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First time working on Cruise ship, any advice?

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  • First time working on Cruise ship, any advice?

    So I passed my EOOW at the end of March, got my book and certificate 3 weeks later. I applied for a job with TUI and have recently been offered a place as 4th engineer on one of their cruise ships in the Marella fleet after completing an interview with them, which is great news! But I must admit I am really nervous as this is the first time working on a cruise ship.

    I did my cadetship on deep sea bulk vessels with Premuda, which was fun, but I didn't have the best learning experience as I was the only English person onboard and the rest were Filipino. Therefore they were always communicating to each other in their language. I also did UMS work when I was onboard with roughly 2 weeks of actual Duty experience. From what people have told me so far I've learnt that I will visit some nice places and meet some nice girls, which is also brilliant, but at the moment I am worried about the actual job as it will be very different from what I have previously experienced.

    So if anyone has any advice or tips for me (literally anything) it would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Don’t worry, as a fourth engineer you’ll have very little responsibility and won’t be expected to walk in and understand much. You’ll learn a lot, that’s for sure. As a fourth you’re likely to be always working with a third either on watch or potentially doing day work with a first engineer and third engineer; these are the guys that do diesel work etc.

    If youre watchkeeping (I’ve never known a fourth to do that) then you’ll basically be wandering the machinery spaces with a radio and reacting to anything your second wants you to... this won’t be fixing things as such. The most I had to respond to on watch was things like resetting purifiers, running up freshwater generators and maybe standing by an engine whilst it was starting to do visual checks. You most likely won’t do anything in the ECR as it’s the second who will do watchkeeping there. If you’re on 4-8 watch you’ll almost always be on manoeuvres both day and night as it’s when the ship enters and leaves port apart from sea days of course. Emergency drills are big and often complexed with smoke machines, several BA sentries and very serious observation from the staff chief engineer.

    Your engine team will likely be a mix of South Americans, Eastern Europeans, Italians and Croatians... there may be other Brits. The motormen etc will be Filipino. The motormen are vast in number and have a large rank structure on cruises, but if you’re working watches you’ll get to know 4 or 5 and they’re usually great to work with.

    Social life wise you can do as much or little as you like. Officially, on RCL brands like TUI, there is no drinking onboard as you’re not allowed to drink within 8 hours of your watch starting. But I’m sure if it’s like RCL it’s not strict unless you’re stupid. I spent evenings after 4-8 having some beers with other engineers on the focsle, in the Caribbean heat. Different departments have little to do with each other and it’s quite an anonymous life, unless you force yourself to become friends with entertainers etc. Your cabin will 95% likely be a solo cabin with a 1.5 size bed, usually fairly basic with only what you need. Your Wi-fi will be paid, but usually it’s reasonable especially when they do special offers for crew... it’s normally prepaid by the MB ($5 for 250mb for example) but sometimes you’ll get offers like $20 for unlimited weekend browsing Friday to Sunday. If you’re on Three network you’ll get free signa in more ports than if you’re not. Generally you’re not entitled to much onboard u less you’re three gold stripes and above, these guys can get room service etc. You’ll be able to use passenger facilities after 6pm in full uniform, and restaurants carry small charges usually and are subject to availability. Before 6pm is usually casual uniform but same with restaurants. You won’t be allowed in swimming pools or jacuzzis. Getting off the ship is dependent on how lucky you are with your watch hours, if you’re holding seagoing watches then every 3 odd weeks you swap watch from 4-8 to 8-12 etc. If your free time falls in port time then you can get off and enjoy yourself so long as there isn’t a drill planned. Expect a lot of training onboard in the form of power points which you have to attend with other new crewmembers. There will be a good tuck shop onboard for all of your toiletries and snacks/drinks. You’ll probably have a cashless card for purchases, you put money on it using a vending machine. Drink prices were around $1.50 for a corona. Having a nice meal in a nice restaurant was something like $5-10 for 3 courses. Crew food is massively varied across a buffet, and you’re likely not to have an officer’s mess.

    That is all I can think of, good luck, hope you enjoy it!

    Comment


    • #3
      I was in the same boat as you a few years ago, had a ten day handover and that was it. It will be a shock to the system, just don't drink/party too much at the start and you'll do great!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by agibbs98 View Post
        Don’t worry, as a fourth engineer you’ll have very little responsibility and won’t be expected to walk in and understand much. You’ll learn a lot, that’s for sure. As a fourth you’re likely to be always working with a third either on watch or potentially doing day work with a first engineer and third engineer; these are the guys that do diesel work etc.

        If youre watchkeeping (I’ve never known a fourth to do that) then you’ll basically be wandering the machinery spaces with a radio and reacting to anything your second wants you to... this won’t be fixing things as such. The most I had to respond to on watch was things like resetting purifiers, running up freshwater generators and maybe standing by an engine whilst it was starting to do visual checks. You most likely won’t do anything in the ECR as it’s the second who will do watchkeeping there. If you’re on 4-8 watch you’ll almost always be on manoeuvres both day and night as it’s when the ship enters and leaves port apart from sea days of course. Emergency drills are big and often complexed with smoke machines, several BA sentries and very serious observation from the staff chief engineer.

        Your engine team will likely be a mix of South Americans, Eastern Europeans, Italians and Croatians... there may be other Brits. The motormen etc will be Filipino. The motormen are vast in number and have a large rank structure on cruises, but if you’re working watches you’ll get to know 4 or 5 and they’re usually great to work with.

        Social life wise you can do as much or little as you like. Officially, on RCL brands like TUI, there is no drinking onboard as you’re not allowed to drink within 8 hours of your watch starting. But I’m sure if it’s like RCL it’s not strict unless you’re stupid. I spent evenings after 4-8 having some beers with other engineers on the focsle, in the Caribbean heat. Different departments have little to do with each other and it’s quite an anonymous life, unless you force yourself to become friends with entertainers etc. Your cabin will 95% likely be a solo cabin with a 1.5 size bed, usually fairly basic with only what you need. Your Wi-fi will be paid, but usually it’s reasonable especially when they do special offers for crew... it’s normally prepaid by the MB ($5 for 250mb for example) but sometimes you’ll get offers like $20 for unlimited weekend browsing Friday to Sunday. If you’re on Three network you’ll get free signa in more ports than if you’re not. Generally you’re not entitled to much onboard u less you’re three gold stripes and above, these guys can get room service etc. You’ll be able to use passenger facilities after 6pm in full uniform, and restaurants carry small charges usually and are subject to availability. Before 6pm is usually casual uniform but same with restaurants. You won’t be allowed in swimming pools or jacuzzis. Getting off the ship is dependent on how lucky you are with your watch hours, if you’re holding seagoing watches then every 3 odd weeks you swap watch from 4-8 to 8-12 etc. If your free time falls in port time then you can get off and enjoy yourself so long as there isn’t a drill planned. Expect a lot of training onboard in the form of power points which you have to attend with other new crewmembers. There will be a good tuck shop onboard for all of your toiletries and snacks/drinks. You’ll probably have a cashless card for purchases, you put money on it using a vending machine. Drink prices were around $1.50 for a corona. Having a nice meal in a nice restaurant was something like $5-10 for 3 courses. Crew food is massively varied across a buffet, and you’re likely not to have an officer’s mess.

        That is all I can think of, good luck, hope you enjoy it!
        Thanks a lot mate, really needed the advice. But I must correct you on the drinking policy. After the rebrand from Thompson to Marella they have actually changed the drinking from not being allowed to drink 8 hours before your watch to 4 hours before watch, so therefore I will be allowed a beer or two after my pm watch (I will stay responsible).

        I must say I am now looking forward to working on there, I guess I was over estimating it. As it is my first contract on cruise ships I will be focusing on my job so probably will hardly go ashore anyway. In my previous experience, I've not had internet onboard so this will be amazing to be able to contact family/friends whenever. it is interesting to hear from someone that has experience as an engineer onboard a cruise ship.

        what rank are/were you? if you don't mind me asking.

        Comment


        • #5
          Interesting alcohol policy, brave on their behalf! I was a third with Royal Caribbean on the Oasis class, so the ships were a lot different but the life much the same! Feel free to PM me any questions, I had many many before I joined and most were just annoying little questions to put my mind at ease.

          Comment


          • #6
            From speaking to people who have gone over there, I believe Marella is significantly more "relaxed" than the big operators such as RCL & Carnival.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by EH75 View Post
              From speaking to people who have gone over there, I believe Marella is significantly more "relaxed" than the big operators such as RCL & Carnival.
              Thats great to hear

              Comment

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