Cruise secrets: Crew member reveals ‘worst’ thing he was made to do on the ‘side’

Cruise ship crew are hard at work on cruises while the passengers enjoy themselves onboard. There may be plenty of positives to such jobs, from meeting lots of interesting people to travelling the world. However, working on a cruise ship come with its own hardships. One former cruise worker has revealed a particularly tough time onboard. Brian David Bruns – who was a waiter with Carnival Cruise Line – recalled the period in his book Cruise Confidential.

Cruise ship crew member reveals ‘worst’ thing he was made to do as a ‘side job’

Bruns explained the tasks he was given on top of his normal role as a waiter on the cruise ship.

“Thus began the worst period of my entire life,” he wrote. “Every waiter was assigned a side job. Usually, they were simple tasks such as ensuring menus were accounted for, or bringing all the bread baskets to the pantry,

“My side job since arriving had been to gather all the tongs to dispense the dinner rolls.

“Twice a week I would swing through each station to collect the utensils. It took maybe 10 minutes all told.

“‘Your new job,’ [my colleague] Duman instructed, ‘Is to clean both sets of starboard escalators. Daily.’

‘You have to do everything from the galley on deck two to the landing on deck three and finally up to the balcony of deck four… and don’t forget that it’s more than just sweeping the steps.

“You have to sweep and mop the floors and scrub the metal sides of all the escalators, and polish the metal walls all the way up to the ceiling.”

The other crew worker goes on to explain that Bruns will only be able to start this extra job at midnight when the kitchen staff finish.

The waiter replies: “After midnight before I can ever start? That adds, let’s see, about two hours to my shift. Every night? I work at 6am!”

The negative aspects of cruise crew life aren’t just about long hours and physical labour, though.

Another ex-crew member detailed some of the other challenges workers face at sea.

One of the biggest grievances Joshua Kinser had during his time working on cruises was the tedium, especially when it came to the food. 

“The monotony of the job becomes tiresome,” he told “The food served to the crew can sometimes be about as appetising as the seaweed that gets tangled in the cruise ship propellers.”

“I wish I could have told passengers how much I wanted a lobster tail or some of the great food that they were eating in the passenger dining rooms,” Kinser added.

“I know it may seem petty to some people out there, kind of a first-world problem sort of thing, but after three months eating the same slop that is served on some of these ships, most employees just want a taste of the wonderful food that the passengers eat.”

Homesickness can also be a problem for cruise ship workers. “The isolation from friends and family and one’s life on land can be very difficult for some to deal with at times,” Kinser said.

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