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Athens Times




‘Living on a ship is fabulous!’ says 26-year-old Louise. ‘I
would never have seen so many exotic places if I hadn’t been on
the ship, probably not in my whole lifetime!’

‘ I was born in Greece and grew up on a small island. I have
always adored the sea but it never occurred to me that one day I
would actually be at sea for a living. I was brought up to
follow a career in Languages, and take over my parents’ business
on the island. But things worked out in a different way. Many
people make plans , but they can never know what the future will
bring, can they?

After graduating from High school, I was sent to UK to study
Modern Languages. I spent my time there studying hard and
finally graduating successfully. Then I decided to go for an MA
to complete my education. My life changed out of the blue just
after getting my MA in Tourism Management. I was just one of the
bunch of students of Middlessex University in UK, who was
seeking a challenging job, not just an ordinary job to get by. I
was lucky enough to find it soon , to my family’s dismay who
expected me to fly back to Greece.

It wasn’t really hard finding a job. I contacted a job agency,
in London. It would be my first job after graduating, and I was
actually looking for a hotel based job…but it all happened by

One day the agent left me a message about a new interview…I
thought it would be about a hotel job, as the previous ones, so
I met the person in charge on the same afternoon. It was during
the interview that I realized we were talking about a ship! But
I had to make up my mind promptly, so I grabbed the chance to
try something more challenging than a hotel job. As soon as I
left the interview the agent called me and said that I’d got the

Many people ask me about the qualifications one needs to get a
job like this. Well, it depends… . You could have a degree in
Languages and Tourism or something relevant to it. I’ve got an
MA in Tourism Management and I speak five languages, but there
is a variety of posts on board according to the qualifications
one has got.

At the beginning I worked as a crew purser…that means that I
was responsible for a lot of paperwork concerning crew and
passengers. I had got my own office but I sometimes worked at
the reception desk, so I had got the chance to meet a lot of
people and make new friends. I also had contact with the agents
in every port we sailed, and that was a great opportunity for me
to know people from all over the world, and keep contact for
future job positions on land.

My first contract lasted three months. But you can renew it for
a longer period if you wish to. At first I wasn’t sure if I
could handle sea-sickness, but it was ok; I only felt a little
dizzy, but my roommate got really sick! Now I can’t sleep if I
don’t feel that rocking movement!

The majority of the crew are men. There are only few female
officers in high ranks. So, we are being taken good care of and
I like that. I’ve recently been promoted to a higher rank, so I
do enjoy being the boss of a couple of male officers!

I enjoy practically everything! I meet a lot of new people,
apart from the crew members, and we are all a big family. I love
the feeling of being in a place that reminds me of my student
days. It’s like being in the university Residence Hall, you’re
never alone, and I like that.

However, there’s hard work on board! It’s not all fun and games
as many people tend to think. You are expected to work on a very
tight schedule, from 6.00 am till late at night. It’s shift work
actually. Sometimes you don’t have much free time to relax, and
some of the passengers can get real annoying! But you must wear
your prettiest smile and be polite and helpful all the time. You
must be patient, friendly and available. It’s very important the
passengers feel at home.

Some friends of mine ask me if I meet young people on board. To
tell you the truth, only some of the crew members are young.
Their age ranges from 24 to 40 something. The passengers are
mostly middle-aged retired people.

When I have some free time I usually go to the gym. There’s a
fab gym on board, you know. There are also two pools but crew
members are not allowed to swim in there, so I just lie on a
sunbed to get a bit of a tan. Sometimes I get up early in the
morning and I go jogging around the deck. Many a times , after
the evening shift some of the crew get together and chat, sing
or dance. We’re having a great time; sometimes you’ve got the
feeling the party is non stop.

I’ve visited a lot of fantastic places, like Honolulu…I loved
Hawaii, it looked so full of life, high buildings on the beach,
marvelous view, lots of shops and lots of people. Second best
comes Thailand, I just loved it! There were also other nice
places such as Melbourne in Australia. I would love to stay
there for a while. Small islands such as Bora Bora and Christmas
island in the Pacific were fantastic. I sometimes have the
chance to swim in the blue green sea of remote islands and take
a lot of pictures.

My family disapproved of my decision. But I was firm so, I went
on board. They finally realized but this job made me happy and
that I had to follow my dream.

This job is just great! I mean I’m getting paid to see all the
exotic places in the world. Isn’t it fantastic? I would need a
fortune to travel around the world, but now I can do it and keep
my savings as well!

I was 24 when I first went aboard, and now, two years later,
having worked on two different cruise ships , I still feel this
is the right place for me to be: On board! My friends often ask
me why I just can’t have a job on land. They believe I miss out
a lot of things such as steady socializing and settling down in
a permanent area. Is that true?

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I do meet a lot of people on board, and sometimes they are
really nice , and I do make friends. The only thing is that I
constantly make new friends, but sometimes I meet the same
persons at the ports we visit. The fact that I don’t have a
steady home, is thrilling for me. I don’t feel castaway because
I don’t have a permanent home! I visit my parents’ home whenever
I am on vacations, and I don’t feel the need to settle down
somewhere permanently. The girls I’ve met on the ship think the
same way. There is nothing missing out. But the people who are
on land, work there and own a house, just can not think the same
way I do. We all see this job from a different perspective. Why
should people have a steady place to live in? Maybe it’s not so
good to be ‘steady’ in everything, after all.

If I ever get a job on land, and it may happen one day, one
thing I know for sure! I won’t work in an office. I’ll just find
it too boring after my present experience on board! I love being
on the move and I love exploring the world. Maybe this feeling
is going to last for ever, who knows? I’ve known people who are
in their sixties and still work on board. You may say that it is
not that easy for a woman. I agree that if someone wants to have
a family can’t go on working on a ship. Kids need a permanent
home and their mum has to be around to care for them. That’s the
only reason that can make me quit this job. But no one knows
what the future holds!

It’s definitely great experience to work on a ship, and a good
opportunity to get useful connections one might need later on,
but , above all, it’s the love for the unknown, the adventure
and the mystery of new places and new people that attracts me to
the sea…and I can only tell you this: Follow your dream! Don’t
let anyone distract you from the way you wish to live. Life’s
just too short to waste it!’

As told to Liana Metal



Liana Metal is a writer based in Greece. Visit her e books site
at and the writers’ site at New site at to help authors promote their

2008-10-17 Santorini, Greece -151
Greece ships
Image by QuiteLucid

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