First Time Working on a Cruise Ship

I decided to write this entry about my first time because I am sure a lot of people can relate to my experience. For starters, I haven’t ridden a plane yet even via domestic so I am really excited. I only tried riding a ferry and actually this was a test for me…I figured that if I don’t get sea sick, then I will survive.

After I completed my Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar, which is a must for all seafarers before they leave, I started packing my stuff.

Of course I had to ask around what and what not to bring. An advise for first timers in general is not to bring too much stuff because by the time you come back, the stuff you will bring home will be doubled if not tripled thus you will have to pay excess baggage fee, thus weigh your baggage and just ask around from former seafarers the quantity of the allowed weight.

For a first timer like me during that time, the hardest part is when you bid farewell to your family. I would like to think that I am lucky because I am single, for I think it would have been difficult if I had my own. Although the contract would only be a year, the thought of not being able to see each other for that long is unimaginable.

But for my case, deep inside I am excited for I wanted to know how it feels to be independent literally.

So when I arrived at the international airport, I had to show all my documents ( make sure you bring all the things your agent told you to bring and present upon embarkation and in the immigration—it is advisable that you have 3 copies each and put 1 set in a different envelope): passport, seaman’s book, ticket, guarantee letter and contract.

I had to make sure that I had a little pocket money in dollars coz one will never know what can happen….O, well if the flight is 6am, one must be there 3am for the check in process is very tedious especially for international flights.

At that time my destination is San Diego California. While in the airport, if you finished fast with the immigration and inspection, then all you have to do is wait for the boarding time.

You may take a nap, which is advisable for Philippines to the United States is about a 12 hour flight.

Before lift off, the flight attendant will ask you to turn off cellular phones and all electronic devices for this might affect the computer of the plane. But once you have reached the right altitude, you can turn it back on except the phone.

If you cannot sleep yet, there is usually an entertainment system in front of your seat and you can choose between watching a movie, listening to music or playing games. There will also be a time that breakfast, lunch and dinner would be served so do not despair, you paid for it anyway. If you really can’t sleep, sometimes alcoholic beverages are bottomless so have a couple of glasses but do not over indulge.

Okay, so to reach San Diego, I had to pass through Hongkong, Japan, Los Angeles, then San Diego. Unfortunately, you do not have time to check out the place coz you are in transit.

There are some schedules which are very tight that you have to run to get to the next terminal or airline. The main challenge here is the immigration.

So usually when you arrived in your point of embarkation there are two scenarios, you either arrive the day before or on the day itself. If you arrive the day before, lucky you…now you can check the place out. By the way, another thing you have to bring is a camera (self explanatory).

Okay, once inside the ship, you will be inspected after which you will be asked to declare the things you brought in the ship.

Make sure you have a duplicate of this. Once this is done, you will report to the purser who will ask for your documents and give you a checklist of what to do. Usually, a supervisor from your department will assist and tour you around the ship to be familiar.

In my case, it took me around three months literally to be familiar with the ship as well as the system in my department. You will then be escorted to your room where in you will share your room with 1 person or more. Usually, when you embark, you stay on the upper bunk and wait for the lower bunk to end his/her contract so you can step down.

Actually, this is one of the bigger challenges of your contract. You have to get along with your room mate for your whole contract if not, this will greatly affect your whole stay.

I have been lucky that I got along pretty well with my room mate. He gave me some pointers and let me learn the ropes of the job.

 

These are the challenges that you have to meet in order for you to survive your contract:

  • your room mate – I was in luck since both of us didn’t have any vices and we clicked right away
  • your co worker in the same department – although we all talk the same language we come from different walks of life and upbringing….on the ship I learned 2 things…survival of the fittest…you worked there to earn money…and you have to watch your back all the time…you never know what may happen…you can enjoy but do not enjoy too much
  • your co worker from a different nationality and department – unity in diversity…although we are different, we all are obliged to speak English yet sometimes cultures are pretty interesting….the trick here is like in my case you have to go with the flow for the first few months…know your way around….just do your job the way it should be done..but if you feel that you are being pushed around already….then you have to choose your battle…if you think that you are in the right side of things then go ahead…
  • the work itself – I observed how they work, then I try to ask questions if I am in doubt. After which I execute. When I was on board I had to adjust to the following: the lay out of the workstation, my station, the micros, the products we serve, the promos and the work schedule, I was lucky that I didn’t have any problem when it comes to cocktails and some of the liquors we carried but I had to adjust with the standard of how they are made as well as what garnish and which glass to put it in
  • your training – whether it be safety training or other training, one should not take this for granted…you should check the schedule of drills so you wouldn’t miss it…people can be sent home because of missing training. Your solas training would come in handy so treat it seriously
  • yourself – you have to ask yourself why you worked in the first place and let that serve as your motivation…learn in all aspects, challenge yourself to be better everyday…and learn to save money….do not get too excited buying stuff that you do not need and do not do vices….a lot of seafarers end up with nothing when going home because of unimportant spending.

If you conquer all these challenges then you are good to go for your next contract. I know I had … can you?

54 Comments on “First Time Working on a Cruise Ship”

  1. Parinas, BSHRM4A

    Working in a cruiseline is very very challenging yet exciting. First, you will surely miss your family(homesick maybe for about a month or so). Second, You will get a chance to meet different kinds of people from different parts of the world. Third, You will get to see different places and be able to take pictures as souvenir:).

    If a person loves what he/she is doing then surely that person will be able to overcome the challenges he/she will be facing.

  2. nowadays, cruise line has high demands in the field of hospitality industry.a lot of people says that it is very challenging and exciting. I think its not just about work but also the experience in every places that we see. the different cultures and traditions of each places would leave a mark to its visitor.

    Odronia, BSHRM4A

  3. i think its nice to work on a cruise ship. it's exciting to experience on going to country to another country while your serving people with different nationality.

    PANGILINAN…BSHRM-4A

  4. Beado, BSHRM4A

    ever since its my dream to work in a cruise ship, and up to now I'm still dreaming though I know how hard life when you are working there. I guess its a matter of self fulfillment in life, I know that my family wants me to work in a land base but i told my self time will come that I'm gonna experience the life in sea base.

  5. Gonzaga, BSHRM4A

    When you're working in a cruise ship, you're going to feel both sadness and happiness. Sadness because you will be working far away from your family, and you will miss everything in your own country. On the other side, you will also feel happiness for some reasons: you will learn and experience alot of things and you can meet/ work with people with different nationalities. Working in a cruise ship is very challenging and exciting as well.

  6. Cabili, BSHRM-4A

    I can say that you have a lot of things to sacrifice while working in a cruise ship. One of these is to be away from your family and loved ones but you should look at the brighter side that you can meet interesting people from all over the world. Also depending on your position, you get to enjoy the sights which I'm looking forward and love most, taste the foods, and most especially earning a big amount of money to sustain you needs and wants.

  7. Habla, BSHRM4a

    There are a lot of people, including me, who dreamed of working in a cruise ship someday. But working in a cruise ship requires a lot of sacrifices for you to become successful. However, the good thing is, you will be able to visit different places, EARN A LOT and experience an unusual kind of venture as compared to works here in land. Thus, working in a cruise ship is very exciting yet challenging; and if you do love what you are doing and if you work for it harder, you will definitely end up successful.

  8. Raboy, BSHRM4A
    Sometimes we had to embark to expereince life in any places like working on a cruise. It will be hard and challenging for first timers but eventually it can helped a person to learn a lot more things throught experience and training. Once a person understand what life at sea will be then he or she will able to manifest what he'll be what kind of work or career he is interested. Gaining an experience outside your native land is a lot more exciting because you get to know different culture and tradition it makes you knowledgeable of certain things which help a person grow and can contribute good things in the society.

  9. _Ruiz_
    BSHRM4A

    Working in a Cruise ship is a dream come true for me, because not all people are given a chance to work there. but we should consider the part of being away from our loved ones,it's difficult to be far away from them, but let's just think that we want or we're doing this for them.

    I envy those people who are already working in the jobs that they like, sooner or later i know that i'll be a successful person like them too.

  10. Reyes, BSHRM4A

    Mix emotions will be experience when you work in a cruise ship. Going to another country and meeting and working with another nationality brings happiness and excitement to any person but there's still sadness that will take place once you embark for your long journey. Being away from your family will be the reason why you will experience sadness because it's hard to be away from your love ones.
    Courage and self confidence and the most important guidance from God will be needed once we take that long exciting journey on the different parts of the world

  11. I want to work someday in cruise ship.. to earn a lot of money and to be able to apply all the things that I've learned on my college years. To work also with different nationalities and to be successful someday. The importance of having knowledge in every personality should be developed in order to achieve our target …goal which is to give importance on our work. One thing also is that i want to travel from different country's to experience what this country's have just to enhance our minds the different cultures they have. Let us enjoy working on cruise ship and be a part of it and experience more what they have….. GARCIA BSHRM-4C

  12. As a student we didnt really understand how life will be after our graduation. some of us may get into hotel, while others in a restaurant. without this subject in cruiseship management our ideas of just taking job in hotel and restaurant takes a new height. we able to understand the differences of taking job in a cruiseship. they say that working on ship is the most hardest job between working in hotels and restaurant. but i believe despite its agonizing to work away from your family. you would still know that your giving them better life that you wanted for your family.

    _+Suarez+_
    BS HRM 4C

  13. Antoy,BSHRM-4A

    Life is never easy whether maybe it on land or sea, there's always a need for adaptation for nothings constant. Sometimes people perceive that working on a cruise ship may simply look so luxurious and gay, but behind these outer facade are the hard work and sacrifices that each employee or crew does just to make one successful trip.

  14. Villar,BSHRM 4A

    I would also like to work in a cruise ship…, Because others said that it is nice and exciting working in a cruise ship,you will also visit different countries around the world.
    But after I read this blog. I already know that it is not easy to work in a cruise ship, you need to sacrifice because this is the time that you need to be more independent and work away from your family.And one of the important is you need to be single. And the hardest part working in a ship is you will be working with other Cultures and nations.
    It is very challenging working in a ship.But as a graduating student i would love to work and be a part of a cruise ship someday..=)and visit lots of countries..=)

  15. This only proves that it wasn't really easy to work in a cruise ship. You have to deal with so many things before and during embarkation. There's also a bunch of adjustments that you need to adapt to. But i still think that it's all worth it because to work in a cruise ship can give a wonderful experience in spite of all the challenges it offers.

    Batanes, BSHRM 4A

  16. ever since i really wanted to work in a cruise ship. working in a cruise ship is really a big opportunity for me. you will be able to visit different countries and meet different kinds of people. but then you need to sacrifice.you will not be able to see your family for months or years. and working in a cruise ship is really different in working in land. there are lots of challenges working on a ship but despite of that you can gain more skills and knowledge and wonderful experiences.

  17. Difficulties will come from time to time while in a cruise ship. The key factor here is to maintain a proper frame of mind at all times. When you are in a cruise ship you should be ready in physical, mental and psychological shape if you wish to be considered. While working in a cruise ship you would also get to meet a wide range of personalities of different nationalities. Be ready in every challenges that comes while working onboard.

    Lacaba BSHRM 4A

  18. It is not easy to work on abroad. but in my mind you visit some different countries and you meet other People. To explore your talents and to have a experiences. This is a challenges because you need to sacrifice it and you need some adjustment to your work time to time.

    Alconada BSHRM 4A

  19. working at any type of job is hard. working away from the family is another factor to consider. it takes a lot of courage for a person to chose to work in cruise lines. yes, you may be able to meet new people and would be able to visit different countries, yet the longing for love ones is very hard to keep in one self. it takes a lot of adjustments. i salute the people who chose to work away from their families.

    Asi, BSHRM4A

  20. It was a job that needs a dedication and compassion because without it you will not survive in this field. Not only you need to be independent but with the people that you might have encounter. It was not easy to be alone especially in a long period of time. But it would take a courage and faith to be what ever you wanted and continue it. No problems can hinder you if you have the courage to face it and surpass all of it. being in cruise is fun and exciting with all the privileges and new people to work with.

    San Jose BSHRM 4A

  21. Canas, Francis Dominic T. (BSHRM 4C)

    working in cruise ship needs to have a determination, passion and love for work. being away from your family isn't easy, so concentrating in your work is a big challenge. aside from the high salary and benefits you will get from working on a cruise ship, there are more reasons why you will love to work aboard.

  22. As Ive read your article I get to be stoked to work on cruise ship and get along to people with different nationalities. I know its kinda hard to deal with them but still I wanted to because I want to improve my socializing skills.
    Ive learned that, we really have to be independent for us to be able to reach our goals in life. If we can't be independent enough then we'll be stucked into what we really don't want for us to happen in the future.
    Seeing myself after I graduated working on cruise ship is I already can consider as my fulfillment.
    I thank you Sir for giving us some tips on how to be that strong and determined to work. 🙂

    REIJEANNE A. RINGOR –BSHRM 4C

  23. working is never easy whether maybe it on land or sea.you need to be independent and work on your own.there are times the you are far away to your family…

    PTOUR1- casapao

  24. Working onboard a cruise line will always have its pros and cons.but One thing is for sure, you will get to travel and see the world for free and get paid for doing it.I know working onboard a cruise liner will demand so much from you. It may be way beyond your respective individual limitations.
    This article just opened my eyes to the various difficulties that we our going to encounter onboard the cruise ship, for shipboard life can be hell to the weak but manageable to the wise.

    PTOUR1-Bajamundi

  25. Working in a cruise line is really exciting and sad. it's exciting because you can go on different places for free, and it is a good opportunity for you , though it's also sad because of the people you left .

    PTOU1-SISON

  26. PTOUR1-TAGNIPEZ

    if ever i would be given a chance to work on a cruise it would be a great opportunity travel around the world and meet other people from around the world and Now, a days work on a cruise is much more
    fun because most ships today have
    all this high tech gizmos, bars and even malls
    in them that people could enjoy. It could be
    very convenient because you could enjoy all the
    priveledges given.

  27. I think working in cruise line is not easy as it look, people who are interested must have some pointers in order to be ready. After reading the article i thought that it will be great for someone to first read your article because it gives a lot of information what people needs to.

  28. PTOUR1 – TUA, MOFHEDA

    For me, Working in a cruise ship is a once in a blue moon experience.
    You may experience mixed emotions, you’ll miss your love ones and you’ll get excite because of incredible experience you will encounter.
    a lot of friends you will get to know each other. Every field you will take if it is your will and have a determined to have a success, you’ll surely be successful.

  29. PTOUR1 – Garchitorena. 🙂

    Working in a cruise is a challenging for everyone. Homesickness, different surroundings and culture shock are some of problems you might encounter. But you can conquer those
    challenges just by having a positive mind and loving what you are doing. Focusing on your goal can also help you succeed on everything. Just do what you suppose to do and learn from every experiences.

  30. That's right, when you are having a trip or flights don't bring too much stuff, so that when the time comes that you need to go home, you can estimate the kilo of your baggage. Dalhin mo lang ung talagang magagamit mo. That is very important in packing up your things and it can help you out. And also, you can make a list of the things YOU HAVE TO BRiNG. So that you won't forget ANYTHING and I am sure that there's a time that you missed your family, maybe just about a month or weeks, but remember.. It's just a challenge for you and I'm definitely sure that you had overcome the challenge that comes your way.

    PTOUR1 – Carlos

  31. Working in a cruise ship is an important opportunity for one person because you can learn more things and ideas about it.its not just working but there are instances to be followed like for example what you should bring with you, But its not all fun working, you get tired, you missed your family, life is a matter of something you need to pursue, and that is what you are capable of, this is a very nice experience. Hope that I could work in a cruise also. This blog is really nice to read.

    PTOUR1 – UY

  32. This blog really inspired me on going outside the country. to be honest i have no idea on the on the tip that " do not bring to much stuff " now I realized that if I'm in other country there's no possibility that you will not buy anything. After i graduate i really want to work on a cruise ship because i see in sir richie's experience that it's so fun to work in there, drinking after work, travel, enjoy with friends and many more. hope i can ride plane or cruise ship 😀 thanks for the blog.

    PTOUR1 – Silvania

  33. ptour1-tambor

    this blog really inspired me on outside the country on my own because i want to experience traveling alone and working on cruise and i want to discover new things and to explore more experiences.i love traveling alone because i learn more thing and enjoy life in the way of traveling

  34. PTOUR – SAYSON

    Working in a cruise-line is very very challenging and exciting because, you can explore other country. You will know their cultures and traditions and also the experience in every places that we see..

  35. reading this blog made me think of working in a cruise ship someday. you must have the guts for you to work in this industry. And you have to sacrifice just to be successful in life. But you must enjoy also but not too much. making friends. drinking or partying in cruise ship is not that bad but you have to limit it because it can affect your work after wards. i think for me is that working in a cruise ship is an extraordinary experience yet challenging.

    Ptour1-ABAD

  36. PTOUR1 – HENSON

    For a first timer like him, i can see that he was very prepared. Unlike the other first timers, he just ask to anybody what is needed for his trip. That makes me encourage to have the same work, particularly in a cruise ship. While I'm reading the blog, I see to him that he's so dedicated for his job, and that's what will make him successful. Sacrifice is the best thing that he did. Especially in leaving the family. I think, I can also do sacrifice, not only in working in a cruise ship, but also in everyday life.

  37. The experience was very great!Every hardwork and sacrifices like when you left your family,it really pays off.You were able to land a good job and experience which will broaden your skills and abilities.I guess that coping up in san diego was really hard but i admire you because you were strong enough to face such challenge.

    PTOUR1-PERALTA

  38. I guess working in a cruise ship is a very exciting and interesting thing to do. You will learn a lot, you will meet/ work with different kind of people. But also you have to sacrifice. Behind every success there is a sacrifice.You will be away with your family, friends, with the things you usually do but always remember without sacrifice we cannot progress in life. I want to work i a cruise ship someday. I want to experience those things he experienced there. and i hope that will be a stepping stone for me to fulfill my dreams. If you really want and enjoying what you are doing you will see yourself as a successful person someday.

    PTOUR1- BAISA

  39. After reading this blog, I have realized how hard it is to work on cruise ships especially if its your first time working. This blog can serve inspiration for the youths and students who are aspiring to work on a cruise ship someday.
    although the hardest part is leaving your family, the hardships and experience working there is worth it all.

    PTOUR1-MANUEL

  40. This is actually a great blog.Working on Cruise Ship Industry is not an easy job.The blogger said that bidding farewell to your family is the hardest part and I agree to that, when you seek for opportunities you must be ready to accept the consequences, you may have something to get and learn to abide with everything in it.

    This blog inspired me because my Uncle planned to send me in a Ship Industry, now I know how it feels like and through this writing I was able to see myself in the future, who knows =)

    Nice pictures, nice experience. No wonder why the blogger enjoyed and really had fun during his time working in this Industry 🙂

  41. Its really a nice BLOG because it gives idea for the student like me on what should do if we want to work in a cruise ship. Specially the challenges that we will be able to encounter and it also give us the idea on how to adjust in the new environment that we could be.It also give me an eagerness to pursue my dream of working in a cruise ship. traveling from different places meeting new friends, learning additional knowledge although its heart breaking because you have to leave your love ones but I know its part of life and its worth it all. :))

    Ptour1
    – Peñaranda

  42. After reading this BLOG, i realize that working in a cruise ship does require hard work and discipline. Although you will be working hard, you will have many opportunities to visit various countries and experience the life of other cultures.It is a lifetime experience but the sad thing is, you will miss your family.
    I guess working in a cruise ship is very exciting but you need to be ready for all the consequences 🙂

    -PTOUR1 BUNGAY

  43. This is a greate blog and this is a best job for the person who wants to work in a cruise ship.

    After you read this blog you feel how hard to work in a cruise ship, so many trainings, travel and travel to other countries. But it is a challange for us because you can travel to the other country, have more friends and you can hanging around. LOVE THIS JOB! 🙂

    Ptour1
    -TORRES

  44. Working in a cruise ship is difficult because of the trainings and seminars. The good things is you can travel around the globe and you will meet different people from different countries.

    Ptour1
    -SUNICO

  45. PTOUR1-BORROMEO

    This blog is pretty good; it has a lot of values to learn, well, working onboard a cruise ship does require hard work and discipline. It is common for employees to work 6 days a week and sometimes 10 hour days. You usually share your accommodations (cabin and bathroom) with other crew members and are required to maintain a certain level of behavior in public places. However, if you're not afraid of a little hard work and getting to know people, working onboard a cruise ship can be an experience of a lifetime and in some cases life changing.The benefits of working onboard a cruise ship are endless. Although you will be working hard, you will have many opportunities to visit various countries and experience the life of other cultures.

    well done! 🙂

  46. its a wonderful blog, first.. all of us wanted to earn a lot of money.. we can earn that by doing our best, patience, enjoying the work, and have faith in god, on this blog working on a cruise ship is very interesting esp. if your'e a first timer, mixed emotions.. second leaving your love ones is the saddest part whether your excited loneliness occur, cry indeed! third the moment that you are working away from your love ones, meeting new challenges, people, leave on your own, & experiencing new cultures its a hard part esp if you don't have friends yet. you have to be strong in all the consequences that will come.. enjoy life, live as it goes and don't forget god 🙂

    -PTOUR1 ENCISO

  47. The very heart of your writing shilst sounding agreeable at first, did not settle very well with me personally after some time. Someplace within the paragraphs you were able to make me a believer but just for a while. I nevertheless have a problem with your leaps in assumptions and one would do well to fill in those breaks. In the event you actually can accomplish that, I will definitely end up being fascinated.
    Its such as you learn my thoughts! You seem to grasp so much approximately this, such as you wrote the ebook in it or something. I think that you simply can do with some% to force the massage house a bit, however other than that this is magnificent blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.
    You can visit my site. cruise line job

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