Why working on a cruise ship changed my life

‘Ship Life’, a term used by the tens of thousands of crew members who work globally on the seas. A way of life, yet also an excuse to get away with anything. A drink tonight, even though we have to be up in 5 hours? Ship life. Gaining loads of weight? Ship life. Green hair and sudden acne breakouts? Ship Life. A diet of rice and cold vegetables? Ship life.
I don’t make it sound too appealing do I? Let me explain how the perks outweigh all of that.

I had graduated from University, working in a supermarket and just like many 22 year olds. I had no idea what was next. I had little to no money saved (thankyou student life), I lived in a tiny town with no prospects in my desired field. I only knew one thing – I wanted to travel. The money I was saving from my supermarket job was going to fund my travel – however, this wasn’t enough. I NEEDED a job that allowed me to meet new people, see the world, use a camera and realise where my place was in the world. I was craving an adventure. I had a couple of friends who had worked on ships, so they were able to send me some useful information. From applying in February 2017, come August of the same year. I found myself stepping onto my FIRST ship. I had no idea what to expect.

One of the hardest adjustments was having very little wifi and no cell service at sea. This means I could go days without having a clue what was going on in the world. I think to some level this is SO good. I rarely found myself scrolling through social media, you realise who the people are that matter most and you’re able to focus on this new lifestyle that you are living – focussing on the real stuff in life.

The most surreal thing about living on a ship is the fact that you are literally in a floating town. The ship has everything you could ever need (apart from good vegan food). This being said, being surrounded by 1000 crew members all of various nationalities. You literally become a family. I have made countless friends who I still speak with every day. I genuinely believe that I was destined to meet these people who I now consider friends for life. I clicked with so many people and I have built relationships with people from the other side of the world and even from just the other side of my town! SMALL WORLD. The nicest thing about living on a ship, is the gentle reminder that no matter what goes on in the world, there is still faith. As no matter what race, gender, religion or sexual orientation the crew may be – everyone is able to get along and love one another in perfect harmony as they float around in this tin bubble.

As well as building relationships with other people; something else I have been able to do for myself is save money whilst seeing some gorgeous places. I have ticked off places I’d never even heard of a year ago. Vanuatu? I couldn’t even tell you where that was on a map! It’s no secret that seeing the world is the most important thing to me so I feel honoured that I am able to do this whilst I save for the future.

If I have learnt anything over my first 6 months on ships – it’s that to get to where you want to be in life, you have to put yourself first. You have to work VERY hard and you will have to make sacrifices. I know I want to earn money, travel and create content all at the same time. Which is why I work 70 hour weeks, every week. For 6 months. Without a single day off. My Boyfriend and I broke up, I don’t get to see my family or friends back at home nor do I get to wake up to my puppy’s face every morning. I know in the long run it will be worth it. With the photos I have to show, the stories to tell and the friendships that will last. I don’t think I would actually have it any other way.

(Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer)

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