Joining a cruise ship

Crew life: Joining a cruise ship amidst the corona pandemic.

The coronavirus has undoubtedly disrupted our life and impacted several industries. The once untouchable gigantic cruise industry has been among the most impacted, labeled as a breeding ground for the virus, many cruise ships were forced to cancel their scheduled voyages for the rest of 2020 and through early 2021 which left many crew members jobless. However, with the virus slowly getting under control resulting in restrictions being eased, some cruise lines have started sailing again mainly in European waters. Therefore, crew members are joining back the cruise ships to resume work again. 

It’s a fact that life (in general) on board will no longer be the same as it was prior to Covid-19. To get an idea of what’s happening onboard, I’ve gone through several articles and have interviewed my friend who’s currently working on the MSC Grandiosa, which was one of the first ships to resume sailing post lockdown. 
 

Q: Has the work environment onboard changed post-Corona lockdown? 
A: Work on board is the same as before but new protocols have been implemented(covid prevention protocols) and we have to follow strict compulsory measures. Guests are trained about the new covid protocol onboard in order to enjoy their cruise with minimal risk of contamination.
 

Q: What sanitary measures are being taken by the ship to ensure the safety of the crew and guests? 
A: Crew members are having single cabins wherever possible and upon availability. Compulsory swab tests are being performed prior to embarkation for both crew and guests. Crew members also have to submit a negative covid-19 test to the company test before boarding the flight. Families are treated like social bubbles. Social distancing in public areas and crew areas are being strictly monitored. Sanitizer stands are placed all over the ship. Masks are compulsory and staffs wear gloves. There is minimum guest and crew contact via new technologies services. Additionally, crew members have daily temperature checks. When it comes to excursion, guests and crew from one ship does not mingle with outside tour guides and peoples. 
 

Q: Do you have to quarantine before joining the ship and after finishing your contract? 
5A: Yes, Crew members are quarantined for a minimum of 2-3 weeks before commencing duty. 

Q: Has the clientele changed? 
A: The ship is not operating to its full capacity, so we have fewer guests onboard. Demographics wise, we have a younger clientele (mainly European) before the guests were mainly elderly people
 

Q: Are you allowed to go ashore? 
A: No. 

Q: What if a crew member is suspected to carry the virus?
A: I was contact-traced and put in isolation in a single cabin for 10 days. I had to undergo swab tests several times a day. Meals were being delivered to my cabin and I was not allowed to roam around. The company takes good care of you in this situation.
 

No shore leaves and additional rules and regulations in new contracts 

Previous contracts already had a long list of rigid rules, regulations, and protocols, and now the coronavirus has just added a new layer to it. As you’ve read above, shore leaves are not allowed for the entire contract (traveling the world is no longer a source of motivation to work on a cruise ship). Royal Caribbean cruises has established a 15 Steps protocol that crew members need to follow before re-joining the cruise. Wearing Protective equipment (masks, gloves.) will be compulsory and crew members have to undergo daily temperature checks. Also, if you’ve been contact traced or suspected to have covid, the cruise ship will isolate you for 10+days and will have to go undergo swab tests. With social distancing, Crew bars have limited opening hours, and fewer parties are organized(or no parties at all). Furthermore, You will have to quarantine again once your contract ends both on the cruise and when you reach your home country.

The good is news is shorter contracts (depending on the cruise line), my friend from MSc has signed for a 5-month contract when previously her contracts were 9 months long. Besides, some of the new restrictions might be softened not immediately though, but once the pandemic gets fully under control. If you would like to add something please feel free to do so in the comment and for brave seafarers going back on cruises, Be safe and happy sailing! 

worst cruise destinations

Cruise ship life:The Ports I Hate And The Reasons Why.

Traveling to a new country is exhilarating. It ignites a sense of adventure, gives us an adrenaline rush, butterflies in our stomach as if we are in love for the first time again, makes our eyes sparkle with happiness and brings a huge smile on our face that shows our whole set of teeth, However, despite our optimism about our stay in a foreign land, our happiness can be cut short due to some unfortunate events. From getting scammed to rude port officials, below are the ports I disliked.

1.Sri Lanka.

I read many positive reviews on the internet about Colombo, Sri Lanka, and have seen the beauty of this country through documentaries. However, my excitement about exploring the beautiful city of Colombo was short-lived,the moment I stepped foot out of the ship. Pushy taxi drivers tried to force me to take their ride service and their price was based on my position on board. Somehow, my friends saw me outside and invited me to explore with them. Their taxi driver agreed for $7 for 5 persons including me. They were four guys but as soon as the driver saw the fifth person was a woman. He hiked up his price to $ 12(really, why do women still get discriminated in the 21st Century?). We did not pay heed to his greediness and paid him the price fixed before.
This was not the end of our misadventure, we approached a rickshaw driver to take to us to a Temple, which he agreed but he took us to a historical building instead and tried to fool us into believing it was a temple, big lol. We agreed for $ 15 for all 5 persons and tipped him $ 5.But he was still avaricious. He saw notes in my wallet, stopped me, and asked an extra $ 5 then $10 ”because the fare is extra for a woman”.My friends had their back turned at this point. I was about to lose these 10 bucks as the place he dropped us looked sketchy, it was far from the port. I was scared. But fortunately, my friends noticed him and chased him away. For me, Sri Lankans are narrow-minded, disrespectful to women, and extremely greedy, for these reasons I will never visit this country again. I know not everyone is the same but that’s the image I’ll always remember from this country.

2.India.


My Trip in India started well in the south, I had a great time in Kerala and Mangalore. But things started going downhill from Goa, a male police official made inappropriate tongue gestures at me and said something unprofessional. Another one made snide comments about my blue hair. I wanted to go to the nearby beach but made it only up to the gate and came back on the ship because I felt unsafe.
I also did not like Mumbai, I experienced a dishonest salesman who lured me into the shop he worked at, I thought he was a guide but it was only when we arrived there that he told me he’s a salesclerk in this shop, the shop owner was forceful, trying to get me to buy pashminas. It’s not over yet, taxi drivers dare to ask you ”why?” when you refuse to ride their cab. Also, they surround you and follow you like creeps, when you ask to go away, they either ignore you or yell at you. Also they will upcharge you and are dishonest. If they tell you you need to visit shops for them to get free parking, It’s a lie!! They get tips when you enter these shops, and they are expensive. It’s like this that I paid $ 5 for a shop tour instead of going to Gate of India. And he dared to ask for tips haha!. On top of that, shameless beggars grab and stick to you for more money even though you’ve donated to them already.

3.Cambodia.

dav

Okay so, I hate Cambodia for Two reasons. First reason is, it’s traffic, You can nearly make it to the other side of the road in a coffin when trying to cross the street. There are no traffic rules and regulations in this country, Thinking of using the pedestrian to cross the road? They are just for decoration purposes, Second reason, I hate this country is because I got scammed by a tuk-tuk driver, Dude charged me $45 for a dangerous ride to Wat Leun Temple. Initially he said $35 but then charged way more later on. Because I was in a hurry I paid him like a fool. Don’t fall for this scam, Don’t pay more than $ 20 for tuk-tuk ride.

4.Venice.

dav

I loved Venice and I still do, I had an amazing time there, but then the Port Officials ruined my trip. When I went through security, the port official told me to go forward, I told him there’s a queue and he told me to go anyway which I did, his colleague started yelling at me telling there’s a queue and when I explained to him, his colleague told me to pass through he kept yelling in front of people, so I went back, they both started making comments in their language while looking at me laughing. I think they were stupid racists Italian who played a nasty joke on me because I was the only black person there. I don’t hate Italy because of some stupid port officers, I’ve experienced amazing Italian Hospitality in many Italian Ports.

5.Saint Tropeze.

I don’t hate Saint Tropez, I was simply disappointed. Firstly, because the media portrays Saint Tropez as a hyped destination and there’s nothing as such, at least around the Port where the ship was anchored. Secondly, I expected warm sandy beaches just like in Mauritius and I was served with pebble beaches and ice-cold water. However, there’s a nice hill with pretty nice views in the upper areas of Saint Tropez.


Mishaps and disappointing events are all part of the adventure. This article is not to persuade you to stay from these countries, I shared my bad experiences with you so that you are warned beforehand and hopefully don’t be victims to these kinds of situation. Happy and safe travel

SkinCare products You should pack for your Cruise ship Contract.

When I was about to embark on my first contract, My sailor- friends warned me about the water quality on board, but I didn’t pay much attention then, I was more excited about my future adventures than the condition of my skin. After 2 weeks, I regretted my decision, the water on board is loaded with tons of chemicals and they dry the skin badly, and if you have acne-prone skin, you certainly start breaking out like a teenager. On top of that, the constant and sudden change in temperature does not help either, One day, you are at a beach in Vietnam and two days after, you are in the freezing cold temperature of Hong Kong .Don’t panic! Here’s a list of skincare products you should pack to avoid all the skin drama.

My Basic beauty Products

1.Body Lotion

Body Lotion is definitely a must .Pack at least two bottles of hydrating body Lotion or Cream ,whichever the brand,it should hydrating!.This is going soothe your skin and prevent from drying .Apply it generously after any shower you take and before going to bed.

2.Gentle Face Wash


Whatever your skin type, never use soap on your face especially on the ship. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the water on board is highly concentrated in chemicals, so is a bar of soap. Using soap on your face will result in open pores,dry-scaly skin and pimples breakout. Therefore, buy a gentle face wash suited for your skin type. Two normal-sized bottles should be enough for a 6-8months contract.

3.Toner and Moisturizer

Never neglect to tone and Moisturize your skin especially on a ship. Always tone and moisturize whenever you wash your face. Even if you have oily skin, you definitely need a moisturizer, buy a gel one.

4.Sunscreen

Bring a big bottle or spray of Sunscreen with you, the higher the SPF the better. You are going to travel to plenty of exotic locations during your contract. So don’t forget to apply sunscreen even if you are going ashore for only 2 hours. It helps greatly to minimize skin damage from UV and unwanted excessive tanning.

5.Face Scrub and Masks.

A gentle face scrub, clay mask and sheet masks are your skin savior during your contract. I suggest you scrub your face and put on a mask once or twice a week. This helps keep your skin fresh, soft and clean. Pack plenty of sheet mask in your suitcase, not only do they smell nice, they do wonders to the skin as well.

6.Face Serum

Face serum provides a deeper moisturization than regular moisturizers. You can mix the two together or apply it separately. They are helpful in keeping the skin soft and healthy-looking.

7.Lip Balm.

Pack a lip balm to maintain your soft and kissable lips.

8.Eye Cream.

You don’t get to sleep much on cruise ship. So, you are probably going to wake up with dark under eyes and bags. Hence, an eye cream is helpful in this situation.

9.Pimple Patches.

They are extremely helpful to speed up the healing process of a pimple. So, if you have acne-prone skin, pack plenty.

10.Green Tea.

Green tea is useful for both your skin and digestion. It is an antioxidant with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Have a cup sometimes! Instead of binge drinking in the crew bar every night.

Working on cruise ships is really fun. Don’t neglect your skin in the pursuit of adventure!.

Do you have any products to add to the list?Share your suggestions in the comments below


Marina eye Abu dhabi

Best 5 Cheap Activities To Do In Abu Dhabi As A Crew.

Abu Dhabi, the 2nd well-known emirate of UAE, famous for its luxurious lifestyle, skyscrapers, and sports events. A bustling and dynamic city combined with ancient religious tradition, it is a destination for the rich and wealthy but exploring Abu Dhabi does not mean you have to empty your wallet. Below is a list of fun and cheap activity to do in this Vibrant City.

1.Marina Eye Ferris Wheel.

You will have to go to The Marina Mall which is around 20 minutes drive away from the port you will be docked. From the Marina Mall, enter the main entrance and walk straight to exit or alternately, if you are taking a taxi, tell the driver to drop you at The Ferris Wheel.

The Ferris ride is approximately 15 minutes and it costs 55 AED. It’s totally worth it as you will enjoy a 360 degrees astonishing view of the city. If you are afraid of motion sickness, there’s no need to worry as the speed at which it rotates, caters for motion sickness sufferers.

2.Marina Mall.


Recognized by Forbes in 2017, as the top shopping mall in Abu Dhabi. It is the place to be. It is a home to a Bowling Alley, Movie Theatre, Restaurants and a myriad of branded clothing stores that suits every budget. So you won’t get bored there. Make sure to try the Starbucks there, They are among the best I’ve been, from the customer to service to the food.

However, be careful, the mall is super huge that you can get lost and the multiple entrance does not help either. Don’t be like me, Always pay attention to where you are going, which direction you are proceeding to.

3.Movie Time at Abu Dhabi Mall.

Movie Time After Work.

Abu Dhabi Mall, is another huge shopping mall with 200+ shops and restaurants. It’s closest to the Cruise Terminal, about 15 minutes drive away. On level 3, You will find Vox Cinemas which screens freshly released movies up midnight. So if, you are having an overnight stay in Abu Dhabi, why not go for a movie night ?.

4.Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

You should visit this place whether you are religious or not, because it is a masterpiece and extremely peaceful there. On top of that,the ticket is free :D!. Moreover, it’s a great spot to take some amazing picture, from the Chandeliers to the marbles tiles, everything is picture-worthy.

Nevertheless, since this is a religious place, You will have to wear conservative and loose-fitting clothes. Men! don’t wear shorts. For women, don’t wear skimpy clothes, anyway, ladies, whatever you wear, they will provide you with an abaya free of charge that you will need to return after(either blue or red ). They seem happy doing so. Here’s a picture below.

5.Corniche Beach.

image source:Tripadvisor

Corniche Beach is a man-made beach,20 minutes walk from Marina Mall, it’s the place to be if you want to escape the heat of the city. They are 2 sections, one section is paid, it is mostly for families and ladies who want more privacy and the other section is free. Both section is clean, safe and have lifeguards. So grab your towel, put on your swimsuit and head to the beach!

Abu Dhabi is a safe city even at night, Taxis are metered and operate 24/7, People are friendly and chatty. So rest assured, Your time Ashore,won’t be ruined, except if you get lost like me in Marina Mall hehe.

Everything You Should Know About Working On A Cruise Ship.

Are you interested to work on a cruise ship?Or maybe you’ve signed up for your first contract and you are curious to know how life is on board.Cruise ship life is a different kind of life ;It’s like a mini society floating on the sea with its own rules and regulations.You are in for some awesome adventures,money and friendship.Here is a sneak peak of life on board.

1.You will travel..a lot..while getting paid .

Traveling around the world is what attracts many people to work a cruise ship besides making a lot of money.You will wake up to magnificent views and in different cities or countries everyday.You will visit countries you’ve never heard of and discover landscapes and ports that will blow your mind away.You will discover cultures different from yours and many delicious cuisines that you will miss when you return home .

2.You will Party Everyday.

The Crew Bar,this where you’ll head to after work no matter how tired or sleepy you are.It’s like a nightclub with the clubbing music,the bar area and the dance floor with only difference that you will party with your fellow colleagues. It’s the place where you will catch up on a beer with friends,socialize and meet people who are from other departments This is also the place where rumors spread at lightning speed,so be careful though.The crew bar is open everyday,except on embarkation day, until the wee hours of the morning .If you go there everyday,you will memorize the playlist,because it’s the same music that is played everyday except on special parties like Easter,Halloween ,Christmas Party etc…

3.Crew Sales And Crew Discounts

The perks of working on a cruise ship is that you can buy luxury branded stuffs such as watches,perfumes and liquors at a really discounted price when there’s crew sales.There are also several Duty Free shops in ports around Europe that offer crew discounts on the presentation of your crew card.Additionally,If You want to use the spa on board,you can do so at a discounted price only on port days though.

4.International Friendship

Cruise ships employ their crew from all around the world.So If you like socializing,meeting new people and creating new friendship bonds,You won’t miss out.You will meet wonderful people,with their own wonderful stories,culture and personalities with whom you will share unforgettable moments during your contract.

5.Alcohol is Cheap.

Alcohol on board is really cheap,sometimes you can even get it for free when there is special crew parties .And you can get it at bargain price in Slop Chests.However be careful with consuming alcohol on board,Cruise ships are very strict about their drugs and alcohol policy.If you are caught drunk or if you fail alcohol test ,you can say goodbye to your job.

6.Forget about Days Off

Weekends or Days off don’t exist on board.You work 7 days a week with no rest day in between,however,You get hours off!.On Cruise ships,You work on shifts.For example,You work from 8 am to 2 30 pm ,then from 2 30 pm until 05 30 pm that’s your time off,You resume work again from 05 30 pm until 10 30 pm.And From 10 30 pm to 08 30 am that’s your time off again.If you have an awesome boss and if there isn’t too many guests on board you can request a day,they won’t refuse you.

7.Language On Board.

Although the official language on board all cruise ship is English.Crew members have their own special Language which is a blend of English,Tagalog,Spanish and other unknown languages.So,if you are going on board to improve your English skills ,forget about it .You will come home knowing a language which is definitely not mainstream English!.

8.In Port Manning

In Port Manning or commonly Known as IPM on board,refers to the minimum amount of crew members that must ,by law,remain a board a cruise ship to evacuate it if a situation arise.That means you can’t go ashore if you are IPM.Depending on the number of people working in your department,You might be IPM once or twice per week.

9.Forget Your Privacy.

Depending on Your Position on board,you will have to share your cabin with 2-3 people but that’s not all,there’s regular scheduled cabin cleaning followed by cabin inspection by the captain or his staff and the HR.There’s also frequent surprise cabin inspection.And if your cabin fails this inspection you are in for some serious Bananas (trouble). So Always Keep your Cabin clean,don’t leave objects that are not allowed in your cabin in open air.

10.Salary,Vacation and Contract Length.

The Length of the Contracts can vary from 4 months,6 months and 9+ months and the Vacation leaves is between 6-8 weeks ,you can request for an extension if you have a solid reason.Vacations are unpaid so the company will deduct 10 % or 20 % off from your salary every month for your vacation pay ,so don’t be surprised if you are getting less than it is mentioned on your contract.If You decide to terminate your contract ,they will use this money to pay for your plane tickets and other travelling expenses ,therefore ,please,don’t resign ,you will lose your hard earned money.Wait until the end of contract and don’t come back if you do not wish to work in the cruise industry anymore.

11.Time Ashore .

You are free when you are off the ship,however be careful of the time.Crew members have to be back on board 1 hour prior the ship is scheduled to depart .Don’t even think of coming late by 2 minutes,you will get some serious shit for this .And don’t go too far from the ship ,the ship will leave without you,if you don’t make it on time and you will have to bear the costs of joining back the ship only to get fired!.

12.Filipinos make up the majority of the employees.

Most of the Crew members are Filipinos.They are the most sweet and friendly people I’ve met on board,they are people with big hearts.However ,some of them,specially when they have their own large group ,they tend to ignore the minority and start being loud or make mean joke or talk bad about you in their own language and all that in front your face.Nevertheless ,I’m not generalizing ,Everyone is different .

13.Food On Board

The crew or officers’ mess is the place where you will have all your meals on board.The Cruise ship will provide you with 3 meals a day; Breakfast,Lunch and Dinner .Additionally,You’ll also be provided with freshly baked pizza around midnight in the crew mess ,sometimes leftover viennoiserie around tea time.Nevertheless,The food in crew mess is of poor quality ,even your dog would refuse this food.Once in a blue moon ,you can get tasty food especially on occasion such as Crew dinner/lunch but Most of the time ,it’s crap.Crew eat in the crew mess,officers and other higher position staffs eat in the officers mess and some of the highest ranked employees eat in the main dining room,Unfair ,I know!But that’s the industry!.

14.You can’t Say No to Over time.

The average working hour on cruise ship is around 10-14 hours per day. Sometimes you will have to work some extra hours when you have Deep cleaning,USPH or the day before embarkation/disembarkation.And don’t expect to be notified about 2 days before,sometimes you’ll be alerted about it only 30 minutes before the end of shift.And it’s not like on land where you can refuse to do overtime. You’ll have to do it whether you want it or not!.

15. First Few Days on board is tough.

I’m Not saying this to discourage you but the first 7 days you are going to be tired from the jet lag, the fast-paced environment and the drills and training that you will have every day. Moreover, If your ship is changing time zone every 2 days, You will have to change your time forward and back .If you are going one hour forward several days on your first weeks ,then be strong my dear,this is going to be hard but eventually, your body will get used to it very soon .

16.Everyone is friendly but not everyone is Your friend.

Everyone is friendly and ready to help with a huge smile on board but be careful.Don’t trust anyone blindly,be careful with the information you share because it can be used against you and lands you in serious problems.Not every friendly colleague is a friend and Not every friendly person wants to be your friend sometimes they may have sketchy intentions.

17.Ladies,Be careful.

My beautiful ladies ,be extremely careful,Every married man is divorced on board !.They will promise you the universe,use you like tissue paper just for sex.Love stories last until the gangway do you both apart .And be careful if you are having unprotected sex,because if you get pregnant ,the ship will send you home ASAP!.

Working a cruise ship is a rewarding and enriching experience,I know,it’s hard work,but if it was easy everyone out there would be have been working on a cruise ship.I hope this article has been helpful to you and if you are about to embark for your very first contract then welcome to the journey and have an awesome contract.