Can you really find love while working on a cruise ship?
Yes. In my opinion you can. I did.
There are a lot of people on ships who don’t want anything that lasts longer than this week’s clean sheets. But also, if you work on a ship, you have so much in common with everyone there already that it is more likely there will be someone you might end up head over heels for.
Just think about it. Why are you working on a ship?
To travel? To save money? For the adventure of it? To meet new people from all over the world? To be paid for your particular craft? (This applies more to certain jobs than others).
Your answer is probably a mix of all of these in varying percentages from person to person. Well, guess what? That means that everyone on a ship has at least one of these traits in common.
You also all have something else in common. You are there. On a ship. You made it. You got the courage up to apply for a job that would take you all over the world depositing you in a situation where you know no one and you have to just get on with it and thrive.
So everyone who works on a ship is pretty adventurous and at least a bit fearless. Also, you had to jump through a ton of hoops with job applications, visas, medicals etc. to get here too, so everyone here is also determined and at least a bit proactive/ambitious.
Think about the people you might meet at a party or a bar in the ‘real world’. Just imagine a place in your hometown where you may meet potential beaus. And think, what percentage of the people there has those traits, like you do? Not too many, I guess. And how many people on a ship have them? Everyone. So in my opinion, finding love on a ship is more likely to happen than not, (if you’re open to it and you’re not continually following bad paths)
Yes, there will be people from all over the world there, and that means different cultures to factor in. That’s all part of the fun!
I’m pretty much a serial monogamist. I have been my whole adult life. Since I’ve been on ships since 2005, I’ve had three relationships: one for three years, one for four, and now with my husband for three so far, and not very much else. I’m not saying that’s the way to be, or that anyone should aspire to that, or to look for their life partner on a ship now, or that they’ll be there. All I’m saying is, despite the huge amounts of bad stories that happen on ships about love and lust etc. it isn’t all bad. Real love can happen, if you want it.
Here are some of my top tips to sifting the wheat from the chaff, and how to find out if someone’s intentions are genuine or not, if you are looking for something more meaningful. These tips are mostly common sense and mostly work in the ‘real world’ too, but can be useful reminders for on ships.
This is the second article in my four part series about love on a ship. To read the rest please click below:
1/ Don’t get too eager on your first day
You will likely get a lot of attention on your first week on a new ship. If you want something that lasts, don’t let the attention go to your head, and take your time to decide if you genuinely like the person or are just flattered.
There’s a term on ships “fresh meat”. This refers to Turnaround Day when new crew joins the ship, and there are new pickings to ogle over. This is when anyone new and cute gets onboard, and the hyenas start to circle and find out their deal. If they are very cute, there can be people competing to get closer to the new person.
A blatant example of this comes from when new casts join a ship. (Again, I’m not saying everyone does this). But the first show night, the audience will be lined with black and white and stripes with a lot of officers showing “support” for their first show. This of course, has nothing to do with the lithe toned bodies of the dancers and singers performing, and is completely just because they enjoy musical theatre numbers so much.
2/ Do ask and people usually do tell
One of the things ships has the worst reputation for, and sadly justifiably so, is for people (both men and women), “forgetting” that they are married while they are onboard. This is by no means everyone. I know many, many happily married ship couples that are faithful, but the percentage that strays can be pretty high.
Many ship workers, of different nationalities and ranks, from housekeeping attendants to high-level officers, work on ships for many months at a time and have a wife or husband at home, back in the “real world”. And they get lonely. Aw, poor things. And they decide that being on another continent means it is OK to accidently fall down on top of another person repeatedly for months while they are away. If you don’t want to get involved with someone who does that; what you do is ask.
Something I learned on my first ship is that many of these married people have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. This means, they assume if anyone they are chatting up doesn’t ask if they are married, then it means that they don’t want to know. So they don’t tell them that they are. Then they are in “ignorant bliss” and happy. There are people in this situation who often do know this, but if they haven’t directly asked, then they can deny all culpability later. So this strategy can work for both sides.
3/ Take Your Time
Time passes differently on ships, and romantic relationships (and friendships) usually develop much faster than they do organically on land. This is due to the fast paced, and intense nature of ship life. When you start dating someone on land, typically, you might meet up with them maybe once a week or so, and gradually increase that amount after a couple of months as it gradually gets a bit more serious. Moving in with someone on land might happen after at least a year of dating. Ships are very different. You don’t see each other once a week. It will likely be at least once a day. Even without the added time of actually working with them, you might meet them for meals three times in the same day, and then grab a drink with them after work. So things move quickly. “Moving in” with someone – into their or your, cabin, (whichever cabin is better) – within two weeks is completely commonplace. Just remember that you don’t need things to move that fast. And you certainly don’t need to start things faster than you’re comfortable with. “Just because there’s a bed just around the corner, doesn’t mean you need to use it straight away” advises one of my ship friends who is in a committed relationship, with their ship other half, who he’s moving in with right after this contract.
4/ Spend time just the two of you
One of the best – but also worst, when it comes to starting a new relationship – things about ships, is how social they are. You wont be lonely, as often you end up on the ship being in the bar with a group, going to dinner is a family affair, and going out to port can involve little troupes of 6 or more people together. However, when you’re trying to figure out if someone is more than a friend, you need to get them on their own to figure this stuff out. So ditch the posse and deliberately carve out time just the two of you, so you can learn about how you actually connect.
5/ Spend time ashore together
To know if something is going to be a real relationship rather than a fling, and to evolve into a couple, spend time doing things ashore together. Find shared interests like trying local food, hiking, sampling wine, roller-coasters, snorkeling, whatever. Just spend time doing something off the ship with the person, and you’ll get to know them a whole lot better. You’ll learn fi you like the same things, or if you like different things, that you can share with each other and teach each other about. Most people who work on ships are there in at least part, for the travel aspect, so experiencing new places together is a great way to bond.
6/ Do something ‘boring’ together
Courting on a ship can be very romantic. Your first date might be in Venice or Paris or Bora Bora. It is pretty hard to top that. So it is very easy to get carried away with the romance of it all. You’ll learn this more when you’re on vacation together, but while on the ship you can have a taste of what ‘real life’ would be like with someone by doing more mundane things like doing your laundry together, helping the other person pack, or make a Christmas present shopping list etc. You can also spend a day out in port just going to Wal-Mart to buy shampoo and toothpaste or sitting in a coffee shop using the Wi-Fi, so you know you still enjoy the person’s company outside of the starry-eyed magical locales.
7/ Spend time on land between contracts together
This is an extension of number 6. This is when you’ll find out if you’re really compatible, by having some time in the ‘real world’ together. I mean, if you still work on ships, and you’re there most of the time, you won’t be really experiencing full domestic drudgery or bliss, like people who live there full time do. But you will be doing things like buying groceries, cooking together, cleaning your own toilet etc., which you might not have to do on the ship. So it’ll bring things to a real level and you’ll find out if it is still as exciting.
8/ Meet the family
My now husband Nick, told me he knew he wanted to propose to me about four months after we started dating. But before he did that, he wanted us to meet each other’s families. He wanted to do this so we could see where we had both came from, what kind of upbringing we had, and learn more about each other’s values and what we’d each be getting into in-law wise and how well we got on with everyone, before going further.
While I still would have loved to have been proposed to by him after only four months – as I knew already then that he was my one and I would have said yes – I realize that this was a very smart move on his part. Having a relationship that lasts long term, on ships or on land, can be greatly impacted by each other’s family, how we get on with each other’s, and seeing the person with their own family too. A big thing I learned from this that Skyping can’t fully do justice to, is learning what each other’s family’s main values are – what our opinions on the big things are. I personally hadn’t really thought about how important this aspect was before. However, Nick was being wise and checking about our long-term compatibility, and luckily, we agree on all the big things. We were actually brought up in similar ways with many main values, and have the same attitudes on things like love, family, career, money, and responsibility.
Basically, there are wonderful people working on ship – you’re there aren’t you? So why wouldn’t you think someone perfect for you would be there too?
My point is; just keep an open mind to the possibility of ship love. If you’re just looking for just casual fun, enjoy! It is an international buffet of totty out there! (But be wary of people who are attached). If you’re looking for something more, hopefully this helps a little.
Do you have any more tips to add to this? Did you find love on a ship? Do you want to share a story of yours?
If so, please leave any comments below, thank you
This is the second article in my four part series about love on a ship. To read the rest please click below: