Written by Domonique Harrelson
Every time I tell someone that I used to work on a cruise ship his or her eyes widen with such awe struck excitement. I get statements along the lines of,” oh man that must have been exciting, I have often wondered how cruise life was. How was it ?” It is true. I did have some fun times while aboard the Norwegian pearl. They were not good enough incentives to make me want to renew my contract with Norwegian Cruise line but here are the memories that I will always cherish.
1) Meeting People: I loved meeting new people and hearing their story. It was not uncommon for me to have a 45-minute conversation with a guest while business was low. By listening, I was able to understand just how fascinating people can be.
2) The staff: For the most part, the staff was pretty awesome especially when there was liquor in their system. I loved hanging out with the youth staff. They were the ones that were in charge of the kid’s club. They were some of the best people on the ship, always full of mischievous fun and boundless energy.
3)$4 bottles of wine: Now I doubt that the wine was top shelf, but hey, three bottles at $12 and you are feeling like awesome sauce. The staff goes to the crew bar to hang out and drink the night away. Beer will cost you a dollar and there is no hard liquor available in the crew bar so we just drink more booze to compensate. Since, we work every day we treat every night like Saturday because everyday feels like Monday.
4) Cabin Parties: After the crew bar closed at 3am, people would continue the party in their cabins and bring more liquor. Now it is against company policy to carry liquor through the halls after 12am. It was also against company policy to have liquor in your cabin, but these things are often overlooked. The bartenders would have their fridges stocked with alcohol! Anyway, these cabin parties would consist of music, more booze, and possibly lead to other things. One cabin party that I went to ended at 5am and my shift started at 6:30am. That was life.
5) No Traffic: I loved being able to wake up 10 minutes before work and have two minutes to spare. You don’t have to worry about traffic, or what you have to wear. You just get up, put on your uniform, brush your teeth and go upstairs. It was great!
6) Drinking on the job: So by now I think that I have made it apparent that alcohol is just embedded in ship life culture. I can only speak for the photo department on this matter, but I wouldn’t be surprised if other departments did it as well. As a shipboard photographer, you face so much rejection to the point that it’s unbearable. You have a set number of images that you need to take and everyone keeps telling you no. A photographer’s job is 70% rejection. Our remedy for this is to drink, especially when shooting dining halls. When you drink liquid courage it gives you the audacity to interrupt people’s meals and boldly say, “good evening guys, would you like me to take your picture?”
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