One of the most common questions cruise ship job applicants have is what the crew cabins and facilities like onboard a cruise ship. Find out where the cabins are located and what to expect from your home away from home. Learn where the crew eat and where they can spend their free time onboard.
Location of Crew and Officer Cabins
There is a misconception that all crew and officers live below the water line. The fact is that there are crew accommodations throughout almost all the decks of the ship. It is true that the lowest ranking crew have their cabins on deck two and three below the water line, here is where else they live.
Some departments have their officers on decks that are close to where they work. For example, most engineer officers will have their cabins on the same deck as the engine control room which is located around deck four. This deck is just above the water line and many junior engine officers will typically have a porthole.
There are many cabins located on that particular deck because the whole deck is a crew only area. Typically that deck (usually deck 4) houses all provisions, food prep areas, the crew mess, crew office, and a corridor that goes from one end of the ship to the other.
Comparatively, most deck officers will have their cabins close to the bridge at the forward part of the ship. On many cruise ships, the forward part of deck 5 and deck 6 are also officer cabin areas with the outside cabins occupied by senior officers.
Layout of Crew and Officer Cabins
With every new ship built, cruise lines are taking the comfort of their crew into consideration. For example on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas there are more single cabins for crew compared to other cruise ships (see video of at single cabin on Oasis of the Seas, last video on this page.) Note that this type of single cabin shares a bathroom with their next door neighbour. Here are the other types of crew and officer cabins that you can expect on a cruise ship:
Captain’s Cabin – This cabin is the biggest and best cabin out of all the officer’s cabins, obviously. But, the size and amenities of the Captain’s cabin varies from cruise line to cruise line and from ship to ship. Some of the largest Captain’s cabins feature a separate bedroom, a living room, dining room, bathroom with bathtub, and an office. He also has access to his own pantry and his own conference room.
Senior Officer Cabin – This type of cabin also varies from ship to ship, but is considered the best after the Captain’s cabin. They usually have a separate bedroom, a living room and a bathroom with a bathtub. Their office is typically located within their department rather than close to their cabin.
Junior Officer Cabin – Depending on the cruise line will determine if you are considered a junior officer and thereby get a better cabin than other crew. These types of cabins may also be given to staff holding a managerial position. A junior officer cabin is a single cabin where you don’t have to share your room or your bathroom. It may or may not have a porthole or window, depending on rank.
Deluxe Crew Cabin – This type of cabin is where two crew members share a cabin, typically with bunk beds. They also share a bathroom with each other. These types of cabins are small and don’t have a porthole or a window.
Amenities in the Crew Accommodation
Depending on how new the cruise ship is will determine how well the cabin is set up and how new the amenities are inside the cabin. Typically each cabin has one TV. Sometimes, you may get lucky that a previous crew member has left behind a DVD player or a stereo. There is always a mini fridge to be shared with your cabin mates.
The bathrooms are small in even the largest of cabins. There isn’t a lot of space to put toiletries especially if you have to share the space. There is a single wardrobe for each crew member and the space to keep your empty luggage comes down to creativity. There may be space under a bed or above a wardrobe.
Where Crew Eat On Board Cruise Ships
Where you will eat will also depend on your cruise job which is categorized by rank. Lowest ranking crew have only one option, the crew mess. The crew mess is a cafeteria style setting. There are TVs and some crew like to bring their laptops there because there is typically a WiFi signal there.
On large ships there is a Staff Mess which is offered for people that work for one of the onboard concessions such as spa, the gift shops and the photographers. The Staff Mess is typically a mini-crew mess.
There is also an Officer’s Mess onboard each cruise ship. Depending on what the cruise line considers an officer will determine who is allowed to eat there. This is a sit down service where officers are given a menu that they me choose their meal off of.
Officers and some crew members are also allowed to eat in the passengers’ buffet restaurant. Most crew are also permitted to eat in the specialty restaurants on the ship. Generally, they must pay the price that the passengers pay and they may need approval from their head of department for this occasion.
Crew Facilities on a Cruise Ship
Depending on the cruise ship, there are also a range of crew facilities (usually the bigger and newer the ship, the better the facilities). Most cruise ships have at least a crew recreation area that can be used as a crew internet area and a disco in the evening hours. On bigger ships, these facilities are separated into three separate areas. These spaces are equipped with table games, board games, library of books and DVDs and comfortable sitting areas.
Other facilities for crew include a number of crew and officer launderettes, a crew gym, and a crew store. Officers and some crew members are also permitted to use the passenger gym facilities. More and more cruise ships are making all crew cabins wireless (need to purchase prepaid internet card).
Videos of Cruise Ship Crew Accommodations
Princess Cruises: Crew cabin on board Golden Princess
Carnival Cruise Lines: Crew Cabin on Carnival Dream
Norwegian Cruise Lines: Officer Cabin on Norwegian Jewel
Royal Caribbean: Crew Areas on Voyager of the Seas
Royal Caribbean: Crew Cabin on Oasis of the Seas