Working aboard a cruise ship isn’t all fun and games. The crew works just as hard as they play (perhaps even harder). There are some things that are required of you on board that just don’t make sense to those who have never worked at sea before. Quirky things quickly become habits, and some of these you keep with you for a long while. Here are some habits from my days working aboard a ship that I simply can’t break (or don’t want to).


Finding an escape route

When you first sign on to a cruise ship, or change cabins, you are required to fill out a form called an escape route. This form serves the purpose of forcing you to walk from your cabin to your lifeboat, in two separate ways in case one is inaccessible. It never hurts to be prepared, especially in case of emergency, so I apply this to my every day life. While I don’t go to the trouble of filling out a form, whenever I move to a new apartment (which is often) I make sure I know at least two ways to get out of the building.


An automatic reaction to check whatever I’m doing whenever I see someone dressed in all white

More or less, the only people you will see in white uniforms aboard a cruise ship are there to give you a hard time. The amount of times I’ve gotten in trouble with them for simple things like carrying a water bottle, wearing a hat, or chewing gum is too high to count. Therefore, any time I see someone dressed in white in my life on land (which I’ll admit is rare) I automatically straighten up.



Smiling and saying hello to strangers on the street

So this one might not be from the cruise ship, but being raised in a small Canadian town. Either way, smiling and saying hello to strangers is just something that comes naturally to me. I have to be careful though, depending on the country I’m in, this behaviour isn’t always welcome (like Korea).


Eating like I’m on vacation

There are two types of food on the ship, passenger food, and crew food. I was lucky enough to eat passenger food for most of my meals. Depending on your position in the privileged hierarchy, you could eat in the buffet at certain times. I was able to eat at breakfast and only after 7PM, so rather than facing the fish heads in the crew mess, I chose to skip lunch. Unfortunately the mentality of “eat everything at this buffet right now” has stuck with me, so much that I’ve got to spend a little extra time exercising to compensate.


Keeping a ridiculously clean bedroom

Cabin inspections are a regular thing to happen on ships. Even though we had to pay for someone to clean our room, we were still responsible if it was dirty. Once an officer told a friend of mine that she was responsible for shampooing her carpet. Naturally, you learn to keep your room pretty clean. While nobody is checking my room anymore, it’s still spotless.


Not taking my time off for granted

Time off on a ship is an absolute luxury, so you do as much as you can with it. Rome can be seen in a day, you can wander all over Barcelona and see everything you want. I apply this to my life when traveling. You would be surprised just how much free time you’ve got in a day.

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