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Old April 13th, 2011, 09:14 PM
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Default What About the Employees???

As a former facilities dispatcher with Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas, I feel that I should inform the public about what they are supporting when they support these cruise lines.

While I fully believe that everyone has a right to enjoy a hard-earned vacation, I also believe that people should be aware that most of the employees working for Royal Caribbean are being maltreated and underpaid.

I left the cruise line in 2005 - 6 years ago. I was a facilities dispatcher - one of the people who the guests call when there is a problem in their room that requires a maintenance worker to fix.

Did you know that…

- employees on the ship work for either 6 or 8 month contracts, for 10 hours a day, with absolutely NO DAYS OFF for that entire time???

- that sometimes, after working so many months without a day off, employees are kept back for weeks after their original vacation date???

- that employees have NO GUARANTEE that they will return to the same ship once their vacation is over??? Did you know that some employees only find out about the change in ship on the very day that they show up to port to report to work???

- that if an employee chooses to resign before their contract is up, he or she is confined to their cabin for sometimes an entire week while the crew office processes their release papers???

- that cabin attendants, waiters, and assistant waiters make $25.00 US per month - the rest of their ENTIRE SALARY is dependent upon guest tips? This means that if no guests in a cabin attendant's station tip him or her, they have only made $25.00 for that entire month.

- that cleaners and bell attendants only make a flat salary of $500.00 US per month, and are not allowed to be tipped???

- that Royal Caribbean participates in racist hiring practices - cleaners, cabin attendants, galley staff are hired almost exclusively from the Caribbean and South America, while entertainers and sports/recreation staff are hired from Canada and the United States, and engineers and Captains are only hired from Europe??? If you do not believe me, just look around at the people who serve you during your next cruise - what is their job description, and where does their name tag say that they are from???

- that General Manager Laila Hassan has ordered that the hair of Black employees who wear their hair natural and refuse to chemically straighten it, be inspected by the ship's medical staff for lice? did you know that she has fired several black female employees who have refused to straighten their hair (with chemicals that burn their scalps)???

- that right around the time when I resigned, Royal Caribbean was implementing a financial strategy called "Next Level", the was aimed at saving more money by cutting further costs – through using creative ways to further decrease employees’ take home pay???

- that employees do not eat the same food as the guests – and that the food that they eat – for months on end – is bland, tasteless, and at a substandard level???

My post may be dismissed as the rantings of a disgruntled former employee. But keep in mind that as a dispatch officer I was making a (comparatively) great salary ($1600.00 per month, which doesn’t sound like much but at least I didn’t have to pay for room, board, or food), and had a relatively comfortable life. But the way that the company treats “lover-level” employees has always bothered me a great deal – and I think that it should bother you, as guests.

Royal Caribbean – and other cruise lines – work hard to ensure that you as its guests, are never bothered by the truth of how it treats employees. If you care at all about the many wonderful employees who work hard to make your cruise memorable – start asking Royal Caribbean to pay its employees a decent wage, and to account for how it treats them!!!
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Old April 14th, 2011, 03:55 AM
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I think we've all been aware of the difficult working conditions for cruiseline staff. I always tell people to be sure to tip at least the suggested amounts for the reasons you stated....Yes, its a tough job, long hours, etc....
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Old April 14th, 2011, 09:16 AM
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You mention all Royal Caribbean staff officers come from Europe. The Capt of Allure is from Argentina; so he isn't a European. I travel the world for a living; I see bad working conditions at hotels and parks worlwide. We can mention or suggest that a company pay and treat their employees fairly; if they take our suggestion, that is good, if they don't; well, we vacationers have a choice; we can either go on vacation or stay home. If we choose to cruise with Royal or any cruiseline; we can choose to tip the people onboard, we can tip more than suggested, If u suggest cruiselines treat all employees badly, why aren't more employees leaving? I don't want to get into an argument with you or anyone on this thread. We all can make up our minds and let our concience be our guide.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 01:12 PM
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I will accept that this posting is the ranting of any angry employee - past or present.

I find so much of what you are saying with a huge grain of salt. The pay scale is no doubt what you say, but the rest is probably libelous.

The people who work on the ships do so because they want to. The senior Capt. who brought the Oasis to the U.S. was Capt. White, a Canadian as an example of your errors.

The employees are well aware of their contracts when they sign them. They do get time off during the week, even if it isn't a whole day at a time. I honestly don't think anyone is holding a whip over them. I do believe some are getting disgruntled because RCL is cutting back on stafff and they have more to do now than before and they were already busy enough.

Most of what you are prattling on about is sheer nonesense. What is so important about going back to the same ship? Certainly they may want to but an employer does have certain rights and dispatching staff is one of them.

I don't know what has put your knickers in a knot right now, but you won't get any sympathy from me.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 01:50 PM
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I wrote an article on this topic for my blog a couple of weeks ago...
Cruisemates Blog Cruise Ship Crews – Overworked and Underpaid? – Kuki

Working onboard isn't for everyone. Treatment of crew could be better. But there are people lining up for these jobs, and in fact paying agencies to get them the opportunity to work onboard. Majority working on ships really want to keep their jobs, and often do for years and years.

No one would be doing that for $50/mnth.


The staff onboard may also have to give some thought as to hard people work at their own jobs, and how they manage to save the money to go on cruises and supply jobs .

Very few people just have money because they wake up.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 02:11 PM
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Well said both Kuki and felix_the_cat
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Old April 14th, 2011, 02:58 PM
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I'll also add, while the OP worked for Royal Caribbean, I believe from all that I have read over the years, that basically, all the cruiseline work in the same way....so it isn't just Royal Caribbean..
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Old April 14th, 2011, 07:23 PM
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My wife and I just retuned from a cruise. One day we were eating lunch at the hamburger stand I ask the guy working there if he had got to go ashore in the last port. He told me he had 3 hours ashore he said that he and some other crew went to Wal Mart then went swimming at the beach so they do get time off the ship
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Old April 14th, 2011, 07:36 PM
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Yes, Donna, we have many friends on other lines as well and hear some of the same stories--they are told last minute what ship they will be working on (but never actually on the day they start work; most are told what ship they are going to be assigned to when they sign another contract.

We speak with all of those employees who serve us and the cabin stewards often tell us they have a split shift, i.e., work from perhaps 8 to 12,1,2 and have off for a few hours, then come back on about 5 or so. They usually have time to make a call home and then they take a nap. There are others who may get a few hours off in port and they usually go shopping for their own personal needs, or may go to a restaurant with their friends.

We know that there is a mixed crew on almost every ship and there is a separate dining area for the crew who do cook certain meals for them. Those privy to the PG in HAL may eat a certain dish for a "treat" if their maitre'd boss allows them to do so, and I know that in years past, waiters in the MDR would stash some food away for themselves in their little stations behind closed doors.

While most captains are not American born, many live in the USA. Certain lines have a tendency to utilize the same nationalities on board their lines to perform certain functions; we recognize that HAL usually has a Philipino bar staff and waiters, cabin stewards, etc are predominantly from Indonesia. However, there are other nationalities represented as well and are "thrown into the mix." I have spoken with a young man on the Westerdam last Thanksgiving who worked in the PG. He said he was allowed to eat with the European officers, was able to utilize the barber shop and the gym (as some of the young ladies in PG who were Indonesian also said they were able to use) but in the evening, when most of the passengers were doing other things.

Yes, it takes dedication, hard work, and the need to help oneself and one's family to work on a cruise ship. You are away from your spouse, your family, friends, home, country, and you cannot just get up and walk away or quit if you are not satisfied. If they quit, they pay their own way home. However, most of them all agree that they are not doing it forever, that it is just an means to an end and sacrifice everything during the time they are employed on board. My hat goes off to them. The job is not for everyone.

I have never had one employee on any cruise ship that I've been on ever ever ever complain to me about anything, be it something we've asked for or done, or complaining about anyone else.

In addition to the gratuities automatically taken out, we tip our cabin stewards handsomely the first and last evenings, the waiters, sommeliers and maitre'd every evening (we eat in the specialty restaurants every night), and most of the time, we even tip the chef if he comes to our table. Of course, my husband (who was a working man) even waits up on the last night and goes out in his robe to tip those men handling the luggage--and I can count on one hand the number of people who do this. We feel for them and if they make our cruise special, we try to make their "working day" special.

Last edited by 2katz3fsh; April 14th, 2011 at 07:37 PM. Reason: forgot to add nationality: Dutch
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Old April 15th, 2011, 12:05 AM
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No need to let people like this get you bothered with their posting--always from time to time this sort of post pops up-- note it's the 2 nd posting for the O.P.
People aren't slaved and chained to any ship or cruise line--let him / her rant and move on. The sooner the better.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 08:47 PM
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The Captain wlliam Wright is American . One captain of Mariner is english .
I totally disagree with the poster on his comments . He last worked for RCI in 2006 .
was let go for cause or some other reason? Sounds like he has an axe to grind with RCI .
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Old April 16th, 2011, 10:19 PM
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I'm quite sure that RCL CEO would respond with facts as I cannot fathom a company like the other major ones who help out countries they visit would treat the employees of same country on board any different.

All the lines provide a similar rate scale and training and upgrades not to mention free transport back and forth between contracts. If teachers here work 9-10 months and get 2 months off (approx) while we work all the time and get 2-4 weeks off what is the difference.
Your room and board is supplied and no one forced you to take the job. When I talked to an intelligent university trained waiter from one of the EU Eastern countries, she indicated she knew what she the jobs hours were and her husband and her on the same ship were going to travel between contacts.
They hoped to save monies and in a few years go home as they could not make the same monies/
I write a small cruise blog and during the Alaska season, chat and observe the crews having a few hours off at the local port in Victoria.
Most of them arrive with their e-notebooks, access and talk via webcam home or the table mates from different ships, All I see are young intelligent happy folks,
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Old April 18th, 2011, 12:36 PM
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We have seen on every cruise we have been on, many and I mean many of the staff eating in both the specialty restaurants and in the Windjammer for dinner. We have also seen and talked to alot of staff that we have met in port at the beaches and just walking around.
Obviously a disgruntled employee.
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Old July 18th, 2012, 04:37 PM
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Kuki,

Well written blog sir and I have to agree with most of the posters here.

I guess my question would be if working on a ship is so hard and unpleasant then how come it's difficult as all get out to obtain employment on one?

I've been doing a TON of research on this subject over the last few months because I want to get a job on a ship and, yes, I have seen videos and blogs from disgruntled former employees I've also seen a lot of blogs and videos of employees who are happy and look like they're having the time of their lives.

My guess is that it takes a certain type of personality to be happy and satisfied with the work.
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Old July 20th, 2012, 03:32 PM
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Any kind of service union can take care of all the gripes.
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Old July 20th, 2012, 05:11 PM
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I have spoken with staff on different cruise ships.
I have encountered people from Indonesia, India and the Philipines who said that they made more money on a ship than they could make at home.
I met a nice couple from Portugal who were both wait-staff and they spoke to me a lenght ( in Portuguese ), and they were quite happy about working on the ship.
There is a lot of poverty all over the world and some people working on a ship is not a bad gig.

Of course I allways tip them well.

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