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Eph60

How many hours do crew work

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I was asked this many times when I worked on a cruise ship. A crew member works 7 days a week and a short contract is 4 months up to a contract of 18 months for a long contract. The crew gets no days off during this time unless they are sick.

A crew member will work between 60 to 70 hours a week. The crew members all work varied shifts during the day. You do not work a strait 8 hour shift. You may work 2 or three hours in the morning then a few hours late afternoon and then some late night hours. What your shifts are change every week so that every area on the ship is staffed 24 hours a day.

All crew members will attend at least 3 muster drills a week, not one like the passengers. The crew will be let out of one drill a month so that areas of the ship are always staffed with at least one employee. Even if it is there hours off they will attend the emergancy drills.

For this reason that is why some crew look tired. At the end of their contract they are extremely tired and ready for a rest.

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I didn't realize they work 7 days a week. At least the shifts aren't long. Working 7 days a week for the entire length of the contract - yeah, can understand why anyone would be tired.

Eph, how is the length of the contract determined? Does the cruiseline tell you what it is or does someone looking for employment let them know how long?

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And yet, even with the long hours, most crew members are always friendly and helpful. More than once we’ve run into crew members spending some time ashore while in port. Even in their own clothes during their precious time off they still go out of their way to be friendly. Just another reason why we love cruising so much! :smile:

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GottaCruz the contract is determined by a couple things. One is your nationality. Americans can get as low as 4 month contracts other foreign countries have more months for there short contracts. If they need employee's in the section you work in you can sign up for longer contracts. for instance you are an american but are willing to work longer then 4 months, you can request a longer contract and if they need you your chances of a longer contract are good. Your time off can depend on how long of a contract you had just worked.

In other words it depends on the employment laws of the country you are from and the needs of the cruiseline. The longest I had heard of was 18 months and by then believe me you are ready for a vacation. I needed to get home. I worked that long because one ship was short handed so I switched ships to help out and that extended my contract.

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Paul, thank you so much for all this wonderful information! I just keep thinking of more questions I want to ask you! Please let us know if it gets too bothersome or if we ask anything you’d rather not answer.

Is there a chance that any of us met you while you were working aboard the cruise ships?

Now that you’re cruising for fun, do you ever run into any of your old shipmates who are still working while you’re cruising? Is that awkward?

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I am always amazed at the number of crew who are always smiling and eager to please, given the long hours they work. Thanks for the article, Eph!

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Good info eph!! This is something I discovered years ago when talking to various crew members aboard the ships I've sailed. It is also the reason I look the other way if a member of the crew seems to be having a "Bad Day"!! We all have them. And I can tell you from personal experience (after working 3 months straight of 7 days a week) while training in the kitchen where I work that some days you tend to not be a jovial as others. So if your on your cruise and you find a member or some members of the crew that are not as accommodating as others, just realize your not their first customer!!! So many are quick to run to the hotel manager and complain.

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Eph, we became aware of the crews hours a few years ago from HAL employees. Being in the manufacturing business I know all about long 12 to 15 hour work days, however we always tried to give our employees and ourselves at least 1 day off a week, even during our busy time. We knew when the job was finished we would return to our normal 40 hour work week. I can't imagine working in the public 7 days a week for a minimum of 3 months and keep a smile on my face!

Can you tell us which cruise lines and ships you were on?

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The cruise line I worked for was NCL. I worked selling tours and making sure passengers got to tours and back from tours. I also did talks on some occasions about the tours. This is kind of a nice job but you do have to constanly learn new tours. You are constantly taking classes on sales also. The best part of this job is you do get to meet a good portion of the passengers, both good and bad. One person in our department wore a pedometer and found that in our job we averaged walking 17 miles a day. In otherwords we did not just sit around and sell tours.

Most crew members will lose 25 or more pounds on every contract. I guess it is a great weight loss program that you get paid for LOL.

I do still stay in contact with some of the past crew that I worked with. I truly enjoyed working on the ships but due to health problems of a daughter of mine I came home. It was to hard to deal with my daughters health issues being thousands of miles away on a cruise ship. I would gladly do it agian but it really is a younger persons job. You did not see a lot of employess in my age range.

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