Cruises are big melting pots, and you’ve got to have patience
It’s amazing to me how people in America have absolutely zero patience with anyone who doesn’t speak English. When I was onboard, the first thing I learned was you had to have patience with other cultures. A cruise ship isn’t American business as usual, it’s a whole different world out there. You’ve got 60 different nationalities onboard, all with different work ethics, different styles, and different languages. And you still have to make it work or the whole ship falls apart. So you learn to control yourself, slow down and breathe, and remember that you’re not on your home turf anymore, so the rules are a little different.
Europeans have a whole different set of business ethics
In America, we kind of live by the playground code, and if you don’t like what somebody’s doing you confront him first. Otherwise, you’re a tattletale. I don’t think there’s even a word in any European language for tattletale, because the custom of European employees was that if you don’t like a coworker, you go straight to the boss. There’s no arbitration, no trying to work it out face to face. Which caused a lot of problems for Americans who worked onboard.
Everyone sleeps with everyone
The ships were the most incestuous workplace I’ve ever been a part of, we pretty much buggered each other any time we weren’t working. On the budget line I worked on, I think the ratio of men to women was like 9:1. So any time a new girl started working on the ship, that first night at the crew bar was a free-for-all. And for the most part nobody was loyal to anyone. I remember there was a couple on one ship everyone was sure were going to get married, and when the guy’s contract was up a month before hers was, he took a plane back to Uruguay to wait for her. Before he landed, she was with somebody else.