I started working in cruise ships in March of this year and I have to say it's a pretty unusual life. So if anyone has questions, whether it's pure curiosity or perhaps a desire to come onboard and try it yourself, go ahead and ask away! Here's some basics:

What is a Shore Excursions Hostess? Well, this position has many different names but it boils down to just a couple of things: selling the excursions, preparing for the excursions disembarkation and sometimes going on those excursions.

But... do you live in the ship? Yes! Much like 99% of all crew and staff working in major cruise lines.

Why is part of the picture crossed out? I'll divulge anything but I'd rather not share the specific name of my company nor the specific ships I have worked in. Only one of the three ships I have been in is listed, seeing as my first ship was just for quarantine and I am still in my third one so they haven't signed my Seaman's Book for it yet!

Comments: 467 • Responses: 58  • Date: 

Superfluous_Sarcasm195 karma

Can you save money by booking the excursions yourself?

cedreamge262 karma

If you mean as a passenger/guest, you do save some money if you buy them before coming on board and you can even try to book with companies that aren't affiliated with the cruise line. But you have to keep in mind that 1) the cruise company reserves the discretion to cancel tours due to unavailability or not reaching a minimum of participants and 2) if you buy with another company and there's a change of port due to bad weather or anything, they might not refund you but the cruise will!

As a crew member, and especially working in Excursions, we can go to any excursion for free and it counts as working hours - some coworkers may work 9h a day but they really just took the transfer to Florence which is a 9h excursion. If family or friends come on board, they also may be able to go for free though it may vary with the manager and if you're from a different department you may have to stick with the family/employee discounts.

TADodger319 karma

3) if you book through the cruise line they guarantee they won't leave you behind. If your private excursion company doesn't get you back to the ship before cast off, it's leaving without you.

cedreamge186 karma

Yes, that's one of the benefits of booking with the cruise as well, but it usually doesn't matter as most excursions are relatively short compared to the amount of time you get onshore.

nicolasknight105 karma

I was on a cruise in the Mexican gulf (Can't remember which port, Edit: Might have been Cazumel) but a family had booked a private excursion and did not make it back on time.

We had to hear their name called out for about 8 hours every 30 minutes and found out the next day they had to book a flight to the next port.

cedreamge24 karma

A private excursion organized by the cruise? Very odd. The only exception to that rule in my company is if you willingly choose to stay behind or are late to the meeting point. We have had guests that did that, though usually they're always on time to come back.

suepergerl20 karma

I was on a Baltic cruise and had a private tour excursion booked ahead of time in St. Petersburg. When the ship docked the ship let all their excursions disembark first and any private excursions were secondary and held back. We and a few others were 1/2 hr. late for our private tour (they waited for us) even though the ship knew ahead of time that we had an appointed time for our private tour. Is this common and is this contrived?

cedreamge18 karma

It's standard that the cruise company's excursion have priority to disembark. They are paying to go onshore and generating more revenue for the company so naturally they get priority. If the ship is big enough, it may be that regular transit guests can leave at the same time through a different exit, but if it's a small ship, there's nothing you can do but wait. To the cruise company you are just another transit guest and therefore you do not have priority, regardless whether or not you booked an excursion with another company onshore.

dancingliondl19 karma

Just went on my first cruise last week, and after I saw the trouble that some people went through by booking an excursion that was not through the cruise line, I will always use the in-company excursions now.

Their boat broke down on the way back from snorkeling, and they were stranded for several hours, while not being in touch with the cruise ship.

cedreamge12 karma

It can happen that the cruise company excursion goes wrong, too! Hell, I'd know. But yes, if you want to be extra safe, it's the better option.

Jesus_Faction97 karma

how many hours a week do you work? what do you do when you aren't working on the ship?

cedreamge176 karma

So, the amount of hours we work weekly can vary a lot depending on how full the ship is, how many people are buying excursions and the manager's mood. One week I may work 40 hours, the other 60, and so forth. The one thing is that, with the exception of some very rare occasions, there are no days off. Work can take up 6-9h a day. When we aren't working, we can go onshore if in port or do something on board. Each ship is different, but there's always a crew bar or lounge. And depending on the situation (aka amount of covid cases and how cool the master/captain is), there are crew events. In my last ship, we had crew parties once or twice a month and there was even a karaoke night once. The bingo was postponed and I was transferred before I could take part! I do wonder who won!

After our contract is over (it can last from 5-8 months, depending on department), we usually get 1-2 months vacations and then come back on board. During that time there are some people that go back to work in their home country - musicians will still have gigs and tour around, and some Excursions staff are local guides in their respective countries! Other people just chill and enjoy their well earned vacation.

PartenaireParticuver60 karma

Do you even get time to breathe if there are no days off? Are there places/opportunities for the crew to just hang out between their work shifts or is it a non stop marathon of 7 day workweeks for 8 months on end? That sounds absolutely exhausting and I don't know how you could sustain that rythm.

cedreamge78 karma

It can be exhausting, but depending on the department you may work very few hours per day, so you have plenty of time to sleep, go onshore and then get drunk in the crew bar. Excursions is one of the better departments in terms of hours we work daily and also because sometimes our daily hours are just a transfer to Milan or something. Tomorrow I work 10h but it's really just disembarkation and then taking a bus to Florence, enjoying my time there and coming back, for example. Then I can sleep some and go to crew bar for the wine bottle I bought the other day and had to leave in their fridge.

Niruprup96 karma

Whos in charge? Like if someone on the boat commits a crime, do they just stay in "timeout" with the captain until the boat docks?

cedreamge151 karma

Ooooh, that's an interesting one! There's a huge hierarchy actually, but in such a situation we have mostly two people who are concerned: the master (aka ship captain) and the chief security. If the person who committed the crime is a crew member, HR and staff captain would also be involved.

The chief security in my former ship told me they are required by law to take some trainings in forensics and investigation of crime scene and so forth. It's sad to say it, but sometimes there are murder investigations on board and so forth. They're the ones put in charge of investigating such things.

In case they know both the crime and the culprit, if it's a crew member, they'll work until their scheduled disembarkation date (usually the main port of the route) which is pushed forward obviously. Security and ship command usually do not inform other crew of such things. The person just disembarks and the most we hear is ship gossip.

I haven't heard of passengers committing crimes on board nor have I asked, but I assume they'd be handed over to authorities in the next port of call.

Octogenarian37 karma

That's bizarre. So if a crew member commits a crime, they just go back to washing dishes or performing in Cats but get put off the ship (and presumably handed over to authorities) until they're supposed to get off the ship anyway? That could be months?

cedreamge19 karma

No, you misunderstood. Their disembarkation is anticipated to generally the next main port. If a cruise lasts 7 days, that could mean he works for 6 days, then the last day he just packs and leaves. They wouldn't keep a crew for longer than a cruise, and if the crime was really serious they'd be handed over to the authorities immediately in the next port of call (or next port of a given country if the country in question is going to prosecute for that crime). I only heard of one crew member that actually faced legal repercussions but it was something he did onshore and not onboard and he was arrested on the spot. I know of another that did something that's morally questionable and illegal in the country of my ship's flag (aka he got disembarked) but I'm not sure if he can or will be prosecuted in the country of the ship's flag since he isn't from there and the ship isn't there.



cedreamge113 karma

If the ship is small, we all end up knowing each other! Last ship I was in, we had about 500 crew members, and I can safely say I knew most staff and officers and a good deal of the regular crew. You don't run into everybody, naturally, because of the very different schedules and all, but in excursions we do shuttle bus or crew excursions (at a discounted price for anybody who's got half a day off) and so we end up meeting more people than people from reception or youth club for example.

The ship I'm currently in has over 1500 crew members, so I have to say I am struggling a bit! And unlike the other ship, where we opened the ship post-covid all together so we were scheduled to disembark around the same time, there's more people who are coming and going out of this one.

The interesting thing is that since we are still all in the same company, we end up having mutual acquaintances because somebody worked with someone else in another ship and so forth. Two of my coworkers from my last ship also worked with two people in my current ship. The guy I was hanging out with was friends with another coworker here, and so forth. It's a closely knit microverse and we all end up knowing each other collectively somehow.

trinaryouroboros72 karma

Hi u/cedreamge

Lately we've found cruises to cancel shore excursions unexpectedly.

Sometimes when this cancellation happens, there's nothing to do at a stop on the list of excursions for that period, and we end up having to try to figure out our own plans.

Do cruise shore excursion groups help with this task, like providing recommendations for places to go, transportation available and more?

cedreamge54 karma

It depends on the staff and how familiar they are with the ports, really. If the cruise you are on is doing a set route every week, it's very likely that they can inform you the best places to go, to visit, to eat and how to get there - especially because during our free time, we are allowed shore leave and we explore a lot on our own, you can even ask your waiter or bar attendant. If it's something like a world cruise or a brand new season for that team or ship, it's harder for them to have information. In some rare occasions we had change of port in my first ship, we did organize meetings so we could research and brief each other on the sights and how to get there, but this is also dependant on the time we have available to prepare for the change of route.

d0ndada58 karma

What cruise ship amenity do people not take advantage of enough?

cedreamge88 karma

Guests take advantage of everything and ask for more, usually! In bigger ships, I do think the key is to go out there and check the activities list and so forth, because there is always something happening somewhere, you just don't know about it because you've been wandering about the same three decks since you arrived. In smaller ships, activities are in the same old places and venues are always packed with excited old people who really want to learn how to cha cha with the lovely Colombian choreographer.

SnowRidin58 karma

is the crew like a crazy hookup scene?

i always figured it must be wild

cedreamge113 karma

Kinda is. Sure depends on the ship, but ship crew is usually unprecedentedly horny. The only other place I felt equally as stared down was Istanbul. Being a chick on a ship is being ready to see dicks rain.

SelectOnion47 karma

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Two questions. What's the money like, and is it hard to become a host/hostess?

cedreamge73 karma

Money for someone who's first contract in my company isn't the best, but it's still decent when you think about the fact there are no bills to pay - no rent, water, food or electricity for example. We make commission as well, but this varies with the company - some just have higher base salary and no bonuses. Bonuses are great actually, when we make target, of course.

As far as becoming a Shore Excursions Host... It's not that hard actually. If you speak good English and a second language, all's good. When I applied, the requirements were 3-4 European languages (one being English), but it doesn't really work like that. I have had colleagues that spoke just English and Japanese or just English and French, and we were doing routes with mostly Italian, Spanish and German speaking guests. The company's crazy like that, but I heard others are more strict with requirements. Depending on the cruise line they'll also specify another European language (Mein Schiff with German, for example, or MSC with Italian).

TrojanThunder10 karma

OP didn't give you an answer. It's low. Like really low. 1500 a month low. It's a terrible job in an industry that should die.

cedreamge3 karma

Some positions are pretty low, yes. Low level staff would make about 1200-500 a month, but midrank you don't get less than 1800 and some departments have commission/tips. If you aren't staff it goes below 1000.

Slevinkellevra71043 karma

How many of your guests have died on shore excursions?

cedreamge67 karma

None in the cruises I made! We did have folks who puked or broke their arms, though. Usually old ladies who fell from the bus right after coming back from an excursion, or old folk who couldn't handle the bus/boat they were in during the excursion.

Moofalo42 karma

I have been a shore based excursion sales manager before and can tell you that it does indeed happen. I was in a port in Alaska and at minimum there would be one death a season on an excursion. It was usually something water based and an out of shape old person would fall in and have a heart attack. In fact it was usually heart attacks, cruisers don't tend to be the healthiest bunch of folks.

We had a company that rented scooters in town and man, they sent many a cruiser on an unplanned medical evac.

The other company that seemed to lose a number of customers were helicopter tours. One season there were FOUR helicopter crashes. Three of those in one day.

cedreamge20 karma

I know it happens, but I haven't ran into anybody who's had them. Guests die on board all the time, especially heart attacks as you say. But in the excursions we were running in the Adriatic, it was all vanilla.

kmc30734 karma

What does a beer cost in the crew bar these days? Was about 50 cents when I was working onboard, but that was over 15 years ago.

cedreamge17 karma

I think the Heinekens in the other ship were about 80 cents. I don't drink beer though, you should've asked for the price of wine!

tael895 karma

How's the wine? And what's the cost?

cedreamge9 karma

Wine in the other ship was pretty decent, just not the white. They charged 7.5€ the bottle. In this one I only tried the red, it's okayish and it's 10€ the bottle.

unrealitrix30 karma

Do you get tipped?

cedreamge67 karma

In my department, it's rare actually! You don't usually tip the folks that sell you excursions! But we do get tipped from time to time. I only got tipped once and I honestly never understood why. I figured the lady was really drunk and wanted to be kind to a stranger on her last day on the cruise.

Fliffs25 karma

Do people often sign up for one contract for a few months to have an interesting experience or do you find that most of your coworkers make a career out of it?

I always thought it would make for a great change of pace for a few months between office jobs, but have no idea how to begin.

cedreamge43 karma

Some people come on board just to try it out and don't even finish their contracts. Most seem to stick it out for a full contract before deciding if it's for them. Most people's first contract is very hard so it takes balls to come in for a second, but if you do come for a second, you end up staying for a third and a fourth and so on. People get addicted to the life or the traveling or just enjoy the fact we get to save most of the money we make because we really only need to pay for rent and amenities 2-3 months out of a year.

P.S. You can begin by looking for companies and applying! Who knows who'll answer?

mycatisabrat25 karma

Do you have any fun G-rated Love Boat type stories you can relate?

cedreamge60 karma

Most ship stories are rated R! Hahaha

But some people do get married on board! Two of my former coworkers met on board and are married. He is Brazilian and she is Japanese and they have been together for 3 years. She's learning Portuguese and spent her last vacations in Brazil with him. It can happen! Two of my current coworkers have a similar story though they met in another company - one from Brazil, the other from Honduras.

bg-j3840 karma

Let's get some R rated stories in here!

cedreamge40 karma

Oh, lord, that'd be too much! Hahahaha

Let's just say that when people come onboard they realise there's a chance of a drought for 5-8 months and they'll fuck a tree it that's all that's left. Lots of debauchery, though the key is to have an in with security so they don't give you warnings or get you in trouble with the higher ups. I'm sure glad I made friends with the security in the other ship, though I have yet to get my contacts straight in this one!

unrealitrix24 karma

what food do you eat onboard?

cedreamge46 karma

We eat pretty much the same food as passengers do on the buffet, there's just less variety. Sometimes, depending on how full the ship is and the amount of COVID cases, staff can also use the guest buffet. Low rank crew (aka restaurant/bar/housekeeping) doesn't have that privilege though. If we feel fancy, we can also book a table at one of the paid restaurants on board, though we pay much less than guests do. This is also dependent on COVID situation on board.

BortLicensePlate2217 karma

What are example of some of your favorite things to eat on your ships?

cedreamge34 karma

In my other ship, we were doing Greece and sometimes they served baklava in the crew mess. Absolute god send.

tricksovertreats10 karma

what is the covid situation on board?

cedreamge11 karma

Depends on when and where, really. Right now in my company's fleet there haven't been many cases. Earlier in the year some ships had shore leave revoked (which is the most precious of all crew rights/privileges and the last to go in these cases).

malorianne22 karma

Does the cruise line you work for dump all their grey water and waste into the ocean, effectively ruining the environment and ocean? Like when this company paid the Bahamas in a settlement?

cedreamge9 karma

So, usually cruise companies are very strict with the waste and it is treated on board before being dumped. Paper is incinerated, plastic is pressed and then disembarked in the designated ports along the route, and so forth. You can get a warning for throwing things over board and there was even a guest that was fined for it as well.

herbtarleksblazer19 karma

What are the living accommodations like?

cedreamge39 karma

Depends on your ship, as well as department and rank! Usually officers and managers get cabins in higher decks, and some departments like Excursions and Reception get extra privileges because we have the most exposure to guests or make the most revenue for the ship. In my former ship we got portholes (a rarity!) and cabins above sea level. Some cabins have bunk beds, some have singles. Officers can get a double. We usually share with someone from the same department, and if you're really low ranked crew, you may have to share with up to 3 people depending on the ship and company. For the most part, it's small but still comfy. I miss the porthole though.

therealjsquared17 karma

How did you choose this career path?

What has been your "scariest" cruise ship experience?

Do you live on the ship year-round or do you have months off at a time where you go home?

cedreamge27 karma

I kinda fell on it, really. A friend of mine was working in the shops and told me to try it out. I applied to a single position in a single company and lucked out really. It seemed more interesting than my old job and also it was an opportunity to just travel somehow. It was a good choice, really!

The scariest one was for sure my first Venice! We were opening the other ship for the first time since COVID and we were just crossing from the south of Italy to pick up PAX in Venice (our main port). There was a huge storm on our way and since my ship was small, everything was moving like crazy. My perfume bottle broke in the cabin, and I had to get a seasickness shot (they ran out of pills). Never felt so nauseous. Other coworkers were less fortunate and ended up puking their guts out. We made it to Venice somehow, though!

We live on board for the entirety of our contracts (5-8 months depending on department), then we go home for vacations (usually 1-2 months) and we start preparing for a new contract.

macabre_irony16 karma

How do meals work for crew members? Free? Discounted? Do you have the same access to food as the passengers?

cedreamge32 karma

Free! Almost everything on board is free for us. It depends on the ship, of course, but we always get food, coffee and water for free. If we want to have water in our cabins or a cappuccino instead of the hard brewed coffee from the mess, we do have to pay, but it's usually very cheap. Staff like myself (and also reception, entertainment and youth club) can sometimes get access to guest buffet as well. Apart from that, we eat in separate crew messes, and some ships even divide them by rank (crew/staff/officer) which is just really antiquated but old ships are old.

Visitor_X14 karma

I just got back from a west med cruise two weeks ago. My main issue was that there was very little information available about the shore excursions on the web site (MSC) and the onboard info wasn't much better. Is there a super secret way to find out what is actually included?

cedreamge24 karma

Yes! It's called talking to the staff! We go on these excursions ourselves, and we have documents detailing them that the agency provides us. You can just ask. We may have just come back from the same excursion the week before.

dhork13 karma

What's a Seaman's Book?

cedreamge25 karma

A sort of legal working document. In order to come on board you need to be internationally certified and the company registers you.

Eikfo4 karma

What are the certification requirements for the Shore Excursions Hostess position? Any link to STCW?

cedreamge4 karma

Yup, STCW for all crew members. Nothing specific to this position. Guys that work in more technical positions do need to get some extra certificates sometimes but I do not know which.

theothermen13 karma


cedreamge29 karma

We had two cabins with Spanish guests that complained about an excursion and refused every compensation we offered. They were extremely rude and searched on Google some laws about god knows what to demand god know what. They were very rude to me and my colleagues and I loved seeing them disembark. We also had an Italian guest that screamed every profanity of the book at my colleague. He left when he noticed I asked my colleague if he needed me to call security. Next day he was in the excursions meeting point ready to leave on his tour as if nothing. Those were the worst.

aeo1us13 karma

I've heard a few months ago there hasn't been a single cruise sailing without a COVID outbreak. Has this been your experience? Are you forced to either quarantine or leave the ship? How are the cruise lines handling this financially? Do they guarantee a refund/credit?

cedreamge24 karma

We have had COVID cases but we keep cruising. Guests and crew infected are quarantined in special areas of the ship. Guests disembark with a whole entourage of fellas in hazmat suits sealing hallways to get them off. Guests aren't refunded but they are given room service and everything for free basically while quarantined. Crew in most places stays on board until they test negative then they go back to work. Sometimes there is working quarantine (aka only leave cabin to work, and food gets delivered to you in your cabin) which is the absolute worst. In my former ship we had a lot of cases in June and shore leave was suspended for 4 days. Some crew almost started a mutiny over it. In those situations, crew bar becomes only take away and all crew events are cancelled as well as guest area privileges (theatre, guest buffet, etc.). In some countries crew are required to quarantine onshore. They're given a hotel and can quarantine there until they test negative.

bionicjoey12 karma

Which country's labour laws determine things like your wage, workplace health and safety, and human rights?

Edit: and also what recourse/enforcement mechanisms are there to ensure that those labour laws are being enforced?

cedreamge10 karma

International labor laws (those exist for us) apply, though some countries regulate even that so rules may vary per nationality. Say, workers from the Philippines have to give a percentage of their pay to the government, the company pays for all medical exams required to embark for Brazilians, and Italians may get shorter contracts (unless they ask to extend). If something's wrong within the ship, we go to HR. Never experienced a situation that was inhumane or anything that was too extreme and could not be solved onboard directly with the company.

thomasthetanker11 karma

Cruise virgin, got one next month. But also have a 5 year old and 6 year old, sailing from Barcelona. Should I let my wife do excursions by herself or go with and drag the kids along?

cedreamge20 karma

Usually ships have a youth club where you can leave the kids while you're on excursion. In my company, they even open earlier to accommodate our guests. Ask about the possibility of doing it when on board, especially because every ship is different and there's covid protocols in some ships that make it harder.

MasterCJM211 karma

What is your room like? Also, if you were to meet someone onboard that you would like to take back to your room would that be allowed? How do crew romances work?

cedreamge20 karma

My current cabin setup is with a bunkbed. Usually the two crew would negotiate amongst themselves which cabin to go to, varying on whether the person has a roommate, sleeps top or bottom bunk, and so forth. I have lucked out that I only hooked up with an officer, so he had a double bed and no roommates. Sometimes folks have to text their roommates to stay clear of the cabin for a while and so forth. And yes, taking folks back to your cabin is allowed. If it's all between crew, it's okay.

whateverzzzzz7 karma

I assume texting is through wi-fi messaging apps. Or do you get signal out on the ocean via satellite?

cedreamge11 karma

Ship's got satellite internet and we use its wi-fi. Crew usually buys prepaid sim cards in the first port of call they get free time, though. Whenever we are docked I get regular sim card internet.

llama_therapy10 karma

Do you get your own cabin, or do you have roommates?

cedreamge15 karma

Usually you share with another person of the same department. Really depends on your luck though! We had guest cabins during the spring in the other ship, and then I shared a cabin with a girl from Reception. This ship I have a roommate from Excursions, but she is disembarking soon so I might have the cabin all to myself.

Rakyn878 karma

I've recently been completing a scuba certification and I know scuba diving is a possible excursion in some places. Do you have people who just basically go on scuba diving cruises and sign up for diving at all the ports? If so, do they generally have a good experience? Any advice?

cedreamge11 karma

I haven't actually run any scuba diving excursions! But for the other unusual ones we've had like segway, sailing and snorkeling, guests usually had a good time. It really depends on the weather, though! Late afternoon and windy? Maybe not the best time for a swim! But Mykonos in the summer? Hell yea!

Usually if the weather isn't good, we cancel the excursion because we want complaints as much as you want to have something to complain about. And since some of the staff goes on these excursions, you can ask them straight away about their experiences in the particular port you want to go diving.

JamesWjRose8 karma

What are the things we can do to make life easier/better for the staff?

cedreamge24 karma

Listening and being understanding, really. Nothing stresses me out more than people complaining to me (excursions) about their cabin (reception issue) or their waiter who doesn't speak Spanish or something. I can't help beyond the scope of my knowledge and department. And it's not my vault it's windy in Venice and the law doesn't allow us to even attempt to dock. Nothing warms my heart more than a guest that's upset but understanding of the fact we sometimes cannot do anything for them.

kayla_kitty828 karma

I am 39F and have never been on a cruise before. And I am absolutely terrified of water (I can wade around in a pool but anything bigger or deeper, I cannot do it - to the point of hyperventilation). My daughter's grandmother wants to take on a cruise... With my fear of the ocean, is this a good idea? If I go, what can I expect? Do you think I will be freaking out the whole time? Will I get seasick? Some people say you don't even realize you are on the water - is that true??

Also, I think your job is super cool!

cedreamge25 karma

If you go to a big ship, you won't feel it at all. You'll hardly notice you're on water, you'll just be reminded of it when you're by a window/balcony. It's a whole city really, it just floats away and takes you to different places and allows you to explore a little without having to worry about booking several different flights or hotels. Don't worry about the water, we don't ask you to swim!

ExtinctionforDummies8 karma

I work for a cruise line shore side! Possibly the same line as you.

Do you get internet included while on contract?

Favorite port(s) of call?

cedreamge18 karma

We get limited internet for just WhatsApp and email basically. You need to pay to be able to browse regularly or use Reddit. I dished some to be able to do this.

Favourite ports have been Zadar and Kusadasi. I think Zadar is heaven and nobody that's ever been born there can possibly be unattractive. And I wish that guy from Zadar had texted me back T-T instead he just mentioned to my colleagues that he knew me and that I was chill.

CorrectPeanut56 karma

Do you work on commission or get a SPIF for selling?

cedreamge8 karma

Not sure what a SPIF is! We get a base salary which varies with our level/rank within the department and we get commission based on the team's overall performance and sales. If we luck out and make target or beyond that, we can even earn 300€ commission per cruise and some cruises last 3-4 days. It's crazy to think about the possibilities in terms of commission but I can tell you it's not always easy to make target.

CorrectPeanut56 karma

SPIFs are usually small bonuses tied to selling specific things. For example when I worked in an electronics store they had some items they really wanted us to sell. So they had a small bonus in the $5-15 range.

I guess in the terms of travel it would be like getting an extra 5€ for selling a particular tour.

cedreamge10 karma

Nope, we just have commission based on target. It's defined in terms of the percentage of the target we make. Making 80% would grant us 70€, making 130% would grant us 300€ and so forth. And it's a target for the whole department so we don't compete amongst ourselves, we just work together.

gechu5 karma

Priciest excursion you've ever booked?

cedreamge7 karma

I don't recall really, but the priciest I've seen offered is about 200€. In the Middle East and in Asia they have crazy excursions that can cost up to 1k really, some of which include airplane transfers or even just you know a helicopter ride in Dubai or something. There's all sorts of crazy and all sorts of rich in those seasons, but I haven't worked there yet.

No_Dinner63415 karma

Do you feel at all like your company is exploiting the locals of the areas you do the excursions in? Is it weird to you/do you think most of the guests realize the look and feel of the country is much different outside of the places set up for tourists/cruises? Do you think the locals in the area view the cruise company’s in a good light since they bring tourism and money to their country or might the opposite be true? I remember taking a cruise to Honduras as a kid, all of the excursions didn’t seem Interesting to us so we walked outside of the tourist area and found a person with a car to Show us around the area for the day. He ended up being extremely friendly and showed us local shops and a great seafood place. We paid him around $250+ for the day, was this a potentially dangerous situation and do you think that was fair compensation. Sorry for so many questions and thanks for your insight:)

cedreamge10 karma

I don't think the company is exploiting the locals at all. Most ports I've docked in welcome us with open arms and are excited to have tourists, especially because I've done some unconventional ports or even just ports that literally live off of tourism, especially from cruises. The one bad thing I heard was in Mykonos, since locals are basically evading the island now as the high amount of tourism drives up the prices for everything. Apart from that, some folks even gave us free stuff or treated us extra nicely simply because they knew we were cruise employees or Excursions staff.

Muggi4 karma

Is it true the cruise companies own basically the first 3-4 blocks of every one the of the port towns?

A local guide on our Alaskan cruise made that comment - if you wanted actual locally-produced goods, you needed to be at least 3-4 blocks away from the boat. All the "local" stuff in those first few blocks was still mass-produced stuff brought in by the cruise lines. Told us most of the restaurants in the first few blocks were owned and staffed by the cruise lines as well.

cedreamge4 karma

Never heard of that. There are some ports that are literally owned by companies but those are usually industrial ports that you cannot even walk in, so we have shuttle buses to bring you into the city (free of charge). If that were the case, it'd be anticapitalistic because it'd mean the same companies would dock in specific places, when really they bid for the better places in port or if they get to dock at all or they need to tender. Some port terminals are also quite shit even in very touristic places (aka Mykonos absolutely sucks when you dock).

Olenth4 karma

do you check the excursions for accessibility for disabled people?

cedreamge6 karma

Yep. We usually have promotional material that already specifies how difficult they are and if they are doable for people with limited mobility or in a wheelchair. When we go on excursion, we also tend to brief each other on how appropriate it is for disable people and so forth. When we know the route well enough, we already know which excursions to recommend for folks in wheelchair, crutches or with baby trolleys and the like.

Skehan19953 karma

Are cruise ships as wild as people make them out to be? Was listening to a podcast recently where a guest claimed a good % of the passengers were swinging. Hats on outside of doors and things like that to let people know.

cedreamge7 karma

I don't know about passengers per se, but amongst crew there have been Tinder like WhatsApp groups and I heard many threesomes have been set up in the past. Crew is also just horny to an unprecedented extent, so debauchery goes all out.

eloel-3 karma

What's the age distribution of guests like? Is it mostly old folk with lots of money, or do you get the digital nomad types too?

cedreamge5 karma

Depends on the cruise, the time of year, the route, everything. During spring we had lots of German in the Adriatic, and mostly old people, like 60+. Now in the summer in the Adriatic, they're getting mostly Italians and Spanish, and mostly families with a lot of very young children. We've had bloggers and journalists on board, digital nomad types for sure, but those were few and usually embarked with VIP status so we would be extra nice to them (even when they weren't nice to us).

leajeffro3 karma

My friend worked on the ships and said that the hours and drinking culture burned her out is this still true?

cedreamge3 karma

You can definitely get a burnout from the hours, because there are no days off. As far as the drinking culture, that varies ship by ship, and really no one forces anyone to partake. Some people just go to crew bar for a smoke, for a chat or to play acoustic guitar poorly at 3am.

sumelar3 karma

Are you ever on the ship between cruises when there are no passengers? If so, is it surreal for something to big to be so empty?

cedreamge11 karma

Yes, actually. Some crossings between continents are done without passengers. I haven't done any crossings yet, but I did stay at two ships before they reopened post COVID. The first one was very big and it was literally a ghost town. A beautiful fancy marvellous ghost town, but yea we just walked around the whole place like tourists in awe. The second ship was very small and poorly kept, holes in the floor and no seats and missing furniture when we got there, so it was more like a decaying old Western town. A really sad sight.

Being on the ship when it's empty is always fun for crew. We still get paid, we generally work less (especially as staff), if we work at all, and we get to use all pax areas as if we owned them. Really makes you feel at home, like you know the place and own the place.

ArchDucky2 karma

My buddy told me that he fell asleep on a lazy river and was woken up by the "get the hell back on the ship" horn and ran as fast as he could so he wasn't left behind. Do these cruises really leave people behind or is that just something they tell the guests so they don't have to wait for them to come back?

cedreamge8 karma

We 100% leave people behind. We have a schedule to keep and the ports are reserved for specific time slots. They don't want to pay extra fees for a single fucker who fell asleep on a lazy river.

Planeswalker28142 karma

I'm going on a cruise for the first time in October. While I'll be sailing with family members who've cruised before do you have any general advice for a first time cruiser?

I'll be sailing to Bermuda btw if that matters.

cedreamge3 karma

Just go all out. Get the beverage package so you can get shitfaced, just try not to make the poor bellboy drag you to your cabin. Check the program for activities and take every opportunity you get to have a good time. It's adorable to see folks making friends on board and then the next day they book excursions together or they ask in which excursion their friends are going and so forth. You can make it the experience of a lifetime if you know where to look and what to do.