Whether you work, or have worked aboard a cruise ship
like one of those seen here, or any other, or have been a guest, we'd love to hear your stories.
What is it like to be at sea with hundreds of other
people? Thousands, even?!
If you have a cruise ship company, by all
means send us information about your cruises - we're interested in
Whilst wandering gently up the Caribbean island chain,
your editors have had occasion to meet several cruise-ship guests,
ranging from young families to widowed sisters enjoying an almost
fairytale dotage. Without exception, we have been assured that there can
be no finer way to travel. It does sound very tempting - a lot of luxury
for a very modest sum, once you compare it to other holiday options.
The cruise ships arrive in ports like St. George's,
Grenada, gleaming and majestic, disgorging colourfully clad tourists
onto the quay where locals wait to offer their wares - gaily packaged
spices, large and beautiful sea-shells, paintings and drawings, hats and
clothes, and handicrafts made from natural items readily available
in the area - coconut shells for example.
Some embark on tours by land
or sea, others prefer to wander along the waterfront and take
refreshment in one of the welcoming establishments dotted along their
path. Most of their visits to land allow enough time for sightseeing
without dragging it out for those who have no desire to stray far from
Many stay aboard, apparently finding all they could need or
want within the confines of the ship. We are consumed with curiosity to
know what life on a cruise ship is like in detail - for guests and crew
alike. Can you fill us in?
We start off this page with an
Our thanks to a charming young singer for taking the time to tell us his story.
We have agreed not to disclose his full name or the name of his ship (which is not any of the vessels
pictured above), as he is legally bound not to divulge information on
his employment. The company which employs him has, in our opinion, has missed out on a valuable opportunity for good
publicity - this man clearly loves his work aboard the ship in question,
but we have to respect his request for partial anonymity:
My name is Daniel. I was born and raised in Italy where my great
fascination with cruise ships also started, thanks to my mother, who
took me along with the rest of my family on a short cruise to Spain.
I was only eight at the time but I immediately fell in love with the
rarefied atmosphere of the ship, with the elegance of the public rooms
and with the slow and relaxed pace of life on board.
The ship was a Russian ship that has since been scrapped. With hindsight
I realise that it must have been rather small and simply appointed, but
to an eight year old boy on his first trip abroad it was magical.
Eight years later my parents decided to celebrate their 25th anniversary
with another cruise.
This time 'Achille Lauro' was chosen, not long after the famous
hijacking took place. The journey was 15 days long, stopping in many of
the most famous ports in the Mediterranean, touching Italy, Greece,
Turkey, Egypt and Israel.
I was mesmerized by the shows on board, which were very simple on that
small ship and yet very glamorous. I also sang in public for the first
time in my life during a passenger talent show, and got a rousing
ovation with people stopping me in ports to tell me how good I was. I
have no idea how I actually sang, but this was a couple of years before
became fashionable, and people were still impressed by someone who would
get up and sing.
The ship was very beautiful, still small compared to today's mega-ships,
but very elegant. The cabins were still paneled in
wood, something almost totally unheard of on recently built vessels. We
were sad when we heard of the sinking.
My last cruise as a passenger happened a few years later, again as my
parent's guest. The ship was the 'Costa Marina', brand new at the time
and still in service today. This was the year before the ' Costa' was
taken over by Carnival Lines. The style was still completely Italian, as
was the food, and it was incredible. Definitely the best of the three. I
remember clearly how I thought that I wished I could live like that
forever, in a beautiful relaxed environment among mostly relaxed people,
with great food and every little need catered for.
Shortly after that I started studying singing and acting professionally
After a couple of national tours of Italy, I moved to London, UK,
where I attended one of the best drama schools in the country.
Once out of drama school I started auditioning for major West End (the
British equivalent to Broadway) productions, and I got very close to
landing some major parts, but something would always be wrong and those
parts would go to someone else. To keep myself in practice I auditioned
for a few cruise ships, and I was offered a few jobs, but I decided
against them as the working conditions seemed less than idea until an
offer came to work on the beautiful 'Splendour of the Seas'.
70,000 + tons and the most beautiful ship I have seen to date. I
accepted the job, and here I am, three years, two more contracts on
different ships and 20 more ports later!
The working conditions for entertainers on cruise ships vary a lot
according to the company, size and age of the
ship and the production company who put the shows together on behalf of
the cruise line.
I have always seen myself as a professional singer who happens to be
doing his job in a floating theatre, so I have only accepted contracts
where I would be treated as such. In simple terms, this means not having
to wear a uniform; having my own cabin; being able to move around the
ship without restrictions, although of course passengers come first, and
no other duties than singing and the required lifeboat drills.
Conditions are different for every other department, and even within the
entertainers as dancers are somewhat less privileged.
I have managed, so far, to keep my status and I have had a fantastic
time. I do three shows a week. Every show is
performed twice, to allow for the two dinner seatings, and have plenty
of time to pursue my personal interests and to
visit our ports of call. I feel blessed with the opportunities I have
Competition to get these jobs is very high, and
positions very few, as there is almost always a maximum of two male
singers on each ship. I don't know how long I will continue to work at
sea, but as far as my dream of living ship life every day, I have come
as close as I think is possible.
We very much enjoyed hearing about Daniel's life. Have you a story to tell?..
Do you play a musical instrument? You may like to try
Jammers in the
At Anchor section of Lay Days.