How Deal With Homesickness on the Cruise Ships?

Mar 20, 2023

People come to work on cruise ships for many different reasons. Some to feed their adventurous spirit, others only for money, and some people join the cruise ships because they want something different in their lives. Others join the cruise ship because they need the challenge, career progression opportunity, or something else.

For most cruise ship employees, it's easy to feel homesick, but how we deal with it makes a difference. Some people say that it's hard initially, and we get used to it after a while, but I'm afraid I have to disagree with that. 

When I started working on cruise ship, I never felt homesick during my first couple of contracts. I felt grateful for the tremendous opportunity to travel the world, and I was happy to have a decent job and wake up every day in a different country and port of call. Coming from a third-world country where I never had an opportunity to reach my full potential, I greatly respected my job on the cruise ship. 

For the young, single person who does not have a family yet, working on a cruise ship is one of the best jobs in the world. 

You get the tremendous opportunity to sign on a different ship and explore other ports of call every single contract; you can easily save a lot of money because there is not much time to spend while working. It was a mind-blowing opportunity for me, and in the first few contracts, I could only see the bright part of the work on the cruise ship. Cheap drinks in the crew bar, exploring new places, improving my English language, meeting great friends worldwide, and all of that while getting paid to travel. I know. You might say now: " This is way too idealistic." It's not idealistic; this is a mindset. It's how we see the things around us. Beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder. When we are appreciative and thankful for what we got, we often receive even more blessings. When you have a positive mindset about your life, job at sea, and your future-things will often settle down in a good way. 

The transition from ship life to the job on land

However, that is only one part of the story. Another difficult part of my cruise ship working experience happened when I had already started my own family. Suddenly, I was not feeling excited before my sing-on date. The feeling of excitement and self-fulfillment was replaced with a bitter, dark, and negative mindset. It was probably one of the worst feelings of my life when the alarm clock would wake me up at 02 am, and it was time to get ready to go to the airport. To say goodbye to your own family is hard; even if you know your goals, I often ask myself:

How many more contracts would I need to complete? 

Things would probably get harder as time went by.

When you spend 10 or 20 years on a cruise ship, you would feel there is something else you should have done. That feeling will probably haunt you until the day when you decide to stop and find another source of income on land. The transition from the cruise ship to land could be enormously difficult. It's like going to work on a different planet. That's what makes it really hard to quit; the cruise ship becomes your comfort zone, the bubble you are not willing to poke because you are unsure if you could make it on land. The answer is- YES! You can develop your strengths and qualities, an entrepreneurial mindset, or something else. Most crew members who stop working on the cruise ship are willing to change their minds after only six months and want to return. It's because they want to return to their comfort zone, the known area of workload, the secure, guaranteed salary on time. Do not fall into that familiar trap. There is no pause button in your life to make whatever you need to make, and when you buy your house, car, or motorcycle, you can press that button again and keep rolling your life. When you achieve all your materialistic goals, it might be too late to change your environment and put yourself in a position where you can truly utilize your inner gifts and talents.

Long story short- the cruise ship job is one of the best jobs in the world if you are single and still young. I have a few friends and colleagues from the cruise ships who were between 40-50 years old. All of those were outstanding professionals and top-class employees, masters of the jobs at seven seas. Yet, all those people came to the point when they went home for vacation, and the company never sent them the new LOE. When they emailed to inquire about their missing LOE, they never got a reply. One of my friends did get a response to his inquiry; he received an email like this " Thank you for your great service to our company; at this time, we want to inform you that the company does not require your services anymore." That was a polite way of reminding my friends that they have an expiration date, like all of us. But they were not ready; they believed in their seniority status and were caught by surprise, unprepared. All crew members are working and getting contracts from the cruise line companies until the certain moment when a company does not need them anymore. The problem is that we all felt belonging there, but the cruise ship company does not care. For those giant cruise ship corporations, we are just the numbers, the crew ID, not the name and the last name. On your next vacation, sit down with a pen and paper and prepare for your future. Write the ten things you are good at(don't tell me you are not good at anything, I don't believe that). Now, from those ten things you wrote down on paper, write three that you think you are the best at. Look at that paper for a little longer, and from those three things you are the best at, write one that feels the most doable, the easiest to translate into the business, or some other way to help you settle down on the land. Just keep it as a plan B for now, but be prepared for your future. Before you know it, the years will go by and do not let yourself be unprepared. Invest in yourself, be ready, plan, consult, and hustle. Use your vacation to plan your future, and when the day comes to finish with the cruise ships, you should be ready. Explore your unique gifts and think productively about your future! God bless you!