Life, Travel

Ever considered working on a cruiseship?

I’ve always wanted to work on a cruiseship. Maybe because it was in my genes as my father worked as Captain on cruiseships but surely because I love to travel.

I applied for the French company Ponant several times.
I was first recontacted just after I arrived in London and declined to continue the recruitment process. Bad timing.
I was then contacted in November 2015 to work as Night Receptionist in Antarctica for 4 months. I declined the offer because I know how hard it is to work nigh and couldn’t imagine doing it for 4 months on a row.
Finally, I was contacted again in Mars 2016 to work as Shop hostess / Receptionist, traveling around the world for 6 months. It was the perfect timing as I was considering leaving my job and I accepted!

So I embarked in Belfast on the 8th of May 2016 and disembarked in Ho Chi Minh on the 4th of November.
I adapted very quickly to this new environment. After only a day, everything felt very familiar, like I’ve had always worked on a ship!
I have so many memories from this 6 months, most of them good but a few bad.
If I had the choice to do it again, I wouldn’t hesitate a second. But if you’re still hesitating because you’re not sure, this is the list of pros and cons.

L'Austral - Ponant

Please keep in mind that I worked on a small luxury cruise ship traveling the world, which is a very different experience than working on a huge middle range cruise ship navigating the same circuit each cruise. Therefore, I can only speak about what I know 😉

– You travel around the world
– You don’t have to pay for anything : flight tickets, accommodation, food, laundry. Your salary basically is your pocket money
– You make new friends that become your family away from your family
– You can party almost every night if you’re a party animal
– You don’t have to commute to go to work, which means that you can sleep longer!

– You don’t have any privacy, generally sharing a small cabin with at least another person
– You don’t have a lot of crew spaces to enjoy
– You don’t have any day off during your contract
– You have to adapt to a quasi military organisation. For instance, cabins are inspected every week and crew and officers don’t eat together, which, for me, is an aberration as we all work together.
– You don’t eat very well, expect when passengers invite you to join their table
– You might be seasick when there is rough sea

The cons can seem unsurmountable but if you really love to travel, they won’t stop you!

Ha Long Bay

There is another job which allows to travel a lot: airline steward. I’ve never been one myself but I think that I have a good overview of the job and therefore managed to come up with a list of augments why working on a cruise ship is better on certain aspects but worst of others.

– You don’t suffer from the jet lag
– You visit remote places that can’t be reached by planes (North West passage, Kamchatka, Kuril Islands…)
– You feel safer at sea than in the air
– You don’t get blood circulation problems
– The variety of jobs is more important so it’s easier to get a job

– You don’t sleep in 5* hotels
– You’re away from home, family, friends for a long period of time
– You don’t have any day off
– There are less cruise ships companies than airline companies so it’s more difficult to get a job

Of course there are other jobs that will allow you to travel, but not as much as working on a cruise ship or in a plane.
So do it while you’re young and free, the world is your oyster!

Sunset at sea


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