There is good and bad about living and working aboard a cruise ship. Here are five tips and tricks that can help you make the most of your unique situation.

Hack #1 – Friends And Family Discounts

Check your cruise line’s intranet system for information on discounts for friends and family. Sometimes you have to fulfill an employment requirement (eg, 6 months with the company) before you qualify, but they can be well worth it. The rule generally is the more you plan it, the more expensive it is. If your family lives close to an embarkation port though, they can show up the day of and perhaps qualify for a 100 dollar week long cruise.

Hack #2 – Free Shore Excursions

Those trips that passengers are paying hundreds of dollars on? You might have the opportunity to accompany them for free. Known as an escort, you’ll be representing the company by accompanying the tour and filling out a piece of paper. Unfortunately, you’re not able to go with friends, but I did get to see some cool sights for free. I spent the day in Pompeii once without spending a single euro. If you’re interested, talk to the Shore-Ex staff – they’ll hook you up.

Hack #3 – Set An Alarm

It’s common sense for you to be setting alarms, but you might not have thought about doing it in port. We’re often so rushed for time, that we don’t get to fully enjoy ourselves in the moment. One of my favourite things to do was set an alarm an hour before crew all-aboard time; it gave me enough time to make my way back to the ship even from the furthest reaches of the port city. After my alarm was set, I made it a goal not to check my watch until the alarm went off. Some of my best days were spent like this.

Hack #4 – Foster Some Decent Connections

This one isn’t so much of a hack as it is being a decent person. The more friends you have on the ship, the better you’re going to be treated. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had something extra done for me just because I was a friend of the person doing it. Extra pieces of chocolate on top of a cake slice, pizza delivered at 3AM, even scoring a bottle of whiskey – anything is possible if you’ve got the right connections. The Filipino mafia makes miracles happen.

Hack #5 – Actually Hack Stuff

Ship internet is expensive, so any way around it is always appreciated by crew. Here was our main method. When you connect to the ship internet, you essentially do two things; connect to the WiFi, and login to your account. If you connect, login, and then logout on your mobile phone remaining connected to the WiFi, you can still receive push notifications. This lets you receive messages on push-enabled apps, and in some cases (cough, iMessage), still send them.

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