I quit my desk job in New York and worked on a cruise ship. Here are the seven things that surprised me the most.

Erica joins a cruise ship

I quit my full-time job in New York City and worked on a cruise ship. Erica DePascale for Insiders

  • I quit my 9-5 job in New York City and worked as an entertainment host on a major cruise line.

  • The first few weeks were overwhelming, but I quickly adapted to my lifestyle.

  • The living quarters are very small and require weekly inspections.

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Growing up, I was often told to “success” in New York City and always believed that it was what I wanted.

So when I graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism in 2014, I Went to new york Then I got a job at a publication that is highly regarded in business.

But my two-hour commute and box-filled cubicle wasn’t attractive at all.I started to get bald on my hair From stress And often indulge in fantasy Travel the world full time, Scrolled through Instagram endlessly and found a way to get paid to become a nomad.

When I learned that cruise ship employees on board were paid daily for traveling and meeting new people, I Major cruise linesI got a job and left New York forever on my first contract: 7 months from Baltimore, Maryland, just 2 hours from my hometown.

I participated in the disappointment, but it is 7 countries after 6 years and 65 countries. What surprised me most at work:

Few Americans work on board

Ship crew

The crew has members from over 150 countries. Erica DePascale for Insiders

I was made “Erica of America“The first day I boarded the ship.

As the only American on a bus full of employees (some have worked on ships for over 20 years) trying to join the contract I stood out like a hot dog At a hamburger party.

Only nine other Americans worked on my first ship, and all subsequent contracts followed the same pattern. The crew comes from more than 150 countries, but only a small percentage of Americans work on board.

Even today, everyone in my life calls me American Erica.

The first week can be incredibly overwhelming and stressful

The entire onboarding process is always intimidating, from presenting all medical paperwork to police officers to first learning what each fire extinguisher does. On the day of my first ship, I was learning how to operate a deadly watertight door.

Safety is the most important thing On a cruise ship.. As a result, all crew members, whether returning from vacation or new hires, receive hours of safety training in the first few weeks in addition to preparing for work.

I cried every day in the bathroom for a whole week. After hours of traveling around the world to join the ship, it’s hard to handle, but in the first few weeks life on board becomes much easier.

The crew cabin is terribly cramped

Cruise ship living space

There is also a weekly cabin inspection. Erica DePascale for Insiders

Cut a large walk-in closet in half and Put two random humans From the different countries out there, I have a wardrobe with enough space on each side to hold just five hangers, and I have a crew cabin.

Despite the fun of having a mini fridge to store food that shouldn’t be left and a flat screen TV that swings up, the shower curtains cling to the butt and the bathroom is very small. So you can take a bath, brush your teeth on the sink, and use the toilet all at once.

Also, don’t forget the mandatory cabin inspection, where staff check the space tidy once a week.

Dating culture is dramatic, but it can also be surprising

I expected to experience a college-like drama on board, but the reality was even more turbulent.

Imagine an adult who is absent for 7-9 months at a time, works very hard, is stressed, but lives an incredibly fascinating life around the world.

Some are married. Some are single. Some are married, but are “single” on the ship. Some are sting operations. Some are really great partners -But most of the time you find a difficult way they aren’t.

There are many tragic events, but there are also many wonderful love stories in the sea.

It wasn’t difficult to adapt to your lifestyle

Erica of Rome

I basically wake up in a different country every day. Erica DePascale for Insiders

working On the boat Not suitable for everyone, and I’ve seen many quit within the first month.

We usually work 8-12 hours a day and have no holidays for 7 months. However, it is easy to see that the crew working on board absolutely love their lifestyle and their behavior. Otherwise you won’t get it done.

As a crew, we wake up in another country almost every day and are more than ten times more thankful for our free moments. Joining such a great group is the most special thing I have ever felt. We have the greatest sense of community and morale.

In addition, there is a three-month vacation between contracts to eat junk food, sleep all day, and catch up with every part of pop culture.

Even after work, the life of the crew is wonderful

Fun ship crew

The crew bar and the party are a lot of fun. Erica DePascale for Insiders

The cruise ship crew is known for parties after work, and let me tell you, we (sometimes) meet that standard.

The staff has a very strict alcohol policy, but the crew bar drinks are cheap The party is so much funTherefore, it is important to learn the level of self-control.

We have an entire staff-only HR team that plans multiple events per week, provides all sorts of support, and organizes crew tours on land.

Dog sledding in Alaska

I took a great port tour and excursion. Erica DePascale for Insiders

Some staff positions like me in entertainment do not work much with guests while docked, so vacations in the harbor are longer than in other positions.

So I was fortunate to have a lot of chances on land Explore the depths of the world Dog sledding in Alaska, running around Petra in Jordan, cave diving in glowworms in New Zealand, I never thought possible.

I completely alone On this trip

Erica in the desert

The life of a ship can be lonely. Erica DePascale for Insiders

I made great family-like friends on board, but after a while I realized I was really alone during this boat trip.

It’s special to be surrounded by hundreds of crew and passengers all the time and to be intimate with everyone you meet, but no one experiences exactly the same as I do.

The crew feels close to being a global citizen, but every time they return from the contract, it becomes difficult to associate with friends and family on land.

I am very lucky to have a family who visited many people.Difficult to explain to someone who has never experienced it Experienced ship life, But it can be lonely while being the most fascinating and fulfilling thing you can choose to do.

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