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Working on a cruise ship

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by codered11343, May 17, 2008.

  1. codered11343

    codered11343 Member

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    Has anyone ever worked on a cruise ship doing lights, rigging, or anything else industry related?
    I have been talking to some people at Carnival Cruise Lines and it sounds like it could be a really nice opportunely, but I have only been talking to people that work at the corporate offices and I want some unbiased thoughts about life on a cruise ship from people that have been there.

    Thanks.
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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  3. Raktor

    Raktor Active Member

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    You'll find a few good threads on Light Network as well about it. I know a few guys on here used to be involved with it, but most of them have posted in earlier threads anyway.
     
  4. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    If you really want to know the cruise ship score, head over to CruiseCritic dot com. working on a ship is not all it's cracked up to be and that's from the mouth of techs who work on ships. I have a couple former students who stuck out one contract and swore off life on the high seas. I love to cruise, but would never work on one - I've seen how hard those techs work.

    If you have specific questions, feel free to PM me I've been 'involved' with the cruise industry for over 12 years...
     
  5. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    I tried to PM you, but the service said that you didn't allow them. Here is my response to your questions.


    I've had students on RC, NCL and Carnival and have chatted with techs on Princess. One really enjoyed the job(RC), but he was working as a stand up comedian. My lighting tech told me that she wanted to jump ship several times.

    The reality about working on a cruise ship - expect long, long hours and little time off. Most of the techs I've spoken with work six day with 12 hour shifts. They don't just handle running tech. They do whatever needs to be done. Certainly, they ahve a primary capacity (like say you're the lighting tech - your first job is to check the lights each day, make sure everything is ready and then you are assigned your daily task. it might be running lights, sound, redressing a set (the show rooms are used for lectures, general assemblies, demos, as well as shows, there is is a lot of demand for lighting and sound).

    The pay is very low - these ships are internationally flagged, which means that do have to play by US standards. Techs get paid a little better than others, but still nothing compared to working on land.

    The cabin, which you will share with one to three other people, are tiny, nearly closet size. You get a cubical for your stuff and a bed and that's pretty much it. You don't have to pay for your room and board, so that helps. There's also not many places for you to spend your money on board. Some ship allow crew to purchase things in the stores, but many don't (I don't believe Cranival does). There is a general store for the crew which offers just about anything you could want and usually pretty cheaply.

    I was e-mailing one of my students, he was sailing through the Panama Canal at the time, and said that life on the ship was okay, but monotonous.

    Don't get me wrong - I love cruising, but I'd never work on a ship. The long hours, low pay and lack of privacy have been a stumbling block for many.

    For more direct infor, go the cruisecritic.com (Ask a Cruise Question) and do a search. There are several threads there regarding cruise ship employment, often by folks on ships.

    Good luck!

    Charlie
     
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I worked for Holland America, which is a division of Carnival, and some of this I found to be true and some not. I happened to be on a ship where there were only two theatre techs, me and one other. I was in charge of theatre ops, from scheduling to running lights and sound, to writing performance reports. The other person was in charge of all things backstage, from getting a crew to move scenery to handing off props and sweeping and such. While it was a lot of work, I still found that I had plenty of time to visit nearly every port we stopped at.

    I found this to be completely not true. The ships are internationally flagged, but the companies are US based, so they do have to pay you at least by US standards (though even when I was on the ship it would have been great to get paid in Euros!). I was getting paid enough that I could have lived comfortably in many places. Then consider that you have virtually no expenses while you are on the ship, so unless you rack up a huge bar tab or you buy lots of stuff in port, you can bank nearly all your wages less taxes. There is no cost of living on a cruise ship, room and board and transportation are provided.

    On cabins, yup, small. However pretty much the only time I spent in my cabin was sleeping, and in that case, it doesn't really matter. My bathroom was awesome, you could take a shower while on the toilet brushing your teeth in the sink (it was very small). My understanding, at leas on the HAL fleet was that any tech who had a position like lighting or sound as opposed to a general "go push scenery around" tech got their own cabin. I did.

    As for the shops, any crew person with officer status (this includes theatre techs) could shop in the shops on the ship. Also, where passengers were not allowed to buy alcohol and bring it back to their rooms (on account of the ship wants them to buy drinks in the bars!), crew could.

    This can be true. Many cruises are week long runs to the same ports each week. These can get boring. Unfortunately you don't get to choose your cruise until you have worked for the company for a while. Once you get out of the Alaska or Caribbean runs, and can get on ships that go to lots of places, it gets more interesting.

    There are ups and downs to cruising, and it certainly isn't for everyone. It can be a great thing to do after college, go see the world and get paid to do it. It can also be tough in that you may loose contact with people who may have other opportunities for you. You will get to work with top end gear, but I would strongly suggest that you have some experience with it first. You NEED to go into the job with good troubleshooting skills. You also need to really be a jack of all trades, or at least have a good understanding of all aspects of production.

    You will get to work with lots of different talent, which is good. You will learn to design shows on the fly in a 1-2 hour rehearsal the day of the show. You will develop lots of good skills.

    I am happy to chat more on cruising, feel free to PM or email me. I have posted in some of the other cruise threads too, so you might check those out as well.
     
  7. rosszero

    rosszero Member

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    Thanks icewolf08 for your lengthy, but informative post :)

    I was looking into the type of vacancies available by going straight to the cruise line websites such as Seabourn and knowing now what you've written has given me a better idea what to expect. I've also been told that job roles such as musician or gift shop sales person are less hours if you're not so keen on the steward side of things, so I was wondering if being an electrician would mean the same or not!?
     
  8. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    I have no actual ship work experience, but based on 35+ years of working for a living, how enjoyable the job is also depends on the person doing the job. I know people who thrive at production shop work, but get them on a show site and they fall to pieces (not everyone, but some). I can't stand shop work but I could deal with the worst tour bus and most incompetent local crews in the world. So if you take a cruise ship job I'll bet you'll find out really quickly if it's for you or not.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2009
  9. carlmnz

    carlmnz Member

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    I worked for Carnival for 4 years and it is a great lifestyle for young people. They have some or the top of the line gear and as a lighting tech you are in charge of all lighting, pyrotechnics and lasers. Its a great place to learn the high end part of the business. I used VL- 2000, 2400, 2402, 2500, 3000. Mac 250's 500's All cybers. GrandMa Lite, Hog II, Pyro systems laser systems. Its hard to get used to the ship at first, there are only about 10 -20 americans on a ship at one time. Nice to see all the different cultures but frustrating at times. I would still be at it if I was able to make enough to have a house or apartment on land at the same time. When I came home for vacation I couch hopped all of my different family. Gets old after a while. On paper it doesnt look like you make a whole lot but you dont have to pay rent, or food, or gas, or cable or any of that stuff. You save a lot but when you come home you still have bills to pay and need money to live while on vacation but no money coming in. I only came home for two months top so not enough time to visit with family and pick up a gig here or there. But it was totally worth it the time that I did spend for Carnival.
     
    Lightbob and (deleted member) like this.
  10. Haylee

    Haylee New Member

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    Hi, I am about to start a job on carnival as a lighting tech. I was wondering how many techs are on board one ship? Someone told me only one lighting tech and one sound tech.
     
  11. chawalang

    chawalang Active Member

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    Yup I worked as an LX tech for 3 years for Carnival, there is only one "lx tech" for the main theatre. Depending on the class of ship for the main theatre you have one of the following: LX tech, Audio Tech, Automation Tech and a person who is kinda like a props and deck manager tech who runs all the show tracks with the random deck hands who work aboard the ship. There is also a back lounge tech who takes care of all the clubs. Keep in mind I worked for Carnival as a baby stage hand and I am sure she things have changed since then.

    My advice, clean 5 movers a week and once you finish that start all over again. If you continually clean all your movers a lot of your repair issues will go away and the shows will look way better. Take notes at production meeting about things to accomplish and make sure you can co,e to the next meeting with things crossed out. Hence document that you are getting things done to the Dance Captain and Cruise Director, CYA. Also do a burn out check for your conventionals every other week and replace them immediately.
     
  12. JChenault

    JChenault Well-Known Member

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    I'm curious. How many movers were in the rig?
     
  13. Amiers

    Amiers Well-Known Member

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    All of that sounds like a normal tech job to me.
     
  14. chawalang

    chawalang Active Member

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    Depending on the ship, 40 to 70.
     

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