Over the last five years, I’ve found myself constantly on the go – contract, vacation, contract, visiting family, contract, traveling, etc. It’s a great way to save money if you are disciplined (no bills!), but there are a lot of things that, as crew members, we miss. The following 7 things are some examples of what we miss and therefore if they do happen on a ship, although rare, are WAY more exciting than when on land.
8 THINGS THAT ARE WAY MORE EXCITING ON SHIPS:
So on land this is also just known as a regular night but to a crew member, this is one of those rare and prized advantages to certain itineraries…or rough and stormy conditions. These are nights when you can watch the sun set (and rise) over land rather than water; have a drink in a strange, new place (often way more expensive than the crew bar); go dancing in a sweaty, packed club; stay in a hotel or villa; or take part in countless other shenanigans. To crew, overnights are magical and seemingly limitless. Anything is possible. It’s for those reasons it’s probably a good thing they don’t happen too often.
On a similar level to overnights, but slightly less exciting. You get to be out for the sunset, but you must say goodbye and sail away under the dark of night. At least you can still have a meal and a drink before they pull the gangway (if you’re off work in time).
A DAY OFF
These are SOOOO rare! Just because you say goodbye to last week’s guests doesn’t mean you get a break. Oh no, the doors of a cruise ship are in constant rotation – out with the old, in with the new. Goodbye, clean, organize, hello, repeat. So if you happen to hold one of those few positions when once in a while you get a day off, it’s the best thing ever! Believe it or not, boredom actually does come quickly if you work 10 hours a day and suddenly you are free for an entire 24 hours. What to do… But they are still way exciting, even if just used for a full day of sleep.
Most often ships have quite slow internet and it costs money, so finding a restaurant or café with a quick connection is on most crew members’ agenda each port day.
Ship food can get redundant no matter what level of gourmet you’re fed. As a picky vegetarian/borderline vegan, it’s often hard to find food I’m satisfied with. Eating at a restaurant in port, especially in India or if we can find a veggie one, is the best!
HAVING A WINDOW
This is an extremely rare benefit reserved for the higher-up officers. Spending all of your off time surrounded by four walls with no outside light is not desirable. Great for daytime naps though. At least we can turn on the ship channel with the forward camera (or as I call it, “open the window”). Needless to say, I miss natural daylight!
GROCERY STORE RUNS
These are super exciting because it’s not every port that has a decent grocery store. It’s so refreshing to stock up on toiletry essentials, but more importantly – snacks! Yes, you often cannot read the foreign labels of said snack but at least it’s a break from the monotony of ship food.
We actually have the amazing benefit of signing friends and family on to our ship to visit while in port! It’s so exciting to show them all the crew areas and introduce them to our new ship friends. It’s also lots of fun for them to join us on a cruise as guests but it’s a bit difficult to balance the business and playing host. Not recommended for the last cruise of the contract!.
For the record, I also really miss cooking. Glad I got that off my chest.
TO OFFSET THAT LIST…
3 THINGS THAT ARE WAY MORE EXCITING ON LAND:
When it’s not a uniform requirement that comes around every few days on ‘formal nights,’ dressing up with friends for a nice night on the town is awesome! Once in a while…
No offense to any of my ship musician/singer/dancer/guest entertainer friends but seeing the same show for the umpteenth time is not quite the same as making it to a music festival or Broadway show (even though y’all have just as much talent and some of you have even participated in those. Seeing your show the first time was still super awesome).
I have to admit, if you can find decent food at a buffet on land, the price alone for the amount you get is pretty freaking exciting.
There you have it! And now to end with a sweet quote and some photos:
“The great difference between voyages rests not with ships, but with the people you meet on them.”
-Amelia E. Barr