I Was Working On Cruise Ships. What I Feel Years Later Is Profound Gratitude

Nov 16, 2023

Was working on cruise ships a perfect experience? No, it wasn't. Still, looking back, I only see how much the job positively impacted my life.

The decision to work on ships came naturally. Young and not feeling the need to think twice, one morning, I decided I was done with the construction job I had been doing since I was young age. What I was dreaming about at that time was moving to some of the Western countries, but their visa restrictions turned out to be a blessing to me—not having many options, I decided to apply for a job on a cruise ship. And I never regretted it. 

Years later, I only feel grateful for the time I spent on cruise ships and wish I could've returned for at least one more contract. Still, sometimes, life has different plans for us. 

Writing about everything the ship life gave me would take two days, so I will mention only a few things.

1. Making money that I would never make back home. Let alone save them. Of course, I was spending money in the crew bar, when visiting places, and so on, but with all the basic expenses covered, I was managing to save most of what I was making. As a result, the quality of my life improved, and I managed to provide a better future for my family and myself.

2. Living and working with people from more than 70 different nationalities. Yes, I had a friend drinking milk with sugar and salt at the same time and a roommate collecting money for his and his parent's wedding ("Once I return home, I will get married. But, according to my tradition, I will have to organize a ceremony for my parents first, where they will get remarried. We believe that's the only way for us to have a prosperous marriage"), but the most significant thing I learned on ships is to respect different people, cultures, and traditions without judging them.

3. Visiting some of the world's most attractive places. From the stunning beaches in the Caribbean, to the fascinating and vibrant States in the USA, the beautiful scenery and wildlife of Alaska, the perfect weather and infrastructure of Australia, the different planet called Singapore, the beauty and history of Europe..... 

4. Meeting thousands of dear passengers who taught me some of the most important life lessons. How could I forget the guy in a wheelchair telling me he would accept working on a cruise ship for free in exchange for getting the ability to walk again, or the group of passengers wearing light-colored suits and dresses, laughing and dancing covered in black ash that was coming from the ship's funnel ?!

5. Discovering that living in daylight is the way to go for me. Working in construction back home and paying the bills on time was making me happy, but being on a cruise ship, I realized I was living in darkness and didn't know for better. Seeing people enjoying their lives on the ships made me understand that life is much more than making ends meet. That realization left me with no choice but to be more ambitious in life and always strive for better.

I am  aware that we live in a world where people are getting more excited about the other way of looking at things. Yes, we must always fight for better food on board the ships, bigger paychecks, and better living conditions, but being grateful for what we already have is necessary for moving forward.

This article is written by Zlatko Simovski author of the book “Diary of a Cruise Ship Employee (Uncensored)”

To find out more about the book please visit www.zlatkosimovski.com