Crew Show Ph. 2
Wallis - Travel Guide - USA

Cruise Life Experience

I never imagined myself working on a cruise ship but I spent two fairly happy years doing so. I have advanced degrees in geology and geophysics and been a college professor and researcher when I found myself out of a job during the recession in 2010. When my unemployment benefits were almost exhausted some friends suggested I look at working for a cruise line since I enjoyed sailing and traveling. I applied for a job as a Travel Guide - actually a port lecturer and within 2 weeks of my initial application I was on a ship going through the Panama Canal.


I was lucky to have a very privileged position onboard. My cabin was large, had a window, was on an upper deck and best of all I didn't have to share it with anyone. I ate my meals in the Lido, the passenger cafeteria, could have room service if I wanted, and could enjoy any of the passenger shows or bars in the evening when I was off duty. My laundry was done for me (although I would hand wash delicate items that I didn't want to go through the industrial laundry facilities). I also got one free meal each month ( with a guest) at the upscale restaurant on the ship.


All in all life was pretty good. I officially worked 4-5 hours/day but that didn't include the time I spent developing and improving and researching my port and cultural lectures. Much of this was done between contract on my own time and very few resources were provided by the company. I spent many evening revising and improving my presentations and reading books on the ports. And while in ports I wandered around taking photos and getting familiar with tourist attractions, taxi and bus services, finding good local coffee shops and restaurants and bars - getting myself all knowledge I needed to be a port specialist.


Overall I enjoyed living and working on the ship. I met and made friends with other crew members from all over the world and even though I had traveled quite a bit before, the job gave me a new appreciation for some of the countries we visited as well as learning more about the home countries of my colleagues. As in all jobs there was the occasional difficult co- worker or boss but wait long enough and their contract or your contract ends. Most of the passengers were quite pleasant people who seemed truly interested in members of the crew and life onboard. I am still in contact with a number of passengers with whom I made friends during their cruise. And on the down side there are always some horrid passengers. You simply smile and know that they won't be on the ship forever.


What I didn't understand when I first took the job is that you work 7 days per week and that you can be called to host a function any evening and that their are weekly safety drills and a large number of health, safety, environmental, and ethics computer courses that you must complete on your own time. But still not too bad considering the ports you visit and lifestyle.


Most jobs on the ship are much more demanding than mine. I felt something like guilt knowing that most crew members worked many more hours each day than I and had less opportunities to enjoy life onboard.


If you enjoy travel and meeting interesting people and making new friends and want to learn more about yourself and about how people all over the world are both just like you and different at the same time I would recommend working at least a year on a ship.