Cruise ships are kind of like Neverland, in that you don’t feel like you’re getting any older. The reason for this is because the responsibilities that come with growing up, like paying bills, cooking, looking after others just don’t apply to people when they are working on a ship. Living on board means you don’t pay rent or any bills of that nature, the food is prepared for you and is served buffet style, and as you are not at home, you only have to take care of ‘number one’.
Also when you are at home, if you go out, you tend to go out with people of your own age but on ships, there is generally only one place to go out, crew bar, so the 60-year-old can be drinking with the 20-year-old and think nothing of it. One of my very good friends on ships is 37 years older than me and the age gap just isn’t that noticeable, but on land it might be considered a little strange.
When you’re onboard for months at a time it becomes like a little bubble and the outside world doesn’t seem to exist. Of course, you keep in touch with friends and family but ‘real life’ situations don’t affect you as they would at home. The bubble consists of work and time off. Everyone is of the same mindset that during the shift you work really hard, but when you clock off the fun begins. That fun can consist of going out and exploring a new country for the day, or at night there may be a party in the bar and if not, there is always the option make your own party in the cabin. Times like these just don’t happen on land because you may live far from your friends, so it isn’t as easy as walking down the corridor to your friend’s cabin. Also, you may work very different hours so your schedules conflict, and a day off work ‘on land’ are always easy to fill with little jobs like food shopping or looking after your elder’s.
As you share such close quarters with people you can become very close very quickly. The people you work with become your best friends and in a lot of cases, if you’re lucky, your roommate will become like your sibling. For the months you share together on board there are no obstacles that get in the way of you spending time together, unlike friends you have at home. So it’s just like your school days when you and your friends would be free after doing your homework to go to the park together or visit one another’s houses, but then we get older and people move away to university or for work, they start a family so have less time to spend with friends. All these real-life factors are erased when on a ship and that is why I believe ship life is so addictive. Your biggest responsibility is to do your job well, but all the other stuff that would fill your free time at home doesn’t exist at sea.