here's what i had posted a while back, another thread about working on cruise-ships.
I had one of the "tough" jobs. I started as Diningroom Waiter. Having worked in hospitality industry for years already that was the most obvious thing to do when wanting to work on a cruise ship. I was 22 when I first started back in 1995. It was extremely easy to get the job. I wrote application letters to 10 different lines, some didn't answer, another sent a telegram telling me to book a flight to Vancouver and get my ass over there ASAP and let them know when I would be arriving so they could arrange for a pick-up at the airport. I declined that one because I had to pay for the flight myself. It was Silversea (www.silversea.com) that wrote me a letter, I called them, they asked me when I was available, I said tomorrow and 1 week later I was on my way to Athens. The company took care of my travel expenses and the pick-up at the airport. A cab took me to the ship and that's when horror started…
I was met by the crew purser, we did the paperwork (medical papers and contract) and told me how to get down to the tailor to get me my uniform. I was then told to go find my cabin, get dressed and go find the Maitre 'd. I felt incredibly lost and lonely, I couldn't find my cabin at first and when I did I found it to be tiny, no window and of course I had to share it with a colleague. There was nobody there to help showing me around the ship, heck, I couldn't even find the dining room!! Anyway, basically we worked with 2 waiters in one station. One station has around 28 seats. My first cruise I worked with a Turkish guy, he was new as well, so he couldn't really teach me the tricks of the trade which made things even more difficult and our station was furthest away from the kitchen so I sweated my balls off!! In the mornings I was stationed to help out in the Room Service dept. which I really liked doing. Somehow you can get more close to pax ( I mean just talking…) and work is more relaxed, less stressy.
For some reason the Maitre d' didn't like me at all, and he gladly transferred me to the room service dept when a position became available there. I had a great time there! Very nice colleagues, better working hours (we only worked 2 times daily, while in dining room one works 3 times a day!!!!!!!)
To give you an idea what a dining room waiter goes through: Start breakfast-shift at 07:00, 07:30 or 08:00 depending whether in port or a day at sea, finish breakfast shift at or around 10:30/10:45. Then you're free till Lunch service. Check in time for that shift is 11:30. Work till 14:30 roughly. Then off again till 18:00 or 18:30 depending on if there would be a Captain's party were we'd have to serve canapé's, caviar etc. You'd be lucky to finish the Dinner service by 10:15 pm. Then it’s off to your cabin or the crew bar to have a couple of drinks and unwind. Usually that time of day were back to sea so can't go anywhere, but if on overnight we'd go out in places like Singapore, Hong Kong, Saigon, Bangkok, London, St. Petersburg (Russia!!) etc.
In room service we'd start at 06:30 till 10 am and off till 14.00 pm and then straight through till 11 pm or 07:00 am till 14.00 pm and from 18.00 pm till 11 pm. Bare in mind this is 7 days a week for 6 months straight!!! You'd be very lucky to get one shift off every 2 months or so…
On Seabourn (200 pax only) we could win a shift off by competitions. We had to learn the names of the pax by heart and also these pax's food/drink preferences. Once a week the Maitre'd would give us a test and the winner would get an evening or lunch shift off…..
As far as getting "close to pax" that was absolutely out of the question!! I remember one waiter who had a history of doing just so, had warnings before but couldn't resist getting somewhat close with a young lady who's father complained about it. He was fired instantly. Unfortunately for him this happened while we were anchored off Devil's Island, off the coast of French Guyana, South America. He was givven an hours time to pack his things and was put on a small boat, brought ashore, where he was transferred to the nearest airport to be flown back home. Of course the cost of this trip is being deducted from your wages. And it ain't cheap flying back to Europe from where we were at that time!!
Travel arrangements though are always taken care of by the crew purser.
Other example: one of my buddies who had a history of getting very obnoxious when having too much to drink and also had warnings for that, when in the port of Saigon, Vietnam went out and returned to the ship late, (there was a curfew by the Vietnam Port Authorities) and got in a near fight with the guards. 2 days later in Bangkok he was ordered to see the captain who told him he was fired. He flew back to Amsterdam that very night.
Now here's my story on how it came about I flew home quite unexpectedly.
It must have been somewhere in July, a day at sea on our way from the Greek isle of Keffalonia to Malta. I had a afternoon room service duty from 2 pm till 10 pm. The weather was really nice so almost all pax were on the outside decks and I was not busy at all. While hanging around waiting for a call I noticed some empty cards that pax fill out in their suite and hang it out on the doorknob at night for their room service breakfast orders. You must know there are 2 ladies working the night shift in room service from 10 pm till 07.00 am who pick up all the orders from the door-knobs and prepare all breakfast trays. I decided to pull a joke on them.
So what I did was I took one of these order cards and faked an order. I can't remember exactly what I ordered, but it was something like 7 omelets, 8 juices 5 fruit plates, 4 orders of bacon, 6 scrambled eggs, 3 oatmeal's etc. etc. indeed a ridiculous amount of food for 2 people. I also wrote down the time of service (I made it 06:30 am) and a suite number with the corresponding name. I put down Mr/Mrs. Bush, suite 610. That was the only name I could associate with a suite number because the Bushes were the largest pains in the ass of that cruise. They had complained about numerous things already and I remember having sent then a free bottle of Champagne from the Hotel Manager as an apology.
I was going to give that order to these 2 ladies when arriving at work at 10 pm who were going to go nuts when seeing it. I would then wait a little and tell then it was only a joke…
It was not to be. At night we got really busy due to a choppy sea (pax will get sick and order room service instead of going to the dining room) and I was in a rush to go see a movie in the crew area which would start at 11 pm. I forgot all about that fake order and never gave it a second thought.
The next morning I had a duty starting at 10 am. I walked up to the room service galley from my cabin and I noticed some strange looks on the faces of colleagues, another one asking me the one question: "was it you who wrote that room service order for 610?" That very second I knew I was going to go home that very day. My legs got really heavy and could hardly make them to walk me over to the room service galey to find out what had really happened. I can't describe how I felt at that time, it was awful. I asked my colleague if the 2 ladies (I can't remember their names) had really, really, really found that fake order and actually prepared all of it and served it to the Bushes at 06:30am ?? Yes, that's exactly what they did…I couldn't believe them to be so stupid to not see it was not a real order and asking me about it, nor could I believe I was so damn stupid to have caused this.
A good 10 minutes later the crew purser (the person that makes flight arrangements etc) came up to me and asked me to come with her to see the Hotel Manager. He was not a happy man. He had that order in front of him along with some other orders, probably to compare handwriting , and asked me bluntly if I had written that order. I acknowledged and explained what had happened. He told me I had caused the breakfast cook to be waken up and start work an hour early in order to prepare and cook all of the food, and the Bushes to be woken at that time of day, who then must have gotten really pissed off, and all that waste of food etc etc. He then said: "You realize you are going home today, right?!"
I was then joined by the Hotel Manager and the crew purser to go see the captain to whom I had to tell the same story. Hotel manager then told the crew purser: "you go and book him a flight', to me he said:"you go pack your things". That was the last time I saw him. I had 2 hours to get packed, clean up, and say my good-byes to everybody. At 1 pm a car was waiting for me at the dock, and drove me to a hotel as there were no more available flights to Amsterdam that day. I was given my remaining salary and actually felt very relieved as was free at last…
At 6 pm that evening I watched the "SilverWind" sail away. I felt kinda sad, having to leave so many people I'd spend lots of good times with, knowing I would never see them again.
Well, that kinda is what life onboard can be like, but it's a good way to get to see the world, get some work experience, make some mony (I say some, you won't get rich: I made average $ 2300 a month nett. No taxes, no rent, no insurance, all is being taken care of by the company. All you pay is your flight back home when finishing the contract. That money you get refunded when returning for another contract. No tips allowed on both Seabourn and Silversea. Accepting tips can result in getting fired(…)
So what was it like, working on a ship? Tough, educative, fun! did I see a lot of the world? Yes, if you consider I was paid for it, but there just isn't enough time in between shifts. It's good for getting impressions of certain cities, countries or islands, so I know where I want to go back to and where not.
I'll never forget New York, Key West, The Amazon river, The Ancient site of Petra in Jordan where I was very lucky to have won the shift of that day so I had time to go while docked in Aqaba, Jordan. Also the beaches in the Caribbean, the Seychelles and Maldives. In Hong Kong I went to the parking deck at Kai Tak and watched the awesome approaches. I got fed up with St. Tropez and Venice, Italy, having been there around 8 times. I won't forget the poor sites in Africa: Djibouti, Mombasa. And I could go on and on. Would I do it again? Yes, in a next life maybe, but I think you should be very single to do this kind of work. I'm married now…
If any more questions pls let me know. Hope you enjoyed my little story…
GELUK IS GELUL MET EEN K