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Old May 24th, 2007, 02:35 AM
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Default first contract questions

Greetings!
I just got hired on with Carnival and barring any unforseen hiccups I'll be shipping out on July 7th. I revieved my new hire package today and there seem to be some gaps. I guess I just have some general questions and I would love it if yall could give me some feedback.

1. What do I bring? There was a general section in the packet that had a few guidlines, but all in all it was very vauge. I'll working in the "theater/entertainment" dept. so I was wondering if I needed to bring my own tools. What is a good guideline as far as packing clothes? Do I bring my own towel, my laptop, books, etc...? I guess I'm just looking for some do's and don'ts

2. Is theft onboard something to be aware of? I don't want to bring 1000 dollars worth of tools and my laptop if this is going to be a problem.

3. Should I keep my apartment? What do I do with my mail? How do I take care of general things us landlubbers generaly take for granted?

4. How much money should I bring with me when I leave? What are the hidden costs I haven't counted on that I'll need to pay before I get my first pay?

5. Any recommended "must have" items I should remember to bring along?

This is a totaly new experience for me so I have to say I definately have deer in headlights syndrome! Any helpful advice, tips, general reassurance that I haven't made an awful mistake would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance,
Mic
Buffalo, NY
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Old May 25th, 2007, 12:55 PM
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Hello,

Congrats on the job with Carnival! I worked for four years on ships as a Cruise Staff/Social Host with Royal Caribbean and Cunard, so I should be able to help.

In answer to your questions:

1. What do I bring? There was a general section in the packet that had a few guidlines, but all in all it was very vauge. I'll working in the "theater/entertainment" dept. so I was wondering if I needed to bring my own tools. What is a good guideline as far as packing clothes? Do I bring my own towel, my laptop, books, etc...? I guess I'm just looking for some do's and don'ts.
2. Is theft onboard something to be aware of? I don't want to bring 1000 dollars worth of tools and my laptop if this is going to be a problem.

First of all, resist the urge to overpack. Cabins are small, especially if you are sharing with another person, and as I found, alot of what I brought I did not need. Basic linens, towels are provided for the crew, so no need to bring towels. Bring all the normal toiletries and stuff that you normally would use. The line should have all of the tools needed for your work in the show lounges, etc. As far as clothes, your work clothes should be provided and you will get good at rotating them without having to launder them as often as you do on land. And, then you will need some clothes for going ashore, the beach, the crew bar. Most ships have computer rooms now to email home...so, the laptop is up to you. But, while I never experienced theft, I heard of things being stolen and when crew are getting off and flying home that can be tough to track. Your cabin should have lockable storage, so bring a lock if they do not provide one and then lock up your valuables when not around.

3. Should I keep my apartment? What do I do with my mail? How do I take care of general things us landlubbers generaly take for granted?

Your contract will be 4-6 months on board and 4-6 weeks off of the ship. So, if you can make other plans like good vacations while off the ship or friends or family you can bunk with, then maybe you could get rid of the apartment. Otherwise, if you are near a college, do a sublease with a respectable college student or two? As for mail, you will have an address with the line that people can send mail to you and normally the day you are in your home port you can go pick up your mail. It should be pretty easy to go online and do address changes or you can do a mail forwarding form at the post office. Or, you could have the mailing addresses changed to a family member and they can either forward important mail to you or handle your business for you. While I was on ships, I had alot of my money direct deposited into my bank account and the rest I was paid in cash on the ship. I gave my father power of attorney for me and he paid my bills and handled my personal business during the four years I was at sea. It worked pretty well for us, plus, if you can't trust your dad, who can ya trust?


4. How much money should I bring with me when I leave? What are the hidden costs I haven't counted on that I'll need to pay before I get my first pay?

I would bring at least a months worth of money with you, just to be safe. But, not too much cash. ATM's are everywhere so you will be fine. Have they told you are they covering your flight out? Are uniforms free? If not, they may payroll deduct them until they are paid for. Your room and food are covered. You will need money for the crew bar and any outings in port that you go on. If you have passenger area privileges you will need to find out how you pay for your bar tab. Did they tell you whether they supply a tuxedo or not? Some technical staff have needed to wear them on formal nights. Might want to check on that.

5. Any recommended "must have" items I should remember to bring along?

Here is the best advice I can give here...some free advice. Cruise ships can be the best and worst experience in your life depending on the choices you make. At first, adjusting to the life can be a challenge. So, I recommend bringing a book (if you are religious, your Bible can't hurt...)but, something familiar in which you find comfort. It could be your favorite football, favorite hot sauce, whatever ...but, bring something from home that you can rest on a bit. And, then...and here is the free advice...don't stop working out and doing the things that make you who you are. Be careful with the crew bar, it can be alluring...but, remember it is okay to skip a night and hit your bunk. Stay away from dating passengers...it is a slippery slope. Learn the Master's rules asap and follow them. His is the final word at sea and he is always right. The lines love to use "secret shoppers" so again the Master is always right, the line is always right. And, finally, above all else...don't ever miss the ship.

Cheers and good luck!
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Old May 25th, 2007, 03:33 PM
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RunningNorm,

Thanks you for your very informative and prompt reply. What impresses me most about this entire process is the fact that there seems to be a really great “community? of “shippies? that are happy to impart their experiences and advice. Your advice will be well taken! One thing I am still unclear about is the “Master’s Rules?. Are these rules a general well established maritime code, or rules the Captain puts in place for his own vessel. I’ve come across the term a lot in this weeks scramble to see what I got myself into. ( I was hired on very short notice and while I had thought about doing something like this many times before, I did not have the stress and or benefit of a long application/interview period.)

One thing is for sure, I haven’t even begun to wrap my head around the fact that I really am shipping out in a little over a month. The more this becomes a reality to me, the more butterflies begin to fly around! The whole concept is foreign to me and I keep telling myself I won’t have any idea about anything until I actually do it (which hasn’t stopped me from spending all my free time researching my ship and ship life… heh heh).
Anyway, I am still very excited and am ready to rush headlong into anything that is coming down the pike.

Thanks again for your advice, and anything else you can think of will be greatly appreciated. I LOVE FREE ADVICE!!! I want to be as prepared as I can be for anything I’ll be facing in the next few months or so.

Best,
Mic Murphy
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Old May 25th, 2007, 05:37 PM
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Hey Mic!

Welcome and no worries! You will be fine! But, yes, ships are a whole other world unto themselves, especially as a crew member. And "shippies" are a unique breed. We are part of a fraternity, that, unless you have lived the life, there is no way to understand it. So, yeah, get excited, you are in for an adventure!

Okay, the "Master's Rules" are the rules by which every member of the ships crew abides if they want to remain on the ship. They are rooted in maritime code and tend to be pretty standard across the board. But, for some, they can be a challenge. As a Tech Theater Staff you should have free reign of the ship as to where you can and can not go as you will need to be overseeing a multitude of sound/light matters all over the vessel.

Consider the Master's Rules as the Ten Commandments of living on ships and follow them. The good news is they are not unreasonable. Normally, #1 is you will not miss the ship. That makes sense...cause you can't do your job if you are not on board. Others deal with important issues of safety. But, no worries.

So, what ship are you going to be on? What run are you doing? Whatever I can do to help, let me know. My undergrad degree is in theater, so this is cool in a number of ways.

Cheers,

Norm
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Old June 12th, 2007, 08:03 PM
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hi i worked away for 8 months on a cruise ship, in relation to some of your questions yes its a good idea to take things wiv you eg. laptop, towles etc but try not to take anythin wiv sentimenatl value i would get electrical goods maybe insurred?when i was away yes there was theft on board on a numerous times but sayin that the ship i worked on was an old ship wiv no cctv and just standard cabin keys not all these electrical ones they have on newer ships but just be careful and take padlocks wiv you for your draws in your cabin. when i went away i had a back up of £1,000 in my bank which i wouldnt of really needed but i was really stupid and took my mobile phone with me and had £300 phone bills every month!as for mail i ensured that it all got sent to my mum. she opened everythin for me and before i went away i also gave permission for my mother to have access to my savings account as there was a few times when i needed someone at home to deal with my money or account because you will need internt bankin coz chances of going to a country wiv your bank are small. so my advice to you would be talk to some you trust very much at home and ensure all important mail is sent there. as for packing things just pack as if your going on a 3 week holiday and dont forget you will probably buy many things on your travels good luck!!!
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 06:37 PM
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I will be starting my second contract with Carnival next month, I was in your shoes last year. You will definately want your own tools. Bring a soldering iron too. Don't pack too much, the rooms very small with very little storage space. Bring a few T-shirts a couple pairs of shorts, a pair of jeans, and something dressy for formal night. You will pretty much live in your uniform. I wold only bring maybe $200 in cash with you. Payday comes fast, and you don't really get off the ship the first week due to a ton of training. If you want an extension cord or surge protector you have to smuggle it on in your bigger suitcase and hide it for cabin inspections because they will take them from you, but with only four outlets in the room, located in very inconvenient places, you will want these items. I have never had problems with theft on board, just make sure you keep your tools somewhere safe and your laptop with you. People generally leave the light and sound booth alone.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 05:41 PM
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Thanks to everyone who gave me a heads up about first contracts! This is day 4 for me, and I would have been much more lost than I already am if it wasn't for the help everyone gave me! Thanks again, and feel free to contact me about anything!
Cheers,
Mic
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Old November 20th, 2007, 09:19 PM
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Hi.

I’m Close to join the "theater/entertainment" dept. also on Royal C. this will be my first contract and even I have experience on theater productions I’m wondering if you have any new special tips for doing this kind of job on a Ship??

And advice will be helpful.

Thanks!!!
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