After months of planning, you’re expecting a cruise of a lifetime with lots of memorable adventures and new experiences. You’re on the cruise enjoying the delicious main course in the main dining room, but there are also many aspects of ship life you don’t know.
Some are bad, and most are…well, just different! There are two hives on a cruise ship, one with the passengers and another with the crew members. We’re going to provide an insight on 8 things you never knew happened on a cruise ship.
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Dining Room Leftovers
In the ship’s main dining room a lot of dishes are prepared, but not all of those are eaten. Instead of just throwing away all that tasty food into the ship’s waste system it is often taken to the crew mess. Yes, that’s correct, the crew can also enjoy all that fine dining, but of course not in a nice swanky dining room. If you see a happy crew member walking around the ship, then it’s more than likely they had your dining room extras from the evening before!
Now they don’t really eat your actual leftovers just in case you were about to go eeew! The food is made on mass so maybe the chefs made 50 tasty Warm Chocolate Melting cakes but only 10 of them were ordered by guests, the remaining ones will be taken down to the crew mess and put on the line. To be honest, There would never be any Warm Chocolate Melting Cakes left!
There of lots of different types of bars onboard but did you know the best bar is down at the bottom of the ship. The crew bar is the place to be for crew members, it’s where relationships are made, passenger rants are constant, and foosball tournaments are played.
Beer is really really cheap in the crew bar; I’m not going to tell you how much because it will just upset you! When a shift is complete the crew run to the bar where they can also purchase plenty of snacks and supplies for their cabin.
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Every ship has a purser’s desk or also known as an information desk where guests can resolve issues onboard, book tours and just about anything else. What you probably didn’t know is the crew also have their information desk or also known as crew purser.
At the crew desk, staff members can sort out their cabin issues, receive the sign on/off details and can even store valuable items. The crew purser will also keep a crew member’s passport until their contract comes to an end. The crew purser’s desk can be just as busy as the guest’s information desk at times.
Bingo is really popular onboard cruise ships, and some cruise lines feature it several times a day with different themes. Well, I bet you didn’t know there is a crew bingo too and they absolutely love it! Depending on how many crew members enter and the price of a card it has been known in the past of crew members winning $8,000 cash. In the crew bingo, there are some really good prizes on offer including laptops, game consoles and a ton more.
Tendering in Port
When there is no dock for the ship at a port of call tender boats will be used to transport passengers to and from shore. Tendering can be a real headache for everyone, the captain must keep a close eye as the ship is just anchored, the crew must wait for the passengers to use the tenders first before they can enjoy the destination and there are a lot more.
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When a cruise ship visits a cruise line’s own private island like Carnival’s Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, often crew members will have to work there too. Think of all those trolleys, supplies and towels which need to be moved between the island and the ship via the tender boat, can be tricky on a rocky day!
The Forgotten Crew Members
During your cruise vacation, you’ll never realize that a large percentage of the crew spend most of their time working behind the scenes. For the housekeeping department who do you think folds all those bedding sheets? A machine of course! But it is maintained by a crewman who can have hundreds or even thousands of bedding to fold each day. This is also the same area where the main laundry is located and large industrial washing machines are constantly humming away far away from the guest areas.
There are even crew members who clean the crew galley and other galleys around the vessel. They are never appreciated as much as they should be.
Safety Drills & Training
Safety is an important aspect of cruising and you may never know how much time and effort the cruise line invests in this area. The crew will constantly go through training every cruise and depending on their positions some more than others.
There are boat drills, safety exams when new crew members join the ship, certificate training programs, lifeboat and liferaft training, bomb search drills and more. All of this goes on behind those “Crew Only” doors while guests are enjoying the cruise.
The Evening Before Disembarkation
While cruise ship passengers enjoy the last evening onboard it is really busy behind the scenes. It’s the time when all the luggage is collected, any purchased alcohol is delivered to the stateroom, final bills are settled and more. It is usually the busiest day for some of the crew. On the lower decks, thousands of suitcases are stored away in cages ready to taking off when back in port the next day.
Related: Tips to Disembarking a Cruise Ship
There are more things going on aboard cruise ships which we’ll save for another time. You also really should read our article about things crew members do when they go back home after a long contract working on a cruise ship.