NCL Restricts Privileges for Staff Members and Officers With Less Than 2-stripes - It's Not Just Benefits, It's Our World NCL is Altering

Nov 21, 2022

Norwegian Cruise Lines is undertaking changes related to staff benefits on board its cruise ships that will be affecting greatly on decision making moving forward to many staff, the company and guests in retrospect. The recent changes will affect most staff members and officers who carry less than 2 stripes on their uniform, while some reduction of benefits will affect all staff across the board. While the changes are coming initially from staff members on NCL, Crew Center was sent a confirmation of the changes from a Corporate memo dated November 18th, 2022.

What are these mentioned changes and what is the big deal about them? 

Some of the mentioned changes at this time are no further stewards cleaning staff cabins for all staff, and officers at and below 2-stripes access to guest areas such as the gym, buffet, bars, restaurants to include sushi and pizza will be terminated. 

"In order to ensure that our guests consistently experience the very best our ships and crew have to offer, the privilege of full public access has been redefined and will be effective with your next sailing. At that time, only 2-stripe, and 2-stripe equivalent officers and above will maintain full access to public areas and outlets. 

Officers and crew with less than 2-stripes will follow the availability-based sign-up process when requesting acess to public areas." NCL’s memo sent to the shipboard management reads in parts.

While this does not sound like benefits that are worthy to be fussed about, many of the staff members chose these positions due to quality of life and ability to access these areas. Majority of the cruise industry and recruitment when attracting staff to the cruise ships utilize these benefits as a selling point of the salary based positions. These positions often receive less than what one may make from tip-based positions. 

Crew Center received several messages from staff members who strongly disagree with this decision.

“I had hope when I joined this company after a bad experience on another cruise line. I had goals and dreams to grow with them but now, this is ground for reconsideration. At the end, it is proof that no matter what, you are just a number. I urge NCL to reconsider these changes as crew/staff members are gathering fleetwide to protest about those changes. Enough is enough!” said one staff member.

“Turns out Norwegian removed all the benefits for staff members. How do they expect us to give our best if we don’t have any of the things that were helping us? You can’t ask people to give in if they have nothing to offer” said another.

As a previous crew member and also a staff member when it came down to making the decision between the tip ability to make double as a crew member and staff to make double less was the quality of life that the above mentioned benefits provided on a ship work/living lifestyle. And while many of my coworkers also made the same transitions for the same reason brings me to wonder with the current lack of crew and staff on board cruise ships across the industry, how will this affect not only the staff, but NCL moving forward?

A generalized assumption that staff and officers who are under 2 stripes at least will place much thought on potential transitions to another cruise line. Some may consider the transition to land-based positions where they make continue to receive their sense of quality of life. Finally, we need to also consider the ones who may feel trapped in their current positions without the option of land-based or alternative fleet solution should this change greatly affect their work/live lifestyle on board they initially did not sign up for, as well as their mental, emotional and psychological well-being. Recently we covered a story related to the suicide of a crew member on board of a different cruise ship company who felt trapped and without a way out because his contract was extended. We need to acknowledge that when cruise companies make what may appear to us land folk small and insignificant changes, to the crew members and staff can be life and world-altering, and as such cruise companies should consider as mental health providers are still not readily available on cruise ships for crew and staff to process changes in their worlds.