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A Day in the Life of a Cruise Ship Cleaner

Updated on May 2, 2020
Davie Chen profile image

Davie is a passionate consumer of nonfiction literature and knowledge distributor for the purpose of enhancing people's lives.

First I need to clarify that cruise ships we were cleaning was only half a size of the photo above.

Cleaning cruise ships was a lot of fun. The staff was huge, a shift usually consisted of 30-40 people, we had 4 hours to clean in morning shifts and 1.5 at nights. There were pros and cons on both shifts and they were pleasantly balance with different perks.

I'll share my experience about them in a minute.

Allow me to share a typical day on morning shifts first.

We came to work at 9.30 a.m., after the passengers were disembarked. One of the six bosses held a briefing about their prearranged plan for the day and exceptional incidents about the last night's shift. Then all of the cleaners went to the given areas and tasks with proper tools.

There were no morning coffees or chitchats before morning briefings because schedules were always pretty tight in mornings and colleagues will have casual conversations all day, nevertheless.

Tasks included cleaning cabins, vacuuming corridors, lobbies as a whole and miscellaneous like polishing elevators, handrails and washing decks. Cabins were my favorite and because of that, I put a lot of passion on speeding up the process. I think that's why my bosses let me do what I was good at.

Everyone has his or her own corridor to work on and that usually included all the cabins beside. First I needed to take out all the dirty sheets, towels and glasses, and wash the bathroom, then one of the colleagues brought clean sheets and towels to each cabin for me to change, and vacuum the room at the end.

We had to be quick because a cabin contained four beds and there were easily 20-25 cabins to go through on morning shifts.

The first break was timed at lunch and that was inevitably the best reward of the entire job. The same kitchen that cooked for passengers, made the same food for us, daily. I can't remember how many kilos/pounds of smashed potatoes and German sausages I have downed during that time. Lunches included other gourmets as well, like soups, seafood, breads etc.

The pace was a lot quicker on night shifts because the working duration was reduced from 4 hours to 1.5 due to the vastly less usage of the cabins. Basically, we had same routines but only with a lot less work to do. We didn't have any breaks and sometimes it felt like the commutes took more time comparing to the shift. But it was worth it because we got paid more at nights and it was awesome to have some changes.

I would like to share some facts from my own experience:

  • Cleaning cruise ships required quick pace
  • There was always a small army of colleagues every time so you'd get help when needed
  • Colleagues were from a lot of different countries, therefore you could learn new cultures and behaviors easily with open-mindedness
  • Cleaning bloodstains and other bodily fluids was rewarded with money
  • The monthly salary was decent but due to short shifts, it was pretty tough to make a living by solely working as a cruise ship cleaner, and we were paid by hour
  • Food was outstanding

In sum - Working in a cruise ship was quite an experience due to colleagues' multiculturalism, hygienic working environment, efficient tools and equipment and great tasting food. The salary was more adjusted for students of part-time workers but the work was pleasant as a whole. Thanks to the great amount of work buddies, I even met a couple of long lasting friends.

My advice for a more convenient working environment - Try to come up with an efficient method on tasks that you love because bosses would let you work on things you are best at (at least mine did). Cleaning cruise ships was like playing a ball game, team work was important so maintaining a team spirit played a vital role.


Thanks for reading, until next time!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Davie Chen

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