How to Get a Promotion on a Cruise Ship - Crew

Jul 06, 2016

Many crew members that successfully complete one or more contracts and receive favorable work performance evaluation are often promoted to a higher position or transferred to another department. For example, a cleaner working in the hotel department can be promoted to assistant cabin steward position, as well as crew mess employee can be promoted to the dining room or room service. Every company gives an opportunity for their employees to build a career, but the procedure and requirements for receiving a promotion differ from ship to ship. Nobody gets a promotion at once; the employee has to deserve the promotion.

The question withstands if the right employees get the promotions and what do they do to receive the promotions?

Yes, sometimes the right candidate for the job receives a promotion, but sometimes – if not 50 % of the time – the promotions are handed to people who truly do not deserve to be promoted due to different reasons.

A person can also get a promotion by “kissing the supervisor butt” or be SAPO (in translation from the ship lingo it means a snitch or someone who uses information about others to their advantage) and snitch all the shortcuts that the fellow colleagues use to ease their hard working day. Supervisors embrace these people because they like to have complete control of what is happening in their department. The more you snitch to your colleagues the more points you score for your promotion. 

Then there are crew members who have connections in the office. Usually, some close or distant relative has a high position in the company, therefore, these people have a great prospect for a promotion even if they do not deserve it.

Some crew members develop romantic relationships with their supervisors and then they skyrocket so fast to their promotions. However, this is a sword with two edges because if the romantic relationship ends then the crew member can be demoted to the lower position just as fast as he or she got promoted.

There are two kinds of crew members on cruise ships:

Crew members who do not care for promotions and they are satisfied with their job. There are crew members older than 45 and they are still assistant waiters or assistant housekeeper.

Then there are the ambitious group of crew members who feel ready for a promotion and responsibilities that come with the promotion. 

This group is divided into two subgroups:

-    Crew members who work hard and deserve a promotion

-    Crew members who get a promotion the easy way to becoming the favorite person of the supervisor.

These crew members go everywhere with the supervisor: in their office, in the crew mess, or in the crew bar chatting most of the times about work in their department and other crew members.

Our Suggestion

Maybe this article does not leave much room for hope for those who simply want to do their job, get promoted, and live in peace with everyone else.  Well, that is not true if a person knows the following:  

“Learn how to be a good diplomat.”

As the old ship saying goes “do not work hard, work smart” applies, but at the same time, a little bit of diplomacy can help any crew member get to where he or she wants to get.  Sometimes all a person needs is to learn something more about the supervisor and his country, sometimes all it takes is a charisma, but most of the times a crew member needs to know how to fight that love and hate war, meaning “kiss one of the cheeks of the supervisors butt and at the same time slap the other as hard as you can.”  If by now people are wondering “what in heavens earth does this mean,” well it is simple?  Everywhere a person goes in the world and that person is at the lowest of the chain of the employment status a little niceness towards the boss would take anyone a long way, but if that person turns his or her back to his or her co-workers, then life would be a bittersweet soap opera.  Our suggestion to all who are interested in the cruise ship lifestyle is to keep your boss close, but your co-workers closer.  Impress the boss, but do not think that impressing the coworkers would not take you places.  If a person learns how to be a favorite to everyone, then not only that person would get a promotion faster, but it will also stick.  I know, I know, how the heck does one person get along with everyone.  Well, it cannot happen even in a perfect world, that is why we suggest every person learns something about diplomacy, or in other words “just because you do not like someone does not mean that you cannot pretend to love them with all your heart.”