The reality of working on a cruise ship, while not the hardest of work, isn’t all partying and romance you see on TV.

The job gives workers the chance to travel the world and spend months at sea.

But according to cruise ship employee stories, working on seas also means handling many drunk people and co-workers, working long hours for months, living in overfilled quarters, and eating much less gourmet food than guests receive.


The pay certainly won’t make anyone a millionaire, particularly if they’re from the US.

Almost all of the passengers are pleasant, but some are irritating

Current and ex-employees mainly had positive things to say about passengers, describing most of them as likable and respectful.

However, some employees expressed the frustrating inclinations they’ve witnessed from passengers.

Such as being overly rowdy, asking irritating questions, and talking too much.

You work long hours

Instead of working standard five-day weeks, cruise-ship employees usually work seven days a week during their contracts, varying from around two months up to 11 months.

Between four and eight months was the standard contract length mentioned by 31 current and ex- cruise-ship employees who told Business Insider.

The hours can also be harsh, from eight to 20 hours a day.

An ex-waiter for Carnival Cruise Line said he worked approximately 12 hours a day, described his days as “crazy,” and said it resulted in fatigue and stress.

He said: “We don’t get enough sleep.”

Romantic relationships start and end quickly

Romantic relationships among workers develop and end much faster than they would on land, making long-term relationships challenging.

Taylor Sokol, a former cruise director for Holland America, said: “One month on a ship is maybe like two years on land because you spend so much time with these people.”

Sokol said that the closeness between employees could make it hard to maintain a healthy amount of space with a partner.

“It’s kind of hard to give someone their space when you live maybe 10 feet away from them.”

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