Posted May 20th, 2008, 11:41 PM
I have a huge appreciation for the hard work done ... Lastly, I work with teenagers that are always trying to sort their lives out and figure out what they might want to do for work when older and it would be helpful for me to have some info. about various possible jobs.
My son started at 18 yrs old and has worked on board for the better part of 7 years. The first year or first couple of contracts, is usually rough since these young people are learning to be away from home, work a full time job, share a room with strangers, missing family, holidays etc. You need to be in a stable frame of mind to accept work on a ship due to it's logistics. It's really stressful for some.
In addition when you factor in food, lodging, clothing, etc. it is much more than you imagine. (Before anyone says they are packed in rooms, etc. they are still getting room and board, that they would have to pay for on shore.) In addition there are usually crew rooms with cheap alcohol, and a store to buy a lot of their personal items at really cheap prices.
On the cruise line my son works on most crew members do share small
rooms with 2 or more people. And just when you just get used to your roommates habits - they are gone and you have a new roommate.
They have a crew mess which is buffet style and is not the same menu as the passengers buffet. Many of the dishes are ethnic foods that the crew members would find in their home countries. My son lived on rice and bagels and spent his paycheck on food on shore whenever he had the chance until he reached officer status! The officers mess does get to order off the menu. And they get their own room but it's smaller then a passenger room.
They do have a crew bar and a crew store, both with reasonable prices. No booze or food allowed in their room. They do room inspections. And no kitchen priviledges so if you end up working thru dinner and don't get off work until late - you're out of luck until tomorrow. DS loves home cooked food when he "vacations" - at home!
The perk is: Family members, spouse, children, parents and step parents, brothers and sisters...
Again, I'm only speaking for one cruise line here. Most cruise lines offer a " Friends and Family" rate of some sort. Rates vary according to the itinerary and port fees etc.. Of course tips are not included. I have only taken advantage of it one time and looked for deals for the other cruises I've taken. Main reason - if the ship sells out - they can sell your room and you could be left at the pier waving goodbye. So since I have to spend $$ to get to the embarkation port - I'm going to be on that ship and the only way I can be sure of that is to pay for the cruise the same as every other passenger on board.
Here are a few sites with wages listed, the wages can vary greatly depending on the cruiseline.
I did find that those wages quoted were on the high side. Without going into it I do know the wages of 4 different positions and these were not close. There are many factors to the wages. Many of the crew is hired thru a contractor of sorts. They have a different pay scale they work off. Let me say that according to US pay scales they are vastly underpaid BUT according to the pay scale of their homeland they are well paid and the jobs are coveted. This is why you'll find employees that have worked for the line for years. They have a great job in comparison to what they would earn at home. US, Canadian, Australian, UK crew are paid closer to what they would be paid in their own country but again it all depends on what they are doing on board.
Also - if your fired, or you chose to quit before the end of your contract - you pay your airfare. Otherwise the cruise line provides your airfare to and from, hotel if necessary and transportation to the ship.
Biggest advantage to working on a ship - You get to travel and see the world on their dime, and get paid for it. However, just because the ship goes to Rome that doesn't mean that YOU get to see Rome. YOU may have to WORK that day and not be able to go ashore.
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Look for DS on the music charter cruises!
DS has worked on all of the NCL ships now!
* My Cruises: Norway 2001 x 2, Sky 2002, Sun 2003, Star 2007*Pearl 2013