On most cruise ships, there is no shortage of facilities for guests. Waterparks, gyms, numerous bars and theaters are there to satisfy any possible needs of the passenger.
But the options for crew members to unwind and relax are usually much scarcer.
Cruise Industry News spoke with employees from a number of major and niche brands to see what crew members do after they change into casual clothes.
They agreed to share their impressions on the grounds of anonymity.
A Bar and a Gym
Employees of most of the cruise lines Cruise Industry News spoke with said that they had at least a crew bar and a gym.
A crew member with a key luxury brand said his ship had a “very-very small crew bar and no library.”
“The gym is actually very nice,” he added. “We have a jacuzzi on deck 11, but they never put water inside, so I don’t know the point of having one!”
He also said that his ship had a broken ping pong table and a foosball table in need of repair.
“We don’t have a basketball court like others, game room or anything fun for us,” he said.
Who’s Got It Better
A crew member with Disney Cruise Line said that his ship had a gym, indoor bar, outdoor bar, pools, play courts and a library. All of these can be used by crew members but with some restrictions.
“Mostly I go to the bar for a drink after finishing work, and I do go to the gym three times per week. There is actually everything that a crew member needs (on the ship),” he said.
A crew member who’s worked for all major cruise lines said that the best cruise lines for crew facilities, in his opinion, were Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.
“They have numerous crew bars, game rooms, big nightclubs, big smoking areas, crew stores (which most ships are doing right now). Royal Caribbean’s Oasis, Allure, Harmony and other ships have different options of crew bar activities, as well as numerous table tennis tables, pool tables, dartboards, PS rooms and massage chairs,” he said.
In general, he added, “the higher the ladder you are onboard, the more facilities you have to enjoy.”
Another crew member who’s worked for Crystal Cruises, as well as other cruise lines in the past, said that Crystal had the best facilities for crew members.
“They really care about the crew: a lot of activities, parties, they do a lot … We could sometimes use the guest pool, and we also had a mini pool always available for us,” he said.
What Crew Members Want
A crew member working for a “major European cruise line” said that his ship had no crew facilities at all. When asked about what he would like to have on his ship, he said:
“I would like to have a proper non-smoking crew lounge with guest-level furniture and live music with direct access to a crew swimming pool.”
A crew member who’s worked for all the major cruise lines said that steam rooms in crew gyms could be added to cruise ships as “most crew members don’t have guest privileges.”
“But for everything you implement onboard for the crew, you need more crew to maintain,” he said. “In all honesty, you don’t get much time for use of any facilities … If you are working like most crew, which is minimum 12-hour days, the best facility tends to be your cabin.”