Different Experiences Aboard a Cruise Ship and Other Vessels

The business of moving cargo and passengers across the water will always have
an allure. Some people take jobs on the water and never look back. They’ll be happy
to tell you how their job enabled them to buy a house, start a family and build a
wonderful life. They’ll tell you that standing watches and going from deckhand to
mate in two years was the most rewarding experience of their lives. They may be
proud to boast that they learned things in two years that people don’t learn in four
years of college. And they would be correct.

But someone else may tell you that working at sea was not what he thought it would
be. He may relate a bad experience where a fellow crewmember with a criminal
record who was unfit for sea duty wound up on his vessel. The company may have
moved the trouble-maker from one vessel to another, instead of firing him like they
should have. And the victim with the unfortunate experience may relate how the
troublemaker came to be his cabin mate and made him worry about getting in
trouble for drug possession, or worse, being violently assaulted. Some companies
are better than others about keeping bad apples out of the workplace, so that people
who just want to make it through the day and give the company a fair day’s work for a
fair day’s pay can do so with peace of mind. Although companies typically screen for
drugs and criminal records, things sometimes fall between the cracks.

If you want to talk about a high-pressure job, look at cruise ship life. We recently
spoke with two dining room crew following their brief stints aboard the same ship.
We're not sure if it was attitude, or bad luck, or a combination of both for the unhappy
one. But their sentiments after getting off the ship were as different as night and day.
The younger crewmember described the cruise as the best experience of his life,
telling stories of fun-filled excursions in ports he could never have dreamed of
seeing without the cruise ship job. He thrived on the fast-paced atmosphere of the
dining hall and felt a sense of pride in wearing the uniform of the cruise line. He said
his duties with lifeboat and fire drills gave him so much confidence in himself.

The other older crewmember who worked on the very same voyage complained that
he never had to work so many hours in a day before, that he received
condescending and heavy-handed treatment by a junior deck officer, and that an
over-demanding family stiffed him on tips. The disgruntled crewmember
complained about the experience of sharing a small cabin with three other waiters.
He said that when he was trying to fall asleep, one of the other waiters would always
make too much noise clunking around the room looking for a shirt or belt, or turning
on the lights to the entire room instead of using a flashlight to look for his CD player.
This unhappy shipmate also complained that if he didn’t wake up early enough to
shave and shower before the others did, there was hardly any time left after they
were done with the small sink and shower. It doesn't seem likely that he'll sign up
again for a cruise job unless he doesn't succeed in finding work on shore.

The vastly differing experiences of these two young men could be attributed to
personality, attitude, or bad luck. It's possible that even if these two switched places,
their sentiments about the cruise ship job would still wind up the same. We can only
guess about that, but we can say this...  a maritime job is not an easy and cushy way
to make money.

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Different People Will Have Different Experiences With Any Given Job
Maritime Jobs - Marine Jobs - Deckhands - Tankermen - Able Seaman - Maritime Jobs - Deck Engine - Employment in the Maritime
Industry - Work on Ships - Yachts - Tugboats - Cruise Ships
Some people say nothing in this world is
about luck. It’s all about preparation and
qualification, and that we create our own
good luck by doing everything necessary to
attain a good job. Others say luck has a role
in everything. Well, we think there’s merit to
both points of view. There are elements of
luck involved in getting a good maritime job,
as with anything else. Maybe it’s about being
in the right place at the right time. And there’s
also an element of attitude.