I work on research ships and love it!!!I worked on a small cruise ship for one season. Was busy as above poster said, small crew. Had a great bunch in the galley which makes all the difference. In port, when had time off, could do some of the activites the passengers did either free or cheap.
Got a bit boring, they were 7-day cruises and menu was beautiful, but didn't change. It was month on, month off.
Quarters were very small, but you are there so little, it doesn't matter.
Also worked on the Alaska Marine Highway, our ferry system. State job and benefits, did it to get vested for insurance after retirement. Nine ships passenger load from 100 to 600 on big ships. Very busy, various durations of hitch depending on run. Ships have a regular restuarant menu and cooks also prepare two lunch and three dinner specials.
I enjoy container ships--go neat places, but money not so good on many. Usually 60-120 days on. Small crew 10-14, cook does whole job planning,ordering, cooking and most cleaning.
But I love the research vessels. Usually have ships crew or 10-12 and 20+ scientists, tech, etc.
These people are usually really into the project, so energy is high, most are pretty well traveled and have adventuresome palates.
Again 60-120 days, sometimes extended with job. Job is pretty much as above with one helper to do some prep, set up, cleaning, etc. There are three meals, occassionaly, depending on job four. Snacks, soups, goodies etc are always available.
Money is good and there is lots of job satisfaction, but 14 hours is pretty standard.
It can be hard, rough seas, ordering for 45-60 days, small work and living spaces, but For me it is good!