As you find your first job onboard ships, be prepared to follow a lot of rules. The rules aren't especially difficult to follow, but they should be known. If you stray from the rules you will be fired.
After several years working on ships I have seen a fair amount of people stray. Alcohol is almost always involved, no surprises there. So without further ado:
1.Sleeping with cones or "Coning". For anyone not in the know, a cone is slang for a passenger and they do like to sleep with the crew, especially the social and entertainment staff. If the higher ups find out you can expect to be given the boot within the week.
I have personally noticed it happen at least monthly. E.g. Making out with a cone during a gay cruise, middle of the day, lido deck: fired. In the bathroom near the disco trying to perform like a rock-star after an evening of whiskey drinks: fired. Meeting up with a cone off the ship at a bar: harder to get caught, but fired indeed.
This trend is what brings to mind the phrase spoken to our staff by a cruise director, “touch, but don't touch to much.” The moral of this story, it better be real good because it is going to cost you your job.
2.Urinating anywhere in a public area. For some reason security and the bridge officers look down on crew being drunk in public places if they're urinating in the corner of the late night disco at the same time. What a bunch of tightwads.
3.Calling the captain at 4am. It's late at night and the last cabin party just fizzled out, but you want to bring the party somewhere else so what do you do? If you plan on jump starting the fun, make sure you have the correct phone number and more importantly steady your drunken hands enough to dial it right or you may accidentally call the captain. Yes, it has happened.
But in this event, it also isn't recommended that you tell the captain to “F*** off” right before you hang up. Have fun explaining that one to mom and dad.
4. Drug mule. Crew from countries rich and poor have been caught for this time and time again; Trying to smuggle someone else's drugs into another country to score a few extra bucks. This happens a lot more than cruise ships would like to admit.
When they catch you, you will be shoved into the local penal system of that particular port of call. Or perhaps a better wording is that the local government will shove their penal system into you as they turn you into an example of why others better not think about smuggling across these borders.
Have fun spending 5-10 years in a caribbean prison, fool. If you want more info check out this awesome show Locked Up Abroad.
5. Random alcohol tests. That's right, ships do have “random” alcohol tests to ensure enough of the crew is sober in the event of an emergency. Yeah right.
As a crew member we also know full well that if an emergency does happen it better not be at night when two thirds of the crew is drowning in booze.
You're only hope for survival would be to use our bloated livers as a flotation device if the ship went down.
The ships test BAC knowing full well that a typical cruise ship crew members refrigerator look like this. Keep in mind the water bottles are full of booze, typically Vodka, smuggled onboard at one of the various ports of call hidden either rectally or inside of a backpack.
They typically do crew breath tests in the morning so last nights buzz should have pissed its way out of your system. If you show up at 10am and STILL blow over, then you really deserve a reward, not a new job. Although depending on how that particular contract has been, they could be one in the same.
Random Alcohol checks are common every couple months and usually one or two people get fired after each one. Hopefully it isn't after a crew party. Good luck.
6. Telling off the wrong officer. Officers have an unfortunately large amount of swagger onboard ships. This is why the underlings need to keep to themselves and let the officers on the bridge do the same.
If you decide you also like to “hang out” with that hot waitress who is shacked up with a 3 striper, than consider your days numbered. All it takes is pissing on the wrong guys shoes before someone “coincidentally” calls you into the infirmary for a “random” alcohol test. The odds are good he was counting your drinks from the security cameras the night before.
“How come no one else is here?” you will think as you blow a .13. Although, by then It doesn't really matter because you are fired faster than the nightwatch on the Titanic.
7. Being naked in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is always a sticky situation when you come back from Acapulco in the evening to nap off the afternoons buzz but instead of napping you decide to keep drinking. Next thing you know, all aboard rolls around, you're drunk and next to the gangway and you're clothes are no where to be found.
Hopefully you find them before they send your ass home at the next port of call.
8. Stealing. Of course this is one of the lamest ways of getting fired. In fact if you get fired for stealing please do your ego a favor and pick any one of the nine other reasons and tell your friends and family that made up story instead.
If you are stealing money, then you will certainly get caught. Ships don't make enough and you're not important enough.
9. Insensitivity towards other crew members. This is one of the more interesting ones to watch rather than be a part of. For example when a douche-bag officer has been drinking a few pints and likes to talk trash about other people, he then finds himself confronted with said person.
Now he is passing out insults including calling that German concierge a Nazi. We had no real reason to think he is actually a Nazi, even though he can be a bit strict about his job at times. So long story short douche-bag gets fired, and truth be told, the German is actually not a Nazi.
That's what happens when you hire immature fools, as most ships seem to have their fair share.
10. Missing all aboard. This can happen to anyone especially in the caribbean after 8 or 9 mojitos. The ship leaving port is a not to be missed event. Especially if you're to be working that night.
Not only will it cost you a few pretty pennies to get to the next port of call, but you have then to pay for your transportation home. That totally sucks when you were just celebrating your upcoming month long break. They will understand, right?
A lot of these rules are also very much subject to who you are, how much the other more-important people like you and subject to the captains review. For example, if a well liked 1st officer did one of these he might be slapped on the wrist but a not so liked musician will be fired at the next port. Even if that port is Nasty Nicaragua. Thems is the politics onboard ships.
And fortunately for you, future cruise ship employees, you have not to worry about being fired because even though they might take you away from a certain vessel or cruise line, you can expect to get hired by any other cruise line out there.
You see, now that you have experience onboard, you can basically get a job on any other line because people who hire cruise ship crew know the drill and all they want is someone to fill a certain hole... I mean fill a certain role onboard. Which is regardless of your debached past.
So go ahead, get drunk and do whatever you want to whomever you want because cruise ships have a lot of positions to fill and it will give you a good story to tell the bastard children you don't yet know you have.
The world is too amazing not to share.