Love relationships on cruise ships

Nov 10, 2023

The cruise ship is like a small city. It's an enclosed circle of people around us. When you work for many months in that circle, there are increased chances for a romance at sea, or some people even find a life partner on the cruise ship. Generally speaking, for the crew members on board the ship, there are two kinds of relationships:

The love relationship between the crew members

Love romance between the crew members and the passenger

Indeed, millions of crew members on the Seven Seas experienced some romance on the ship. It's really a unique experience to end up in a relationship with someone from a different continent and become crazy in love with that person. The cruise ship environment created millions of love stories around the world, and one story like that changed my life as well. That was the day when I met my wife on the ship.

Love romance on the cruise ship

On the other hand, love romance between the crew members and the passenger is strictly prohibited by all cruise lines, yet, surprisingly, it still happens very often. Most of the crew members are aware of strict protocols and consequences for fraternizing with the guests on board the ship, yet there are millions of cases when crew members are dating passengers on the ship. In my own experience, I look at it from a professional perspective. I had many opportunities to establish a love relationship with the passengers on the ships worldwide, but I always drew the line and remained professional. It was more about protecting my job and respecting my salary on board the ship, and I was never interested in placing my job at enormous risk by flirting with some passengers on board, especially since I witnessed thousands of cases when crew members got terminated, investigated, and even arrested for the passenger's love affairs on board the ship. In my experience, most crew members would avoid flirting and mingling with passengers on board the ship, yet there were always a few who were persistent in chasing and flirting with passengers on board. 

In my experience, the officers were the ones who had the most passenger love affairs on board the ship. Also, most of the time, the officers would get away with their misbehaviors and protocol-breaking incidents.

We work long contracts every single day. Usually, 7–8 month contracts, depending on your position, between 8-12 hours a day. No days off. After our contract, we get a 6–12 week vacation. Vacations are unpaid. Contract length and vacation lengths can vary higher or lower based on several things. You're pretty much on-call all the time since you're living only a few minutes walk from work. If and often when something goes wrong, they can call you at nearly any time to help fix it.

We don't have any expenses on board and don't pay for food or rent, so we live and eat for free. The only things we have to pay for are WiFi and alcohol.

The Crew Bar

The crew bar is always busy. The ship says you can't have more than 0.05% alcohol, but everyone parties, and there are always people in the bar, as it's one of the main social areas. During big crew parties, everyone goes all out. Themes, costumes, drinking, dancing. As long as you don't do anything really stupid, security usually looks the other way. You have to be able to hold yourself together at work the next day as well.

People are always coming and going, so relationships of any kind can be hard. You'll meet new friends, and then they sign off. You'll meet someone you like when you are just arriving, and they are leaving. But you'll see a lot of people who couple up. Sometimes, you'll see the same person with 2–3 different boys/girlfriends during a contract. Many relationships only last for the duration of the contract you spend together, but sometimes, if you're lucky, you fall in love for real. But even this can be complicated depending on your home situation and which nationalities you both come from if you get separated by the ships.

If you come on board as a couple, they will keep you together. If you become a serious couple, you can go to the HR office and submit as a "Registered Couple," which takes a lot of paperwork.

Some people have significant others on land and another one on the ship. You have to be careful with the dating game on board. Some people live a single life and sleep around, but you are also stuck on board together, so there's nowhere to run if there are hard feelings. Much drama has ensued on cruise ships.

Your friends and coworkers really do become your family; since you are in such a tight space, relationships grow really quickly. Being away from everyone you know at home can be hard, so you lean on the people around you; they are experiencing the same thing. And they are often very interesting, warm-hearted, and genuine people. But of course, in every work environment, there's always one person you may not like, but you get along anyway.

There is a lot of hierarchy, politics, and rules regarding upper management. Rules of professionalism and procedures are very strict. There can be a lot of red tape to get things done and a lot of scrutiny when things go wrong. This is one of the most stressful parts of the job.

You get to work and play in a new place every week! Most of the time, In a one-week cruise, you'll have at least 3–4 ports of call. During your time off you can go swimming at the beach, and try new foreign food in a local restaurant. Explore the city with new friends from all over the world. All while making money. Sometimes you'll be stuck working while we are in port which sucks, but (again, depending on your position) you'll most often be able to go out and enjoy the port, at least for a little while. Managers try to rotate the schedule so everyone has time off in ports.