The Crew Member Chronicles - Part 2
Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Wowzers! I had no idea my little blog would blow up as much as it did! Ok, so I’m no TikTok star, but I appreciate every single one of you that took the time to read my first post. Since quite a few of my fellow crew members reached out after I posted, I wanted to make myself completely clear that I have NOTHING but praise for Disney Cruise Line and the Walt Disney Company. I was lucky enough to have so many amazing opportunities, and I’m so grateful my first career was with the biggest entertainment company in the world! Just like any other job though, it will always have cons, this doesn’t mean to say I’m slating them in any way…. Just being honest 😊 (Mr. Disney pls don’t come for me…)
So I touched a little on ‘Disney rules’ in my first post, and I wanted to circle back to that, since my coworkers gave me so many interesting ideas.
“Traditions” is basically a school for Disney. I’m not kidding! It’s where you go at the beginning of your contract (whether it’s World/Land/Cruise Line) and you learn about what it takes to succeed with Disney. Of course, the main thing they teach is the dos/don’ts however, they also delve deep into the background and values of the Walt Disney Company, hence the name ‘Traditions’. It’s pretty cool to see how this huge organization started with a Mouse.
“Disney Look” – is something you learn there. It’s unlikely you have ever heard this term before – At least I hadn’t! This label basically deems you presentable, or not in some cases. No crazy hair styles/colors, no ‘out there’ piercings, no tattoos on show, uniform worn correctly, and specific shoes/socks. Tattoos, period, meant most likely you wouldn’t even get an interview (top tip for applicants, always check ‘no’ on the application).
Girls had to have natural make up (I struggled with that one lol) and there are super strict rules about men’s facial hair. (I guess I can get behind that because #hygiene) There’s even a rule about not showing shoulders – If you were on stage (please refer back to part 1 for full glossary) shoulders must be covered, dresses must be past the knee, and shoes must be closed toe, although I think that’s more of a safety thing. Safety begins with ME as DCL always said…#safety
Fun activity: Look at yourself now, are you Disney Look?! I'm not, in fact I look homeless.
At least I'm not a pirate with bad hair...
One of my absolute favorite things about DCL was the diversity. This has been a recurring comment from most of the people I used to work with too. The number of faces you met from all walks of life was truly incredible. In this day and age, the world can be closed minded, so it was a beautiful and refreshing thing to be surrounded by uniqueness.
You never felt different or thought you ‘had a weird accent’ because everyone sounded/looked different, and that was the beauty of it, along with having lifelong friends all over the world. The crew truly knew how to respect and understand each other, we became a family, – we would even have crew events celebrating cultures whether it was ‘Bollywood night’, ‘Mexican Independence day’ or ‘British pub night’ we all would show up, dance, drink, and support one another. I truly love that wherever I travel now, I will always have a place to stay or a friendly face to meet.
I guess that leads to the next topic – Crew events. Throughout my time with DCL I was lucky enough to be onboard while there were some awesome CAM’S. CAM meaning – ‘Crew Activities Manager’.
Yes I’m dead serious – someone was literally employed to make sure the crew had a great time. I love that DCL did that – Again I’m pretty sure all cruise lines have that, nonetheless the crew of a cruise ship will ALWAYS know how to have a good time organized or not. Work hard, play hard right?
The CAM’s were in charge of setting up activities like crew bingo, movie nights, gingerbread house making and letting crew members wild in the guest lounges – these were some of the most memorable nights (or not in some cases). My personal favorite were the Halloween parties, all the crew would dress up and go all out - they would always give the best costume a meal at one of the fancy onboard restaurants (remember, chicken and rice). A treat like that, was something we reallllly appreciated. A group of us Kids Counselors, teamed up and did an Alice in Wonderland theme (see below) We didn't win - we were ROBBED - I'm still salty to this day....
I joke, but Disney are great at giving back to their employees, and the company as a whole are big advocates of promoting within. Nepotism was rare and it was encouraging to work with leaders that had walked in your shoes. Incentives ranged from free Wi-Fi cards (literal gold dust), to free liquid gold vouchers, woops I mean coffee.
Depending on the Captain, they would also reward the crew for an excellent USPH (cleaning) inspections, or for amazingly high guest feedback scores. I’ve been on dead heads (basically a repositioning cruise where there are no guests on board) where they let us act like guests for the day! My experience of a dead head included laying by the pool, eating lobster, and riding the onboard waterslides so many times I nearly vommed. That was a great cruise.
I’m honestly stuck for words to describe the next matter (stuck being the operative word).
Put it this way, you could be in the shower, on the toilet, washing your hands and getting your pants out the drawer all at the same time.
Now in all honesty, you can’t really blame the cruise lines for the sizes of the rooms. I mean it makes sense when you really work out how many people have to fit in a large piece of steel lol…
So, although small, some of the most fun parties were the ones you were squished like sardines drinking beer, while your friend played the ukulele on the top bunk until the early hours. (Hey Faby!)
If you had really made it, you might be invited to an officer’s room for a sophisticated night of wine and cheese, looking out through the porthole, (an actual window to see actual air?!) Of course, if you do make it high enough to get said porthole, you usually can’t make the most of it since you work 90% of the time and spend the other 10% sleeping 😊 It's the gesture that counts right?
Last part of this blog will be a personal anecdote. It’s going to be about ‘crew all aboard’.
The crew have a different all aboard time from the guests, most of the time it’s 30minutes earlier, purely to make sure everyone has ample time to get back to work. We had a late night (meaning we literally stayed late in port, usually till 12am) docked in Nassau, Bahamas. Naturally, we all made the most of it, went out, and had a great time. One of the girls had a REALLY great time, and ended up getting back so late, that she delayed the whole ship. Since cruise ships pay fees to be in port, they also get fined for late departures. She made it back but I remember the gangway officers saying if it was 15mins later we would of left without her, meaning she for SURE would have been fired, and left in the Bahamas. Luckily, her job was safe, but I’m pretty sure she got reprimanded.
I recall her telling me, when they carried her onboard (lol) that she had drank a drink with a questionable name. 10 mins later she passed out in bed, and woke up as if nothing had happened haha!
If you’re reading this – sorry Pixie ;)
Sooo it looks like there’s gonna be a part 3…. But I’m going to do things a bit different.
Part 3 will be FAQs to basically address all the questions we used to get from guests, and yes, every single one is legit....It's gonna be a good one!
Crew members if you're reading this, send me your most, questionable, questions!
Thanks for reading, until next time…