Life After Working On Cruise Ships (aka The Real World Is Strange)

Posted by:     Tags:  , , ,     Posted date:  November 26, 2012  |  42 Comments
Insert Drawing :)

5 months ago, I quit working on cruise ships. After that, I used a Eurail pass to go around Europe. 7 weeks later, I flew to Vancouver. The next day, I took the Amtrak down to San Francisco. Then I headed to Black Rock City for Burning Man. It was a busy summer.

After that, I returned to Vancouver…and re-entered the real world. That was three months ago. Yes, it’s been that long since I last posted.


I know, I know, it’s a bit awkward now. It’s like texting someone weeks after hooking up, going “hey baby, wanna go to the Aquarium’?”. Obviously, you’re not sure what to think now. Is this going to be a one-night stand post? Are you afraid to emotionally invest again in this blog? No one cares for the emotional roller coaster that is infrequent blog posting. I’ve followed bloggers in the past who’ve done the same: post regularly, build a loyal following and then one day….stop. I often wonder, what happened? Have they been kidnapped? Are they lying dead in a ditch somewhere, after one meth session too many?

I know it takes a while to get over these abandonment issues. So, for any distress caused…I’m truly sorry. Moving forward, I shall try to stick to posting once a week-ish. (Unless I start doing meth, then you should probably just assume the worst) Update: Don’t worry, I’m not doing meth! I just dropped the ball. Again.

I could say that I’ve been working on multiple projects but that would be a lie. Working on a cruise ship had the benefit of having few distractions when we were out to sea. Internet was horrendously expensive. The best thing on television was Fox News. And most of the people were spectacularly boring. At the same time, there were no chores like cooking, cleaning or washing up. It’s a bit like having a bonus 5 hours a day. So your options were to work out, get drunk or work on a project. (Or in my case, do all three.)

cruise ship life

Now that I’m living in Vancouver, the reality of being back in the real (working) world again has finally sunk in. At first, it was difficult. There were all these bizarre activities I had to do, like laundry and cleaning and grocery shopping and cooking. Then there was the commuting to work. What an odd activity for humans to have to do. To make things worse, we have to spend a continuous 8 hours inside an office. No going off to the beach for the afternoon. No siesta time. I must admit, there were more than a few occasions where I fantasied about returning to cruise ships. Yes, those were dark times.

adjust to life in Vancouver

Slowly but surely, I began to adapt. You see, the secret to adapting to a new place is to focus on the positives. Like being able to eat whatever you want. Or to drink water which doesn’t taste like chlorine. Or not having to get drunk to make people seem more interesting. Or for it to be socially acceptable to grow a hideous moustache.


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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.

  • Erin

    Honestly, I didn’t notice you weren’t posting because I’ve been in a ditch on a meth binge. But now that you have brought it to my attention, I am so happy you are back. You make me laugh. Fun happy times. :)
    …now maybe I can crawl out of this ditch…

    • Roy Marvelous

      Thanks! Yeah, I didn’t actually expect anyone to notice but I have been disappointed in myself for going AWOL ;)

      • Erin

        ok so I’m not in a ditch but I have been AWOL, aka partying my ass off, so I actually didn’t notice ANYTHING.
        :/ time to get serious and start paying attention again…

  • Pablo

    Welcome back!

    • Roy Marvelous


  • Kent @ NVR

    Looks like we do need to make a well-being visit :)

    • Roy Marvelous


  • SR1

    Good to see you back posting.

    I was missing your blog and its amazing paint pictures.

    As someone still working on the ships, you gave me a laugh with your comics, and you experience closly mirrors what I expect my life to be like when I return to the real world.

    • Roy Marvelous

      Yes. Yes it will be!

  • creative nomad

    Welcome back, your epic tales have been missed!

    • Roy Marvelous

      Aww :)

  • Leslie (Downtown Traveler)

    I love your cartoons! I am glad to find a fellow game of Thrones fan :) This reminded me of our transition after a year-long round the world trip. We’re back in corporate jobs now and it was quite an adjustment!

    • Roy Marvelous

      My housemates got me hooked! gah!

  • Ayngelina

    I just left my laptop on a table at a coffee shop in Toronto to go to the bathroom without any worry it would be there when I got back.

    Some things about being home are quite nice.

    • Roy Marvelous

      In Toronto? I still wouldn’t do that! :D

  • jill

    Aw, welcome back to the real life :) Love the guy with the big stached – he should be your new icon or something. So what exactly are you doing in Vancouver?

    • Roy Marvelous

      apparently IT but feels more like musical chairs haha

  • Bina Besiege

    Wow! Welcome Back! I mean it must have been hard to travel so much. I am sure it must be great for you get back the the ‘Real World’. I have been to few cruises, but they are good for first few days after that they become really tiring.. working would be so monotonous!

    • Roy Marvelous


  • Tom @ Waegook Tom

    Hahaha I’m loving this. My previous job in Korea wasn’t really like a real job due to its ridiculous short hours…then I got a job that is most definitely a real job, and I’m like, “wait….you want me to…work? Admin? Do…extra…things?” It’s BIZARRE.

    Also, I full approve of the moustache growing thing. Plus, $1 beers sound amazing, although I have to say that I’m not particularly fond of Corona, unless it’s mixed with a giant margarita.

    • Roy Marvelous

      the meetings get me. oh the meetings…

  • Chrystal McKay

    Well I’m happy you’re back. Looking forward to once-a-week-ish posts!

    • Roy Marvelous

      maybe once a monthish :)

  • Hogga

    mmmm chlorine water…..

    • Roy Marvelous

      mmm indeed

  • Michael Hodson

    LOL. Needed this smile today. Thanks ;)

    (and I’ve never been on a cruise ship… this makes me want to get on one ASAP, if only for the stories)

    • Roy Marvelous

      And here I thought you were all about cruise ships because you didn’t like to fly :)

  • Musa Malik

    Hey Roy,

    Quick question: if I want to work in IT on a cruise ship
    What is the best way to get to that point? Wait until an
    IT position is available on the ship or apply for any job
    On board then work my way up?


    • Roy Marvelous

      This depends on you. Would you take any job on land while waiting for an IT job? Bear in mind as well once you sign a 6-month contract, you can’t switch jobs until the contract is complete.

  • ThatWhiteGirl

    I’d say “Welcome back, but I was disappointed that you left for so long” but this is my first time visiting this blog, so I’d be a big fat liar if I did. It’s nice finding someone honest, isn’t it?

    Great comics!

    • Roy Marvelous


  • sevetse

    Should we be worried at this point? one meth session too many?

    • Roy Marvelous

      Haha, no I just suck. Really life has too many distractions!

  • AJ Aerni

    You talk of working on cruise ships as “the dark times” – what didn’t you like about it?

    • Roy Marvelous

      I should really write about this in detail, one of these days…

  • Kayla

    No matter what you think now you were so lucky to have had that life. As someone who has worked 9-5 for a long time and still live in the city I was born in I am starting to crave something a little different where I can get to explore and maybe even work shifts

    • Roy Marvelous

      You’re absolutely right. I’m very grateful for all my opportunities in life.

  • Agness

    Awesome post. Me and Cez are thinking of working on a cruise ship for 6 months. One of our friends did it and she was trying to convince us to do the same. She shared great stories with us, very interesting. Would you recommend us to have a go? :)

    • Roy Marvelous

      Yes :)

  • Lynell Bumpas

    Hahaha. Funny post. And as someone who had a similar experience to work on a cruise ship, I feel you.

    • Roy Marvelous


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