You may be surprised to learn that living on a ship is a very transient lifestyle. Obviously I jest, but the fact remains. Every single cruise upwards up 50 new crew members sign on, which in turn means that the same number are leaving. Some crew members are going home for vacation, others transferring to another ship, and occasionally someone is leaving for good for another job, retirement, etc… Either way the fact is that each week a friend, a co-worker, and person that you see everyday leaves at the end of their contract. Transient as it may be, it is often not the last time you will see these friends.
Each new contract and new ship that you go on, you meet new people. And as this continues, each new ship you go to you end up knowing more and more people from previous ships and contracts. Unlike my first day on board, (which you can read about here) when you step onto the ship and are greeted by a familiar face, it does wonders to make you feel at home in a new place. Often times you’ll know if a friend or two are on board of a ship you join, but there are always surprises as well. Multiple times I have been walking about the ship and bump into a friend from a previous contract, who maybe just arrived and I had no idea was coming on board. On my current ship there is even a Crew Bar bar tender who I have had on a previous contract. Day one here he remembered my name and my drink of choice (is that a bad sign?) That’s a good friend to have. You meet people from all of the world working on ships, and it’s a special thing to be reunited from people from all corners of the globe. Where else do you have this same opportunity?
Anyone who has ever cruised will know that often times you dock in port with other ships. In some of the bigger and more popular ports you sometimes dock with up to 4 or 5 other ships. This provides another unique way to keep in touch with friends of contracts past. On almost any given Carnival ship I know at least some of the musicians, or other entertainment staff on board. It’s fun to look ahead and see which ships you’re docking with in the upcoming weeks and plan a meet up. It gives you something to look forward to in each port to see which ships, and in turn which friends you’ll have the opportunity to see.
It’s a wonderful thing to be able to meet people from all over the world, learn about other countries, cultures, and have friends in every corner of the globe. The caveat to this is of course is that almost every week a friend of yours is leaving, and you don’t know the next time, if ever that you’ll have an opportunity to see them. Thus is the life in the cruise industry. Though a friend may be leaving, it is an opportunity to meet the person, learn the culture, and have new experiences with the person coming to replace them.