Working on a cruise ship isn’t a job that most people can do. It requires being away from friends and family for long periods of time, with a total of zero days off for contracts ranging a few months to more than a year. Strapping on your ship goggles, you tend to find some of the same people no matter what ship you’re on. Here are my classifications of those people.


1. The Free Spirit

By far the best person to be friends with, the Free Spirit has left their job in their home country to work in an environment that allows them to travel. They dislike being tied down and love the opportunities that their position affords. Often leaving behind friends, family, and a salary that greatly exceeds their current one, they have taken great risk in coming onboard – and love every minute of it. You can identify them by their peace necklaces, ankle tattoos, one-too-many bracelets, carefree attitudes, and genuine smiles on their faces.

2. The Lifers

The Lifers have decided to make cruise ships their permanent homes. While it doesn’t appeal to everyone, these select few have found great meaning in their life at sea – climbing the rungs of their companies at the same time. You will often find them in positions of power – making sure passenger experiences are unforgettable. Their patience with newcomers depends entirely on their empathy. Whether they choose to take you under their wing, or scoff and pass over you, is completely up to them – but they’re very wise friends to have.

working on a cruise ship

3. The Complainer

It doesn’t matter if they’re working 12 hours a day, or 3 – you’re going to hear about it. “I work way too much”, “I’m so bored today”, “The people on this ship are so stale” are all phrases that you’re going to hear. They deserve a gold medal in inventing situations to complain about. While the Complainer is a generally a nice person on the inside, you can’t help but wonder why they perceive life to be so miserable. While listening to them drone on and on about why the iPhone they won in the crew contest doesn’t have enough gigs for their liking, you can’t help but reflect on your own situation, and realize the small pleasures in life you take for granted.

4. The Kiss-Ass

Of course, what workplace wouldn’t be complete without them. They’ll suck up to their supervisor relentlessly, tell on you for making the smallest mistakes, and generally make the workplace more hostile. You’ll find yourself wondering how they got into their position in the first place – but they do have some redeeming qualities. They make sure everyone is on point, ensuring the guest experience is the best it possibly can be; even if they’re making you furious while doing it.

5. The Nobleman

It’s important to take pride in what you do, but this person takes it to a whole new level. They often let you know how important their job is to the fleet, and how everything around them would crumble without them doing their due diligence. While not all jobs may be equal, it’s important to remember that each person aboard the ship fills an essential role and is a valued member of the team – despite what the Nobleman might say.

6. The College Graduate

Often confused with the Free Spirit, the College Graduate has just recently graduated from a Bachelors or Associates degree, and has absolutely no idea what they want to do with their life. Often working in a position in no way related to their educational background – they’re just trying to figure out life one step at a time – and who can blame them? With perks like free travel, free food, and a free bed on the other side of the world, it’s not a bad gig to have.

7. The Romantic

Often spending their late nights at the crew bar, the romantic is always on the hunt for true love – or so it seems. While the pursuit of happiness is different for everyone, the Romantic pursues in a much more physical way. Either as a serial monogamist, or dedicated polyamorist, it’s hard not to love this affectionate soul. Just make sure to play it safe.

8. The Everyone Else

Clearly not everyone on the crew can be categorized by this list. While a lot do fit into the categories, remember to recognize everyone’s strengths and differences – they’ll make you a better person. A bunch of individuals work together as a team to keep this boat floating – celebrate the differences and revel in the similarities. Good luck, and happy travels!


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