From shore, the idea of working on a cruise ship might seem like a dream gig. Miles of sparkling blue sea, reduced or nonexistent living expenses, and the opportunity to travel sound pretty appealing. Ultimately, though, it’s still a job, and you’ll want to feel confident that you’re making the right decision before embarking. Cruise ship jobs have advantages and disadvantages that might not be readily apparent to landlubbers who have never spent much time at sea.
Cost of Living
Living on land means paying rent or a mortgage, buying groceries, paying for gas at the pump and other purchases that make demands on your bank account, according to Oceanbound Entertainment, Inc. From a distance, working on a cruise ship might seem like an easy way to slash living costs and stash extra savings in the bank. One advantage of cruise ship jobs is that it’s possible to save money while at sea because of reduced living expenses. Your smaller living quarters allow you to detach from pressure to accumulate material items, encouraging a simpler, less consumer-driven lifestyle, according to the Institute for Integrative Healthcare. However, if you’re still maintaining a residence on land or have other financial obligations, this might not be a guaranteed route to savings.
The Role of Adventure
An opportunity to work on a cruise ship can certainly provide alternatives to a mundane 9-to-5 existence of frustrating commutes, boring cubicle routines and been-there, done-that social scenes, according to Oceanbound Entertainment, Inc. You can see different countries, meet new and interesting people, and brush up your foreign language skills by interacting with cruise guests and co-workers. However, much of your day will still be spent working, and travel opportunities might be limited when the cruise ship is in port. One disadvantage is that you might feel homesick, spending your holidays and weekends among strangers rather than among friends and family. Your sense of adventure could also be curtailed by seasickness.
It’s Hard, Endless Work -- But Exciting
Cruise ship passengers will be the ones sipping frosty beverages next to the pool; you’ll be the one sweating near the noisy blender preparing those beverages. Working long hours, including 10- to 12-hour shifts, can be a major disadvantage if you’re not used to extended schedules and constant accommodation for paying guests, according to the Institute for Integrative Healthcare. Expect to work in a strict, hierarchical work environment under constant supervision, according to Crew Center. However, the longer worker hours can help you refine your professional skills, according to the Institute for Integrative Health Care. You might also enjoy working in a high-accountability, fast-paced environment with room for promotion.
Quality of Life
Although you might be saving money on rent or mortgage, your living quarters on a cruise ship will definitely not compare to the luxurious digs of paying customers. Rooms might be small, cramped and airless. You could be sharing with another employee, eliminating the possibility of privacy and respite, according to the Institute for Integrative Healthcare. This could be an advantage for social butterflies, though. You might enjoy meeting co-workers from around the world, making forging friendships and travel connections for the future. You will not be permitted to intermingle with guests socially, however, according to Crew Center.