Crew Stories: Mobbing From The Supervisor

Nov 02, 2019

One of the worst things about my second contract on a cruise ship was the supervisor. And what a story it is... The man was in his 30’s and he already avoided a harassment complaint before he became a manager. Instead of getting fired and kicked off the ship he got promoted. 

The entire cruise ship system was a paradigm for me. The lazy ones who insult people all the time get promoted, while the normal and hardworking people get demoted or stay in the same positions for years. There were a lot of stories circling this manager including one that he was a playboy and that there wasn’t a girl onboard that he didn’t sleep with. Honestly, the man was a complete Kuku and no one from the team respected him, neither did the other crew members. 

He kept organizing morning training sessions that were totally unnecessary and especially hard for those of us who worked until 3 AM. 

He insisted that everyone attends and we would stay there between five and fifteen minutes just so we could sign some papers about the training. 

For example, we now know how to handle chemicals when we washed the floors and drains, or how to properly approach and take the order and see to it that it was delivered the right way. 

He would interrupt our hours for rest with this and that made us very angry. We would sometimes use the opportunity to get off the ship, but most people would just return to their cabins in a very bad mood. 

We had to “train” for things we already knew. We were extremely insulted by his distrust and idiotic behavior, and how he wanted to keep all of us on a leash and constantly control us. He especially disliked the male crew members. 

He always tried to assert his dominance of the Alpha male status by giving the men additional work or make them feel less competent, and also to make himself more manly in front of the female members. 

He didn’t pay much attention to me because he knew I have a lot of experience and that I knew where to report him if he crossed a line. I kept to the sides, always with a fake smile on my face. That didn’t work for everyone and there were people that he completely terrorized. 

There was this one couple that he especially hated. Both of them were bartenders and they were from Portugal. He would make the girl wash and scrub things in the back of the galley every day, like the rust on aluminum parts. She would have to use this strong chemical called Lemonise that was a bit toxic if you use it for a long time. The poor girl spent more time scrubbing than doing her regular job. 

He even took them to see the Captain because he found some cigarette buds in the toilet and accused them of smoking in the cabin. 

But he made a fool of himself because these two were smoking electronic IQOS cigarettes that make water vapor instead of smoke. They demonstrated the lack of danger that these cigarettes pose to the Captain and he understood and they were not in the danger of losing their jobs. 

The worst thing that I had to do is clean the ice machine with that same chemical Leminose. He liked to make people do that right before their shift ended. He would show up and inform the team member that it had to be done right away which really pissed me of because we didn’t always have that chemical around. 

After we learned to always hide some in big metal garbage cans. Cleaning those machines always took some time. First I would have to melt all the ice with at least ten buckets of hot water, then I would have to crawl inside the machine and wipe everything with that chemical, and after some time use another five buckets of water to wash the chemical off. 

One time it almost dropped in my eye while I was wiping and I had to wash my out with water and special eye drops. 

He terrorized all of us with some ridiculous tasks. The entire team stopped going to the Crew bar, and even to the Open deck to relax a bit after the shifts were finished. The contract was physically and mentally exhausting. Two weeks into my contract I spoke with my colleague about writing a petition that we would all sign in order to stop his unprofessional behavior. 

I was told that that would be useless because the Hotel director had his back and that he was the one who promoted him in the first place Another form of coalition, just like when some nationalities stick together on board. 

The South Africans held the best positions on the ships and got their promotions more easily than others.  There were a lot of Portuguese people onboard, lots of Serbians, Bosnians, a few Croats, and Peruvian people. On this ship, Filipinos only worked in the kitchen area as cooks and bakers.  

As one LUX company with expensive cruises, rich guests and with the policy; Never say no, much was expected of the workers, and the management itself, the top did not provide the leadership skills and the desire to be followed by the team. I was honestly disappointed in the quality of the employees I met who were in senior positions. I think there is a big disbalance in the company itself.

It’s very nice to have a reasonable salary but at the end at what cost?

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