Cruise Law News from time to time will feature a comment to our articles by one of our readers.

Comments by crew members are often poignant. The cruise industry’s current state of affairs places tremendous pressure on ship employees from Carnival, Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines. Hours are longer notwithstanding the lofty goals of the MLC 2006, pay is lower, cruise lines are stealing tips intended for the crew, and recently Carnival Cruise Lines terminated the crew’s retirement benefits claiming that the MLC forced it to do so.  

Cruise Ship Working ConditionsHere’s a portion of a comment by a former crew member we received today, expressing some of the angst felt by cruise ship employees:

"You have no idea what is daily "MORAL HARASSMENT"!

During some meetings regarding how afraid the ship’s managers and "the office" were . . . of USPH. The F&B supervisors used to call us "THALIBAN", just because we are from that side of the planet … many times we were called like that.

Most of you have no idea how hard it is to wash 800 plates, clean floors, chemical machines without a single glove in a 14 hours shift . . .

Yes, you may say … we signed for that. No, we signed for what a smiling recruiting agent showed us how life onboard would be like. And we own money to them.

I left Carnival Cruise Lines and continued my studies. I am free now.

P.S. I met all kind of guest too. The wonderful ones and their families are my good friends now. Many crewmenbers too. But the bad stuff … it probably flows from the Miami office to the ships … they don’t care.

So many injustices."


Watch Video: Sweatships – Working Conditions on Cruise Ships

  • Nanette M

    As one insightful crew member put it on our final cruise, “we toil under the invisible whip”. I will never forget those words.

  • Mouse

    It’s not only in carnival or royal it’s everywhere I’m asking my self why they don’t speak about Disney why they say nothing about the girl what she disappear and they don’t know ???? Why ?? Maybe because Disney pay a lot of money

  • krishna

    yes this is true that onboard its like a helll

    superiors comes and shouts like the juniors are dogs


  • Danielle

    Of course there are always going to be comments made that “you signed up for the gig, so you put yourself in that position”. However, in other jobs where you “sign up” so to speak, there are employment statutes and human rights codes in place to protect vulnerable employees. I’m not saying that having laws in place guarantees that employees will be protected, but at least there is something that employees can rely on to protect themselves from the evil treatment by employers. Cruise ships seem to be immune from any application of human rights codes or labour law/employment law statutes. Why should these employees not have the protections that are afforded in other workplaces? Just because you “sign up” for a job on a cruise ship, doesn’t mean you should accept being grossly mistreated.

  • anonymous please understand

    The truth is …yes life on board is extremely difficult…unless you have a rank, most likely your sleeping quarter is like a walk in closet and you really don’t matter. You are not allowed to have extra pillow case( which, is made up of foam , not down like guests/ ranks) Besides working all day why would you need a nice pillow?)I remember once they took our blankets , saying we were not allowed to have them (again ranks, managers, guests can have down filled comforters) they gave us a thin fire safe blanket that did not warm you at all….and then when you went to buy a warm , they would take it as not allowed …guests have no idea what it is like to work on these vessels and as an American on them I have lot to say as much as I loved my experience on them I know what it took to be there. They laugh with MLC…why?It is a joke. They fudge the hours on the vessels and cover it all up…I saw and had happen to me. I actually worked more hours with the MLC policy as they implemented than prior. They cover up everything on those ships and make it seem as if they care about their staff. No we as staff members care about each other because we have too. They don’t …They say, they have an alcohol policy, well I can say that I saw my roommate get fired for over limit , while a high driven revenue member was not and even after harassment, he was still covered.

  • Danielle
  • rz

    i am a former employee of celebrity cruises if only the us authorities and guest knew the true about how this cruise line treat the crew member they would it take action,they don’t know that the food budget for every crew member is only 75 cents per day,that crew member specially dining room work for free until dinner time if lucky the guest do not decline and that the management position was made for specific nationality in this case serbian people even though my dog have more knowledge than most of them.also that if you have a medical problem they would not take you out in any usa port ,that way they don’t pay for your care instead they take you out in another country while you are dieying of pain in your cabin and if you are lucky they give you ibuprofen,time for us gov to take action over the cruise industry.

  • karl

    Honestly, I am a junior officer of a Car Carrier Shipping Company. Yet, my Chief Officer made me sleep at the cadet’s room. I also experienced from the same Chief Officer not to sleep for 36 hours. Regardless of the port-to-port operation, this Chief Officer doesn’t really care. I told the Captain but he said since I’m just new I must get used to this since this is how it goes. And also I have done mistakes with regards to my job that’s why it seemed that I don’t have the right to complain. I even remember Chief Officer told me that “I must think of my future before I go against him” Of course, this scared me as well as the other crew since we have a family to feed and a life to live. And by the way, This same Chief Officer is changing our “Work and Rest Hours Form” just to comply with the company regulations as well as the MLC.

  • Kang Paijo

    My all time favorite words when I was on board Carnival was ” no like go home man ” and ” there are thousand of people line up for you job” last one ” why did you do that ?” ( no body tell me how to do it in the right way)

    Thank God i have resigned couple years ago and good luck to my fellow crew members who still trying hard to hold on that job.