Sunday, June 5, 2011

Oh, The Crew Bar

Hello, Readers, and thank you for tuning in to trumptettravels - the true accounts of my 11 year career on cruise ships as a crew member aboard Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, P&O Cruises, Premier Cruises and the Holland America Line.

One of the top questions I always got on the cruise was about the crew quarters and the crew bar. People are always curious about how the bar works, if they can get in, etc...

Every ship that I've been on has been different but every ship has one thing in common: a crew bar. Sometimes there is an officers bar, too, but the crew need a place to have a drink and socialize and not have to put on a show for the passengers.

The crew bar is a great place because the ship is full of young, enthusiastic people with a mind open enough to want to be trapped on a ship with a bunch of foreigners!

WHe I first started on Royal Caribbean, the drinks were $.85 for a Budweiser! We used to buy rounds (4) with a five and leave the guy a buck and change!

Officer, staff, and crew are all equals in the crew bar, even though the officers may not think so! This is the place where you can chat about work, but most chat up girls, talk about music, what they are doing tomorrow and what they did that day. Most crew are pretty adventurous so there are usually some crazy stories.

The stories abound of the crew members who passed out in a passenger hallway, who defecated on a crew elevator, who ran naked down the I95 (main thoroughfare), and who in general did some crazy stuff with some crazy people. I remember at one party talking to the saxophone player and a 19 Steiner (salon worker) came up and started rubbing his crotch. With much enthusiasm! He played it cool and did not flinch, continuing his story until the girl got bored and left. I was thinking, "What an amazing place!!!"

After the crew bar, the kitchen staff are dutifully cooking croissants, breads, and if you're in good there's a few Indian cooking a curry somewhere. As a 20 year old drunked fool it is your moral obligation to raid these facilities and take your food to the staff mess where you chow everything down, assuring you will be sleeping in to 10am the next day.

Oh those were the days! THe best part is you never spend more than 10 dollars a night! They even have the same wines passengers drink from $7-25/bottle. Passengers will pay $22-80 for the same bottles!

Some ships have what they call on Princess CAMBUSA. This allows you to purchase items directly from the ship's storage. Cases of water for $8, bottles of Jack for $18 (1L!). This allows you to fully stock an entire bar in your cabin for pennies!

We used to have a pre-game party in the cabin, go "out" to a passengers area for a drink, then hit the crew bar for a decent session before retiring to an after party somewhere.

Life on the ship is crazy - many do not know how to pace themselves. That's why occaisionally you see people walking around like zombies - although they will never admit it to you!


  1. But you forgot that life on cruise ship it's not only about having fun, it's also hard work and if you having party every night you can't be in good conditions and can't work proparly. SoI'm not agree with you. There are lot of things besodes crew bar which you don't see.

    1. Maybe you can elaborate for us? THis is an anonymous blog so you can't have anything bad by elaborating. You are agreeing with me - if the staff are partying too much they can't do their job! Did you mean something else?

  2. I can somewhat relate to what the originally blogger is eluding to. I have worked on Princess Cruises for several years as an Officer.

    Working on a cruise ship is just that, WORK. There is definitely play going on, but all staff members are there to work. Hopefully with some enthusiasm and friendly service to complete the passengers experience.

    After a days work is put in and there's some energy left, there is a crew bar dedicated to let the crew members unwind and have some kind of normalcy while away from home. It's true drinks are heavily discounted to us, but it's a small price to pay for not having much choice, since in the end the cruise ship makes just as much money from the crew members as from the passengers.

    My time with Princess has been an excellent one. I would highly recommend anyone that has traveling on there mind and not spending a fortune doing it while making new friends, this is the way to do it.

    This opportunity can only happen in our time. I have left cruise ships and wonder what kind of chance my parents had to have access to the world, the internet and experiences like this and it is truly something never to take for granted. I have been to some of the most amazing places that I've seen in magazines and never imagined going to and places that are truly magnificent and have to been seen such as Dubrovnik and Montenegro.

    At the end of the day, it is work and not like the brochure for crew members. Unfortunately with recent events such as the Costa Concordia, cruise lines have significantly heightened there safety procedures and protocols and now more than ever, carelessness and irresponsible behavior will not be tolerated. There was a time where there was more freedom and having fun and you could party hard sometimes but now the times are changing. Cruise lines have realized the heavy liability and risks associated with reckless crew members and would rather have them discharged from the ship than to be a risk during an emergency. Safety is number one priority and you can be assured that there are more safety protocols in place and training then ever before.

    I have left cruise ships to better my career on land and due to the change in environment working on cruise ships. It has changed a lot in the last few years, almost night and day from the years before. Sorry to burst your bubble but it's not a glamorous lifestyle, you will grow a thick skin when you do work for a cruise line and if you don't have one, you will be weeded out really quick.

    Hopefully I gave a better insight to work for a cruise line and encourage anyone to try it at least once. It's an experience of a lifetime.

  3. Wow, these are very different views, but it is easy to see both sides. I agree that the lines have toughened their policies but there is still the need to unwind and get away from it all. There will always be mariners who seek the comfort of the crew bar and "regular" people, so there is going to be a point where the limit is pushed. We are all just that way when confined like mariners are.


Comments? Let me know!