I actually have been hired for a seasonal youth counselor on NCLA (which sails in Hawaii). Right now I'm on an active hold until they need someone to fill the youth counselor position, but I have been doing some research and communication with people who have worked on cruise ships...so I'm happy to share with you what I have found out.
The way that people feel about their experience working on a cruise ship varies greatly. The hours definitely are very long- especially for those working in service positions. However, that does depend on the times in port and the occupancy of the ship. But- compared to our american work standards- it is TONS more time spent on the job than americans are used to.
I have joined a facebook group for NCLA past and present staff, and one for NCL past and present staff. Those are good places to start to get a feel of what people's experiences were on board. Other ships might also have such groups on facebook or other networking sites too.
There is also a blog that I read by James Byrd...he wrote about his experience for 2 years out of the 3 he has work with NCLA(he even writes about the actual hours he works everyday). I believe that he might have started as a Jr. Waiter and is now a Jr. Receptionist (but don't quote me on it). You can check out his blog at
Even though he workers on another ship this might give you some insight.
You can also do a google search for Royal Caribbean Waiter Blog- or something like that to see if you can find someone who has been writing about your specific cruise line.
I can say that most people have told me that it is what you make it. It can be very hard at times, but you can make a lot of new friends..and hopefully see some new places. I have heard that the is not a lot of privacy (if any) because of course you are sharing a room with 1-3 other people...and the space is tiny. But if nothing else it will be an experience and something different!
Hope this helps...and let me know if I can be of any further assistance.