The truth about cruise staff working conditions and pay?

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#3
Manchester UK
578 Posts
Joined May 2006
"Dispatches reporter Tazeen Ahmad - travelling as a passenger on a European cruise - and an undercover reporter working as an assistant waiter discover working conditions below the legal minimum in the UK".

I'm sure if the Dispatches reporters travel to European land based resorts they will also find conditions below the legal minimum in the UK.

I look forward to this programme but strongly suspect that it will be another attempt at unfairly slating the cruise industry.
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#4
Columbus, Ohio
17,540 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by simon stingray
"Dispatches reporter Tazeen Ahmad - travelling as a passenger on a European cruise - and an undercover reporter working as an assistant waiter discover working conditions below the legal minimum in the UK". I'm sure if the Dispatches reporters travel to European land based resorts they will also find conditions below the legal minimum in the UK. I look forward to this programme but strongly suspect that it will be another attempt at unfairly slating the cruise industry.
There are 200+ countries in the world. Most don't have their laws exactly the same as in the UK or USA. Many don't have such minimum wage laws. Clearly if the wages and benefits from working on a cruise ship were not to their advantage and/or better than what's available in their countries, they would not stay in this line of work.

Be interested in hearing how much this "reporting" focuses on fact, fiction, sizzle and/or substance. Tell us more!!

Sadly, in the media world, a "reporter" can talk with 187 people, but only put on the air the comments of just two or three people. Those few shown might be representative or just used as a tool to re-enforce the pre-conceived viewpoint of the reporter.

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#5
Valley Forge, PA, USA
2,975 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
I find this interesting. I like to sleep with the TV on but my wife says "no". She also is not a fan of "relaxing sounds" so this won't work. BUT we use our iPad as a clock/nightlight when cruising and that works fine. When I saw this thread i wondered if the sounds could play in the background while the clock did its thing ... and it does. Some of you might consider this.
#6
North Dakota
896 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by TLCOhio
Sadly, in the media world, a "reporter" can talk with 187 people, but only put on the air the comments of just two or three people. Those few shown might be representative or just used as a tool to re-enforce the pre-conceived viewpoint of the reporter.
SURELY NOT !!!
#7
Fredericksburg, va. USA
79,847 Posts
Joined May 2001
Working on a cruise ship is WORK...it's not a vacation by any stretch of imagination. What they get paid....none of our business. If they don't like the contract, they won't work for the company.
I'm never sure why folks are so interested in how much the staff/crew is paid, or how many cabins they have to clean, or what their hours are....it's really no one's business but theirs! These folks LIKE these jobs because they make more money on the ship than they can at home...or they wouldn't do it! But...it's a JOB...that's all!
And thank goodness folks like to vacation on a ship, or they wouldn't have a job at all!
#8
Someplace in Northeast Ohio
418 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
From my two prior experiences, I saw my evening wait staff working in the buffett or other dining establishment during the day, while working in the dining room at night.

Common sense tells me that they are most likely working two full time jobs daily.

The book, Cruise Confidential, by Brian Bruns gives a decent look at what it's like to work on a cruise ship. The book, and the series, does seem to be overly dramatic, filled with fluff, and sometimes is more than a bit annoying, but it is a good entertaining read.
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#9
Montana
664 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Originally posted by tanelicus
From my two prior experiences, I saw my evening wait staff working in the buffett or other dining establishment during the day, while working in the dining room at night.

Common sense tells me that they are most likely working two full time jobs daily.

The book, Cruise Confidential, by Brian Bruns gives a decent look at what it's like to work on a cruise ship. The book, and the series, does seem to be overly dramatic, filled with fluff, and sometimes is more than a bit annoying, but it is a good entertaining read.
Yes... I agree with your analogy b/c I have read Cruise Confidential and it was very interesting, though I wonder about embellishments! I respect the crew that is most often so very attentive to the passengers, and I also like to show my appreciation to them with a generous tip.
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#10
West Hollywood, Ca
1,620 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Generally cruise ship employees are hired via a contract for a specified period of time. Their pay includes room and board and an opportunity to see the world. I often see cruise ship employees getting on and off the ship at each port. I would have liked to have done it for a few years when I was young.

Here is a current Celebrity job opening, with requirements.

http://www.allcruisejobs.com/i2977/h...ng-supervisor/
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#11
12,418 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Spender Nui, this is posted on the wrong thread?

"I find this interesting. I like to sleep with the TV on but my wife says "no". She also is not a fan of "relaxing sounds" so this won't work. BUT we use our iPad as a clock/nightlight when cruising and that works fine. When I saw this thread i wondered if the sounds could play in the background while the clock did its thing ... and it does. Some of you might consider this."
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#12
New Jersey
76 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Originally posted by cb at sea
Working on a cruise ship is WORK...it's not a vacation by any stretch of imagination. What they get paid....none of our business. If they don't like the contract, they won't work for the company.
I'm never sure why folks are so interested in how much the staff/crew is paid, or how many cabins they have to clean, or what their hours are....it's really no one's business but theirs! These folks LIKE these jobs because they make more money on the ship than they can at home...or they wouldn't do it! But...it's a JOB...that's all!
And thank goodness folks like to vacation on a ship, or they wouldn't have a job at all!
I think you hit the nail on the head. These jobs are better than those back home in many countries. They have advantages (pay, seeing much of the world) and disadvantages (long stretches of time away) like almost any job. As far as I know they aren't drafted into these jobs and they do get paid, so we shouldn't pity them.
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Tara
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#13
Someplace in Northeast Ohio
418 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
Originally posted by suzzek
Yes... I agree with your analogy b/c I have read Cruise Confidential and it was very interesting, though I wonder about embellishments! I respect the crew that is most often so very attentive to the passengers, and I also like to show my appreciation to them with a generous tip.
I as well believe that they work extremely hard, and deserve a great tip. They should never be treated like second class citizens.

There is no doubt that the Cruise Confidential series is embellished, which is a great word for it. At least in my mind. He also recycles themes and is overly self absorbed. In the end I hated that I enjoyed them, because its so obviously embellished, and probably at times even made up for entertainment purposes. However its good mind junk - lol.
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#14
Someplace in Northeast Ohio
418 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
Originally posted by taracruiser
I think you hit the nail on the head. These jobs are better than those back home in many countries. They have advantages (pay, seeing much of the world) and disadvantages (long stretches of time away) like almost any job. As far as I know they aren't drafted into these jobs and they do get paid, so we shouldn't pity them.
I for one think they get paid better than they do at home, but I also believed that they are borderline taken advantage of, and dare I say at times exploited.

They do get some down time and do get to enjoy the ports they visit. They also party like Frat boys every night.

It's better than what they have at home.

I am not sure how I feel about the workers, because as I said, I have seen them working different jobs on board the ship.
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#15
Someplace in Northeast Ohio
418 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
about dinner service, and the fact that they do things like cut up your food and to some degree pander.

Admittedly sometimes its uncomfortable, but in the end I believe the staff enjoy what they are doing and enjoy giving five star service. I think its more uncomfortable if we make them uncomfortable for their aiming to please and go the extra mile.

That was my argument. People enjoy recognition as much as the financial reward. I think often that's the case. It must be so disappointing to the staff on the cruise ship when folks don't appreciate what they do and act like A##'s.

In the end, we should compliment them on their incredible service and reward them financially in kind.
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#16
Raleigh, NC USA
1,169 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
I haven't seen this show. And I admit my "inside" information is dated by about 10-15 years. But in those days, there were basically 3-4 classes od cruise ship crew: the ifficers, the entertainers, the waiters, room stewards, cleaners and administrative staff. Each had different perks, pays, required work hours, room accommodations, contracts, etc etc etc

I know this because I was in a relationship with a First Officer on Princess. Ultimately, the relationship ended because his contract was so binding that they could call him back to work with three days notice. But I learned that the class system still exists on cruise ships.

I also learned that many things that I as a middle or upper class American would consider 'terrible treatment from an employer ' were just fine for those from other cultures.
#17
1,960 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Originally posted by taracruiser
I think you hit the nail on the head. These jobs are better than those back home in many countries. They have advantages (pay, seeing much of the world) and disadvantages (long stretches of time away) like almost any job. As far as I know they aren't drafted into these jobs and they do get paid, so we shouldn't pity them.
I won't pretend that my first job out of college was as grueling as a room steward or dining steward on a cruise ship, but I worked 60 hour weeks with no additional overtime pay, and was often away from home at significant family events (I did make it home 3 hours before the birth of my second child). However, when I took the job, I understood the workload, the pay, and the opportunity for advancement. I was willing to accept the hard work, time away from family for the good job and opportunity for advancement. The good news is that I was able to advance in my company, and retired early with 30 years service.

My point is that while in some cases there may be worker abuse, and those should be rooted out, we cannot define what is an acceptable job for another person. As long as the contract correctly specifies what the workers commitment and compensation is, you have to assume that the contract was a good deal for both parties.

Indeed, in conversations with staff members on Celebrity, HAL, and Azamara in the past few years, many have spoken of multiple contracts and the intent to renew again. While they all speak of missing loved ones, they seem to appreciate the opportunity that they have with the cruise lines.

Just my $.02.
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#18
North Dakota
896 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by jcrandle
was often away from home at significant family events (I did make it home 3 hours before the birth of my second child).
While working for Uncle Sam Cruise Lines, I managed to make it home five and a half months AFTER the birth of my second child.

Cruise line employees are not slaves, (even though many may work similar hours ) they are voluntary employees who signed legal contracts. They sacrifice months at a time away from home and family, working their butts off to build a better life than what conditions in their own country might allow.

Perhaps the easiest way to help them in their efforts, is to treat them with dignity, understanding and kindness. (instead of the way I have seen far too many cruise line "guests" treat some crewmembers.)

You MIGHT even consider comparing your quality of life to theirs, and leave "an extra something," even though end-of-cruise "envelopes" aren't used anymore.
#19
Kent, UK
1,771 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Originally posted by cb at sea
Working on a cruise ship is WORK...it's not a vacation by any stretch of imagination. What they get paid....none of our business. If they don't like the contract, they won't work for the company.
I'm never sure why folks are so interested in how much the staff/crew is paid, or how many cabins they have to clean, or what their hours are....it's really no one's business but theirs! These folks LIKE these jobs because they make more money on the ship than they can at home...or they wouldn't do it! But...it's a JOB...that's all!
And thank goodness folks like to vacation on a ship, or they wouldn't have a job at all!
Hear, hear.

My DD has just finished her third contract with Celebrity. I'd love to repeat what she has told me over the years.

She'll watch the programme and compare it with her own experiences. Should be interesting!
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#20
South Yorkshire UK
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Joined Mar 2008
Thanks for the link Suzy Smith. I hope it doesn't aim to make us all feel guilty for cruising

My sister in law is Filipino. She says the cruise jobs are much coveted, relatively very well paid and highly regarded in her country.

According to her, it is quite normal in the Philippines for the family breadwinner to work away from home while the extended family looks after the children. In many cases, both the Mother and Father work away. Her own sister works in Singapore as a nanny and leaves her daughter with grandparents.

I know the crew has to deal with some awkward 'entitled' passengers, but on the whole I think most cruisers befriend and respect the hard working staff who, in my experience are very proud of their jobs.