Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Actual Jobs on a Cruise Ship - Staff

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.

On inspection of my last post: Jobs on a Ship: Staff, I realized I did not really write much about staff but merely droned on about the environment on a ship.  If you are a potential crew member all that stuff is important, but here's a few of the jobs you can do as a staff member on the ship.

Musician: You usually need to be pretty good to be a musician on a ship.  Jokes aside, you are required to read and improvise at a fairly high level.  Most everyone I met out there as a musician myself was either a recent college grad paying off bills or a forty-something divorced musician trying to pay spousal support and escaping the small community they worked in.  If your life's goal is to be a musician I don't think there is a better way to travel with a lot of practice time and pay off some loans than working on a cruise.  I would recommend it only if you are not happy living where you went to school.  Once you step on the ship you lose ALL contacts with your land based work.  I know it sounds dramatic, but it IS TRUE.  If you went to school in Manhattan working on the ship will do you more harm than good.  In my case, I went to school in Rochester, NY, a place I knew 100% I did NOT want to live!  The best candidates for musos: recent college grads, or those who have fallen on hard times and don't have a place to live.

Beauty Salon: The Salon is run by Steiner normally.  It is a good job if you are South African and want ot escape your country and make some money.  More and more there are less people from England and North America and more from developing nations.  This is a sign of increased education in these areas as well as the parent company less willing to pay a fair working wage for anyone who doesn't live in a rice paddie. Most people who get into hair, massage, or whatever salon people do, do it to help people.  You will learn to lose that attitude on the ship fast.  The spa has a regimen of drilling their "sales people" (therapists) to create retail, retail, retail.  Mark-ups on their retail are huge with enough to give a cut to the cruise line, pay wages, and feed up to STEINER which is a public company.  If you work in the salon you cannot thrive without puching people to buy stuff they don't want in the middle of a relaxing treatment.

Youth Staff: The youth staff position on the ship is nice.  Not high paying, but the staff members are always nice.  The job isn't too bad.

Photog (see my last blog entry)

Cruise Director's Staff: If you want to be a cruise director (a very good job) you have to slave away for years as a "cruise staff."  The glory days of making the big bucks are now gone.  I know someone who was making $500/week in BINGO commissions, but the company got smart and realized it is better to funnel all the money up to corporate instead of giving alot back to staff members and the winne rof BINGO.  My friends jackpots were 10k/week.  Now the big jackpot on Princess is 1K-2K tops a week.  I wonder - who is in charge of regulating this anyway? A gaming commission?  Anyway, WAY back in the day, a few of the crew members I met on a different ship went ashore to a party store and bought boxes of BINGO cards.  They sold those BINGO cards for cash and pocketed the cash.  No cards or money were missing from inventory!  For horse racing, the cruise director would have a friend cruise and buy a bunch of tickets for one number.  Then as he was shaking the dice and calling the numbers, at the last moment his friend's horse would have a tremendous lucky streak and beat all the other horses!  Who checks the dice in that horse racing? Only one guy on every ship in the world? SUCKERS! 

Dancers: For those of you too short to dance in Vegas or on Broadway the cruises are a great way to do what you love and travel.  Also, it is perfect for those who do not like to work very much. My advice: Set a time limit when you start so you're not 32 years old and unmarried and dancing on a cruise ship (and ready to get injured).

Did I forget a job?  Why not leave me a question if you have one?  Many more posts about the crew and travels to come...