I have been meaning to write this blog post for some time now! If you didn’t know already, I used to work as a shoppie on the Independence of the Seas cruise liner which was part of the Royal Caribbean line. A “shoppie” is someone who works either in the fashion stores or on stalls within the promenade (main shopping avenue on-board). I used to work in a store called Seasons where we sold a mixture of mens and ladies fashion and I honestly loved it. Getting paid to travel, I mean who wouldn’t love that!
I had just been travelling around Australia for a year and when I returned to the UK, I knew that the travel bug had bit me right in the butt – so off I went planning my next travel destination. I originally wanted to travel to Canada for a year but I had just missed out on applying for the working holiday visa, so I decided to apply to work on cruise ships. I was so happy when I got the position on one of the largest cruise liners in the world and within 6 months of arriving back from Australia, I was off on my travels again. Granted, this was a different type of travelling but it was travelling nevertheless.
After full medicals down in London and applying for my American visa, I was then off to Heathrow airport, family in tow to say the emotional goodbye at the airport and I headed to Miami to join my Royal Caribbean ship in Fort Lauderdale. My itinerary consisted of the Caribbean, sailing back to the UK and then off to Europe and Norway for 6 months which I then extended for an extra month, which means I would be living on board for 7 months straight!
As soon as I clapped eyes on the ship, it took my breath away and if I’m completely honest, I was so scared. What if I didn’t enjoy the cruise ship life? Could I leave before my 6 month contract was up? Would I get on with my cabin mate? I initially thought I had made a mistake until 2 nights in when I discovered the crew bar with a friend. This changed my life! The phone in my cabin used to go off every night and it was always my friend Zoe on the other end, telling me she would be round in 5 and to be ready to party. If it wasn’t for her and my cabin mate Emma at the time, I think I would have left.
My first few weeks on-board the Royal Caribbean cruise liner were super interesting, I met so many different people from a variety of countries and little did I know that one of them would turn out to be my husband but more on this on another post 🙂
My overall experience of cruise ship life was incredible, the weird sensation of falling asleep in France and waking up in Italy blew my mind. This is something that I miss to this day. After we had sailed back from the US, our ship went into dry dock for a refurbish in Hamburg for 2 weeks which was amazing. I really enjoyed this beautiful city and had so much fun exploring it.
If you are thinking about working on-board a cruise liner, I can highly recommend it. It’s such an awesome experience and you will have the time of your life. I met some incredible friends, travelled to some amazing destinations and met the love of my life. If you are a passenger and you have never cruised before, then you need to do it. Yes, it may not be the cheapest holiday in the world but you have 5 star entertainment, all the food is included and you have the opportunity to explore so many different places in a relatively short period of time.
With an Ice-Rink, theatres, water sports, children entertainers and at the time even a nightclub on-board – for me it really was an opportunity of a lifetime. You go through such a mix of emotions and I feel you really do get tested on-board to see if this experience is for you or not.
My Top 10 Advantages Of Working On A Royal Caribbean Cruise Liner
- You get to travel the world and get paid for it.
- You will meet so many people and many of them will turn out to be friends for life. Plus you never know, you may meet your potential partner on-board.
- Our crew bar was incredible and the best thing? 2 dollar drinks baby!
- You get to save money for your next travels, pay of debts or save for your future.
- No rent, no mortgage, no responsibility.
- All your food is free – granted you will get bored of this eventually but nevertheless it’s free. You can always make friends with a few of the chefs to get a few cheeky free pizzas 🙂
- At the end of each contract, you will get a long holiday at home before you decide on your next contract.
- It’s true what they say – work hard and play harder.
- Free Broadway shows.
- Epic crew parties
…….. and the Disadvantages Of Working On A Cruise Liner
- Super long hours with no days off (varies with each job role).
- Living in tight quarters with strangers (to begin with anyway).
- Being away from home 6-8 months at a time.
- Spending lots of money on calling home and internet.
- Touching on the above point – no WIFI.
- I couldn’t even get to 10 points – who am I kidding – I had the time of my life. Get Applying!