during the entire duration of his/her time at sea, particularly in ports in the US.

While dreaded, these health inspections can help a great deal with your job. Without a doubt, they instill a high sense of hygiene and sanitation into every cruise ship chef, one they will carry with them for life. Successfully passing a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention inspection is a must-have experience on board.

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How long do Cruise Ship Contracts Last

How long do Cruise Ship Contracts LastLanding cruise ship jobs means committing yourself to working contracts that last months, far away from home. But not everyone spends the same amount of time on board. Contract durations change from one cruise ship company to another, and from position to position.

On board a cruise ship, employees are divided according to departments: activity and shipboard entertainment, deck and engineering, service and hospitality (including food and beverage, purser, housekeeping and hotel administration), personal care and medical, and sometimes corporate.

When you first start working on a cruise ship – typically at the bottom of the hierarchy depending on your experience in hospitality, contracts tend to be on the longer side. Princess Cruises offers contracts that can last up to 10 months long with work schedules demanding as many as 10 to 13 hours a day, seven days a week during this time.

Caribbean Cruises offers contracts that average around six months. An Aida Cruises assistant bartender can expect to work up to 10 months at a stretch per contract, according to job site Indeed. Carnival Corporations, similarly, offers eight to nine-month contracts to staff in positions such as galley supervisors. A stateroom steward can expect contracts of about seven to eight months with the same company.

Roles with more responsibility can come with shorter contracts. Disney requires chefs de partie to spend around six months on board, and commit to at least two to three contracts before they consider a promotion. Sous chefs with big companies, such as Royal Caribbean, typically work around four months per contract.

Disney’s chefs de cuisine, one of the higher level positions on board, enjoy four-month contracts with two months off as well as medical and life insurance, disability insurance and retirement plan benefits as long as a return contract is signed.

No matter what the duration of the contract, most employees in the service and hospitality sector can expect to work very long hours – longer than similar positions on land. Even executive chefs are on their feet most of the time, even if they may not be doing as much actual cooking as say a line cook. They must visit every restaurant under their watch, do food tastings and sometimes put the final touches on dishes before they go out for service.

There are no holidays on board, for anyone. It’s a seven-day week and once your contract ends, so does the payment. This holds especially true for entry-level jobs where cruise ship companies have thousands of applicants to choose from and can replace staff at the drop of a hat.

Most staff can indicate whether they would like to return for another contract and the cruise ship company will send them the details at the requisite time. It is then up to them to choose whether or not they would like to continue, just as in a land job.

In countries like India and the Philippines, many work multiple contracts, rising through the ranks and gaining valuable experience while they are young and able to handle the demanding pressures of the job. They can then use this experience to either join a high position at a land-based resort or company or start something on their own.

In entry-level positions, contracts allow for around six to eight weeks off between contracts. Often, one does not receive any salary for this ‘vacation time’. However, in top positions, depending on the type of contract and company, one may get paid for the time off. Usually, this can last up to about two months.

Many cruise ship companies like to sign rolling contracts with their employees. Rolling contracts are the opposite of fixed term contracts where employees are brought on board for a certain period of time. A rolling contract continues until one party – either the employee or the company – decide to end it for whatever reason they see fit. This works well for both parties.

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Tips for Cruise Ship Crew in a Foreign Port

Tips for Cruise Ship Crew in a Foreign PortShore leave is one of the most awaited benefits for people with cruise ship jobs. It’s where many of the memories are made and Instagram pictures are taken. Cruise ships stop at beautiful ports of call around the world, so taking advantage of shore leave and exploring the place is on every crew member’s to-do list. Here are a few things to think of when you’re planning to go ashore.

Experience the local

Because culture is so different around the world, shore leave gives you the chance to discover new things. Cruise ship chefs in particular should take the opportunity to taste local dishes and exotic ingredients hard to find in other parts of the world.

There could be craft beers or local liquor, a specific type of seafood, fruit or vegetable. These will help open your tastebuds to new flavour combinations that may come in handy if you decide to start your own venture. Experience counts.


Take a trip to the local supermarket and pick up a few essentials. While cruise ship crew have access to a store that offers items for a more discounted rate than passengers, you may still not enjoy the variety you do on land. If you have a particular sunscreen or toothpaste you use, it is worth a trip to the local store to stock up.

In particular, getting a hold of medication is easier on land. Just remember to carry your prescription as many pharmacies in western countries are averse to selling drugs without them.

Items like clothes and souvenirs will probably be more expensive on land, so save these for a special purchase.

Be respectful

It’s important to note that while every port is a tourist destination, there are local customs and traditions that deserve your respect. It is never alright to enter a place of worship dressed in a swimming costume or even shorts, so always carry a wrap around you can use to cover up.

Learn about the local laws and traditions so you can be mindful as you enjoy your time in port. Take photocopies of necessary documents with you when you go ashore in case you need to show a law enforcement officer. Never litter, even if a dustbin is not easily available or you see other trash on the street. Carry your trash back with you to dispose on board or at the nearest available opportunity.

Avoid unruly drunken behaviour and walk away from stressful situations that may lead to brawls, even if you are not at fault. Police may side with the locals and the last thing you want is a night in jail in a foreign country.

Treat everyone with respect and they will surely return the favour.

Get in touch with home

Getting out in port is a great chance to make contact with home. Cruise ships often have expensive internet connections, so in port you can make cheaper video calls to relatives and friends.

Keep the bonds of friendship and family alive, so you can easily pick up where you left off when you come home, and those you have left behind can feel loved and remembered.

Take advantage of crew excursions

Cruise ships try to keep crew happy and one of the ways they do so is organising excursions in port. These are separate from passenger excursions and can be much cheaper. You can get the chance to see local monuments, relax at a beach and generally have a good time without worrying about guests.

These are mostly organised by big cruise ship companies and should there be a delay, the ship will wait for you.

Keep an eye on the time

This is important during those times when you do not go ashore on a ship excursion. Always ensure you get back to the ship at the designated time, which is usually an hour before scheduled departure. If you miss the ship in this case, it will go on without you. You will have to pay for transport back to the ship and your contract may be terminated.

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