I recently went on a cruise. I’m curious about the living/working conditions for the staff. The senior, management level staff were all Americans, but the waiters, room cleaners , kitchen workers, etc. were all from the Philipines and Indonesia. They (about 650 people) worked very hard,( and deserved the tips they received from the passengers), and were always polite and pleasant. But I wonder how they really felt:
The workers lived on the lower floors of the ship, totally separated from the tourists. They work 7 days a week, (as do the managers.) When off duty, they apparently are strictly prohibited from being anywhere near us passengers. So I suppose they go back to their living quarters, (which have no windows because they are below the water line.)
Do they ever get a chance to step out into the fresh and see the sun?
The ship stays at sea for a year or more, making cruises that last about a week each.
So once a week the ship enters port for about 12 hours. During those 12 hours, 2000 passengers get off, 2000 more passengers come on board, and all of the luggage, food and supplies are loaded for the next week.
Leaving/entering the ship involves lining up for passport control at the border patrol booths, so I’m pretty sure I would have seen if any of the staff had gotten off the boat with the tourists. (there are also a few half-day stops for the tourists to go on shore trips, but I never saw any staff leaving or entering the ship on those stops either).
I’m sure that workers from poor countries choose to work on a ship because the salary is better than they could get at home.
But do they ever see the sun shine?