In May we reported on exploitative labor practices by Carnival subsidiary P&O Cruises.

In Profits Over People: Carnival’s Exploitation of Crew Members is Standard Industry Practice, we explained how P&O  decided to pay its crewmembers a basic salary of 75 pence an hour (approximately $1.20 an hour / $400 a month). The company phased out cash-tips-directly-to-the-crew and replaced the tips with "automatic gratuities" billed to the passengers’ accounts.  But rather than forward the gratuities to the crew, the cruise line threatened to withhold the money if it is not satisfied with a crewmember’s work performances. 

Arcadia - Cruise Ship Wage - Tips Dispute - Waiters TerminatedToday the Guardian newspaper in London published an article which brings us to date regarding the pay dispute. In P&O Cruise Ship Arcadia Hits Troubled Waters Over Ousting of Indian Crew, reporter Gwyn Topham reports that 150 waiters from India decided to make a little protest over the low wages and withholding of tips.

While the Arcadia was in port in Seattle a month ago, for about 90 minutes the waiters engaged in a "good-humoured" demonstration dockside about the low wages. The cruise ship’s British captain communicated with the cruise lines’ head office in Southampton and relayed the crew’s concerns. The waiters returned to the ship, worked late into the night, and were assured there would be no reprisals by management.  

But as the Guardian explains, P&O’s parent company, Carnival, did not find any humor in the situation: "This protest could not, directors decided, be tolerated – no matter what assurances the captain had given the crew."

Carnival sent letters to the restaurant staff who participated in the 90 minutes protest, admonishing them for their "industrial action" and stating "this behaviour is not something Carnival UK is prepared to tolerate."  Not only did Carnival prohibit them from returning to work on the Arcadia but banished them from working on any Carnival cruise ship world-wide.

In addition, Carnival instructed the hiring agency, Fleet Maritime Service International, which is registered in Bermuda to avoid taxes and labor regulations, to prohibit the waiters from ever working for Fleet Marine as well. The Guardian explains that "the Fleet payroll office is in the tax haven of Guernsey. Yet the letter is signed by an Edward Jones, the chief financial officer of Carnival UK."

Indian Crew Members - Arcadia - Low Wages and No TipsFleet Maritime is the largest employer of cruise ship personnel in India, and Carnival runs half of the world cruise market.  So Carnival essentially "black balled" 150 cruise waiters from one-half of the world’s cruise ships.

Indian cruise ship employees, like virtually all crew members, are not members of a union and work entirely at the mercy of the cruise company. Carnival has an eye out for any type of collective protests by the crew.  This is union-busting circa early 1900’s.  As this case illustrates, Carnival will not hesitate to retaliate against their employees for speaking out about unfair labor practices.  According to the cruise executives, If Carnival doesn’t punish these upstarts, other crew members may protest too.  

Lots of Indian men and women go to sea believing that if they work hard on cruise ships, they can make a good living for their family back home.  But the truth is something less than those dreams. It’s really long hours, hard work, low pay and no benefits.  The newspaper quotes a spokesperson for a British seafarer’s union: "It’s a shabby, unacceptable practice to exploit cheap foreign labour  . . . "

  • Anton

    Not happy with India crew ?

    Go for U.S.and UK crew ,maybe they are more tolerant
    regarding rights and wages.
    More tax’s free more exploitation and soon we have slavery as cruise business policy.

  • Lori

    I, as a consumer and a human being, would absolutely like to know which cruise lines would do such a thing. Should I find myself in contract on a ship with this policy I would refuse the automatic gratuities and pay the crew directly or hire you to represent me in a deceptive trade practices or breech of contract suit. Either way this is wrong for the worker and the consumer. Again thank you for making us all aware of the P&O shenanigans. Hopefully you by educating us have assisted in stopping this practice.

  • cumme

    hope the crew get some sort of assistance from wherever in the world, they work hard and have long hours with very little payment. . .

  • Barney

    Do not believe all you read. Gratuities were never withheld from the crew, the only thing that was affected were their BONUSES, a completely different element of their remuneration.

    I know people who have served on board for 17 years or more, I am sure they do not feel exploited to continue for that long.

    It’s just a lazy news story.

  • Cheryl gleaton


    Do you if passengers stop their automatic gratutities and pay them direct to the staff, can they keep them or do they have to turn them in to someone on the ship? If so, I will stop automatic gratutities and pay the staff direct with cash.

  • Ken

    Lori. Read the article again and then you will see which company does it.

  • emma

    I was crewmember at carnival cruise lines a cook and it is an slavery we worked hard sometimes no days off, no break just working straight, no overtime carnival doesnt like to pay overtime to cooks. and salary is very less 800 dolars for a commis and only half day off?? its not new this

  • raj

    i myself also work on p&o ship as a waiter for last 12 years. there have ben always a big problem with the gratuaties with p&o ship, please dont get upset by reading my post BRITISH passangers are not known as good if u dont get reward for ur excellant service definatelly u will be upset same had happen to the waiters of arcadia. and surpricingly a message from david dingle that they find big que of staff outside their manning office in india, so please u go anywere u will have a always big que for job seekers every parts of the world. in my openion its a modern western slavery where you are not allowed to protest in a silent way where you are not allowed to communicate your problem. by banning 150 waiters company is showing and giving messages to rest of the p&o crew that dont dare to speak up other wise you will be treated the same like arcadian waiters.

  • M Hansen

    I think CCL and or the corporation did the right thing firing the Indian protesters! They are making WAY more money at $400 a month than they would in India. Believe me I have worked with people from India at 3 different employers and they are lazy and expect more than anyone else for less work! Send em home to find jobs in India and hire folks that will work for better wages than they would be getting in their own home countries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • M. Hanson:

    Indian crewmembers are “lazy?” and should be fired when they protest low wages?

    Our experiences are that the Indian men and women are some of the most hard working and dedicated crew members on the high seas.

    What do you do for a living in Oregon?

    Jim Walker

  • Antonio

    M Hansen i believe that you have no experience as crew menber.
    I have almost 20 years working on board,never been to India but i can tell you something ;
    India people are easy,smart with strong traditions and culture and good workers.
    They are one of the best ones today when comes to software and much more.
    Maybe you need a lesson about India,maybe they know more about U.S.A. than you.

  • Tushar

    M Hansen i believe u r very wrong. Just go through past business magazines u ‘ll find the achievements of the Indian people. While talking of laziness Mr Ratan Tata( Director of Tata group) Stated in an interview just a few months ago “It’s a work-ethic issue. In my experience, in both Corus and Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) nobody is willing to go the extra mile. I feel if you have come from Bombay(India) to have a meeting and the meeting goes till 6 pm, I would expect that you won’t at 5 o’clock say, ‘Sorry, I have my train to catch. I have to go home’. Friday from 3.30 pm you can’t find anybody in their office at london. In India, if you are in a crisis, if it means working to midnight, you would do it. The worker in JLR seems to be willing to do that, the management is not. N there is much more If u dont believe and want to read more then go through this url

  • Alex

    We will be sailing in September on Carnival & always go right to customer service to stop them from charging our account for tips automatically. We pay directly to the crew members in the local currency the ship is using, so if dollars are used we pay in dollars if euros are used we pay in euros. We found out on a recent Costa cruise in March that Costa cruise lines makes a 30% profit off their crew members on Europe cruises by charging tips automatically in Euros but then paying the crew members US dollars. At the time of our sailing it was a 30% profit for the cruise line.

  • john





  • jim

    yes carnival corporation slave their employee…i thought slaveriism already banished at USA or UK or other leading country..but this GIANT COMPANY CARNIVAL CORPORATION pay their waiter and Housekeeper for only $75 a month for working 12 hour a day….and for their kitchen and cleaning staff only USD 600 a months /12 hours a if you are human find company that treat their employee like human..

  • Sophia

    I work in P&O as well and understand one thing had the protest been done by the Fillipinos, gauranteed not a single crew would have been sacked..British officers are scared to death to even tell them anything in a rude tone onboard. Its us Indians who suffers the most in P&O because the british officers still think we are their slaves forgetting the fact from history defining how we got rid of them from india….

  • Sue

    I am currently doing a research about CCL and I planned to work in CCL cruise industry for more experiences. After reading so many negative comments about wages & all sort of things, I will reconsider again before working on-board now.

  • pankajsaini

    hello there everu one gees i am so worried i just signed a contract with carnival oh my world

  • Anthony

    British guest are the most cheep guest we get on cruise line ,they say everything is lovely but envelope is empty. if it not your coustom to tip then why cruise. they say this is American style.but th service they want is high class & i beleive asian crew does a fantastic job then English crew who are lasy & snobs .i dont work for p&o but RCI. look at our ship Independence of the sea based in UK same story

  • sachin gurav

    2 years before was working as a cook in carnival cruise is 10 days remain me to sin off when i go home in india i am getting married but before that chefs give me warning,counseling letter for my small mistake, so it my wedding gift from carnival after that 2 days remain me to sin off i was packing my bag and chef call in office and he had extend my contract for 2 weeks so i explain him it is important me to go home chef say dont tell me bullshit reason. now i am no more working in carnival i am free from slavery. good bye carnival.

  • dattson

    i am also supporting the indian crews they are hard working and well educated.the management and govt;also take care about to get them good payment

  • rahul

    I work for costa cruises as a waiter and since the salary was in euro it was fare salary. but now since the economy is growing in india it is becoming difficult for us in costa cruises as they have changed the salary to dollars and are not paying us the prepaid tips which the passenger has already paid and stealing the money for the companys profit. why so much cheating costa cruises does. it says it is running in a loss to the staff but every year they come out with new ships. I feel costa concordia sank because of all the curses from costa crew

  • former musician at carnival cruise ship

    Carnival pays wages very low to the low ranking crew members whose actually working harder than anybody. The different dining room between low ranks and supevisor levels crew member shows the slavery signs.

    I have experienced working with Indians, yes, most of them are LAZY but expecting more than what they have given.

    Don’t forget the crew member, specially the high ranks officers using the drugs..well, some of them.
    Once you reports it to the security officers, they’re not looking for anyone to blame except to the reporter.

  • prixitdiwan

    hi. i am prixit . i want to made my carrier in cruise line. But i don’t experience of cruise line. i can do job in cruise line without any experience. if i can plz tell me right job according my qualification . i am bachlor of arts and i have 1 year diploma in hotel.

  • Nick

    Those people if I can call them like that, because I wanted to say ANIMALS, that lead CCL should listen to the crew wishes as well NOT to fire them for NO REASON. I am so sorry for those crewmembers that worked so hard to bring a lot of money in those assholes pockets. Big SHAME ON YOU disgusting CCL.

  • John from Canada

    Just finished a cruise with carnival in carribean. From what I gathered from several crew members, It was clear to me that Management is cheating the Crew of their fare share of gratuities. It seems the tips are allocated using lot of favoritism. Some of the “Favorite” members get more than their share and this favors are more like “exploitations”, if you understand what I mean. Also, crew seems to work more than 12 hours. (more like 16 hours a day). They are at breakfast buffet at 6:00AM on lido and they stay at the dinner untill 10:00PM !! Plus they do cleaning after dinner. How is that make 12 hours?? I have been told that if they can’t finish dinner/cleaning by 11:30PM, their own Dinner Mess closes and they end up eating “Heat and eat” noodles. (They are not allowed to eat the food guest are provided). This is Slavery at its best, worse than the “Slave trade” of past century. I guess Bahamian and Panama govt don’t care (where the ships registered).

  • Nitin Mirgal

    I worked for p&o for 6 long year but just pay was’nt right I had to go

  • Please remember that it is never helps any situation to make broad, sweeping statements such as “all Indian people”, “Americans”, “all Brits”, “all Filipinos are”… etc. Every human being is different, and there are many differences between the various cultures in the world. There are hardworking and lazy people everywhere, good tippers and bad tippers and they come in all shapes, colours, sizes, races and nationalities.

  • lola

    i will start a new career in cruise soon. I am post graduate in photography with some experience. when I attend the interview in a authorized cruise recruiting agency, they were really rude and dont care about my qualifications. Finally they told me join as a kitchen cleaning crew member to full fill my dream job as a photographer. I was on a magic wold of working on a cruise. They had a training of that which cost me twice more than my offered salary. then the processing fee, then 3 times more charges for medical and fixed high rate for the flight ticket to join there. the flight ticket is the highest price in market but i got the lowest charged flight.

    and finally going to work. So do you think Indian are not exploiting ? Do you thing we are just getting the money after work. Its not only in India but with some other Asian countries too.

    Finally I understand that working on a cruise is like a business. we need a big capital to start working on a cruise. Still do you think its too much to protest for minimum wage ? We will be slaves if we will get the money, because we are from a poor country but we are rich by commitment and hard work that’s why Indians work in most of the countries than any other people do…..

  • mukilona

    So unfair!!!Thanks to every crew member these mega cruise companies are getting richer and richer and keep buying bigger ships. They take advantage of people from poor countries; They are SUCH SELFISH GREEDY SUCKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!May God help those exploited crew members.

  • Pinoy

    Since Costa Cruises is under Canival, we suffer the same fate with the carnival crew. In costa, we are paid in dollar, but when we buy items from costa we pay in euro. It’s also INHUMAN and UNJUST the 1:1 euro to dollar salary scheme. Just imagine i am earning 1,000 euro now only 1,000 dollar!

  • krishan

    m am krish !!i worked for princess cruise and they give mere salary of $800 and made us worked like 13 hours everyday.never get a single day off in my 5 years of contract. i was soo disappointed that i had to disembark in my last contract cause of my personal problem and they ask me to pay the flight ticket now .i dont wana work with u princess cruises, i got nothing from you and want to forget the days i spent there!!!!

  • Malinda

    I worked with Norwegian cruise lines as a training specialist. During my stay, I learnt that indians are very kind cultural and hard working people. At NCL the working environment was superb and the management plays a very friendly role. We never had a problem as such and all the employees are working with pleasure. Im glad that I worked with NCL and I had a wonderful time with them.

  • guyasia

    Its just very simple if you don’t like the salary and feel not treated what you expected just resign…go to other good company like rccl or ncl…i applied in offshore job a little bit better with benefits guaranty.

  • ex crew member

    Carnival corp is one very successful company getting so rich by paying their crew members shitty salary. its time for carnival to hire cooks from usa or uk.

  • crew
  • mahali

    i had worked 8yrs in ccl,ccl doesnot more care about the crew member.

  • Gustavo Calandra

    Carnival Cruise Line practices slavery. They use the same cheating method used by prostitution networks, going to countries in crisis and offering people nice jobs. The people have to pay their own one year round plane ticket, generally borrowing from a bank connected with Carnival that will collect directly from the “salary”. Upon arrival, the company retain the return plane ticked and the passport of the slave. On the ship, all the nice conditions described by the Carnival crooks in your country change. The 8 hour shift, becomes a 16-20 hour shift, the $400 salary becomes a $39 salary, and the free day per week disappear.

    I resigned and was KIDNAPPED by this criminals, with the consent of the US Government, that allowed them to enter me in and out of US without going through migrations nor customs, with private security personal that locked me up in a room somewhere in Miami until the flight time, and escorted me INSIDE the plane, where I was given back my passport and plane ticket.

  • Jason Kohl Amani

    Those big companies,simply says ; No like ???…go home !!!

  • unanimous jack

    Listen Royal Caribean is also bad because they are taking example of slavery that this stupid CCL is used to doing and saying this is market based salaries .People when will these companies still building new ships start caring for their crew members who give them the service on a day to day basis on theirships .We should start a Union for Crew members around the world that wwould stop these exploitation by these Bastards in corporate office s who take fat bonuses .l am an officer on the ship too ,and l say let’s start a Union, that’s the only way to fix this

  • Katlyn

    CCL..disgusting..simply they don’t like smart people… no one can stood up and fight for their right…I currently work with CCL and have decided not to continue working there.With such kind of inhumanity.
    disgusting management…low salary..disgusting environment…lots and lots of unspoken able experiences…rise up all the crew members and terminate the going cruel slavarism

  • saugat mohanty

    I just wonder why cruise line companies especially carnival doesn’t let the ITF inspectors board the ship and why mlc 2013 convention has not been implemented so far on cruise ships.its quite worse with the hospitality department and any other department working with the guests. Those who dont work for the guest still get a chance to enjoy(deck,engine,)…

  • Allan

    This is totally WRONG what Carnival co-operation did to Indian crew. these people work breakfast, lunch, Tea time and dinner & this crew members work 6-9 months continuously and offcourse they are paid less. Graduties are collected from each and every passenger on a daily basic pay graduties and these gratuties are collected by respective cruiseline and passenger think this gratuties are paid to crew member but the truth is the cruise company dont show or give those gratuties to crew member, those cruise company use those graduties to built new ship. and this is the fact. SHAME ON YOU CARNIVAL.

  • lite

    I learnt today a long time friend from Sri Lanka that had been looking to work abroad for awhile, is heing exploited by p&o cruises. 16 to 18 hours a day with no break, no time to stop and eat – all this for pay of $850 au per month. He described it as “hell”. If a company such as p&o can take advantage of vulnerable citizens from 3rd world countries in desperate situations, make a mockery of them, their dreams and their lives…what hope do we have for equality? I unfortunately have been on several p&o cruises before i learnt of this. Never again. Sooner or later p&o…

  • Kumar

    I was working in P&O Princesses cruise ship over 9 months as a Deck Seaman, i was getting 9000 US $ PM for 12 hours, there was no holiday, all 7 days working,that was my hardest time in my life.

  • samuel

    Dear brothers and sisters i am greeting all of you gave and keep share your experience about CCL.
    I am selected to work in carnival cruise line of australia as musician.Do they pay bad??no overtime,many hours per day?tell me so that i can take decision of going to work or not.