Monthly Archives: April 2016

Cruise ship chefs off duty

Cruise ship chefs off duty

Working on cruise lines is as hectic as a job can get. Cruise ship chefs literally live at the office. On board, the hours are long and work is often tiring – imagine feeding as many as 3,000 people or more three meals a day, every day for the duration of your contract!

But there’s always time off, and it depends how you would like to use it. When the ship is sailing, time off work is spent engaging in activities that come to be known as ‘cruise life’ or ‘ship life’. Most crew have three to five hours to themselves every day to do as they please. This excludes the time spent sleeping.

It’s in the belly of the cruise line that memories with colleagues are made when the ship is sailing. Each cruise ship generally has two decks reserved for those who work on board. In the upper crew deck, there’s a mess or dining room where everyone eats. Many cruise ship chefs enjoy time in the game room where there are a host of games such as football and ping pong, and even board games.

Some ships open the cruise Gift Shop to crew members at certain hours where you can buy things at special discounted crew rates. You could also catch up on shopping for necessities such as toothpaste, snacks and even cheap beer. There’s a pool where you can relax or sunbathe and even a 24-hour gym to keep fit, all available to crew free of charge. The crew lounge is where the fun happens with crew events such as karaoke and dances. However, it is important to note that all companies are very strict regarding responsible conduct while on board, and you are expected to turn up for duty on time.

To keep their crew happy, cruise lines often appoint a crew officer who looks after the well-being of everyone under his or her care, organises training programmes, crew changes and quality control. Ships also elect a welfare committee that organises entertainment especially for those working on board, such as movie screenings, games, crew parties, and even friendlies. Some cruise lines even hand out an activity calendar that lists all the events scheduled in solely for crew during each cruise.

While in port, cruise ship chefs can get out and about like many of their other colleagues, based on their work schedule. Many like to make calls to loved ones over the cheaper land-based internet, or go shopping for folks back home if they are due to leave soon. Some go on local tours, relax at a beach nearby depending on the port, or take in the local culture and food by visiting pubs and restaurants.

It offers one of the perks of working on board a traveling hotel – where cruise ship chefs can visit exotic countries as part of their jobs. It is expected of crew to be responsible and report back to the ship well before departure – generally an hour before cast off.

Telling Time At Sea

Telling Time At Sea

In land-based jobs it’s easy enough to know what time you will start work, when you will end and how many hours off you have. Cruise ship jobs might be a little different in this regard since you are not always stationary and often sail across different time zones throughout your contract.

Cruise ship chefs must always know what time it is since guests will arrive promptly for meals and you can’t have them waiting! Time zones have more of an effect if the cruise line is sailing from east to west or vice versa, rather than north to south. But long distances, over a few days, will definitely call for adjusting clocks, whichever way you’re headed.

On board, it is the duty of the vessel’s navigator officer (or first officer) to calculate the time of sunrise and sunset every day and hand the information over to the cruise director and information deck. This information is then relayed across crew and passengers accordingly.

Generally, it is up to the captain to decide whether the cruise ship runs on ‘ship time’ or local time in port. Different cruise lines have varying regulations. The Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise ships have been known to follow the time of their home port and generally follow this through the entire voyage. If you are working with a ship like this, you will not have to worry about changing time zones, except during free time in port.

On Norwegian cruise ships, the time changes according to the port they are going to, so clocks on board will change accordingly. While sailing, captains generally keep to the same time zone to avoid confusion about work, meals and service. When in port, everyone is notified of any time changes.

As a crew member you will receive information about the timings of your shifts and it is your responsibility to ensure you adhere to these timings. It’s best to clear any doubts with your manager as soon as possible to avoid confusion.