Working On A Cruise Ship: April Expenses

Posted by:     Tags:  ,     Posted date:  May 2, 2012  |  18 Comments
Insert Drawing :)

Total expenses for April were $679. As it’s the first month of my new contract, some expenses are a bit higher than expected.

On The Ship:

Non-alcoholic drinks and snacks $42
Includes coffee, sodas, bottled water and junk food bought on board.

On board tips $47
Being part of the service industry, we are expected to tip bar staff and our cabin attendant.

Booze $97
This one is OK I guess. I spent much less than in previous contracts!

Off The Ship:

Taxis $87
This one was pretty high because it included a taxi that I had to take to the airport. Normally I loath taxis and rather walk, just on principle. Hard to avoid in the Caribbean though.

Eating out $127
This one was higher than I wanted. Eating out in the Caribbean is actually quite expensive and the food is usually your dissapointly average North American fare (apart from in Curacao). Still, it’s how crew members socialize with each other and sometimes a necessary evil in order to avoid being a complete hermit.

Supplies $73
Includes snacks and things I needed from supermarkets and vendors, while in port.

Online shopping $171
Includes vitamins, gym supplements and stuff bought from Amazon.

I managed to avoid paying for Internet on board and waited till I was in port to find free wifi. However, I have mixed feelings about spending my time online, when I could be frollicking in the sand at the beach. Having said that, I recently made a wonderful discovery. My 2 year-old Kindle allows me to check many mobile sites including Facebook and Twitter, absolutely for free anywhere in the world! It has to be one of the free 3G wireless models and you need to have cellphone reception. The great news is it piggybacks the Cellular@Sea signal, which provides signal while at sea. All this time I’ve just been using my Kindle for reading when it had this Stargate-like capabilities. Mind you, it’s ridiculously slow but at least you can check and respond to messages. (Gosh, I would have saved hundreds of dollars on Internet charges had I realized earlier)

I spent quite a bit on supplements as well, because I feel it’s important to get extra vitamins while living in such an artificial environment. I probably spend more on online shopping than the average crew member but it’s suprisingly convenient to get things sent to the ship and usually cheaper than buying things on land. And it feels like Christmas, when your parcel arrives!

EDIT: This is in response to the question about receiving mail on the ship. Florida is the cruise line capital of the world so many cruise lines have that as their mailing address. Many US-based online retailers have free shipping within the US, so that means free shipping to the ship! (It has to be only for personal use though) It may take 1-2 weeks longer than usual but we still get it. Now this is simple when the ship does laps around the Caribbean and return to Florida. However when a ship is based on another continent, the crew mail will be redirected from Florida to the new home port. So that means another 1-2 week delay. But it’s still free, yay! I guess this is similar to how the US Army has free shipping globally using an APO address.

This post was sponsored by How To Work On A Cruise Ship – complete eGuide and the Kindle 3G

About Me

In 2004, I sold everything I owned and left New Zealand to go see the world. In that time, I've run with bulls in Pampolona, watched the Man burn at Black Rock City, volunteered at a special-needs summer camp in New York, hosted & couchsurfed with 100+ people, taught English in Prague, trained with Muay Thai fighters in Phuket, worked on 5 different cruise ships, hugged strangers on streets in 7 countries and this one time, I even hitchhiked naked (but that was back home, so that doesn't really count). I moved to Vancouver, BC in 2012, to embark on new adventures. It's nice here, I think I may stay awhile! Let's connect: @roymarvelous, facebook & RSS.

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  • T-roy

    Like seeing your breakdowns on costs per-month! But how do you get things shipped from the Internet to a boat? Would think the shipping would kill you, let alone customs and all that. Maybe that is a whole post in itself! :)

    • Roy Marvelous

      Great question! I’ve added an EDIT in the post to answer your question

  • Phil

    Enjoy these posts, Roy. Definitely not a bad gig if these are your expenses. When you order from Amazon, where does it ship to exactly?

    • Phil

      lol, looks like me and troy had the same thought

      • Roy Marvelous

        Hehe, just answered.

  • Idun

    It’s really interesting to see the costs broken down like that, although I’m also curious as to how you get things delivered to the ship. Oh, and impressive that you managed to wait with being on Internet until you got to ports…I could so not have done that!

    • Roy Marvelous

      Actually, forgot to mention that I did get free (slow) access with my Kindle 3G!
      Just added another edit ;)

      • Idun

        Ahhh, well then I can sorta understand how it’s possible, as that would definitely help. Although the kindle Internet really is awfully slow, so you must have had a lot of patience to use it for that. Or at least mine is, so I mainly use the 3G connection to buy/download new books, and even that sometimes strain my patience..

        • Roy Marvelous

          true. ship internet is not that much faster anyway!

          • Idun

            Woah, really? I now have a whole new level of respect for you and other people working on ships. The patience you must have…

  • Ayngelina

    I am impressed, less than $100 on alcohol? Kudos to you.

    • Roy Marvelous

      I know huh! Then again, beers are like a buck each. Still, it’s an improvement!

  • Alexandra

    Hi, I was wondering if you know anything about working on boats based in Europe. I am in Hamburg now and just did a quick search of the boats that depart here and none of the companies are hiring 1 position. I find that hard to believe with boats as big as Holland cruise lines ect and the Queen Mary. Just an expat looking for work here in Europe. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


    • Roy Marvelous

      Hi Alexandra,

      I’m based in Europe again now. There are lots of jobs available actually, especially now that we are going into high season. With cruise lines, they usually go through recruiters and there’s a recruitment process.

  • http://stingytraveller.ocm Matthew Hutchins

    Nice, those are some pretty small expenses, I’m not sure I could be as frugal as you.

    • Roy Marvelous

      It’s not that hard really, when you work on a ship.

  • Chuli S.

    Hi Roy,

    I’ll start to work for Celebrity in august, I love to shop online like you, but I have a question about it, is It safe to get your mail in the ship? I mean I read some stories about how the people steal your laundry, so I want to be sure my $500 electronic or my $150 gym supplement won’t ”mysteriously disappear” from the PO Box in Miami to the ship and specifically from the ship to my hands.

    Sorry for my paranoid, Thanks so much

    • Roy Marvelous

      Should be fine! If I’m not mistaken, mail theft is a serious criminal offence.