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  • Short sea going deep sea.

    Good evening all,

    I've just completed my cadetship (19 years old if that means anything) and now I'm looking for my first job as a 4th/3rd engineer. When I first applied for a cadetship I wanted to go deep sea (cargo or cruise) to see the world... But my cadetship was completed on ships which do not leave UK waters, I did 2 weeks on 2 weeks off (or 10 days on 10 days off), I had UK phone and internet signal all the time, I worked 12 on 12 off hours, an engine room watch consisted of two third engineers and a second engineer and a duty chief engineer (plenty of help) and the crew was 50-150 British people. So as you can see, I didn't really have to worry about leaving home/not talking to family/girlfriend etc...

    I'm looking at seeing a bit of the world on cruise ships as a) they're accepting newbie 4EO/3EOs right now and b) they have a good crew size like my old ships.

    But hopefuly understandably, you would see that I'm pretty aprehensive about going deep sea after my lovely relaxed cadetship... so if you please could answer one of, some of or all of my queries I'd greatly appreciate it.

    Here are the questions:

    1) Do all cruise ships operate the 4 hours on 8 hours off thing?
    2) Will I be assisted on all tasks by a more experienced engineer initially or just left to it?
    3) If I wanted to ring or talk (WhatsApp for example) to my girlfriend for 30 minutes everyday, will I be sacrificing my entire wage for the privilege?
    4) Would I be restricted to crew areas as a junior officer, or would I be allowed to walk around the ship (enjoying fine foods and fine entertainment) like a free man when I'm not working?
    5) I can't find anything about average trip lengths as a junior officer on a cruise ship, I'd assume 12weeks/8weeks but sure I could be wrong, what are your experiences?
    6) When my girlfriend says "I'll be happy if you're happy" does it mean she's definitely not gonna be happy when I go ahead and sign a contract? :P

    I thank any answerers in advance!

  • #2
    Hi, I've approved this for now, but these questions don't really come under the heading of "sensitive". Registering takes but a few seconds and gives you full freedom to post in all forums, which lets us keep this section of the forum for the things it was intended for.

    I will answer your questions though, based on my experience:
    1. Yes.
    2. You will be assisting, not being assisted. You will be allowed "off the leash" when they trust you.
    3. Yes.
    4. Pax area privileges are a) earned and b) at the discretion of your boss, generally speaking, you might be allowed to go to the bar, in uniform. Restaurant eating will be occasional and you will be entertaining passengers.
    5. 4 on, 2 off. (months)
    6. If you don't trust your girlfriend to tell you the truth about how she feels, then you're gonna have issues, if you don't know the answer to that how the heck is anyone else supposed to? Not all women are the same, please don't treat us as though we are.

    Size4riggerboots

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    • #3
      The answers vary between cruise line, when I worked for Holland America some engineers did watches, others were on day work. They had a clear cut policy for passenger areas, so you could enjoy most of it as long as it wasn't to the detriment of the passengers enjoyment. You could use certain pools in port. But to be honest the officers bar is more fun then the pax bar, and going ashore is more fun then the pax pool etc.
      Trip lengths vary, Royal Carribean do 10 weeks on/10 weeks off I believe. Most cruise lines will allow you to bring your spouse or girl friend.

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      • #4
        Some cruise companies do some unusual watch patterns.

        Some do 6 on 18 off (with daywork as well obviously), Others have 1 5 hour watch and 1 3 hour watch with varying length of rest hours. Others do 8 on 16 off.

        Also most cruise ships are duel watchkeeping in the bridge and engine room so there are always 2 officers on the bridge and 2 in the control room/engine room.

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        • #5
          Personally I was in a similar situation to yourself. Worked offshore for cadetship (longest trip was 5 weeks) and early as a junior then moved to cruise ships so I'll do my best ;

          1. For junior watch keepers you'll be on a variation of 4/8 or 6/12 etc. Possibly day work if you are new.
          2. As the junior you will be in the ECR with a senior who can obviously help you out. Dual watch keeping is on most major cruise ships nowadays.
          3. If you pre-arrange SIM cards and stuff before your onboard you can actually do it very easily. I was paying ?25 a month for 2GB of roaming data on my phone which was plenty for whatsapp and viber etc.
          4. My last ship as a 3rd there was only 1 bar I couldn't go to. The novelty wears off quite quickly of going to passenger areas.
          5. My contract states 12 weeks on 6 weeks off but at the moment due to a lot of officers we are doing more like 12/8 .

          6.......
          I don't know how long you and your girlfriend have been together and what not and so forth but the main reason I broke up with my long term girlfriend was due to the distance. We talked about it before and it seemed to be OK but then 5 months down the line not so much.
          However I have had a few girlfriends onboard , which helps take your mind off things. If you care about a serious relationship at home ... personally I would advise against it. It's just not feasible... unfortunately.

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