Monthly Archives: November 2015

cruise ship tattoos

Cruise Ship Tattoos: A Love-Hate Relationship

Tattoos are art that one carries everywhere. Most often, they mean something special to the owner and are close to his/her heart. Cruise ship jobs can impact and influence lives more than regular shore jobs, simply because of the time spent on board, the hours and hard work put in and the people you meet. Many like to show their loyalty to the company and life, or simply get a tribute to a life-changing event inked on their skin.

It’s not easy to be carefree in the hospitality industry – guest experience, appearance and service are vital to the venture’s success. So when tattoos are such a big part of people’s lives, how do they fit into the cruise industry?

Some cruise ships offer tattoo parlours on board, such as the Oasis Of The Seas on its Boardwalk deck. The Royal Caribbean can give guests a temporary experience with airbrushed tattoos in a shop on the Royal Promenade. Royal Caribbean’s Liberty Of The Seas even came up with the idea of a tattoo-themed cruise called Ink or Swim with world-famous artists on board.

However, these are all services dedicated to guests. As aspiring cruise ship crew, it is can be difficult to even get an assignment should you have very visible tattoos. It does not mean that cruise lines are against tattoos.It is simply a company policy that falls in line with other codes of appearance such as avoiding bright hair colour, many accessories or jewellery, or wearing t-shirts with certain type of slogans on them even during off-work hours. These are all means of self-expression, and to maintain a uniform code or style, cruise companies enforce rules.

This policy is not restricted to cruise ship companies alone. Many other businesses, from retail like Calvin Klein, beauty products firm like The Body Shop, restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory and McDonald’s have had policies that request employees to cover up any visible tattoos, particularly those on arms, legs, and from the neck up.

If you plan on getting a tattoo, it is advisable to know what role you are expected to fulfil, and as a general rule, avoid getting inked in places that are easily visible. If you already have one that is in a visible zone, it might be a good idea to ask the cruise ship company about its policy on tattoos and whether you can cover them up using bands, sleeves or make up.

Staying in shape with cruise ship jobs

Cruise ships are known for delicious food 24/7. It’s not uncommon to see staff who have just returned home from a contract a few sizes larger than they were when they left. Cruise ship jobs are hard work, no doubt, but it’s very easy to put diets and exercise on the back burner and balloon out of shape.

Food: Cruise lines are full of eye-popping temptations – there are various ‘mess’ areas based on what rank one holds, but all offer a great variety of dishes and at top quality too. Everyone working on the cruise ship eats at the four main buffets – breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight. That’s a lot of food, every day. Start with choosing small side plates instead of dinner plates. Grab some salad and drink a glass of water before you start to eat. It takes a while for your brain to realise when you are full, so this will kick-start the process. Often, when you are in a rush, eating slowly might not be possible, so limiting portion sizes so that you just ‘taste’ all the dishes you like can help. Save dessert for special occasions or weekends. And if you haven’t had the chance to taste everything on the buffet, it’s ok. It will always come around again sometime during your contract.

Beverages: It’s important to stay hydrated, but the choice of drinks is important. Many slushes and fruit juices can pack in way more calories than you think. Your first choice should always be water;it even helps curb fake hunger pangs. Another privilege of cruise ship jobs is access to the crew bar with cheap alcohol and other beverages. This temptation is easy to succumb to after a long day at work, but every drink packs a calorific punch. Decide ahead how many drinks you’ll have a day/a week and stick with it. Choose fruit drinks without sugar to avoid extra calories and if possible with fibre to keep you feeling full.

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Exercise: Most cruise ship jobs can be quite hectic, so fitting in time for exercise might not always be possible. However, even 15 minutes a day is better than nothing at all. Hit the gym if time off work permits. If not, it’s always possible to do a few push-ups, skip or fit in a set of bodyweight exercises before you head in for a shower. When in port, give walking around, swimming in the sea or cycle tours precedence over taxi rides and lounging in cafés.

Staying in shape on board doesn’t just make you look and feel good, but helps you work faster and more efficiently too.

Hygiene in cruise ship kitchens

When thousands of people live in close quarters for any length of time, the chance of infection increases. This amplifies when food and cleanliness are involved, so in cruise ship kitchens high hygiene and sanitation standards are of vital importance. The last thing cruise lines want is a guest who had a bad experience.

Many cruise companies follow the United States Public Health, or USPH, laws. The institution’s agency the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) helps cruise ships in maintaining hygiene standards and curbing the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses.

Cruise lines typically have a weekly inspection but ramp things up when docked for port health inspections. Prior to arrival there are inspections as well, to ensure that everything is up to standard. If a ship fails an inspection, they could face consequences including bad publicity. Ships must score 86 or more on 100 to pass the test.

To maintain standards, cruise ship kitchens must ensure that food is handled and stored properly, dishes are cleaned and sanitised adequately, work stations are immaculate and personal hygiene is stringently adhered to.

There is a whole list of instructions that cruise ship kitchen employees must follow, particularly with regard to the storage and handling of cooked and raw foods, and dirty dishes. Those cooking and prepping food are not allowed to wear jewellery of any sort, not even a watch. Meat must be thawed in a separate room on different shelves and with proper labelling.

Cruise lines ensure that those involved in preparation, storage and service of food wear plastic gloves when necessary and always wash their hands after coming in contact with anything soiled. Repairs to all equipment are expected to be done immediately, and the kitchen is kept free of dust and grime. Garbage is thrown into appropriate containers with bags that are air tight.

The CDC often conducts surprise inspections and to pass these, staff in the food and beverage section clean everything with a special bleach solution and ensure everything is labelled and stored correctly. CDC inspectors even go so far as to check the temperature of warm food on the buffet lines, defrosting procedures and location of food in the defrosting rooms, and temperature of food items in the refrigerator.

Sometimes, however clean a ship may be, passengers could bring germs on board, one of the most contagious being the norovirus which causes viral gastroenteritis. It spreads quickly and easily, and with passengers and crew in such close quarters on a cruise ship, an outbreak becomes very real. To avoid this, cruise ship kitchen employees are expected wash their hands carefully, and often, with soap and water; thoroughly rinse fruit and vegetables and cook shellfish properly; clean and sanitise kitchen utensils, counters and surfaces often; and wash table linen, napkins and other laundry thoroughly.

Maintaining strict hygiene practices helps keep both employees and guests healthy and safe from diseases.

Cruise Ship Jobs & Relationships

Cruise ship jobs have many perks, including good salaries, opportunities to travel to exotic places and chances to learn new skills in a short period of time. What is difficult, however, is learning to balance relationships.

When you start a new cruise ship job, you are leaving your family and friends behind for months at a time. This often has consequences, such as growing distant from everyone at home, missing out on important events, and often a very difficult time maintaining long-distance relationships with significant others such as boyfriends, girlfriends or spouses. It is important to find a balance between work and home, even while you are away, so as to nurture relationships that are important to you.

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Working on a cruise line involves being away from home for anywhere between four months to eight months of the year, depending on your designation and role. Most cruise lines offer satellite communication capabilities and Wi-Fi to crew, but these can be expensive. Luckily, cruise ships do not sail for more than a couple of days without a port call, so going ashore and calling home every other day is a very viable option.

It is also important to keep in touch with close friends when you are away, so as to not lose social connectivity when you get back. Just as you do with family, you can use shore leave to send messages or call friends every now and then.

The most contentious facet of being away on cruise ship jobs is the relationship with your significant other – boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse. With hundreds of crew mates from around the world in the same lonely position as you in close quarters most of the time, it is very easy to develop intimate relationships on board. Many cruise lines frown upon relationships between crew members, but do not take action unless work is affected. That said, relationships between crew and guests are strictly forbidden, and one can lose one’s job over it.

If you are single and open to relationships on board, know and understand that a majority of these don’t last. Many crew members get involved solely for the length of their contract and find new partners the next time they return. Many do not divulge information about their relationships back home, and could possibly have families they return to. Being involved with other crew members is emotionally risky, tumultuous and can lead to heart break.

This, however, does not mean that they have not worked. A few couples have met on board and formed committed relationships lasting years. They too face challenges, such as working separate contracts on separate cruise ships within the same company, and different working hours.

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If you have left a significant other at home while working on a cruise ship, it is important to stay focused and committed. Being in touch as often as possible helps, as does open communication. Trust comes into play during long-distance relationships, and ensuring your loved one knows you care and are trustworthy is vital to strengthening the bond. This becomes doubly important when children are involved.

And when you are on leave, make sure you spend every moment with those you care for and those who care for you, showing just how much you love them.

Cruise Ship Job

The Lure of a Cruise Ship Job

It is every young person’s dream to have the kind of job that lets them travel the world without worrying about expenses or time. Not many positions are as promising in this regard as cruise ship jobs.

Working on a cruise ship offers high income, lots of travel, new friends, and skills learnt in a very short period of time. For young people, cruise ship jobs offer the ideal way to enter the market and a great start to work life.

Getting away: Long gone are the days when youngsters went from their families to starting their own. Many now want the opportunity to take a break and discover themselves, starting with spending time away from home. Distance indeed makes the heart grow fonder, and working on board a cruise ship allows for greater connections with dear ones while getting away from all you knew before.

Travel: One of the greatest attractions of cruise ship life is travel. All cruises head to enticing destinations, and the temptation to see exotic places and different countries as part of work is very strong. Cruise ship jobs offer a new port every other day, and a chance to fulfil a life-long dream to travel the world.

Expand your horizons: There are new things to learn every day. It gives you a great chance to live with and learn about people from different parts of the world, with different mentalities, attitudes and beliefs. It also offers you a chance to learn in-depth about the vast variety of jobs available on cruise ships, through friends and mentors on board.

Work experience in Western countries: For regular jobs, it is rather difficult and expensive to procure work visas to the US and Europe. With cruise ship jobs, this is plain sailing. Companies arrange for seafarers’ visas and provide you with all the documents needed for these visas to be issued.

Career advancement: The experience earned on cruise ship jobs is immense. Learning is quick and in a short span of time. With hard work, dedication and commitment, it is possible to rise quite high on cruise ships and enjoy significant perks that come with the job.

Salary: The biggest lure of cruise ship jobs is the salary. While on board, accommodation, meals and uniforms are provided for free, and ships are tax free zones. This means salaries go straight to your account without any tax deducted. While there are small expenses here and there, these depend on you, and for the most part, a major chunk of your salary can be saved. With conversion to rupees very favourable to seafarers, income for all manner of jobs is higher than what you would earn on land.