One of the things you really wish for when you begin work on a cruise ship is that you have a good roommate. After all for at least 8 months you will be sharing very close and sometimes cramped living conditions and it is important that you get along. Thankfully for the two years I spent on cruise ships, I was pretty lucky in that respect and I am still very good friends with my last roommate.
It is important to be flexible and considerate – if you are both of these things, then all will go fantastic.
The crew on board are one big family and everyone gets to know each other pretty quickly, it often results in some long lasting special friendships with people from all over the world. You fall into the routine of ship life very quickly and everyone lives for their time off. We were lucky enough to be in ports until late at night and getting ready to go out with your friends to a fantastic restaurant or a bar was really exciting, you could never accuse the crew of not knowing how to party! But oh no! Work tomorrow! Sore heads on a day when the ship is at sea isn’t so good.
Life in the staff mess and the crew bar was fantastic and after a busy day of work, it was lovely to be able to chill out with a glass of wine or two. I do miss crew bar prices! On the flip side of this, on many nights some of my team would rent a movie and try and squeeze 6 or 7 of us into one of our tiny cabins with lots of crisps and drinks, a great way to just have a “night in”.
When the ship hit rocky waters, everything you owned fell out of wardrobes or off shelves and landed on the floor in the middle of the night but, this really didn’t matter because like everything about working on a cruise ship, the good far outweighs the bad. And if you want some quiet time, take a book onto the top deck, find a sun bed and have some “me” time which is very much recommended as living in such close quarters, you need your space!
11 years on, I still miss a lot of things about ship life and the adventures I had!