Life On Board

Life on a cruise ship can be exciting and rewarding; however, there are unique challenges when compared with life and work ashore.

Contract length is determined by rank and is typically six months long. Work is scheduled every day, and work schedules are determined by department managers. Most crew members will average 10 hours per day, with a maximum hours work day of 13 hours. Breaks and meal times are provided throughout the workday.

The cost of living while working onboard is very minimal. Usual land-based expenses—such as food, gas (petrol), rent, and utilities—do not apply. Wages are paid once a month to your CrewCard account through the Crew Office on board.

Banking and CrewCard

CrewCard is a convenient, safe way to manage your pay. Your pay will be deposited directly onto your CrewCard and will also be available electronically to family members with their own AccessCard. With CrewCard, you are able to withdraw cash from onboard and shore-based ATMs, authorize wires, transfer money to an AccessCard, and purchase goods and services from retailers.

Book and Video Library

Books, games, magazines, and DVDs are available to borrow for personal use.


Cabins are small and most often shared with another person; storage/closet space is limited. Bathrooms may be shared with a cabin mate or with the residents of another cabin as well. Cabins come equipped with a television and DVD player, and most have telephones.

No cooking appliances such as microwaves, toasters, sandwich makers, heaters, or irons are allowed in your cabin. You can have a kettle, but only if it has an automatic shut-off.

Power supplies in staff cabins are either 110 volts or 220 volts, 60 Hz A.C. For safety reasons, make sure that all electrical items are plugged into an outlet with the correct voltage. If you are unsure, ask the Crew Area Supervisor.

Cabin assignments are based on each crewmember’s job and rank. Generally, cabin mates work in the same department, though they may work different schedules.

You are responsible for looking after your cabin and keeping it clean and tidy at all times. Once a week staff cabins are inspected (rounds) by senior personnel; you will receive advance notice. Place your life jacket, blue emergency card, safety booklets, a head covering, and your warm clothing on your bunk for rounds.

Living in close quarters can be a challenge. When returning to your cabin after work, be thoughtful of your cabin mate and neighbors, put your possessions away, and don’t be loud in areas where people might be sleeping or resting. If you share a room or bath facilities with others, take turns carrying out cleaning duties.

  • Don’t place paper, plastic, or cloth items over light fittings.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets.
  • Switch off your lights and television and unplug all electrical appliances before leaving your cabin.

Church Services

You are welcome to attend any passenger church service on board, with permission from your supervisor. You must wear the appropriate uniform.

Crew Club

A Crew Club is available exclusively for staff on each ship. Social activities, dances, games, and crew events are planned by the Crew Welfare Coordinator in cooperation with other departments.

Crew Self-Service (CSS)

Using CSS, you can access your personal employee information, including contract details, rotation schedules, pay statements, manning agency contacts, next ports, and more. Your Compass username and Compass password are used to access the site and secure your private information. Crew Self-Service is available from home or on the ship at

Crew Shop

Crew members can purchase a wide variety of personal items, snacks, and sundries at our onboard Crew Shop at low prices. The hours of operation, location on the ship, prices of items, and selection of products will vary by ship. The Crew Card and Debitek are accepted forms of payment.


Report any defects in your cabin or work areas to the Crew Area Supervisor right away. Do not wait to point out defects to the officer or supervisor conducting rounds. You must immediately report any sighting or sign of pests in your cabin to the Crew Area Supervisor or Head of Department for action.

Dining Rooms (Mess Halls)

There are designated dining rooms, also known as mess halls, based on your rank. A wide variety of foods and snacks are prepared fresh for each mealtime.


The Crew Welfare Office will often arrange for planned excursions or crew events in various ports. If you are not required to partipate in in-port manning responsibilities or scheduled to work, you may be permitted to disembark while the ship is in port. Based on your passport and visa, you may not be allowed to disembark in certain countries.


A 24-hour crew gym is available on every ship. Crew members with deck privileges are allowed to use the passengers gym at designated times provided they do not inconvenience passengers.

Internet Access

Internet access is available to crew members on all ships, either at the crew Internet Café or via Wi-Fi on your personal computer (note that a per-megabyte charge applies). Discounts are available at certain times everyday. Internet access on board is provided via long-range satellite; so bandwidth is limited and data transmissions are slower than on land. Most ports have Internet cafés or locations where crew members can use Wi-Fi free or at low rates. Learn more about Crew Internet Service.


Uniforms are cleaned at no charge by the shipboard Laundry staff. Personal clothing may be washed using the self-service washing machines and dryers available in designated crew areas.


Postage stamps for most ports of call may be purchased at the Crew Office, where you can also leave letters for mailing. You can receive mail via the Port Agents (a list is available at the Crew Office).

A copy of the ship’s postal schedule is in your joiners pack. Keep in mind that extra time needs to be allowed for mail to reach the ship at overseas ports and also that undelivered mail is not returned to the sender unless there is sufficient pre-paid postage.

Passenger Boutiques

Deck privileges are required to visit most passenger-deck shops and services. If the shop is busy with passengers, return at a later time. Always comply with any requests made by the Boutiques Manager.

Passenger Salon/Spa

Deck privileges are required to visit most passenger-deck shops and services. You may take advantage of the Salon/Spa’s services, but please use discretion and schedule an appointment—port days are usually best. Note that a crewmember’s appointment may be rescheduled should a passenger request that time.


A private crew pool is located on each ship, except our smaller ships, Ocean Princess and Pacific Princess.

Quiet Hours

Please keep noise to a minimum during these times, which are posted in crew areas.

Television Programming

Televisions are provided in every crew cabin. A wide variety of classic and recent documentaries, movies, and television programs are available for crew member enjoyment across multiple channels. New content is added every month.

In addition to entertainment programming, videos with important company news are also aired on crew cabin television channels. Crew members are recommended to watch these videos, as time permits.

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

Latest News