We have signed off and soon home on vacation. January 1997. We stayed at Holiday Inn, San Diego.
Thought I should write little bit about how the crewmembers socialize onboard a cruise ship when they are away from their homes for several months at the time.
Most would of course think this is the same as when we are ashore (on land), but it is not, it is a bit different from what we are used to. And one of the main reasons is because we normally do not mingle with everyone in the beginning, as we would do when we are home. Back home, friends and family members do also represent many different trades. But they leave the work behind when they are finished for the day and head home. And why is that not the case onboard?
Socializing in the evening on the Crew deck.
Officers together 17th of May.
There are several reasons for this, which I know my colleagues will recognize immediately. Reasons which normally have nothing to do with our own personalities. But more about the various groups on the ship we belong to. Groups we belong to? I know it sounds a bit strange, but it actually makes sense.
The reason is the fact we crewmembers do not go home in the end of the day, but we live at our workplace for month after month. And we are also very different in what background or education we have, and not to forget the various types of work we do onboard. We become some extremely specialized groups at this workplace. Nerds maybe? 😆
Crew from the Deck Department together.
So in the beginning, when we have some time off (duty) and spend it with colleagues, we will often do that with someone we work close with. And we have a tendency to very often talk shop. Which is something we are aware of and we do try to reduce it. But nevertheless, we do talk a lot about our work when we are off duty since it is part of our life when we are onboard. Believe it or not, the work onboard affect our lives much more than work back home will do. Especially in the beginning of our careers.
Of course, as we get more experience, we will try to reduce the work-talk during our off time. And that will help increasing the quality of the the time off work.
The ship's Boatswain (Bosun) and myself.
So, we often see catering crew mingle with other catering crewmembers. Housekeeping crew with other from the same department. We have Deck Officers with other Deck Officers. Technical Officers with same. Entertainment Staff with each other. And so on.
But as we all know, the rules always have exceptions. And this goes for the life onboard as well. We have the cross-department socializing onboard. This is when we mix with crew from the other departments we work closely with. This can be a waiter and a bartender, a stewardesse and a waiter (room service). A Navigator with a Engineer (Marine/Technical Officers), Housekeeping utilities and laundry crew. And so on.
Not to forget the nationality feeling. Of course, we will many times feel more comfortable with people from our own country, regardless of what work they do. And especially if we are away from home, together with many other nationalities. Nothing wrong with that. We just feel more comfortable that way in the beginning.
Crew enjoying time together after a long day.
One of the main reasons for socializing with crew from other departments or nations is........................ romance. Oh yes, the romance is always there when hundreds or sometimes thousands of crewmembers work and live close together. Plenty of my colleagues have found their future spouses among their shipboard colleagues. In this case, we have the same as one will find in any other society (towns or cities). Crewmembers come together as couples, and crewmembers break up and find other to go out with. Same drama we will find back home.
Sometimes we use alternative venues for the parties. The Forecastle.
Socializing at Mooring deck Forward (Forecastle).
And then we have the Crew Bar. 🍕🍷🍸🍻
A place I spent many hours in myself, when I was starting out in the Cruise Industry. Young and hopeful I was, with a lot of energy. Before I got older and got less energy. 😏😏
This is without a doubt the main place for socializing among the crewmembers. And it is cross-departmental of course. Depending upon the ship and company, the crew bar is normally open only in the evening, and for just a certain amount of hours in the evening. And as the name suggest, it is a bar. But it is more than just a bar. It is also a place where the crewmembers can meet and play games, chat, use computers (internet), or just hang out listening to the music from the bar. And sometimes organized (theme) parties are held here, for all the crew to enjoy, with food and beverages available, and a DJ playing music so the crew can dance as well.
And for a couple of hours, the crew can forget about their daily work, the various tasks and responsibilities they might have, and enjoy the time with their colleagues.
In the Crew bar, back in the days we could smoke indoors.
The Crew bar.
And who knows, maybe someone meets the special one that evening, and they leave the bar together. 😉😉
Crew who have Signed Off, and heading home wave goodbye to the ship. Honolulu, December 1996