In relation to wages, sometimes I am sure there will be crew who may lay it on a bit thick in regard to their wage...that is inevitable. It would only be a very small minority who would do that though.
When I was aboard Costa Classica a few weeks ago, I was chatting to one of the cocktail waitresses and wer were talking about the newly introduced all inclusive drinks package, which is €19.50 per day inc service charges (the package covers water, coffee, soft drinks, mocktails & alcohol upto €6.99 per drink)...its excellent value for even the tee-totalers like me...
Anyway we were chatting and without any prompting she reached into her pocket and pulled out her last wage slip, dated a few days before. Her take home pay (after any taxes/deductions) was $875 for the month...which given that she was Thai, came out at 27670 Thai Baht. She has two children at home living with her mother in a house that she purchased outright just outside Bangkok, her husband works in the laundry department on Classica (Costa try to keep married couples together on the same ship whenever possible as they believe that it is better for the couples welfare) and he earned a take home pay of $720 (22720 Thai Baht) for the month.
They pay $0.25 for any soft drinks in their crew mess (I visited the crew mess & bar when I was on board) and they pay $0.10 per item in the laundry that is not uniform, the uniforms are cleaned free of charge. They have 3 meals a day, they share a cabin and everything else that you associate with being a crewmember. On board every Costa ship is a chaplain who not only takes care of the passengers religious needs but also the crew, he also organised shorex that are paid for by Costa and he basically has an open door for any crew that need his assistance with anything...the chaplain also organises parties for the crew, arranges for bikes to be kept on board for crew to use in ports and other activities.
It was actually nice to be able to sit with the crew and talk so candidly about these things...and to see the evidence too...especially as there is quite alot of speculation about crew wages and their working conditions.
The waitress had noticed that her service charge earning ability had dropped due to the all inclusive package but like she said, each package has a single 15% service charge which is passed on in full to whichever waiter or waitress sells that package...so she hasn't lost too much by the package's introduction.
Speaking to other crew, they seemed genuinely happy and comfortable...there were a few who had come from other lines to Costa and who thought Costa looked after them much better than the other lines....several had been with Costa for many years and were on the 10th + contract...so they have to be happy to stay that long. There were also about 50 crew from Concordia who were aboard her when she had her accident, they were happy to be at sea again and it showed...there were no "put on" smiles amongst any of them.
Costa Pacifica - Dec 2012
Costa Favolosa - June 2013
Costa Deliziosa - Dec 2013
1965 - Cunard Queen Mary, 1967 - Cunard Queen Elizabeth, 1970 - Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2, 1971 - P&O Oriana, 1972 - SS France, 1975 - SS Leopard, 1977 - P&O Canberra, 2005 - NCL Jewel, 2005/6 - NCL Crown, 2006 - FOCL Braemar, 2007 - FOCL Braemar, 2007 - FOCL Braemar, 2007 - NCL Gem, 2008 - Costa Allegra, 2010 - Costa Allegra 34 Day B2B, 2011 - Costa Victoria, 2012 - Costa Classica