The Story of a Cruise Ship Cook

Apr 29, 2016

Letter from a crew member

I was hired to work as a third party in Costa Cruises. I arrived in Palermo to board the Costa Magica in the period they call Dry Dock, when the ship is out of service for passengers, only renovating.
On the first day of work I had a little trouble understanding people because the kitchen is the majority of Indians and Filipinos, and their accent is really hard to understand at first, and then pronounced them good, but they speak so fast that when you understand the first word he is at the end of the sentence ... But okay, I worked in the bakery itself just this week, because we made a few cakes for crew dessert. I worked and two Brazilian girls who were in the same situation as me (as the newly shipped third pastry),  about 8 hours a day, half of the period confeitando cakes for dessert and the other half of the crew working on the crew mess (the restaurant crew ), a work super soft, nothing too different than working on land.
Until then I was super happy and peaceful feeling that my life would be that easy all inside the ship. After a week of dry dock is over, the capo (boss) of pastry showed us where we would work and how it would work and everything else ...
Began crossing (crossing the ocean) and started working for real. The capo has delegated the functions of confectioners at a meeting on the first day of work, and they informed me that because I was the last man boarded the pastry I would be responsible for Cambuza, ie (screwed up) had to take care of searching the entire stock of confectionery for all others could work. Outside it was still responsible for some activities within the confectionery and responsible for cleaning a specific area of confectionery.
What I had to seek daily in Cambuza (stock) were basically, 200 liters of milk, 200 liters of cream, 75 kg of flour, 100 kg of sugar ... out many other ingredients that formed a gigantic list daily.
When finished doing all the work inventory was responsible for making some preparations and mainly help in the assembly line of dishes for lunch and dinner, which was approximately 500 plates per period (lunch and dinner), and serve in bowls for ice cream that waiters bring him into the hall.
At the end of the work day, I was responsible for washing the refrigeration of confectionery, namely having to wash a floor in a place that was constantly at -20 º C, had to play a lot of hot water and pull as soon as possible so that not freeze the ground. This in normal days of cleaning, General Cleaning when there was much worse, was deep cleaning.
Although much work had moments of relaxation within the confectionery, was a good environment to work many times, but the fatigue was much greater than the fun. When you enter the ship they tell you that you can not work more than 11 hours a day, but do not dream that they only want you to do your hours and go, the average hours worked per day is 14 hours. Hinders 8hrs was until 14hrs, made a break until 16:30, and worked normally until 2hrs in the morning. Sometimes making breaks of 30 minutes for lunch and dinner. In the days of hard work we were going until after 3hrs and we had practically no one hour break in the afternoon, if Christmas and New Year.
My first month was hard, when I came home for a visit I will never return to the ship, but with time I got used to my routine and had quiet inside the ship, one way or another you end up getting used.
But to complete 2 months aboard began to feel severe back pain, I was a week without working inside the ship and taking anti-inflammatory injections to relieve the pain, I have not had a bit of improvement and I disembarked for medical treatment. On land did tests and discovered that I acquired in 2 months of hard work 3 herniated discs, which will probably need an operation so I can go back to being able to work and have a normal life.
The treatment is paid by Costa, but I disembarked from the beginning of January and have not started doing any treatment because they are holding my treatment ... are also sending me paychecks on a percentage of my salary, checks that are almost impossible to be discounted (and still could not cash them). You ask me if it was worth going to work on the ship after being caught bad back and have a support company ... I say it was worth it, because those months I spent aboard the Costa Magica were precious to my personal and professional growth, I learned a lot and met many good people inside, Brazilian, Indian, Filipino, Italian, Indonesian, Chinese people that would never have known.
Do not create expectations and / or fears by stories told to you.