Being a good crew member is about being good at your job, gaining a good reputation with ship management and the guests. But it is about more than that. It is about fitting in with your workmates and the ship community at large.
Here I give you my tips on how to be a good crew member overall, from the side of treating guests, to getting along with other crew and being a valued part of the ship community.
Be good with guests
I’ll start with some possibly obvious ways to be a good crew member to the guests and gain a good reputation with ship management and guests.
This is probably an obvious one, but greet every guest as you meet him or her. Most cruise lines have a 5/10 rule – when a guest is 10ft away you make eye contact and smile, and at 5 ft. away, you verbally greet them saying good morning etc.
Keep your promises
If a guest asks you something and you say you’ll do it, whether this is getting information for them, or providing a service, do so. Keeping your word shows your integrity.
Always provide the best service you can
I grew up with my dad saying to me:
Always do your best in everything you do. If you always do your best, you can always be proud of yourself.
I’ve always followed this, and this is a good motto on ships. Every cruise line has their own customer service training and job trainings, which will of course reinforce this and train you to it, but having your own credos of this is always good as if its your way of working, you’ll do it naturally.
Treat guests like family
Someone told me on my first ship to think of guests as your own grandparents or parents, and treat them like you’d want crew to treat your family if they were on vacation. This has been a good way of thinking about it for me. Also to help understand when sometimes older guests may be a little slower walking around, or getting things, or asking for what they want, or staying longer to chat, think of the reasons behind it and be patient and kind – just how you’d want you family members to be treated.
Take time to chat
Sometimes guests like a little more than to have the service they’re there for, and want a bit. Sometimes they just like to talk about the day, sometimes they’re on their own and feeling a little lonely so would like to chat, or they may just enjoy getting to know the crew a little more as people. When this is the case and you have the time, have a little chat. You don’t need to give any personal information, just general chit chat, or talk about your job, the itinerary, or simply ask the guest about their trip, family and life. A little time to chat can mean a lot and can be very nice for crew too and you can even make a new friend.
Be a good roommate
You’ll share a cabin with likely someone you don’t know, from a country you may have never even been to. You want – and need – to get along. So just treat that person, as you’d want them to treat you, plain and simple. But be a little extra considerate than whatever you’d usually expect. This might (and hopefully should be) obvious and just common courtesy, but sometimes not everyone thinks of these things, so here are my tips on how to be a good roommate.
Be tidy, space is limited. Put things away as you stop using them. Don’t leave things out on the floor for your roommate to trip over.
Be courteous with times using the mirror and bathroom and any shared items and areas.
Be hygienic always. Have plenty showers, keep yourself and your clothes and things clean and try to keep bad smells in the bathroom and then use your bathroom spray and toilet brush when needed.
Keep it down
Don’t be loud when the other person needs to sleep – even if it is they having a nap in the middle of the day when you aren’t doing so – different jobs and shifts have different hours and crew need to nap when they can.
No unapproved guests
Don’t bring a person or party into your cabin without your roommate agreeing beforehand. It isn’t cool to bring a few friends round for drinks late when your roommate has to wake up early. Also it isn’t cool to wake up to the sounds of your roommate and their “special friend” not sleeping. Have a sock on the door system or whatever works for you both, but don’t be that tacky person. Warn the other one first at least.
Be there to listen
Everyone goes through tough time onboard at times, and this may happen to the person you share your room with. So pay attention to their moods and what’s going on with them. If they become quiet, withdrawn, spend too much time on their own, or you feel like they’re having a hard time, be there for them. Be a shoulder to cry on and someone to listen to them. If they are down for whatever reason, help them by inviting them out to events, days out in ports, or sociable nights out with you and your friends. This can really cheer someone up if they feel alone.
Be a good member of the ship community
Don’t be loud
Don’t shout or talk too loudly in corridors in guest or crew areas, you never know if someone is napping or relaxing.
Smile and say hi
Crew has rules that they must smile at and greet guests within a certain distance. This is commonly the 5/10 rule: when a guest is 10ft away you smile and acknowledge them, at 5ft away you verbally greet them with something simple like hello, good morning, good afternoon etc. I feel ships are a place where people are in general more friendly to each other than in the “real world” so help spread this by following this practice whether you are crew or guest, and whether you’re greeting crew or guest.
A few people I’ve met on ships have the rude tendency of only showing respect to people that are higher ranking than them, or that they are romantically interested in. This is not the way to get a good reputation around the ship. Be respectful, polite and kind to everyone – regardless of rank or what you perceive their social standing to be. Apart from it being the right thing to do, you will earn a poor reputation if you behave like that people wont like you, they won’t want to go extra miles to help you, you never know when someone’s rank will change and they’ll outrank you!
I know this one can be tempting. But don’t be the ship gossip that spreads everyone’s dirty little secrets, or things you’ve heard that may be correct, or half correct, or even not true. Apart from it being against all company’s rules and you can get into a lot of trouble for doing so – it can hurt people’s reputation, including yours, branding you as someone not to trust. Plus, if you do that to others and then you have a secret, you can bet it’ll be all over the ship within minutes, with arms and legs and tails grown extra on it.
Help out at crew events
If you have a lighter job schedule that allows you to help you with events for crew, then do so happily. On many cruise lines; volunteers tend the bars at crew parties from other departments. Also, sometimes at special crew dinners members of other departments can volunteer to serve dinner, or help bringing families of crew onboard in ports that have a lot of crew from there, such as Indonesia. If you have time and volunteers are being looked for, please do so.
These may be obvious things, but there may be something that someone reading this hasn’t thought of, so it may be useful.
I haven’t just written about being a good crew member, coming up next will be my article on How to Be a Good Guest, so keep an eye out for that coming soon!