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Working Onboard a Cruise Ship As a Couple: How Did We Do It? Was It Worth It?

A very much in-love couple who have a dream of travel and wanderlust, trying to see all 195 countries of the world.

How It Came About: We Wanted to Be Together

Two years ago we found ourselves on a one-way flight to America; this was such an eye-opener into travel that we had never experienced before. This would be our first time flying out of Africa, across an entire ocean, and directly into another culture. We had always wanted to travel. From the day we met we talked about what it would be like to travel the world together. Somehow it was just something we both fell in love with.

Now at the beginning when we applied for the position it was scary. I mean, imagine being in a new relationship and applying for a job that you know is going to ensure you spend 90% of your day together. That's crazy! In a matter of two weeks we went from a long-distance relationship to being together every single day, for almost the entire day. We loved it. Looking back, I can't remember a time without Mickey in my life, and if we were separated now for a week or two, I would struggle.

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What Exactly Happens on a Cruise Ship

When we boarded this gigantic vessel that we would call home for the next five months, it honestly looked like a spaceship. The crew areas looked so different from the guest areas. It was so intriguing to learn how everything worked.

Finding our routine would prove to be the most important part of working on a ship. Our first month I would say was the hardest, we were working seven days a week, between seven and twelve hours a day. This really took about a month to get used to, Not only that, we were 'bunking' with other roommates and this was quite an inconvenience. Once we had our own little cabin to call home it was smooth sailing from there on out.

Getting off the ship and exploring our ports of call was by far the best part of the job, this is where the travel bug clamped down on us. We loved all the new sights, sounds, flavors and people waiting on the islands. Sunday was our favorite day: we would be docking at our home port, which just so happened to be New Orleans! This was such a unique destination for us, with all the voodoo shops and palm readers we really felt like we were in an episode of Originals. (Which was shot in New Orleans).

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Perks and Disadvantages of Being a Crew Member

Perks! Don't we just love them, especially when it comes to discount codes and not paying rent. Yep, that's right, we didn't have to pay any rent, or for our food, we got discounts in the store, and discounts on cruises. If that wasn't enough we also had exclusive 'crew only' parties at least once a month, a 'food party' every second week (where we got to eat the food from each country onboard), and our own private crew bar that we can visit any day of the week (that also gave us discounts on our drinks). Now that I'm reading this it sounds like the perfect life!

Ship life did however have its drawbacks, for example, the hours. We worked many, many, many, many hours. I would say we worked around sixty to sixty five hours a week, and we worked seven days a week. Some weeks we worked more, but we never worked less. Another drawback was the safety training, although this was absolutely necessary, and I am so glad we had to do it, it did mean we had a whole lot less hours to sleep. As the training does not take place in working time, I guess it would have to take place in our sleeping time. Although when looking back at the actual job itself we would say that the perks definitely outweighed the disadvantages, and overall we loved every day we were onboard.

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Getting Off The Vessel

At the very beginning, that very first week or two onboard, it is quite difficult to get off the ship, for a few reasons. The first being that your first month is quite intense when it comes to safety training. Any cruise line needs to make sure that each and every crew member needs to know exactly what to do in case of an emergency. Not only that, if the ship stops in a US port, all crew members require a specific document that allows them to get off. This document took us between two and three weeks to get, but once we had it we were ready to go for the entirety of our nine-month contract!

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In the next episode I will get into our very first port of call and our second ever country away from home.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Demi and Mickey