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Is there a high turnover among deck officers in the cruise industry?

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  • Is there a high turnover among deck officers in the cruise industry?

    Hi all,


    I'm just a curious outsider. I am a senior first officer in the airline industry, and got talking to a couple of deck officers on a well-known cruise ship recently. Although different modes of transport, it seems we have quite similar lives in many ways.


    Anyway, my question is this. Is there a high turnover among deck officers in the cruise industry? The young officers in question were being very professional, but reading between the lines, they both seemed rather disillusioned with the job.


    I wondered whether a decline in Ts & Cs meant dissatisfaction is prevalent among deck officers on the big cruise liners these days? Or perhaps my anecdotal experience is not representative of most.

  • #2
    I was Cabin Crew for a time before going to sea. The industries are very similar and attract similar types of people.

    I can't speak for cruise ship guys now as I made the move to ferries a few years ago, but I don't think there was any great crisis of morale. People come and go and those who go are often, like me, looking for something that doesn't involve going away for three months at a time. There are plenty of people who love cruise ships. The money's reasonable and the lifestyle good. The work for junior officers is not too taxing.

    There hasn't been any major decline in Ts and Cs, just the introduction of a new pay structure for one of the major companies which moves officers through bands based on demonstrated competences.

    Without identifying the officers or the ship, what were they disillusioned with? I'm curious.


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    Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at christopher.doyle@officercadet.com.

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    • #3
      I would say that the turn over is probably lower these days than it was around 10 years ago - not because the general level of satisfaction has increased, quite the opposite actually, but the opportunities available have reduced.

      Terms and conditions have remained relatively stagnant and the companies have weighted the pay scales to discourage people from leaving - after you have a decades seniority in most cruise lines it is simply not financially motivating to move.
      Cruise ship Captain with experience on-board Passenger Vessels ranging from 5500-150000 GRT.

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      • #4
        I don't have recent experience, but almost everyone I worked with on cruise ships and everyone I studied with as a cadet who worked on cruise ships has moved onto other careers.
        For a sustainable family life, the salaries and conditions are below what is achievable elsewhere in the maritime industry seagoing and ashore. Also, I'm sure that those working on cruise ships probably have a higher rate of divorce due to the many opportunities to stray. Promotion onboard cruise ships, particularly to command can be very slow going.
        The friends that I do have who still work on cruise ships complain the constant flow of 'inexperienced officers' that they have to mentor and train. Its unlikely to see a career 2nd/1st officer on cruise ships, however in other areas of the industry you may find guys with 20 years of experience choosing to work as a professional 2/O or 1/O for a variety of reasons.

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        • #5
          I think the cruise industry and individual companies within it go through cycles.

          My current employer presently has pretty good retention rates, mostly because we have a bit of a fleet expansion going on and junior officers can see opportunities for promotion if they stay. Factors like the condition of the vessels, the nationality spread of the officers, the atmosphere onboard individual vessels and in the company as a whole, as well as obvious ones like salary and paid study leave are huge factors.
          Go out, do stuff

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          • #6
            I would echo what CharlieDelta says, most leave cruise ships for a more attractive work/home balance.

            I have been on cruise ships for 3 years and I do enjoy the job. The money is good , the work isn't hard and the rotation is time for time.

            However, time for time 12 weeks per trip is too much... hence why I'm looking for something more short term shortly.

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            • #7
              Thanks for all your replies. I read your comments with interest.


              Without identifying the officers or the ship, what were they disillusioned with? I'm curious.
              Various recent restrictions that were put in place which curtailed their lifestyle/freedom onboard slightly.


              However, time for time 12 weeks per trip is too much
              That is a long time. Not many women are going to sit on their tails for 12 weeks waiting at home.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Lenticular View Post
                Thanks for all your replies. I read your comments with interest.

                That is a long time. Not many women are going to sit on their tails for 12 weeks waiting at home.
                Do you have some kind of death wish? There are more that are working 12 weeks away at a time and often longer. What makes you think it's women at home and not men?

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                • #9
                  And what makes you think that 12 weeks away is a long time? I don't know, kids these days...
                  io parlo morse

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                  • #10
                    I brought crisps this time Midge!


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Inland Pirate View Post
                      I brought crisps this time Midge!


                      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                      ohh thank you.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lenticular View Post

                        That is a long time. Not many women are going to sit on their tails for 12 weeks waiting at home.
                        I spent 4 years working 4 months on 2 off. My boyfriend somehow managed to not shag the entirety (or any!) of Swindon, and he kept himself occupied with this thing he has called a "job", and friends very kindly provided him with a social life... crazy stuff I know, if the roles were reversed, I would of course not have been able to cope and would have run off with the postman after 2 weeks.

                        *Wags her tail*

                        Size4riggerboots

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                        • #13
                          I was waiting for that s4!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by size4riggerboots View Post
                            I spent 4 years working 4 months on 2 off. My boyfriend somehow managed to not shag the entirety (or any!) of Swindon, and he kept himself occupied with this thing he has called a "job", and friends very kindly provided him with a social life... crazy stuff I know, if the roles were reversed, I would of course not have been able to cope and would have run off with the postman after 2 weeks.

                            *Wags her tail*
                            Nice trolling!

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                            • #15
                              popcorn.jpg
                              io parlo morse

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