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Cruise Lines might lose the most valuable asset, the crew!

Submitted by kgnadmin on

While we are all aware of the challenges and fears that the COVID-19 pandemic has bestowed upon all of us in the same sense it also shows us what truly is important. As I write this and sit an ocean away from my family missing them with every part of my being, wishing that I was there to simply have a morning coffee with my mother, have a deep and stimulating conversation with my brother, get hugs from my niece and nephew and chat with a glass of wine with my best friend, it makes me realize that success, money and traveling the world falls in comparison. And while today I no longer sail the deep blue seas working on one of those marvelously engineered cruise ships, I cannot stop but think that over a decade ago in the midst of my own personal challenge and fear the most important things in life were bestowed upon me to make certain changes and decisions in my life. As I scroll down the internet to support and pray for my brothers and sisters known and unknown who eagerly await to return to work on cruise ships, I realized that my thoughts of challenges that bring about decision of importance are readily made by my sisters and brothers who have spent years and decades on cruise ships by choosing either land lives or employment closer to home. And while I am happy for their choices and wish them nothing more than all the best in the world, I cannot stop but wonder how will this affect the cruise industry as it starts slowly but surely losing some great talent, knowledge and their greatest asset, it’s crew. 

Recently there have been several posts on social media by long time crew members announcing their decision to stay on land, pursue their happiness and new opportunities. 

The most recent one was by the popular cruise director Matt Mitcham announcing his retirement from Carnival Cruise Line. Mitcham who was supposed to become CD on Carnival's latest cruise ship, Mardi Gras thanked everyone at Carnival, saying they “have been absolute rock stars over the last 14 years, and I will be forever grateful.”

The cruise industry spends a lot of money marketing, recruiting and training, as well as maintaining great talent to make guests vacations the best they have ever had. During the years guests and crew have developed special relationships and many of the returning guests have become friends with the crew and expect to see them again once things get back to normal. After all, they are among the main reasons guests want to go their next cruise vacation. Receiving those crew members who maintain and stay to work longer than a contract or two become professionals knowing not only the ins and outs of the job and cruise ship, but also the complexity and beauty of the cruise culture and life which in itself is one of the most wonderful and challenging part that either makes or breaks a crew member in either explorer for one or two contracts or lifer for longer. It is the latter that are truly essential in the magnificence of the cruise ships as they come with a deep love for the blue waters, true knowledge of how to help others transition into getting sea legs and make guests cruise vacation the one they will never forget by pouring their knowledge onto the new generation of crew members. And while the new generation have novel ideas which benefit greatly to progression, it is in time, experience and knowledge that long term relationship is born that sustains any part of our world or business for that matter. Thus, the loss of the cruise industry is grave indeed and will take a long time to replenish the losses of such talent. While many crew members will return, some have made some different choices not to return to put on their uniform, smile and great spirit on to report to their station ready to share the same with their wonderful guests.

To the brothers and sisters who choose to return as the cruise industry is slowly opening up, I wish you amazing experiences, a lot of strength, happiness, grit and grace, as well as amazing gratuities. To the ones who decide to embark on the new land venture I wish you all the same, as well as patience when encountering all of the differences between the ships and land. 2020 has definitely made all of us stronger and more aware, that in itself is a great gift in moments of darkness. 

Crew Insights

Articles and experiences shared by crew members working on cruise ship. Find out more about ship life at sea together with tips and advices for first time crew members and cruise oldtimers.