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Staff conditions onboard a cruise ship

If you’ve just landed your first job on board a cruise ship, don’t expect to have a luxury en-suite cabin with a sea view and balcony all to yourself!

Here’s a guideline as to what to expect once you're living onboard but do thoroughly check your individual crew package and contract:

  • COMPACT & BIJOUX …although cabin size will depend on the size of vessel, chances are you’ll be sharing a fairly cramped cabin with a complete stranger.
  • NEW BEST FRIENDS … because of the diversity of career and travel opportunities on board you’ll meet so many interesting people, people who will quickly become your new best friends.
  • YEARS AT SEA BRING PERKS … generally single cabins are reserved for the more senior cruise staff, so if you’re offered one you really have landed on your feet! Likewise, you might find senior staff sometimes living in slightly more lavish passenger areas.
  • CABIN SHARE … if you’re on a larger vessel it’s quite likely you’ll be sharing a cabin on one of the crew decks.
  • KEEPING IT TOGETHER … staff are generally accommodated according to nationality and department, so kitchen staff live on the same floor, engineers on another and cruise staff all together etc.
  • WHERE ONBOARD … the higher up the ship, generally speaking the better the accommodation. The lower the cabin, the more likely you’ll be able to hear the hum of the engine and the sea splashing against the bow.
  • CREW GRUB … if you’re on a smaller ship you might be lucky enough to get the same food as the passengers, however on larger ships crew almost always have their own mess hall, which may be split by nationality.
  • DOWN TIME … obviously depending on the ship, staff can sometimes watch onboard movies, live shows and play organised crew games.
  • RELAXATION … ships sometimes provide extras for staff, for example; TV in cabins and crew lounges.
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