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.