Until we went on a Thompson’s cruise I hadn’t realised how complex the running of a cruise ship is. I was privileged to be allowed to interview all the staff and I was amazed at everything that they told me.
Celebration & Rules 126 (Small)The staff is divided into two distinct groups; the hotel staff and the crew. They can all work an average of 16 hours a day. They have a strict fitness regime, and are only allowed one unit of alcohol a day.
The Entertainers, Show Team, Musicians and Sound Engineers are part of the crew. Once recruited they are trained by a specialist agency for months. Apart from learning about 12 different shows, they have to do other tasks like checking arrivals, departures and tickets on coaches. They take several courses, including Sea Survival, Crowd Management, Personal Responsibilities, and Safety.
They can lower and start lifeboats.
There’s a full crew drill weekly, usually when most of the passengers are away on a day trip. An incident is simulated, like an oil spill, a collision, a fire, a bomb scare, piracy or a terrorist attack.
Celebration & Rules 077 (Small)The Entertainments Manager is responsible for all announcements in an emergency, under the Captain’s instruction.
The Welfare and Social Host/Hostess has two jobs. They deal with accidents, taking people to hospital, staying with them and arranging flights home if necessary. They contact the family in the UK and sort out the insurance and any paperwork.
If an emergency happens at home, they arrange flights, etc. through the Cruise Company in the UK.
They also write birthday cards – almost a full-time job on its own! – and arrange Champagne or flowers in the cabin, plus birthday cakes, Solos meetings, coffee mornings, and everything for the following week.
It’s a very involved, non-stop job!
There are usually two Captains per cruise ship; one on duty and one on leave. The Captain really does play an important role in the smooth running of the ship. He creates the atmosphere amongst the crew, which is passed on to the passengers.
Celebration & Rules 068 (Small)The Captain’s family are allowed to visit and stay with him. The ship is his 2nd home.
Cleaning and catering are handled by the hotel staff.
Most chefs and waiting staff are recruited from the Philippines.
Around 59 chefs work in shifts in the huge kitchen. Food is available 24/7.
The kitchen is busy through the night. There’s the Night Baker, the Pastry Chef, room service, plus breakfast to get ready for the following morning.
On an average cruise ship, meals have to be prepared for around 1300 passengers and 500 crew several times a day. The chefs can be away from home for 8 months at a time, with two months off.
All the chefs seem to be happy, singing and joking while they work. And there’s not an F-word to be heard!
It’s a great relief to know that we can relax, unwind and enjoy ourselves at sea without any worries. That’s why we go on a British cruise, isn’t it?

About Lyn

LYN FUNNELL CV (well, sort of!) Lyn had very successful careers as an Air Hostess, Sales Rep, (she was one of only a couple of women. She beat all the men regularly, becoming the Top Rep in the UK, and 2nd in the world.) And then Catering took over. She did everything from the washing-up, to Silver Service Waitress, and Chef. A few times, she had to cook the meal, dash round the other side and Silver Serve it! In between all this, she wrote as often as she could, building up a reputation as a published short story writer, (Horror and a twist in the tale,) and a Poet. She has appeared as a Performing Poet, and a Demo Chef. Then she discovered the world of the Food & Travel Writer. And that’s what she has continued doing to this day. Her main hobbies are Cookery and entering Competitions. She has won many prizes, including holidays and a moped. She enjoys entering Competitions, submitting her original recipes. She was first in many Competitions, including the Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu, Fruits of France, Bernard Matthews Turkey Recipe, and appeared on BBC’s The One Show Spag Bol contest. She was one of three Finalists, coming 2nd, which makes her Britain’s Spag Bol Queen! Now she runs B-C-ing-U! and loves it! After several years of being messed around by Editors, and having loads of contacts, Lyn formed her own online Magazine, vowing to treat her writers fairly, and to do everything possible to further their careers, publicise their books, etc. She now has a band of excellent regular writers, and the Magazine’s going from strength to strength! Lyn’s online published books; Adverse Camber A collection of my published poems. The First Book of Short Stories The Second Book of Short Stories The Third Book of Short Stories. Many of these stories have been previously published. St Anthony of Padua. The Patron St of the Old. A story of one woman’s terrible ordeal in a Home, and her family’s rescue of her. The Girl Who Watched. A Cuban girl is attacked by an English journalist & what follows! Willy the Whizz & the Wormhole. Suitable for Young Adults, aged 15-95! Get Out Of Debt And Stay Out – Forever! Unsympathetic, hard-hitting, realistic solutions to your problems. All these books are published by Andrews UK Ltd www.andrewsuk.com No, I didn’t pay them to Vanity Publish! They’re all available from Amazon, and many other online publishers. LYN FUNNELL.