To say it has been a checkered journey to my current life of taking people on holidays to places their mother would rather they didn’t visit would be quite an understatement.
In the UK I did all manner of jobs – from selling double glazing to picking litter at a landfill site – before my wanderlust took me bartending in the Cayman Islands, working on cruise ships and then teaching in China, before finding my vocation with YPT tours.
I’ve fond memories of everything I’ve ever done (maybe not the litter picking) but of all the jobs the biggest learning curve and fund of great memories was my time on cruise ships.
As I write this I’m sitting on a public ferry in the Philippines, and it’s impossible not to reminisce a little. So I’ve decided share some pearls of wisdom about what living on a cruise ship is really like (Clue: It’s not like the movies.)
BONUS ROUND! Some slang from the ships
Chicken or beef – Like “he needs to be careful or its chicken or beef”. If you get sacked you’ll have to fly home from wherever the ship is, and on the flight home you’ll probably be offered chicken or beef.
Taxi – When two people try to sneak off from the crew bar to make sexy time in their cabin, it’s customary for those who spot them to shout “taxi”. Maybe immature, but always amusing.
The M1 – The area below the the first passenger deck that crew use for all manner of things such as collecting salary or traversing through the ship.
D&V – To avoid Norovirus the moment someone has D&V (diarrhea and vomiting) they are made to stay in their cabin under quarantine. D&V can also stand for Drinking & Vodka, another common cause of vomitting.
IPM – In port manning. You surrender your crew card and are forbidden from leaving the ship, so that in case of emergency there’ll be enough staff on hand. My first IPM was in Amsterdam. It was 12 years ago and I’m still pissed off about it!