7 Things I Had To Learn When I Started Working On A Boat

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By Angelina Valvali Housekeeper

After leading a boring life on shore, I decided it was time for a change. I was living at the moment in a city with a port and it was kind of my relaxing site, to go for a walk to the port and watch the ships sail in and out. So, I got the idea of looking for a new exciting life on board a ship. And I followed that lead. It was not long before I actually succeeded! A new adventure was commencing.

Of course, there were certain things I did not know back then.

  • I had to share space with total strangers. Everything is strange in the beginning. Kids are messy, untidy, and have the tendency to do things....­later. Well, grown-ups are exactly the same. I shared a cabin with the best..and the worst. But I survived and I learn a few things as well.
  • I had to eat everything they served me. From the big cruise ship to the small yacht, I made Chefs, my best friends. Food is very essential when you work 10-14 hours a day, and it makes a big difference when it is ready and served. But when the chef likes you, then you are in Paradise!
  • I had to take orders. Taking orders was the easy part, following them without questioning was the hard. You see, I am that person who will always ask questions in school or an office meeting and even take notes so I ask questions later and make suggestions. But on the ship that rule cannot apply, things are done, one way. And most of the time that is good.
  • I had to get put myself in an order. When you have certain time to do certain things, you have to get organised. You know, the day has 24 hours, anywhere in the world. So you roll up your sleeves and get around to work-eat-get washed up-sleep and of course have fun.
  • I had to forget sick days. Un­for­tuna­tely when you work on a boat, there are no days off and most difficult no sick days. So you take your medicine and go.
  • I had to accept the fact that I lost a few friends. When you work on a boat and your friends don't, they just don't see why you can't call them, or go on vacation with them, or go to the beach and the night clubs with them. So I lost a few weddings and birthdays, but I gained experience and the confidence to look after myself. Besides, when you lose some friends, you gain some new.
  • I had to be more attentive. I started seeing the details, keeping records of preferences (not only for guests, but crew members as well). And being attentive to the needs of others brings a lot of smiles and gratitude your way.

Working on board a ship is not an easy job. But there is always that "other" side of things that can turn hard work to fun work and that is the goal.

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