It’s not normal to live and work on a luxury cruise ship, and I get lots of questions about it. It seems like a glamorous life, and many times it is, but it’s also, at least for me, like a typical 9-5 job in many ways except that I have no commute (well, It’s about 100 steps from my cabin to my workplace, so there is a commute, but it’s practically non-existent!).
While there is no “typical” day on a ship, here’s the closest thing:
Sea Day (we’re sailing to our next destination, not making any stops at a port)
8:00-8:30 AM- struggle to wake up since I have an interior cabin (no window) and my body does not like waking up to darkness. Get ready (5 minute makeup routine, brush teeth, throw on my uniform). Go up to my classroom to start up the computers and set up my workspace for the day
8:30- drop by my department’s office to log my hours for the previous day and check for any new information I might need to know (notices about upcoming events, safety drills, etc), then head up to deck 9 for breakfast. I usually have Scottish eggs benedict (poached eggs, on an English muffin with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce) without the muffin unless I’m running late and then I have cereal or a blueberry muffin.
9:00- return to my classroom, check my e-mail and other online sites (I’m one of the few crew members whose job requires internet access, those that don’t purchase internet time or go ashore to wifi cafes to access internet)
9:15- open up my classroom doors, guests come in for my first class at 9:30
9:30-1:15- teach 4, 45 minute classes on subjects like Windows 8 and basic photo editing. Answer millions of questions (some unrelated). Try to remember to drink water.
1:15-2:00- lunch break. Back up the buffet, I usually grab some sort of Asian dish or a plate of cheeses with a sandwich.
2:15- open up my doors for my afternoon classes
2:30-4:30- teach 2 more 45 minute classes
4:30-5:30- close down my classroom, check email and other online sites again, record my attendance for the day, deal with any administrative items (print orders, etc.). Return to my department office to check in again and pick up my schedule for the next day.
6:00 back up to deck 9 for dinner which is usually chicken or beef and some vegetables and some soup or some pasta if the entrees don’t look appetizing. I usually treat myself to some dessert as well.
7PM-11PM- Free time for me. Sometimes I have an event (like a party or theme night) that I have to attend, but if not I might stay in my room and catch up on reading, blogging, or binge watching How I Met Your Mother or the Harry Potter movies (or whatever show/movie I’m into at the moment). Or I might go out to see an event that a co-worker is putting on (like karaoke or a game show) or go see one of the production shows or guest entertainers, and then socialize with some of my co-workers in the public lounges where we catch up and/or vent over a glass of wine. If it’s a formal night onboard I spend some of this time getting ready- doing fancier makeup and hair and corralling myself into a formal dress.
11PM-1AM- If it’s not another sea day the next day then I might head to the Officer’s Bar (or the OB) to socialize some more with other crewmembers. Our OB is right at the bow of the ship, so sometimes we go outside and enjoy the fresh air. I usually leave by midnight if not earlier, but I never stay out past 1AM because I’m too old for all that.
11:30 PM- 1:30AM- my typical bedtime is 11:30PM or midnight, but if I stay out it might b 1:30 AM at the latest.
8:00AM-11:00 AM- The same as a sea day except I usually only teach one or two classes. After that I might have a safety drill (I usually have 2/month) to attend.
11:00 AMish- Go out for a few hours to explore whatever port we’re in. Sometimes I eat ashore, but if I’m trying to save money (or I’m in a hurry) I’ll often eat at the buffet onboard before I go out. What I do ashore depends on what port we’re in, but I usually walk around, shop, take lots of pictures, grab a snack, and sometimes find a swimming area if we’re in a warm-weather port
Afternoon (somewhere between 3:30 and 5:30 PM)- return to ship and teach my remaining classes (I teach 4 total)
Early evening (somewhere between 5:30 and 7:30 PM)- close down my class, catch up on any extra work and email, then go to dinner.
And the rest of the evening is very similar to what I would do on a sea day.
As compared to many crew members, my life is pretty good, with a schedule that I can set, and a very specific set of duties that don’t have me working too many hours (although teaching 6 classes on a sea day takes a lot of energy as any full-time teacher can attest to), but this is just the basics. Later this week I’ll post about those unexpected things that happen onboard, and how crewmembers adjust to deal with them.