The reason for founding this section of my blog was to inspire and to encourage others to follow their path, even if the path is outside the norm. For this article I have found a very inspiring soul. Her name is Julia. Julia is a one of the brave ones. She followed her dream to work on a cruise ship. Quite a special job description 😉 She travels the world and gets even paid (by the way, here is the link of her blog Globusliebe.com). But is it really as good as it sounds? Working on a cruise ship has surely its advantages, but maybe also some downsides? But here, read for yourself. I was lucky and had the chance to interview her. Enjoy!
- What inspired you to make the decision to work on a cruise ship?
Ever since I was a child I have had this dream of working on a cruise ship. My dad told me exciting stories about ship life, which made my desire even grow. I always wanted to see the world and the imagination of earning money while travelling inspired me most. Getting paid for seeing the world sounds great, doesn’t it?
- What was your job on the cruise ship?
Almost three years ago I started working as a Photo Manager on board of a German cruise ship. One year later I changed the position and started working in Edutainment Management, which involves the planning and implementation of educational events. It’s all about organization and administrative work.
- How does your day on the cruise ship look like?
It’s hard to describe a typical working day on a cruise ship, because every single day is different. In general you have to differentiate between embarkation days, sea days and port days.
An embarkation day is the last day of a cruise and at the same time it’s the first day of a new cruise. More than 2000 passengers (depending on the size of the ship) leave the vessel and 2000 new ones arrive. This means that 2000 people have to be checked out and 2000 people have to be checked in. 4000 suitcases need to be moved, all cabins need to be cleaned in a very short time and groceries as well as other supplies from all over the world need to be loaded and stored in the provision area. In my eyes, the embarkation day is a huge logistical wonder and it is a very hard working day for all crew members.
If the ship is on sea the whole day (or sometimes for several days), passengers want to be entertained. There are lavish feast buffets, entertainment shows, music gigs, sport programs, lectures, presentations and a lot of other events. Bars and restaurants are crowded as well as the pool deck and spa area.
If the ship lands in a port, most passengers go ashore for guided tours or individual sightseeing. Of course, these were my favorite days. I started working early in the morning to be able to leave the vessel during my break. I enjoyed being outside, breathing fresh air and I tried to see as much as possible. In the afternoon I had to be back for working.
- What did you love the most about your job?
I definitely loved the amazing people I met on the cruise ship. As you spend 24/7 with your colleagues, you get to know each other very fast and very good. You live together, you grow together and you become a big family. I always enjoyed the social life and the team spirit of the crew. Some friendships even exceed ship life and still last. That’s a great feeling!
Despite all the work, it’s a great experience to work on a cruise ship. The people I’ve met, the places I’ve visited and the lessons I’ve learned for life, made my time at sea truly special.
- What are the requirements to work on a cruise ship?
It always depends on the job you want to apply for. If you want to work in the kitchen, you need to have the same trainings and qualifications as on land. In addition to your job-related skills, you mustn’t be sea-sick. A good health condition is required as well as moderate English skills, because the crew language is English.
Last but not least, you should be very persistent and stress-resistant, because working on a cruise ship is no 9 to 5 job, it’s a 24/7 job and you should be aware that it’s not all about travelling. It is a job with absolutely no days off, with strict rules and regulations and almost no freedom. Sure, working on a cruise ship is a really great experience, but it’s no cakewalk!
- What were the most inspiring moments during your work on a cruise ship?
The best moments during my work on a cruise ship were those moments I didn’t have to work. In my leisure time I always tried to go ashore and explore the countries. I visited amazing cities such as Lisbon and Istanbul, I did a seaplane flight over Dubai, visited the North Cape in Norway or swam in the Dead Sea in Jordan.
- Which countries where the most inspiring that you have visited during your work on the cruise ship?
That’s a tough question! If I have to decide, I go for Turkey, Israel, Arabian Emirates and Oman (see picture below). These are some of the most inspiring countries I have visited during my time on cruise ships. They have fascinating cultures, people and landscapes.
- What would you tell people who would like to pursuit their dream, but are too afraid?
If you want to work on a cruise ship, just do it! Apply for the job and go! Whether you like it or not, it’s definitely a life-changing experience and you should try it. Don’t be afraid of leaving home or being over-challenged. Grab your stuff, fulfill your dreams and live your life. You only live once!
- What are your plans in the near future?
At the moment I do not work on cruise ships anymore. I’m a freedom-loving person and ship life is not about freedom. Thus, I always considered the job as temporary, so I decided to start something new.
Right now I’m working as travel blogger and writer. I just moved to a beautiful flat in Berlin, my first home base after more than three years nomadism. Currently I’m enjoying the things I’ve missed so much on the vessel: freedom, daylight and fresh air! As I don’t have real plans, I’m curious what the future holds. But what’s for sure: Travel is definitely involved in my future plans!
I hope you liked the interview. As you can see not all what glitters is gold (can you say that in English?). Working on cruise ship is a hard 24/7 job and no holiday trip.
But the most important thing is to just try out. Do not judge when you haven’t really done anything. Do not judge when you actually don’t know. But what you should do is trust your guts every now and again and leave your comfort zone.
Therefore, I love to keep one thing close to my mind: You don’t remember your days spending on routines, such as working in the office, or going to the gym or for groceries. But you do remember the days spent on memorable experiences. On situations that are different from your daily life. So try it out. You don’t necessarily need to walk the whole way by working on a cruise ship, but you should break your routine every now and again, with baby steps. Maybe learn a new craft, like stitching, a new instrument, or choose a different way when going to work. As Julia already said, “Just do it”. Once you have done that, maybe you will be more confident and ready to go further.