Joining My First Ship

Travel along with a new crewmember—such as yourself—as he joins his first Princess ship.

Getting ready at home

I am getting ready to join my first Princess Cruises ship. My manning agent helped me get my U.S. C1/D visa and medical certificate. I am glad he did because it looked complicated to me.

After collecting all my documents, I received my contract and travel information. All the information was there, including how to get to the hotel in the city where I will join my ship.

I have three weeks to say goodbye to family and friends, buy the last things I need, and pack my suitcase. First, I thought I had to bring all the shampoo and toothpaste for my whole time on board, but the manning agent told me just to bring enough for a couple of weeks and get the rest in ports the ship visits.

I also need to make plans to keep in touch with everyone back home. Internet access can be limited while at sea; so we plan to stay connected mostly by email, phone calls, and our favorite social network.

Departure day

Today is departure day. I have never gone so far away from home, and it is not easy to leave my family and friends—but it will be a great experience. It will take me several hours to get to the airport.

At the airport, I need to show my passport, answer some security questions about my trip, provide my ticket information, drop off my suitcase, and go through security screening. I wait another two hours inside. Then my passport and boarding pass are checked again as I board. I had heard that there's sometimes more questions and secondary inspections because I'm a seafarer, but this is normal.

Two flights later, we land. I go through passport control and answer more questions about my trip and purpose for traveling. After I pick up my suitcase, I follow the directions to the hotel shuttle bus.

After I get to the hotel, I'm given vouchers for dinner and breakfast the next morning. Then, I am off to my room. I have dinner and meet the other new crew members who are going to the same ship tomorrow.

Joining day

Because of the time difference and my excitement, I wake up much earlier than needed. I get ready, take my suitcase downstairs, and have breakfast. The bus arrives to take us all to the ship.

After a short drive we come to the port area and the big ship is there. How am I going to find my way around?

We get off the bus and grab our suitcases. At the port there are people waiting for us: staff from the Crew Office, the Human Resources Manager (HRM), and the Crew Welfare Coordinator. All of us receive an envelope with information and some documents we need to fill out. Our cabin key and security badge are in the envelope too.

The staff explains which forms to fill out and what documents they need from us. At the gangway, Security takes our photos and checks the security badge.

Once on board, someone from my department approaches and introduces himself. He takes us to get our uniforms, which takes a while as there are a lot of new crew. When everybody from my department has their things, we take our suitcases and go to our cabins.

After changing into my new uniform, I learn about safety information and tour some of the crew areas.

Then we are taken to the training room where we see the HRM again. She tells us about Princess Cruises, safety responsibilities, and procedures. I already knew that this was something very important. Also an officer from the Bridge asks us questions about the safety information. Then we are shown the types of doors on board; the water-tight door is very big and impressive.

After training has finished we eat lunch in the Crew Mess ("mess" is the word they use for food hall). There are a lot of choices, with food from many countries.

After lunch I have a chance to unpack a bit and meet my cabin mate. Then, I leave my cabin again and head to where I was told to report for work. I know if I get lost, I can just ask another crewmember for directions.

I find where I need to be and a supervisor starts to explain my job to me. Slowly, I see passengers coming aboard. Some look just as lost as I feel. I do not know if I can answer their questions, but my supervisor told me she is there to help me with the answers.

Everything is new to me, and there is so much to remember—it will take me some time to do that. But the HRM explains this and tells us to take our time and ask when we are not sure.

Suddenly, I feel the ship move. I realize it is 16:00 and we are setting sail. The movement is a bit strange, but I have been told that I will "grow sea legs" before I know it.

Before You Join

Message from Jan Swartz

Welcome! We’re glad you’ve joined us as a new Princess Cruises employee. You’re now part of a team dedicated to working together to deliver exceptional customer service—both to our guests and each other. Continue reading

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