Cruise Ship Veteran
Company: Carnival Cruise Lines
Occupation: Steakhouse Server
Were you satisfied with the income generated from working as a SteakHouse Server?
Yes, especially in the beginning. Ship Carnival Valor had a very busy steakhouse, and even if I worked in a coffee shop, my monthly income was over $2,000.
The money was good, but we worked hard and ran like chicken.
When I got a transfer to Carnival Sunshine, the earnings got poor. Then we sailed through Europe and the Europeans don’t tip, and the steakhouse was not popular amongst Europeans.
I remember the last salary before leaving home, it was $ 1,216.
I think that was my lowest salary in the steakhouse ever.
The second contract I again returned to the Sunshine, after crossing to the US, so the money was better.
Is there a possibility of promotion ie. did you advanced at work?
In steakhouse, only girls could get promoted to managerial role. We men could get promoted only into the sommeliers. That was before.
As the Carnival discontinued that position, we were left hanging. That is one of the reasons why I left Carnival.
How did you like the social life on board?
Social life onboard is great. There is always a diverse company with diverse interests.
There’s always someone if you want to drink in the bar, if you want to hang out on the open deck, to train in the gym …
It was never bored, and as the Carnival is a relaxed company, there were a lot of crazy parties going on.
Describe the people you have worked with onboard.
There were all sorts of people. From random people with whom you work every day and hang out but do not have any special relationship to those we befriend and become like family, and after the ship we hear from them on a daily basis, even though they are in different parts of the world.
Unfortunately, there were some who just watched out for your mistake, and then ran to supervisors to report, thinking that it would present them in a better light. Those were envious of you and would work against you. I would not get into national or racial stereotypes, because like everywhere, there are good and bad people.
How would you describe the passengers?
Same as the crew. People of all sorts. Young drunken revved up during spring break, people with children, retired …
There were normal people who come and go and do not leave any marks on you. Nice people you liked to meet. Competent, relaxed, entertaining, knowlegable, with whom and become friends and end up together at lunch, on the beach … People that keep coming into the restaurant or to dinner just to chat with you and greet you, invite you to visit them in America … nowadays I am still in touch with some guests.
I also met those who obviously had some mental problems and frustration, and lashed out on crew. I met those who would come to dinner, eat and order, everything fine and dandy and then at the end of the dinner they would throw in a complain, saying that nothing was good (after eating all and asking for extra LOL) just to get a free dinner or something.
Have you had time to visit the places that the ship was visiting?
One of the advantages of working in steakhouse is a good schedule. Especially when you have morning setup.
We could even make a deal with our manager to get earlier to work to make sure we got the job done on time in order to get out of the boat on time. So yes, I was lucky enough to have a little free time to go out of the boat.
Did you have a favorite place to go?
In Europe, I loved Venice the most. During day I would go on a coffee and lunch break, and in the evening, if we had overnight stay, I would visit nightclub Piccolo Mondo.
Otherwise, to me personally, the most beautiful places were Aruba and Curacao. I didn’t have any special places to speak of.
I mostly liked going to the beach. So anywhere with sun, sand, palm trees, ocean, cold beer – I’m a happy man.
Describe the benefits of working on cruise ships.
One of the positive things is earnings. If you are smart with your money and do not spend on things that you do not need, you can save a lot.
Especially because onboard you do not pay utility bills, rent and food. Travel. You have the opportunity to visit some of the places that you probably never would have visited on your own dime. New people.
The perfect opportunity to learn about new cultures and nations from all over the world. Experience. Ship’s work experience is something you can not get on land and especially in the Balkans.
Tell us about the bad side of work on a cruise ships.
Separation from family, friends, girl … You’re on board 6-8 months or more and you do not have too much contact with the previous life.
You do have internet, skype and hear from them, but that’s not it. At home a lot of things are going on, friends or someone in the family gets married, graduate, someone close to you dies, and you’re missing all and you’re not there.
You spend your birthday, Easter, Christmas and New Year working … these are all things that you need to prepare for.
Like everything in life, the ship has bad and good sides and you must be willing to sacrifice.
Also chronic fatigue and weakened nerves, especially after 6-7 months onboard. Those who were onboard know what I’m saying, and those who have yet to go on a boat and will remember these words.
Would you recommend work on cruise ships and why?
Definitely. It is an experience in life worth having.
In addition to what I have already stated; earnings, travel and meeting new people, I would add that you will expand your horizons and become independent. So if you are interested and you want it, to go for it!