Whether they’re refilling the dishes at the breakfast buffet, setting the table for lunch, or delivering you a mouthwatering meal in the main dining room, your waiters are some of the most important people on the ship. Waiters are responsible for ensuring you want for nothing during meal times – your water glass will always be full, and your taste buds will always be happy. In the main dining rooms, a good waiter will talk you through the menu, give their own personal recommendations, and really provide the ultimate 5 star experience.
If you opt for traditional set-time dining, you’ll get to know your head waiter and assistant waiter quite well over the course of the cruise – a great chance to learn more about the cruise lifestyle. Waiters are some of the most hardworking crew members, and it’s not unusual to see them working in different restaurants and venues throughout the day.
You might think that a bartender’s job is simply to serve drinks, but a good bartender actually does much more than that. Have you ever stopped to really have a look at a bar on board a cruise ship? You’ll see rows and rows of different types of glassware for every drink, you’ll find containers full of garnishes that compliment everything from a whiskey sour to a martini, you’ll see napkins, straws, menus, toothpicks, ice cubes…. the list is endless, and it’s the bartenders job to ensure their bar is well stocked and that they’re prepared for whatever a passenger may ask for. Cruise ship bartenders are hugely skilled in mixology, and there’s no cocktail they haven’t heard of. It’s well worth getting to know your friendly bartenders – not only do they have some amazing stories from their travels, but once they know your favourite drink, they’ll never forget, it’s quite incredible!
Cabin stewards are truly the unsung heroes of any cruise. Think its easy being a room attendant? Think again! Cabin stewards are always sociable with their guests, often boasting a welcoming smile, and always get to know their passengers individual preferences. You’ll also notice they are incredible at staying behind the scenes yet masters at always being on hand just in case you need them. It’s tough, but most cabin stewards have perfected this skill over their years at sea. A good room attendant will quickly become familiar with your routine – for example, if you enjoy a drink on your balcony before dinner, you can expect a bucket of ice to be delivered each evening, and if you tend to retire to your room early, you can expect your room attendant to prioritise turndown service so that your bed is prepared by the time you arrive. Cabin stewards are not only in charge of cleaning and laundry, but they’re also often a first point of contact for guests, so they often have a very in depth knowledge of all crew departments, and a long list of contacts.
It’s practically impossible to accurately describe a purser’s job as it’s one of the most diverse, and unpredictable, roles on board. Pursers are some of the most knowledgeable members of crew about each individual cruise and itinerary – they’ll know the times you’re expected to arrive into each port, they’ll be able to offer on shore recommendations, and they may even be able to suggest the best times for getting out on deck to see the scenery. A purser is also there for you should you have any concerns about your voyage, and will be able to liaise with relevant crew members to rectify any issues.
If you’re travelling with young children, the youth staff are stars! Unlike nursery and playgroup workers on shore, these lively and energetic crew members often have just a week or two to put kids at ease, learn about their individual preferences, and become friends, so it can be a very hectic and challenging role. Youth staff often work within a certain age range, and have become skilled in providing fantastic entertainment and learning for babies, toddlers, children, and teens, knowing exactly what ticks all the boxes for them. Youth staff will spend their days painting, drawing, and building blocks with the younger children, and escorting older children on adventures around the ship, including taking them swimming, to play sports, and to the buffet for drinks and ice creams. Ultimately, the role of the youth staff is to put a parent’s mind at ease, allowing them to relax and enjoy their holiday without worrying that their kids are bored, unhappy, or unsafe. These crew members are as vital for you as they are for your children! Highly trained, qualified and reputable, these members of staff are another example of unsung heroes on board.
Cruise Director & Entertainment Staff
Royal Caribbean Cruise Director Ken Rush once claimed he slept just 5 hours a day when working on Allure of the Seas, and it’s not difficult to see why. Cruise directors are on the go constantly, and do a lot more than many passengers think. A cruise director not only has to oversee the entertainment staff and work out schedules and budgets behind the scenes, but they’re also considered to be the face of the entertainment side of things, so you’ll often find them hosting activities on board and simply walking around the ship socialising with passengers. There’s a busy combination of office time and front-of-house time for the cruise director – one moment they’ll be filing paperwork and the next they’ll be dancing along to the live music, welcoming returning passengers to a loyalty club event, and making sure the dancers are all ready and raring to go in the evening.
The captain is often cited as a favourite, mainly because many ships offer complimentary beverages at the Captain’s Party! The question is, what does the captain actually do? The Captain is a figurehead who oversees the entire operation, much like the CEO of a company. The captain’s job is to ensure the overall safety of passengers, make sure each voyage runs smoothly, and to instil confidence in guests by socialising on a regular basis. Captains are typically responsible for making some of the most important decisions on board, including whether to wait for passengers who have not arrived back at the ship by the given time (always allow yourself extra time to get back to your ship!). The captain is supported by a deputy, and the officers of the bridge. Captains are highly experienced, highly trained professionals with a vast knowledge of the seas and latest technologies on board. The ability to organise a team to navigate and manage such incredible modern day vessels is remarkably impressive.
Guest Satisfaction is Key
There are many different roles and positions on board cruise ships, some behind the scenes and some front-of-house, but one thing that every crew member has in common is that they’re there to make your cruise holiday one you’ll never forget. Whether it’s the cruise ship musicians or the engineers, the overall focus is on guest satisfaction. So who’s your favourite member of the team? Who’s gone above and beyond to really impress? Share your stories with us!