#9. It rolls downhill

I was a backstage technician from 2007-2009 for [a large cruise line].

I loved the job, I loved the people, but I hated the corporation. The company always made it difficult for those of us in entertainment to do our jobs and help the guests enjoy their cruise.

That said, I agree with what some of the other people are saying about their time on-board. It wasn’t so much like summer camp for me, it was more like a dorm at college.

I got up whenever, (it was a red letter day if I was awake in time for lunch), did some very basic work setting up a game show or turning on a microphone for the Shopping Specialist, and played a lot of video games until the evening’s show. I set up the evening’s show (helping to load pyro, checking/double checking all the machinery, etc), ran the show, and then struck/tied down all the set pieces. If there was no midnight comedy show, I went to the crew bar.

Crew/staff were definitely not allowed to ‘fraternize’ with the guests, but it certainly didn’t stop many people. I can’t say that I did personally (although there was a fetching lady that kept asking me back to her room, but once I found out how outrageously fake her I.D. was…), but I had a roommate that was the DJ at the discotheque, and it was a few times a week that he wouldn’t come back at his normal 4 am, stumbling drunk, slurring-at-the-top-of-his-voice bedtime.

Some of the darker stuff…let’s see…for starters, I hear that nearly all the live music is gone from ships due to it not bringing in any money. It’s kind of heartbreaking, I knew a lot of excellent musicians that likely were laid off, only to be replaced by canned music and karaoke.

As far as the officers, it was exceptionally rare that they were anything but raging jerks. There was your basic managerial nightmare-boss stuff, but there was other stuff, like security turning a blind eye to some of what they did.

I heard horror stories about crew members being beaten, threatened, stalked, etc. I didn’t see most of this firsthand, but a ship is a very small place, and word gets around.

Most of the higher officers had wives/kids at home, and nearly all of them had mistresses on-board. There was a time on one of my ships that the mistress was pretty pissed because the wife and kid came aboard for a visit, lasting maybe a month or two…

The crew was especially wary during that time, since shit has a habit of rolling downhill, and it did then, too.

To end on a high note, I should mention that my amateur-ish flirting did occasionally end well for me. Eventually, I met an amazing blonde woman that worked in the video production department.

To make a very long and happy story short, our 2 year wedding anniversary is coming up fairly soon.

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