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Over the course of a crew member’s contract, we each go through a series of personality shifts. Here, I present to you the five stages of working on a cruise ship – from the start of your contract to the bitter end.

1. Excitement
You’ve just signed on and things are fantastic. You’re learning all about your new home and position. You’re making and everyone seems to want to talk to you – this is a fantastic place to work. “Tomorrow we’ll be in a different country and I’ll get the chance to explore it… Wait… what do you mean I have a training session?”

2. Hatred
“This ship is awful. Why would anyone even come here?” Welcome to the hatred stage, which you’ll experience shortly after the excitement stage. There are rules on rules on rules. Everyone seems like they’re completely insane to want to work here. You can’t separate your office life from your personal life, and the ship won’t stop rocking. Give it time and this stage will pass – we all go through it (sometimes multiple times) but things really could be worse.

3. Complacency
“Everything’s… okay.” It’s not great, it’s not bad, you’ve found a happy medium. The food isn’t terrible, but it’s not good either. The ports aren’t new and exciting anymore, but simply places for you to hang out. You exist in limbo, ticking away the days until the end of your contract, occasionally doing something fun.

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4. Anticipation
Time moves slowest at this stage. You’re nearing the end of your contract and you’re anxious to get home. Where the days flew past a month ago, they only crawl now. You’re thinking about your friends, your family, the things you’ll get to enjoy once more – the great outdoors, not having your home move around the world, the silence, it all seems serene. “Only 30 more days… I can do this.”

5. Boredom
You’re finally off the ship and enjoying the comforts of home. Lying awake at night you wonder where it is, and how you ever coped with this home life before. Nothing is happening, none of your friends are awake, no stores are open. If you want food, you’ve got to cook it yourself. “I guess it wasn’t so bad after all… I think I’ll do another contract… I can’t wait to get back onboard.”

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