Norwegian Cruise Line has updated its crew member grooming policy for onboard team members and will now permit tattoos to be seen, with some exceptions for tattoo location as well as design. Other updates to the grooming guidelines have also been made, including for types of jewelry as well as facial hair.
Crew Member Grooming Guidelines Updated
In a welcome update to onboard grooming policies, Norwegian Cruise Line is easing some jewelry, facial hair, and tattoo guidelines. This will be good news for crew members, but how will guests react?
According to Crew Center, the changes to the shipboard grooming policy apply to crew members, officers, and staff in all shipboard positions, and were communicated to all employees. The new guidelines are in force from July 1, 2023.
Facial hair is one of the most noticeable guidelines, and crew members may now have a mustache, beard, goatee, or chin/lower lip “tuft” so long as it is neatly trimmed and well-maintained.
Mustaches may not be any longer than the length of the upper lip, therefore no styles such as large handlebars, the upwards-pointed Dali, Fu Manchus, or horseshoes will be permitted.
Simpler styles, such as a neatly groomed lampshade design, painter’s brush, or pencil are acceptable.
Jewelry guidelines have also been updated. Team members may wear a maximum of three bracelets, all of which must be in good condition. No food and beverage team members may wear bracelets or watches while preparing food and drink, however, which includes bartenders.
Similarly, a maximum of three rings may be worn, though an engagement and wedding band set counts as a single ring (even if not soldered or otherwise affixed together).
Food and beverage employees may wear one plain ring, such as a simple wedding band without elaborate ornamentation or detailing that might harbor crumbs, grease, or other debris.
Team members may wear a maximum of two small stud earrings per ear, or two hoops with a diameter no larger than a US dime.
Norwegian team members may now show tattoos, but only in certain ways. No tattoos on the face, head, or front of the neck (above a typical t-shirt collar) may be visible at any time.
In other locations, such as arms, legs, and hands, tattoos may not be “extremist, indecent, sexist, or racist.” This could include any tattoos determined to be affiliated with, symbolize, or otherwise depict extremist philosophies, gangs, or groups; any tattoos or markings that may showcase or advocate racial, gender, or ethic hatred or intolerance; promote or depict discrimination; or advocate violence or unlawful behavior and activities.
Indecent tattoos of any type – whether imagery or words – are also not permitted to be visible at any time. Nor are sexist tattoos that degrade or demean anyone based on gender permitted, even if the actual imagery or wording may not be considered technically indecent, extremist, or vulgar.
It must be noted that the tattoos that are permitted must be in place when a crew member begins their onboard contract. No visible tattoos can be added during employment. This is likely to allow inspection and acceptance of existing tattoos to ensure they are permitted before a crew member reports to their ship.
Other Cruise Lines
All cruise lines have grooming guidelines in place for crew members, though the exact policies vary. In general, higher end, luxury lines tend to have stricter policies in accordance with the expectations of their guests and the atmosphere they hope to create onboard their vessels.
Some cruise lines that cater to young families and children may also have stricter guidelines to ensure everyone is comfortable in that atmosphere.
Guidelines may also occasionally vary for different positions on a ship, depending on whether or not crew members interact with guests in any way.
Depending on team member uniforms, covering tattoos may be as simple as wearing the coveralls, long pants, or long sleeves required for the job position, or else crew members may use makeup or bandages to conceal tattoos. Excess jewelry can be taken off while at work.
The strictness of policies and how they are applied will also vary. For some companies, grooming guidelines may be continually enforced as guests can still see crew members when off duty, such as debarking or returning to a ship during a port day. On other lines, these policies may only apply while a crew member is in uniform or actively on duty.
Grooming guidelines are not unique to cruise ships; similar policies are in place at most places of employment, particularly where customer service is at the forefront. This includes resorts, hotels, amusement parks, and similar venues.