November 2014 was the first time I went on a cruise with my family. I absolutely loved it. It was exciting, exhilarating, and completely different. I looked onto the entertainment staff and wondered what their life was like onboard. Travel, run activities all day, party all night. It seemed like the perfect life.
After the 14 days were over, I cried. I didn’t want to leave the ship. I vowed to get a job on a cruise ship. And I eventually did. A lot of hard work, patience, and a lucky advert on a job board was my ticket to the sea!
I was scared. It was my first time away from home. I had only turned 21 a couple of weeks earlier. The beginning of my contract began and it was the most amazing experience of my life.
I ran activities on the ship, like trivia’s, game shows, golf, board games, arts and crafts, and more trivia’s. We also hosted theme nights like Country night. It was incredible. And everybody was very supportive. I met people from all over the world, and laughed more than I have ever laughed in my life.
We travelled around the Western Caribbean, going to places like Cozumel, Roatan and Belize. We docked every week in Houston, Texas to pick up more passengers. We quickly got into a routine.
I stayed in a room with a fellow JACD (Junior Assistant Cruise Director), on floor 11. I was considered officer status, so would get to eat in the officer mess, and basically had the same food as the passengers.
We also got hours off on a port day, where you could go and explore, sign up for free tours, or simply sun bake on the deck.
There was one thing I didn’t expect from ship life – it’s damn hard. You need thick skin. Rumours spread between crew, people talk, groups form. I have to admit, I took some of this much more personally than I should have.
To survive ship life, you need to always be happy. Never tell your boss you are stressed, upset, or having problems with other crew members. These are mistakes I made, that, when I eventually return to ship life, I will not make again. People who you think are your friends, aren’t. Get to bed early, only go to the crew bar once or twice a week. Always make sure your alarm is set (Set four if you have to!), and SMILE.
It was an amazing experience. I truly loved every second of ship life, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it.
I’ll definitely be returning. Whether it be next year, or four, I’ll be back!