Your average cruise ship can have hundreds to thousands of crew members on board. While it's obvious that they must have their own bunks, passengers may not realize that crew members have an entire ecosystem hidden belowdecks.
Crew members have to be physically fit to meet the demands of the job, and staff must be physically presentable as they're in the hospitality industry. They need to blow off steam between shifts, and eat, and drink, and party. Mingling with guests is a no-no, so crew members have separate gyms, hair salons, laundromats, restaurants, bars, clubs, jacuzzis, swimming pools and more. The quality of these differs from ship to ship, and we'll take a look at a range of them here.
Not just a dining area, but the after-shift hangout spot where crew members can watch sporting events on the TV. And Thakkar provides this poignant bit of information: "One of the best times to eat in the mess is at midnight, it is when food not used in the guest dining rooms head on down to the crew," i.e. the fancy desserts that guests have taken a pass on.
The social hotspot for crew members, it opens every night and gets "really busy" around 9 or 10pm, Thakkar writes. And drinks here cost a lot less than they do abovedecks: "Prices are very cheap, I'm not going to tell you how much because it is so cheap you won't like it!"
"You might have wondered what that area is with the jacuzzis or small pool down below near the ship's bow. This is an area where the crew can head on out for some fresh air. When off-duty they can relax in the pools as much as they want and enjoy the stunning ocean views."
You'll notice there are no shots of sleeping quarters. I couldn't find any on the site, but I did find this YouTube video of a crew or staff member on an unnamed ship giving a tour of her room. It's pretty dang tight:
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Depending on the cruise line, facilities can get a lot swankier, as we'll see next.
Crew Center is a website run by ex-crew members who share experiences and offer helpful tips to newbies. On their Crew Facilities section, they feature photographs from different ships to give you a sense of the range. For instance, check out the facilities on a Celebrity Cruises Edge Class ship: