Quite often people will inform me that I have no expenses while working on a cruise ship. And I’m sure that they sincerely believe it. They probably also believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and that monsters come into your room when you turn-off the lights at night. (That last one may actually be true, good thing I have a night-light.)
As it’s not socially acceptable to punch these people in the face, I decided to write a blog post about it. The reality of it is of course we have expenses, just perhaps not as much. All we are doing is working abroad, not moving to a parallel universe where the concept of money ceases to exist. Also I’m going to be blunt, the salaries are much less than the equivalent occupations in developed countries, at least for entry-level positions. I’m not saying that you can’t save money, just that working on a cruise ship is not a magical world where everything is free, we bathe in champagne and ride unicorns to work. (Indisputably, we get free travel to dozens of ports around the world. So that’s still awesome. And I love getting huge chunks of vacation time, even if it’s unpaid.)
It’s all about living within your means and if people don’t know how to manage their money, they can always find a way to spend it all, no matter how much they earn. I think I’m reasonably sensible with my expenses while on ships. I don’t want to be a miser but I also rather spend the bulk of my money traveling during my vacation, rather than blow everything while working and stay at home while on vacation playing video games in my undies. However, it does seems like some crew members prefer the opposite. They love going ashore for lunch and drinks, and they spend so much money on taxis you’d think that they were terribly debilitated with polio, rendering them unable to walk short distances.
In fact I suspect that, this is your typical crew member’s ideal definition of traveling: take a taxi to a beach, buy an over-priced burger and a bucket of beers, get a tan, take a taxi back to the ship. Sure, it’s fun and social but I rather use my saved money to I dunno, fly to Poland for a wedding or go to Burning Man. But hey, to each his own.
Don’t get me wrong, I love trying local food when in Europe, Asia, Mexico and South America. But for the most part, food in the Caribbean seems to be your typical overpriced unhealthy North American fare. Having said that, I can see why crew members do it. It’s pretty much the same reason why most people don’t cook every single every meal at home – to try something different. Besides, anyone on-board is going to get bored of eating the same meals every day for 6 months. I’m pretty lucky though, as I’ve had years of experience with cooking for myself. You know what I mean, when you make a lasagne for one, that means you’re eating lasagne for a week.
Anyway, as I said earlier I was going to start publishing my expenses on a monthly basis. Since I’ve kept a detailed account of my expenses since working on ships, here’s a preview of things to come. For simplicity, these are average expenses incurred only during the months I worked and do not include expenses incurred in advance, in preparation for vacations (eg. flights, music festival tickets, blinky lights etc).
As you can see, it’s not too bad. But I did spend much more on taxis than I normally do. And what the internet figure doesn’t show you is the miserably pathetic hours (and speed) I got for it. Fortunately, I made up for it all with duty-free booze. (Evidently, quite excessively in 2011.)
This post was sponsored by How To Work On A Cruise Ship – complete eGuide.