I found a fellow on Fiverr.com that was answering questions about cruising. He is a security officer on a ship. He has a little different perspective than the stewards and other staff would have. *Keep that in mind for the gift question* His profile on fiverr is http://fiverr.com/user998. For those not familiar with Fiverr, it is basically a place where you can hire people to do stuff for you for $5. I found this guy and figured the knowledge was worth the money.
My questions are in Green. His answers are in blue.
Do the good comments on comment cards about staff really help staff get raises?
Good comments on comment card sure help get noticed. It is the only feedback that Chief Security Officer gets about interaction of his staff with the passengers.
If staff doesn’t get in trouble and complete their duties on time, that counts towards their competency, but when praised by passengers, it is surely above the ordinary, especially considering the seriousness of their duties.
Comment cards are being displayed at the department’s notice board, and all team reads them. The head of department often collects them in a personal file of a crew-member in question, and consider them when completing an appraisal for the crew-member at the end of his/their contract. Raises as such do not exist, all crew gets paid only what is specified in their contracts. What everybody is hoping for is promotion to a higher level. All cruise lines have 3-5 rankings of security staff.
For example, Princess Cruises has; Security Patrolman>Senior Security Patrolman>Security Supervisor>Chief Security Officer
As a staffer, what kind of gift would you like to receive from a guest? (Money, candy/food, phone cards, stamps, books/magazines, trinket from their home state, etc) – Please be honest on this one!
Money is not allowed, one can get fired for that.
Phone cards are as good as money, allowed, and most welcomed.
As for other things you’ve mentioned, I’ve spent years onboard, and don’t remember getting any of it. Not even candy.
What’s the best way to sneak alcohol on board?
Hm Hm …Not very ethical question, but here it comes:
A plastic bottle with liquid in it, will always pass as a Coke, Fanta, Pepsi …regardless of what is really inside.
What draws attention of an x-ray screener is a shape of the bottle. Any liquid always looks the same on a monitor.
Does the staff have their own entertainment options or is it pretty much boredom when you aren’t working?
It can be very boring sometimes, especially on sea days, when there is no place to go. However, management tries hard to compensate, and crew parties are often.
Almost every night in crew bar is themed night, and there is usually a person onboard whose sole job description is to organize entertainment for crew.
He/she is called Crew Welfare Coordinator.
How is the food for the staff?
The food for the staff is better than at home.
The staff enjoys the privilege of using passenger’s restaurant at “slow” times, when there’s not too many people at the line.
Regular crew has fewer options, but still wide variety. It is in everyone’s habit to cry for mom’s food, and for the most crew-members, it seems to be a constant struggle.
Anything you wish the public knew that would make yours or other staff members’ lives easier?
All photo-cameras are safe to go through x-ray, regardless of its sensitivity. No pictures will be “ruined” when scanned through it. Digital or non-digital.