How to Get a Cruise Ship Chef Job

How to Get a Cruise Ship Chef JobSome of the most coveted positions in the marine hospitality world are cruise ship chef jobs. For those passionate about the culinary arts, these careers offer exciting new avenues, higher-than-normal pay – for developing countries at least – and excellent exposure.

So how do you get a job on a cruise ship?

The first thing to do is to determine whether or not you are indeed cut out for this type of job. Understand the environment you will be working in and how ready you are for it. Cruise ship chef jobs involve working seven days a week for between four to six months, and often 14 hours a day.

This also means often working through holidays such as Diwali, Christmas and New Year, and being far away from family at this time. You will get a couple of months off between contracts but there is no guarantee that these will coincide with the holiday season back home.

Staff live at sea for the entire duration of the contract. Those with a tendency to fall sea sick often might want to consider how this might affect their work. Mild seasickness is common and you get over it and used to it quickly. But more persistent conditions can become a liability.

Another factor to consider is being away from family, friends and familiar people for months on end. Communication back home is limited but certainly available. You will have to make do with short calls that depend on internet connectivity most days.

The next thing to do when trying to get a cruise ship chef job is to check whether you have the qualifications, experience and most importantly, aptitude for the job. Do you want to be a chef? Do you have a passion for cooking good food, presenting beautiful dishes, serving people and interacting with them?

Check cruise ship company websites for various posts and check the qualifications and experience required. Some positions ask for a year or two of similar work experience in a shore-based job. If you don’t have the requirements, you can work towards it and perhaps land a better position on board instead of having to start at the very bottom of the hierarchy.

While it is possible to get cruise ship chef jobs by applying directly, it is probably a better shot to go through recruitment agencies. Do your research on various cruise ship recruitment agencies and be aware of fly-by-night operators and scamsters. Good recruitment agencies like Kamaxi Overseas Consultants work with reputed cruise ship companies, and you can always cross reference information.

Always check the position you are applying for and tweak your CV to reflect the work experience, volunteer work and qualifications they want in a prospective employee. For example, it helps to highlight that you handled the dessert bar at your local café if you are applying for the job of a pastry chef, even if you had more experience cooking Chinese food at a pan-Asian restaurant.

The final process to get a cruise ship chef job includes a preliminary interview to check whether you are suitable. If you are not shortlisted for the job, the recruitment agency will inform you of your shortcomings so you can work towards it.

If you are shortlisted, there will be a technical interview to grasp your knowledge of the job at hand. After this, you will be interviewed by the cruise ship company – as opposed to being interviewed by the recruitment agency in earlier rounds.

Once you are selected, the recruitment agency will inform you of all the necessary documents required and how to process them. These include visas, STCW, police clearance, medicals and vaccinations, seaman’s book, etc.

You will then receive a joining date and a short orientation of what to expect during travel and on your first contract on board.

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Are you physically and mentally healthy for cruise ship jobs?

Are you physically and mentally healthy for cruise ship jobs?Staying healthy is an important part of life, not just work. But with cruise ship jobs, this aspect becomes doubly important. Living and working relatively far from land can pose problems although all cruise vessels offer some sort of medical aid on board.

However, they’re not taking any chances. In order to get on board in the first place, you will need a medical certificate, signed by an authenticated or approved doctor. Your recruitment agency – like Kamaxi Overseas – will help you get in touch with one in your vicinity.

This practice of certifying medical fitness of crew began 70 years ago when the International Labour Organisation realised the benefits of being healthy at sea. It wanted to ensure that crew were healthy so they do not pose a danger to others on board. This is especially true of cruise ships where crew live in close quarters with each other and can often come in contact with passengers – many of them over the span of a single day.

Therefore, Convention No 73 of the International Labour Organisation stated that anyone working on a ship must have a certificate signed by a medical practitioner that proves he or she is fit for the work he or she may be engaged in while on board.

The Pre-Employment Seafarers’ Medical Examination, or PEME, includes a wide range of tests to check for a number of health issues particularly pre-existing conditions that could manifest on board during the duration of the contract.

In the UK, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency offers guidance for about 17 conditions, but in general approved medical practitioners will ask any or all of the following: a Mantoux skin test to check for immunity to tuberculosis, chest x-ray, an ECG, and tests for blood, urine, immunology, liver function, blood pressure as well as pregnancy for women.

The doctor will look for a blood pressure reading that is around 140/90, check your body-mass index by measuring your height and weight and also see if you can pass an exercise or performance test.

It is also important to maintain good dental hygiene as some doctors may look at this as a parameter on which to consider you ‘fit’. When you go for your examination, carry along any medications you take regularly, as well as your glasses, a copy of any vaccinations you have received and contact lenses or spectacles if you use them. It is best to avoid actually wearing contact lenses as you will have to remove them during the appointment anyway.

Doctors will also ask you questions that will help determine your mental health, including queries about alcohol use/abuse, suicidal thoughts, homesickness, issues with concentration, side effects of medications, failed or stressful relationships, etc.

It helps to be honest about any issues or conditions as these play a big role in life on board, which involves long work hours and living with crew members from around the world.

While on board, the onus is on you to keep yourself physically and mentally fit so you can do your job well. If you are deemed unfit at any point, the cruise ship company may send you home as they would prefer not to take any risks.

Cruise ship jobs will have you working seven days a week, but they do offer some free time. Fill this up with activities that keep you healthy. Many crew members fall prey to the temptation of ignoring their physical health.

To avoid this, Use some free time to hit any of the various activity or recreation centres built especially for crew – the gym or swimming pool, etc. Be mindful of what you eat as the food in the crew mess offers enticing comfort food options from around the world that can be high in calories. They also offer fruit, vegetables and other healthy options but the temptation to choose the former over the latter is strong.

Stay mentally active and relaxed by engaging in some meditation every day or a hobby you enjoy – such as learning a new language from another crew member. Crew Wifi allows you to stay in touch with friends and family back home. On board, stay away from negative people, and make a few friends you can trust so you can speak to them if you feel mentally exhausted or strained.

Your good health – physical and mental – ensures a happy and long career on cruise ships.

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Why Working On a Cruise Ship Could be your Dream Job

Why Working On a Cruise Ship Could be your Dream JobSo much of our lives is spent working. There is no better way to live than being engaged in a job you love. For this reason, there are many who look to working on cruise ships as dream jobs thanks to the variety of opportunities available and the work environment. Here are just a few reasons why working on a cruise ship could be your dream job:

A booming industry

Everyone likes to get on the bandwagon of a booming industry. It means more open positions, possibly higher salaries and a variety of experiences. More people are travelling than ever before, and cruise ships are getting larger and more exciting. This is fuelled by the increasing demand for cruise holidays and, with it, brings coveted jobs to your doorstep.

The demand is currently so high that cruise ship companies headquartered in and operating from the US have opened offices in south east Asia to meet their needs. In India, the key is to go with a reputed recruitment company, like Kamaxi Overseas, to ensure you get placed with good companies.

Training on the job

No matter your educational qualifications, all cruise companies offer you hands-on training to bring you up to speed with the regulations of the ship and the way things work on board. You’ll receive training in safety at sea, first aid and what to do in case of emergencies. All of these sessions give you life skills that you can apply to any situation in the future. And the training is part of your job, so you get paid for it!

Promotions and benefits

While contracts may be long and work may be hard, sticking with a cruise ship company has its advantages. A majority of cruise ship crew start at the bottom, and with diligence and consistency, they can rise through the ranks. Cruise ship members often tend to stick with companies for added benefits they get due to loyalty. Some crew have worked with companies for a decade or more. With good companies, it’s possible to get flexibility with contracts, a preference for certain ships within the fleet and more career opportunities.

Travel while you work

Without exotic locations and exciting port activities, a cruise ship would be a failure. As part of the crew, you are guaranteed a certain amount of time off. Many crew members take advantage of this and are able to explore destinations they would otherwise only have dreamed of visiting. Good cruise ship companies also organise separate port excursions for crew members which are often cheaper than those for guests. Those with cruise ship chef jobs can widen their food experiences by experimenting with different local tastes and learning things along the way.

Conditions keep getting better

While the past may have seen much negative criticism by way of cruise ships taking advantage of crew, times are changing. Companies have realised that happy crew are a key to making a difference in their guests’ experience. One cannot expect five-star conditions for employees, but cruise ships have a variety of facilities – from entertainment and sports to training and low-cost communications or stores – just for crew. The only thing they expect in return is hard work and adherence to ship policy.

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What to Expect from Cruise Ships of the Future

What to Expect from Cruise Ships of the FutureThe future of cruise ships is already here. Technology has advanced to a great extent and is being incorporated by companies at a quicker pace than ever, solely to enhance the guest experience.

Everything a cruise ship company does is aimed at setting itself apart and creating a brand identity – something to differentiate itself from all the other players out there. Cruise ships are combining a powerful mix of technology, service and marketing to create not just memorable holidays, but experiences.

As they move forward in time, companies are building on the data and trends of today to surge forward and build ships of the future. Today, iPads are increasingly common in hotels where guests can adjust temperature and mood lighting, book a restaurant reservation or wake up call, or even print travel tickets.

For hospitality staff such as cleaning crew, electronic sensors inform them of heat signatures in the room so they are aware if a guest is in. Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas began as a project in February 2011, and is considered one of the most technologically advanced cruise ships sailing at the moment. Even for today’s standards, much of its offerings are certainly advanced.

The aim of the company – as with many other companies now – is to build a cruise ship that caters to people who want to be perpetually connected to the world. This means futuristic technology and high-speed internet, the latter being one of the biggest shortcomings on cruise ships thus far.

It gives guests the opportunity to plan their day in advance or change their minds on a whim, get a seat in a restaurant without a reservation, and still be connected to the world they left behind. Guests on Quantum of the Seas are able to video chat and perhaps even live stream their activities thanks to an innovative system that tracks the closest satellite overhead and hops to the next one every hour to offer almost 600MB of internet capacity.

This means more guests can get online at the same time for a cheaper rate, and Royal Caribbean can charge the same internet rates that are applicable to land-based hotels. The aim is to draw as new customers the millennial generation that is perpetually connected so they can share images, videos and posts on the go while enjoying their vacation.

To enhance the guest experience, the ship goes so far as to use high-definition TVs positioned vertically along the cabin wall displaying the ocean going by to offer the illusion of a balcony to every room. Guests can even sky-dive in a wind tunnel out on deck and visit the Bionic Bar where robotic arms designed by MIT mix cocktails for guests pre-ordered on a tablet system that informs them how long they have to wait for the drink to be made.

But Royal Caribbean isn’t the only one on board the technology express. Costa Cruises has started a 4GoodFood project that is looking at reducing on board food waste by 50 per cent by 2020. The project is hoping to engage cruise ship crew as well as guests by sustainably improving preparation without losing quality and encouraging Taste Don’t Waste at buffets.

In the cruise ship kitchens, it focused on seasonal and local produce, used kitchen scales and records to assess food wastage during preparation, and trained galley staff in reducing waste.

Soon, cruise ship guests will be able to tailor their rooms to their requirements before even arriving – set temperature and lighting, alarms, brew coffee while they are taking a shower. Or perhaps your smart home will relay your preferences directly to your hotel or cruise ship to adjust the settings according to its collected data. The sky’s the limit!

The Internet of Things allows for truly personalised services, and the hospitality and cruise ship industry are not far behind in realising its potential and working towards implementation.

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How USPH regulations bring in cruise ship guests

How USPH Regulations bring in Cruise Ship GuestsIn a large industry, nothing can work smoothly without rules and their implementation. With most big cruise ship companies plying in the Caribbean having headquarters in the US, it is imperative that they follow applicable laws.

The United States Public Health or USPH ratings are taken as the gold standard among cruise ship companies around the world as to the quality of hygiene on their vessels. Ships are inspected typically twice a year, and these visits come unannounced. This means that inspectors from the Center for Disease Control – which sets the USPH rules – are able to observe a vessel as it functions on a regular day. Cruise ship inspections take place under the USPH Vessel Sanitation Program.

The USPH came into being to curb the spread of gastrointestinal diseases on board cruise ships. Previously, cruises were notorious for norovirus epidemics which spread quickly in the confined areas through cross-contamination.

USPH rules are applicable to all crew and staff on board and they must be followed at all times – whether one is on duty or off. The regulations govern all waters belonging to all US territories and as well as areas covered by its agreements and treaties with other nations.

The main aim of the Vessel Sanitation Program is to keep guests and crew safe from infections while on board. Effectively, a good USPH score can boost the cruise ship’s image in the eyes of potential guests.

Cruise ship companies use good USPH ratings to their advantage during marketing. Many cruise goers come from at risk groups – such as the elderly and young children, whose immune system may be more susceptible to infections. So when booking a holiday at sea, they will be more likely to look at cruise ships with good USPH scores.

The Vessel Sanitation Program rates ships on a scale of 0-100, and any score of 85 and below is considered failed. A ship that has failed is not allowed to sail until appropriate rectifications are made that help them attain a passing score. High-risk violations must be corrected immediately – such as temperatures at which food is stored or disposing of items that have passed their expiry date.

Other violations may take time to be rectified, such as a documentation system that fails to identify a crew member’s immediate contacts on board other than cabin mates, such as a spouse or partner.

Inspection reports are available to the public online and are updated as and when a ship has been checked. For potential guests, knowing the type of violation a vessel lost points on can play an important role in determining where they spend their money.

Documentation violations may not hold much significance, but poor sanitation systems and galley hygiene can push them to look at other companies.

Cruise ship companies must constantly be on their toes to keep their systems in order, not just to pass the USPH inspections but also to attract their guests. Most ships that follow regulations score around 97 per cent. So a score of 87 may take a vessel over the USPH passing mark, but it is considered a poor score in the world of cruising.

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How To Avoid the Most Contagious Cruise Ship Illnesses

How To Avoid the Most Contagious Cruise Ship IllnessesA cruise may be a holiday, but if even one person – crew or passenger – has a gastrointestinal disease or any contagious illnesses, all hell can break loose. It is hard to keep track of passenger hygiene and cleanliness. Cruise ship crew, however, can be called upon to be more diligent.

Gastrointestinal disease affects the digestive system, causing cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. It is debilitating to say the least and highly contagious. The reason why gastrointestinal diseases – such as e. coli and in particular norovirus – easily turn into epidemics on cruise ships is because there are thousands of people confined to a relatively small space.

These illnesses occur when people carrying the bug contaminate commonly used items such as door knobs, fridge handles, railings, etc. Fecal matter and vomit particles are quickly transferred this way from person to person, and can soon affect many. Most recently, large cruise ship companies, such as P&O Cruises and Celebrity Cruises, have experienced norovirus outbreaks on board.

The easiest way to avoid contracting a gastrointestinal disease on cruise ships is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. It is important to do so before and after you eat a meal, and – as a cruise ship chef – before and after you handle food in the kitchen. Any other staff also handling food, such as wait staff, should also wash their hands frequently and thoroughly.

Hands should also be washed if you have gone out to port, touched railings and other commonly used items, used the toilet, shaken hands with a stranger, handled money, etc.

When it comes to passengers, the quickest course of action cruise ships can take when handling a potential outbreak is to quarantine all those who report symptoms of gastrointestinal illnesses and shut down the buffet. The latter is the area where germs spread very easily – other than public toilets.

Passengers touch everything from the serving spoons to the drinking water fountains so it is difficult to keep the virus contained. Far worse is serving food that might be contaminated, thereby infecting many more people in a shorter span of time. Until the source of the contamination is discovered, cruise ship companies keep buffets off limits.

Gastrointestinal diseases spread quickly, so reporting is paramount to nipping it in the bud. Passengers are typically required to fill in a form upon embarking which details whether they were unwell during the few weeks before boarding the ship. If so, they are sent to the ship’s doctor and ascertained whether a quarantine of a day or two is required to avoid any possible disease from spreading.

Crew including cruise ship chefs are required to report to their supervisor at the slightest hint of illness. Medical officers can then trace the cause of the illness and management can take the crew member off duty until he or she can be cleared for work.

Regulatory bodies also play a huge role in containing the incidence of gastrointestinal disease. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has a Vessel Sanitation Program that grades any ship touching its ports.

Vessels are inspected twice a year and the visits are unannounced. The agency trawls through all areas of the ship, checking everything from medical logs, potable water systems, swimming pools and whirlpool spas, to galleys and dining rooms, child activity centres, cabins, ventilation systems and other common areas. The ship must get a score of 86 or above of 100 to pass the inspection.

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Do’s and Don’ts for Cruise Ship Crew

Do’s and Don’ts for Cruise Ship CrewAs a crew member on a cruise ship, knowledge of the rules that govern life on board is vital. Living and working on a floating hotel brings with it a whole new parameter of safety and conduct.

The rules are strict and those that involve interaction with guests are stringently enforced, risking crew with a dishonourable discharge should they be flouted. Below are a few of the main points to follow and avoid.

DO’s

Punctuality

Crew members are expected to report on time for their shifts so that the workings of the ship can move like clock work. They are also expected to arrive back on board well before departure time if they go on an excursion in port. Failure to do so can cause them to be left behind in port.

Appearance

As with the hospitality industry around the world, appearance creates an impression. Cruise ship crew have strict rules when it comes to dress codes and these must be followed to the ‘T’. They are expected to shower regularly, keep their hair neatly cut or trimmed and their nails short and clean. Wearing the correct uniform is important too, and it helps greatly for crew to develop a laundry schedule to ensure their garments are spotless.

Safety

Every crew member on board a cruise ship is considered a health and safety officer. It bodes well for the cruise line for officers, staff and crew to know exactly what to do in emergency situations or how to avoid safety risks. All cruise ship crew are expected to attend safety drills and learn all the emergency procedures. Many ships even train their crew how to respond in the event of a possible pirate attack. Crew on some ships must even learn code words for various emergencies so they can get messages across without alarming passengers.

DON’Ts

Drugs & alcohol

Intoxication is not tolerated. Consumption and even possession of narcotics are strictly prohibited. Cruise ships do have a crew bar with cheap alcohol but employees are expected to remain within limits. Alcohol levels should never be such that they impede work. Crew can be randomly breathalysed at any time, and although this rarely happens as cruise vessels understand social needs, employees must be able to function at their jobs up to standard.

Fraternising with guests

Cruise ship crew members are not allowed to engage with guests unless their role requires it. For those who interact with guests as part of their job, they are expected to be friendly and helpful, but there is a line they should never cross. Being overly sociable is frowned upon; getting physical is not permitted. Cruise ship crew whose roles do not involve guest interaction are not allowed in the passenger areas.

Illnesses

Hygiene is vital on a ship as it can affect all on board. Never dismiss a feeling of physical uneasiness or symptoms of a stomach upset. They could be signs of a deeper issue. Crew are expected to inform their superiors of any illness or sickness as soon as they feel uneasy. This especially applies to those working in the galleys and in service as their neglect could cause passengers to fall ill, and if this is left unchecked, it could lead to an epidemic on board.

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How Cruise Ship Crew Celebrate Festive Holidays

How cruise ship crew celebrate festive holidaysWorking on a cruise ship means working seven days a week for months at a time. One of the biggest drawbacks of cruise ship jobs is thought to be spending holidays working.

Indeed, this could be said of any hospitality job. However, on a cruise ship you might actually have a better time than you would at a similar land-based hotel job.

Reputed cruise line companies make it their business to ensure the crew are fairly well looked after. This includes helping to cut some of that nostalgic, home-sick feeling with holiday festivals on board.

The biggest holidays celebrated around the world are part of the festivities for crew – Hallowe’en, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year, and Easter. However, because many of the crew are from South East Asian countries like India, cruise ships include celebrations for festivals such as Diwali as well.

It is rather hard for cruise ship crew to ignore festivities even if that is some sort of defence mechanism to avoid the painful feeling of missing their families at that time of year. Decorations and symbols of the festivities are everywhere – Christmas trees and snowmen at Christmas, scary costumes at Hallowe’en, candles for Hanukkah, eggs and Easter bunnies for Easter.

Many crew join in the festivities full swing, buying cheap, small decorations from shore to string up in their cabins and create an air of joy. The cruise line company typically organises a slew of related events. At Christmas, each department will have its own party, filled with exchange of gifts or Secret Santa events, spiked eggnog, themed food and drink.

Sometimes, smaller department heads put together less formally organised parties in their cabins. This, however, is restricted to roles in the higher end of the hierarchy, say the captain having his or her deck officers over in the spirit of the season.

Similarly, New Year’s will have a full scale party in the crew club for those who are off work. If the ship is in port, as many are, there will may be fewer guests on board, but the vessel will pull out all the stops for celebrations in any case. If by chance, they are at sea, more hands will be needed and the crew party might be deferred to a slightly later hour.

But it’s not all about themselves. Cruise ship companies often take holiday festivities as a time to engage in charitable work. The department responsible will often organise a volunteer crew trip for the less fortunate people at the ports they berth at. For Christmas, they may distribute toys to orphans or visit an elderly care home with treats dressed as Santa and elves.

A few charities even work to bring the holiday cheer to those on board. US charities such as the Seamen’s Church Institute celebrates Christmas at Sea each year by donating scarves and other garments for crew who sail. In 2008, it added cruise ship workers to its list of mariners to receive garment donations.

Cruise ship crew may not be with their families at home on holidays, but they are treated with celebrations on board complete with festive food, drink and decor. With dozens of others in the same situation, together they create an excellent holiday vibe in crew only areas which makes up, at least in part, for missing out on celebrations back home

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Cruise Ship Crew Benefits

cruise ship crew BenefitsMany negative articles have been written about life for cruise ship crew, chief among them relating to pay scales and living conditions. However, it must be noted that these are mostly written from the perspective of a Western world where costs of living, job expectations and benefits are much higher.

The hospitality industry is largely the same on land as well as on a cruise ship as far as professional demands is concerned. However, the perks and benefits received by cruise ship crew are often much better. Registered, well-known cruise line companies are known to give their staff excellent reasons to join and happily stay on.

The main benefits for crew come by way of salary as the accommodation, food and some entertainment is paid for. Travelling to exotic places is part of the job, and you will have scant need to save to see far-off places during your vacations.

The cruise ship company also pays for your international flight ticket to and from the ship. On board, laundry service is usually free. While working cruise ship chefs jobs, this can save a lot of money as uniforms are expected to be spotless when you turn up for work each day.

Other benefits, however, are quite important and can help save families in time of distress. Cruise ship companies offer health benefits and insurance to all crew members. You must pass a medical examination at a recommended clinic before you get on board, but once there, the situation eases up financially.

If you are ill on board, you have quick access to a doctor as well as prescribed medication free of charge. Various types of other insurances are available, differing depending on your contract and position, and it is best to understand them in detail before you go on board.

Only in rare cases do cruise ship companies offer to pay for health insurance while the crew member is on leave. This is usually applicable only to those with US, Canadian or EU citizenship.

In case of injury or death that occurred during service, the cruise ship company will usually pay the family of the crew member a lump sum amount as compensation. However, they are not eligible for this compensation if the injury or death occurred due to the crew member’s negligence, suicide or an attempt to do so, misconduct or natural causes.

Some of the less morbid benefits for cruise ship crew and their family is to do with entertainment. At the crew bar, alcohol is heavily discounted compared to the prices paid for by passengers. The general store and health store sell items including non-prescription medication such as pills for motion sickness or common colds also at a lower rate compared to the shops accessible to passengers.

Depending on position, crew ship crew gets discounts at certain bars and restaurants on board, and sometimes in port as well with ventures that have tie-ups with the company. Employees of certain rank or having been in service for a certain number of years get added family benefits such as discounted prices on cruises. This benefit is not extended during peak holiday season but can still offer an exciting way for families to spend time together and understand how you work.

The benefits for cruise crew and their families differ according to each company. Royal Caribbean for example offers its employees retirement pension options. It even has special services for its Filipino crew which helps them with housing loans through a long-term commitment with renewable contracts. It’s a win-win all around.

It’s always worth looking into the benefits offered by different cruise ship companies before settling on the one that best suits your needs.

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What do cruise ship crew eat?

What do cruise ship crew eatMuch is talked about regarding the kind of food served to guests on board cruise ships. After all, it is a big part of the cruising experience. But what do cruise ship crew eat?

Food is free, for the most part, on board all cruise lines for crew, staff and officers. Their hierarchy determines the extent of service and options which these categories of employees are allowed.

Cruise ship crew are often restricted to the crew messes – a self-service buffet where they can eat their fill during the hours of operation. So if they are on shifts and absolutely must have a certain meal, such as breakfast, it is up to them to wake up early and get to the buffet in time.

Staff also have a buffet, generally the same one as the crew, but have the option of ordering table service from those under training to wait on guests. They also have more options at their disposal compared to crew.

Officers on the other hand have many other options, including a full range salad bar, and typically order table service from staff waiters under training. Some staff – who interact with guests on work – and officers are also able to access passenger areas like the main dining room and certain restaurants where they can eat certain meals.

The cruise crew menu largely depends on the composition of nationalities. It’s often noticed that Asians make up a large part of the cruise ship crew demography so catering tends to lean towards their sort of fare. However, to keep things interesting, cruise ship companies ensure a variety. They rotate the menus each day, so one day might feature Indian food, another day Italian, Filipino, Mexican, sometimes even Eastern European.

However, since a large percentage of the cruise crew are Asian, steamed white rice forms an important part of the menu each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Indians have made their presence felt in crew numbers and are guaranteed ‘home-style’ food. Indian guests have been known to befriend compatriot crew members to get a taste of familiar food during their stay on board. It is certainly important for cruise companies to offer more authentic traditional meals, especially when the demographic is so skewed, to keep crew happy.

For breakfast, crew can expect a decent range of Continental fare – the usual suspects such as cereal, milk, hot beverages, fruit juice, toast, eggs any way you like them, and a rice dish that is often a popular morning meal in places like The Philippines.

For lunch and dinner, the menu varies each day, but you will certainly find rice and a broth or curry to go with it. Some cruises offer a health menu with salads, fruit and low-calorie dessert, although this might be restricted to staff and officers. There will be vegetarian dishes as well as meats – fish, pork, beef and chicken mostly. You may also find turkey.

A midnight buffet is also available for those on odd shifts. A full range of fast food such as hot dogs, burgers, pizzas and more are made available for crew. Items like soda pop and dry items like instant noodles or cookies may be charged, but at a nominal fee.

It is important to note that cruise ship crew are not permitted to take food back to their cabins on most ships to ensure hygiene and prevent pest infestation. Companies sometimes treat their entire crew to a meal in the main dining room or one of the restaurants during which time they can relish dishes generally served to passengers.

In general, all cruise ship companies ensure their employees are well-fed and keep the menus consistent with the kind of demographic that populates the crew roster most.

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