Cruise Ship Employees Are Exposing Their Secrets And Stories, And Suddenly "Below Deck" Is Looking Tame

    "We have a saying 'Every night is a Friday night and every morning is a Monday morning.'"

    Have you ever wondered what it's like to live and work on a cruise ship?

    Well recently, we asked the cruise ship employees of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their secrets and stories from their jobs. Here's what they revealed:

    Please note that some of these answers came from this Reddit thread since they were simply too good not to include!!!

    1. "There's no limit on how much you can drink. Shots are $2 and beers are $1, so it's easy to get hammered on a nightly basis without racking up a huge bill. If there's ever an emergency that requires staff, we have to be present and able to do our jobs, so you take a risk on drinking a lot."


    2. "Mixing with guests after hours is highly forbidden. That being said, it might as well be written in crayon on the walls because everyone breaks it (myself included). You have to be crafty to avoid security officers when sneaking someone to your room or trying to go to a guest cabin, but it happens all the time."


    3. "To find hot passengers we'd potentially want to hook up with during their cruise, we would go through the photo department and look through the Welcome Aboard photos displayed within the photo gallery. We could see if a particular person was on a family cruise, with their significant other, or with their friends — in the case of the latter, it's party on!"


    4. "There is a morgue on board every ship. Being that it's mostly older folks who take cruises, it happens sometimes where you have to store a body, hence the morgue. We have a code word of 'White Star, White Star, report to the ****' which means someone is dying and needs medical help, and everyone that's trained is to report to that location."


    5. "If you are not an officer or contracted worker, the pay is ABSURDLY low. I was a 2.5 strip officer making roughly $3,300/month before taxes and while the only thing I paid for was internet and anything I wanted to do in ports, I still would bring about $2,500 home every month. I worked every other 24 hours for four months straight, which was rough enough as it was. In contrast, my now-husband worked 10–12 hours shifts seven days a week for nine months straight and was paid $850/month USD!"


    6. "One time, the rudder (the fin-like thing under water that steers the ship) got stuck in a turning position and the ship began to list sharply to one side. An officer on the watch quickly cut the engines and was able to save us from tipping completely over, apparently by a matter of second. Lots of dishes broken, pool water everywhere, and a few minor injuries were all that came of it, but it could have been worse."


    7. "Every ship has a phantom pooper. I saw a human poop on a carpeted staircase. A colleague found one in an elevator! I guess passengers get lost and just drop their load where they stand if they can't find their cabin."


    8. "Cruises are either a great way to save money or an awful one. Your lodging and food are paid for, and you're getting paid, so that's great. But cruises are BORING. Sure, cheap booze and free travel is great for the first little while, but after a bit, it becomes like Squidward in that episode where he moves to Tentacle Acres. Every day is the same. So routine. So boring. Wifi is usually anywhere from $5/day to $10/hour and there is no cell service. So, when you're not working, you're trying your best to find anything to do. A lot of the time you'll start spending money on anything new, and then you're not saving or enjoying yourself, so there's little point."


    9. "We do get to get off in port and go have a good time. Many ports have crew discounts for food and drink. However, most contracts last for around six to eight months, so after a while, the same old ports every week start to really wear on you."


    10. "You will never find a free washer unless you camp out in the laundry room for a few hours. There are usually about five to 15 washers/dryers, and anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 crew members."


    11. "Ship life is basically high school mixed with jail. Remember high school, where everyone knew everyone's business? Who was macking whom, cheating on so-and-so, doing this-and-that, being a such-and-such? Well, that's ship life in a nutshell. Now, let's add in the jail factor: You're in a tin can and you can't really leave. Some people can never get off when in port because their jobs don't allow for it."


    12. "I recently finished my six-month contract as a photographer on a ship. I thought it'd be a great gig straight out of college. They sent me to Italy, France, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro which is a great experience being from the US, but you're literally so tired from working so much that you don't want to even get off the ship when you have free time. I would have rather slept on my 30-minute dinner break than eaten the horrible food they provided. I wanted to quit, but the people you get to work with keep you going and you make lifelong friends who are sharing your struggle."


    13. "It sucks to say, but myself and other staff had our own bar that was separate from the cleaning and food service staff. They were literally not even allowed in our bar. It was nicer than theirs, which was just a side room off of their cafeteria with limited options. We could go chill in theirs, but not vice versa."


    14. "You're always on duty and your supervisors have 24-hour access to you just by ringing your phone and waking you up in your cabin. Sleep is very limited, so every off-hour is spent trying to catch up."


    15. "A few times we had to have our water cannons laid out on the deck in case of pirates, but we never encountered them."


    16. "It was hurricane season and we were expecting a big storm. It was supposed to be so bad that we had to take an alternate route, putting us a day behind schedule. At 5 a.m., I woke up in the top bunk and the ship was ROCKING. I knew it must be the hurricane, so I just tried to brace myself. But then I heard heavy breathing and…other noises. I couldn’t look my roommate in the eye the next day when she told me about her new relationship with a cook."


    17. "If you're in a tipping position, (waitstaff, bartender, cabin steward, etc,) the take-home pay is appalling and relies heavily on please, if you're a passenger, realize these people are working to the bone on nine-month contracts and highly rely on your tips!"


    18. "We have a saying 'Every night is a Friday night and every morning is a Monday morning. Every day is Groundhog's Day."


    And lastly:

    19. "There are long working hours, very small shared cabins with walls thinner than paper, and the crew food is bloody awful unless you like living on boiled rice. But NONE OF THAT MATTERS. In five years working on cruise ships, I visited every continent except Antarctica and went to over 75 countries. None of the bad stuff you have to put up with on board matters compared to that."


    Answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Btw, you can watch Below Deck for a similar vibe on Peacock now.