There's been a lot of discussion about how much the service people make in tips and such but I was wondering about the non-service personnel. The people who launder the sheets, vacuum the carpets, stock the shelves, wash the dishes, etc.
I was thinking of selling my business, quitting my job, and trying to get a job on a ship refilling the bathroom soap dispensers! <wink>
From what I can gather talking to them, they don't make much by our standards but it is plenty where they come from. Contracts are six to eight months. They have no expenses if they remain on the ship. Most send their earnings home, some save it and have quite a bundle when their contract expires.
Cruise ships pay scale because it is good duty. Just being an officer (in uniform) on a cruise ship has unspoken but easily imagined perks.
Lesser ships must pay a bonus to attract licensed crew. Back in the days of the Greek rust bucket tankers, engineer and deck officers who would put up with the conditions could make a fortune in a short while. It was cheaper to pay the bonus than to fix the ship.
Now that those ships have gone to the bottom, the problem with maintaining a crew on a tanker or container ship is boredom. They sail with as few as a dozen people thanks to computers and mechanization. Often they will sign for a specific watch and will stand that watch for months, never seeing their fellow crew members. Tankers sometimes pump from dispensing stations miles at sea so the crew will spend months never going ashore. Containers can unload and load in a day so the bygone era of several days shore leave in the garden spots of the world have vanished. One company feeds a cross between a TV dinner and airline tray that is stored in a vending machine. The poor guy selects what he wants and heats it in a microwave, and eats alone, depriving the crew of a wardroom atmosphere. Now they are having to pay substantial additions over scale to attract qualified crewman.
A hidden disadvantage to being an officer on a cruise ship is the bar bill. They don't get a break and it can add up in six months.
An advantage to signing with a cruise line is the opportunity to advance. They tend to promote from within where the "bottoms" simply hire what they need.
I was playing blackjack at the Atlantis with the Chinese men that work in the laundry room. They were betting 50 and 100.00 a hand so the pay can't be too bad! Of course we'd all have more to spend if we didn't have to pay for room and board or utilities!