Living the cruise life, it’s easy to get caught up in the highs of the job, but step a toe out of line, and they’ll kick you off the ship faster than you can say termination. Here are the major reasons why you might be fired from a cruise ship.

For the record, I was never fired from a cruise ship; some of my best friends – however – were.

Sleeping With A Passenger

Since any fraternization with passengers is a big no-no, you can best believe you’ll be getting the boot for taking one home to your cabin. While I’ve never heard of anyone doing it directly, I’ve been assured it happens a lot more than you expect.

Missing The Ship

If the ship sails at 5 o’clock, passengers will often have to be on well before that – for crew, we’ve got to be on even earlier. If 5 o’clock rolls around and you’re not back on the ship – well, you’re in for a world of trouble. Your passports will be turned over to the port agent, and the ship will be sailing away without you.

When you get back and discover that your home is missing, you’ve got to book – and pay – your own flight to whichever port the ship will be in next. When you finally do meet up with the ship, chances are you’ll be called to the staff captain’s office for an explanation, and a letter of termination. It doesn’t always happen like that, but don’t take the risk, and be back before the ship leaves.

Being Too Drunk

The last thing you want to be at 2 in the morning when the ship starts to sink is too drunk to stand – that’s why cruise ships have rigorous alcohol policies for their employees. Drinking before a shift? Big problem. Drinking more than one beer an hour? Bad idea. Of course, all ship employees bend these rules a little – and even in training, management acknowledges the flexibility of the rules. Just be prepared if you’re going to break them. At any time, you can be called to be Breathalyzed, and if you’re over the limit, there’s not much anyone can do to prevent you from being sent on the next flight home. Also drugs – definitely no drugs allowed.

Not Showing Up For Work

Thinking about playing hooky for the day? That’s not going to happen. Keep in mind that you’re on a ship. If you haven’t shown up for work, there’s not a lot of places you can go to, and you best believe people are going to look for you. If you’re sick, that’s a different story, but make sure to go get permission from your management to see the doctor.

And the lesser-known reasons I’ve heard of employees getting fired for:

  • Having milk in your cabin fridge
  • Having liquor bottles in your cabin
  • Talking during a lifeboat drill
  • Not being friends with the right people
  • Not wearing your uniform correctly
  • Failing to keep your cabin clean
  • Swearing in front of passengers
  • Failing to report having gastroenteritis (GI/Norovirus)

All in all, there are plenty of ways to get fired from a cruise ship. Unlike a job on land, at sea, it’s pretty strict. Luckily, I’ve never had the experience, but unless you want that anxious college graduate taking your bed next week, keep both feet in line, and stand at attention.

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