So you’re interested in working on a cruise ship? Great choice. A life at sea is filled with excitement and adventure. You’ll be partying with good friends every night, and exploring brand new places every morning. It’s not all fun and games though. Working some of the longest and most tiring hours you’ll ever work in your life you sure feel you’re earning your keep while working at sea. There are many different positions aboard ships so you’re bound to find something for you. If you’re a people person however, you might want to consider joining the cruise staff.
Cruise Staff are the onboard entertainers responsible for anything and everything related to keeping the guests happy. No matter where they are they always seem to have a smile on their faces. Their amazing, extraverted personalities radiate happiness wherever they go, and be it a crew or passenger party, they’re the life of it. One of my good friends Shreta works on the Cruise Staff team aboard a major passenger cruise ship. She’s worked on several ships throughout her career, and she’s an amazing person to work with. While I also entertained passengers, my interactions were limited to teenagers and their parents, so I figured I’d ask Shreta what life was like on the adult side of entertaining passengers aboard a major cruise line.
First, can you tell me a little about your job as a cruise staff member? What do your days look like?
There are never ‘set days’ as a Cruise Staff member and that’s what makes it awesome! A day at sea can demand 12-14 hours of work, while a day at port can be as little as 2-3 hours of work. It keeps you on the move from Deck 1 to the top-most deck of the ship – you even work off the ship too!
Is it tough always smiling and having to entertain guests?
Entertaining people making them laugh and making them have a good time gives you a great feeling. Knowing someone else is relying on you for a laugh – or to make friends – is a superb feeling. But yes! There are tough days. As people it’s not always possible to have a good day every day – let’s be real!
What are your favourite and least favourite things about the job?
I get to work with people from various parts of the world on the ship. As a cruise staff member, I meet and exchange stories with people from different parts of the world. Guests tend to confide in you – they find a friend in you; so I know some strange stories (wink, wink).
How did you start working on ships? What gave you the idea?
I’m a photographer and writer by profession, as well as an MC and an event planner. I came to cruise ships originally as a photographer. I did it for a while but felt a bit stagnant, so I looked around, found the cruise staff position, auditioned… and bam!
Do you get much time in port to explore or hang out?
A lot! Yes! I am very blessed to have an opportunity this good. It quenches my thirst for travel. Even the bad days are good.
How would you say cruise staff are treated compared to the rest of the crew on the ship? Is it an easy life?
It looks easy for sure, but it’s not always so. There are departments who work more, and positions that work harder and I totally respect that. That being said, it’s no piece of cake to smile or talk with complete strangers. You’ve got to be comfortable talking to and entertaining everyone. It can also be difficult when things are going on in your own life, but you still have to maintain your friendly personality. When you loose someone back home and have to go on stage and host a show, it gets hard to control your tears and emotions. Like I always say, I signed up for it, so I’ve got to do it.
What is the craziest thing that’s happened at an event you’ve hosted?
I’ve got a good one. A middle aged man was so drunk that he got naked in front of a crowd of about 250 at a game show I was hosting with another colleague. It was very funny, but we had to handle it carefully. I still remember choking on the microphone because it was just too darn funny. 🙂
For anyone looking to work as a Cruise Staff member on a cruise ship – do you have any advice?
Be yourself! Like, really, let your personality shine through. As a host, develop your style. Learn, learn, and learn some more. Master your English. If you know you have a strong accent, that’s fine – but if you want to be understood by an international crowd work on your speech and diction.
Don’t be afraid to have a good time. As Cruise Staff, others rely on you for fun. If you’re not having fun yourself, how do you expect others to?