Norwegian Takes Away Popular Crew Member Privilege

Norwegian Cruise Line takes away a popular privilege for crew members by limiting onboard public area access.

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Being an officer, staff member, or supervisor onboard a cruise ship typically gives you certain benefits that allow enjoying public guest areas onboard. This typically includes dining at specialty restaurants, enjoying the bars, and even watching the shows, depending on the cruise line.

Norwegian Cruise Line has now decided to limit full public area privileges for crew members, with only higher-ranked officers being allowed to enjoy the guest areas without making a request for permission.

Public Access Removed for Crew

Working onboard a cruise ship is one of the most challenging careers there is. You are away from friends and family for many months and work 10 hours per day, seven days per week. Experienced crew and officers often have additional benefits onboard to make those months a little easier, including access to guest areas and having a cabin steward for certain staff cabins.

Norwegian Cruise Line is now taking those benefits away from crew members that have a rank of fewer than two stripes. The cruise line said that it was due to making sure the guest experience was consistent.

Norwegian Epic Lobby
Norwegian Epic Lobby (Photo Credit: Benson Truong / Shutterstock)

This means that most of the crew will be restricted to only using amenities in crew member areas while off shift. The changes also include the removal of a room steward for staff and officer cabins.

The Crew Center site received an official statement that was provided to those onboard: “In order to ensure that our guests consistently experience the very best our ships and crew have to offer, the privilege of full public access has been redefined and will be effective with your next sailing.

At that time, only 2-stripe and 2-stripe equivalent officers and above will maintain full access to public areas and outlets. Officers and crew with less than 2-stripes will follow the availability-based sign-up process when requesting access to public areas.”

Not surprisingly, the decision from Norwegian Cruise Line has received a fair amount of negative feedback from the crew onboard. Many crew members work years or spend many years studying to get the position and the benefits that come with it. 

And that’s not all; the question arises as to why Norwegian Cruise Line is limiting the people who have stayed with the company over the most challenging period in its history.

Removing Benefits From its Most Valuable People

Ask anyone who has worked onboard a cruise ship in a higher management function, and they’ll tell you that some of the most valuable people on board, and those that keep the ship running together with the crew, are the junior supervisors, officers, and staff. To take the benefits away from those people is hard to take.

Crew Member on Norwegian Spirit Cruise Ship
Crew Member on Norwegian Spirit Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Jennifer Jessica Peck / Shutterstock)

Over the last two years, the crew and officers have made enormous sacrifices. They stayed at home without being paid and waited patiently until the call came to come back. And come back, they did, even though Norwegian Cruise Line, and other cruise lines, had massive issues getting enough crew. 

Giving supervisors, staff members, and officers a chance to eat inside a restaurant once in a while or use the guest gym occasionally seems too much for NCL. However, it fits into the significant number of recent cutbacks we’ve seen on multiple cruise lines lately. Crew members will be able to request access to enjoy the guest areas, but how often this can be done is not known.

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