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18 Brutally Honest Confessions From A Cruise Ship Worker

Guys, we get it, you're sick, but please stop pooping in corridors.

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1. Shared cabins are seriously tiny and cramped.

Low-ranking crew members share tiny cabins with up to three other people, with only a thin curtain to give them a bit of privacy. But that doesn't stop people bunk-hopping and getting jiggy with each other in the night. You just have to pretend to be deaf.

2. Single rooms are tiny, too, but if you manage to get one, you'll basically be treated like a god.

They're barely larger than the size of a single mattress, but the crucial thing is they're private. Only officers tend to be given them, which gives them a bit of glamour. TL;DR, if you have your own room, you're going to get laid big time.

3. And no matter what, our body clocks go to shit.

Twitter: @ship_probs

It's very rare for a crew cabin to have a porthole. You spend so much time below decks (or in windowless dining rooms or kitchens working strange hours) that you sometimes forget what daylight is, and we never, ever know what day of the week it is.

4. But we still manage to party extremely hard.

We get wasted all the time, as the crew bar is so cheap. We can get beer for $1 and a bottle of wine for $3. We're not allowed spirits, but that doesn't stop people smuggling them on board in mouthwash bottles: all you have to do is add some blue food colouring to vodka. Oh, and we blame our hangovers on seasickness.


5. We're given some seriously weird food to eat.

It's a myth that we're made to eat the paying guests' leftovers, but our meals do vary wildly depending on what's available. We tend to get a lot of white rice, weird pink desserts, and sometimes make do with sardines and flaccid pasta. It's not great.

6. We catch people humping in public areas all the time.

Comedy Central

Please guys, if you want to have sex, do it in your cabin and not in lifeboats, under tables, or in the pool. It might seem like there's no one around, but there are cameras everywhere, and the people who review the CCTV really don't want to see a drunk couple from Liverpool doing it doggy style next to the ice cream bar.

7. We get better accommodation and pay on ultra-luxury cruises, but it comes at a price.

AB Svensk Filmindustri

Luxury cruise staff are expected to learn all of the passengers names, and there can be up to 800 people on board. It's so difficult. And if you do forget someone's name they often get pretty damn annoyed; they expect special, personalised service.

8. We get hit on by guests every damn day, but we're strictly forbidden from hooking up with them.


It does happen, but if you're caught, that's it: you're instantly fired and dropped off at the next port or island the boat docks at next. And there's no guarantee the cruise line will give you the money to get home. You might end up stuck in Nassau for a month while you plead with them to release your final paycheck.


10. And no, we're not worried about the boat sinking.


Storms can be scary, and some can even make tables fly around, but these boats are the size of a small island, and they really are virtually unsinkable. So, again, please stop quoting Titanic at us and just settle down and enjoy your cocktail.

11. Although people do fall off the ships sometimes.


There are a lot of drunk people on a cruise ship, and not that much separating them from the unforgiving sea. People dare each other to do a handstand on the railing; the next thing you know they're in the ocean. If someone falls overboard, we always spend hours looking for them, but often fail to find them. It's pretty sad.

12. External hard drives are like currency to us.


Wi-Fi costs a lot and we don't get a staff discount, which means it's easy to burn through your wages checking Insta, Facebook, and (of course) YouPorn. The lack of free Wi-Fi means that hard drives preloaded with lots of movies, music, and porn end up being treated like actual cash money, and change hands frequently.


13. Most ships have a morgue and jail on board.

Cruise ships are basically huge floating cities, so they have to be prepared for anything. Also, the majority of cruise guests tend to be well over retirement age, so the odds aren't in their favour. We deal with at least one death per cruise, on average.

14. We work insanely long, gruelling shifts, up to 14 hours a day, six or seven days a week.

Twitter: @MartinNeely

We often have a late shift immediately followed by a morning shift, which means 5 hours of sleep, max. Working less than 10 hours is considered to be an "easy" day, and we end up talking about what we'll do on our hours off, rather than our days off.

15. We get threatened and yelled at far too often.

DreamWorks Pictures

Sometimes things don't go to plan, and excursions have to be cancelled. When we pass this information on, it would be nice if you could try not to have a full-scale, toddler-style tantrum and scream abuse at us, throw fruit at us from the buffet, spit on us, or even jump over seats and try to attack us. It's not so classy.

16. Some people complain about the dumbest things

Including, but not limited to: "the ocean is too loud", "My interior cabin doesn't have a window, why is that?", "I know the boat is leaving port at 5pm but we want to arrive at 9 and we think the captain should wait for us", and "there's way too much food and I've put on weight during the trip, I'm going to sue you." Smh.


17. Stomach bugs turn the whole ship into a living hell.

Universal Pictures

Stomach illnesses can spread through a whole cruise ship in a day, and when that happens all hell breaks loose; it's like living in a zombie movie. And passengers just don't seem to be able to deal with it at all. You'll be walking down a corridor and people will just abruptly start vomiting or pooping right in front of you.

18. But our friends get us through the toughest times.

We're far from home, but our workmates are our family, and they're are all around us. We'll spend 13 hours working together, then happily go to dinner with them and then get drunk, and do it all again the next day. Our friends really do make almost everything bearable.

We'd prefer it if we didn't have to listen to them have sex, though.

This post was put together with the help of a cruise ship worker based in the UK and Australia, and also this Reddit thread.