I worked for RCCL, I would agree with some previous comments about the job being hard work and long hours. The ship runs 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year so everybody has to work 7 days a week, otherwise it would be impossible for the ship to run efficiently. Regarding safety and some of the more outlandish comments made by posters, I never saw anything like what they claimed. Most of the posters seem to be providing second hand information rather than direct information and some degree of rumours as well. For example all ships I worked on, I never saw more than 2 people sharing a cabin. I had to do cabin inspection so was familiar with cabin layouts. Most of the comments have been negative with no effort to outline the postive. I will try to give both.
Here are my Pro's and Cons list:
Salary is tax free
You have almost no outgoings, food, accomodation, gym all paid for.
Drink is extremely cheap in the crew bar.
Most crew have 3-5 hour break during the day every day, when they can go out in port, some departments like retail, have almost the whole day off while in port (as onboard shops are closed in port)
Depending on the ship you get assigned to, you can do a huge amount of travelling and sight seeing.
I worked on various ships and in 2 years I had visited around 25 countries and seen great sights around the world, like the Pyramids, Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, Noreweigan Fjords.
You meet international mix of people and make friends across the world. I can go to half the countries of the world and now know somebody there who can show me around.
You learn about different cultures.
The ship generally follows the sun, you get decent weather year round when you go out.
Career progression, if you are good, you can progress quickly and as you move up, conditions and terms get better, single cabins, high salarys, shorter contracts.
Parties in the crew bar almost every night, if your single you can have a good time. If your a single guy or girl you can have a lot of fun. Crew gettig together for a night, a week or a contract is very common.
You can sometimes volunteer to help with excursions and get to tag along for free. I did things like jet ski coast tour and 4x4 buggy tour in mexico for free.
At the end of your contact you get a vacation period of 8 weeks, where you can do whatever you want.
Long working hours - by thte end of the contract you will be exhausted.
You will work 7 days a week.
Crew food is often quite bad.
You are away from friends and family (but they are always there when you get back!)
Some departments do have more of a backstabbing culture than others, because people want to get promotion.
If you are sharing a cabin, it can be good if you get a good room mate or bad if you get a bad one.
It is a transient lifestyle travelling all the time, you meet so many people, but of course while you are away from land, you can also lose touch with some as well.
You dont have the freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want that you have on land.
I found cruise ships to be a safe environment to work on, I heard of the odd fight breaking out, but when you have 1500 crew its like a small town and things that happen on land will also happen at sea. Bad things will always happen wherever you are, but statistically speaking Cruise ships are considered a very safe environment. After all you have a security team and a medical team and center within a minutes reach at all times. When you are on land you dont have free and instant access to a medical center which is like a small hosptial on the big ships.
I saw a lot of the world, saw places it would have cost a fortune to visit. I made loads of friends, partied harder than I ever did on land, and developed as a person thanks to meeting foreign people and seeing so many foreign lands. I am so glad I did it and would do it all over again.
This jobs suits someone who is willing to go outside his comfort limits for a while to see whether they like it or not. If you get homesick easily I wouldnt recommend this. You need to have a tough skin, be hard working and ready to take whatever comes your way. If that sounds like you, working on cruise ships should not be a problem.