Cruise living conditions undeniably vary onboard depending on what holidaymakers are willing to pay. Some cabins are not as good as others but this will be reflected in a lower price – which certain cruisers may well be keen on. However, passenger rooms will most likely be superior to the cabins the crew stay in. A former cruise crew member has revealed what it was really like for staff down below.
Brian David Bruns described what life was like for cruise crew during his career at sea in his book Cruise a la Carte.
“When approaching my first cabin as crew… I thought I was prepared for anything,” Bruns wrote. “This was an embarrassing failure of imagination.
“B deck cabins were about twenty feet below the waterline. The corridors were taller than on the news ships but equally narrow.
“Poor lighting emphasised the lack of freshness and cast everything in a dismal back-alley vibe.
“Thick veins of exposed pipes added to the feeling. None were streaming, but they throbbed.
“The entire scene could have been set for the climactic showdown of a bad action movie.
“My cabin door was horrendously scratched, dented even, as if somewhat utilised in a brutal dog-fight.”
Bruns continued: “For a crew cabin, the chamber was surprisingly roomy. this was due to the lack of a sink and a shower to be shared with the neighbouring cabins.
“Such was common on newer ships, but on Fantasy such necessities were down the hall – and horrendously filthy, but that’s neither here nor there.
“Inside were two narrow bunks and a tow wooden lockers, smudged with age and flaking laminate.
“A small desk was completely covered by a 13-inch television, the space beneath stuffed with a dorm-seed refrigerator. A single chair hosted a Nintendo.
“The air was stiflingly hot and stagnant: the vent being hidden behind a securely taped plastic bag that intentionally cut off air flow.”
Bruns also revealed in his book that cruise crew were banned from bringing food into their cabins – but this was often flouted.
“Food is not allowed in crew cabins, though all crew types sooner or later sneak some in,” wrote Bruns. “Many keep a ready supply of dry goods, some of which are occasionally been allowed.
Bruns revealed that the rule was in place for a pretty disgusting reason. “This maritime discipline restricting food was enacted for good reason. Two, actually, because on some ships there are roaches.
“The real reason food is denied in crew cabins is because it invariably ends up in the toilets in a most nonbiological manner. Ship toilets are very, very sensitive. The crew? Not so much.”