Day 2 of my Alaskan Cruise

Today the weather is not great. It is raining and it is very cold outside. Yesterday I was able to take the computer out on to the verandah and watch the water go by.  We went for a ‘Mariner Brunch’ it was only for returning customers – which my mother is. The menu was a little bizarre. I thought it would be typical breakfast fare but it was not. There were things like salmon and beef. I had an apple and pear gazpacho, which was wonderful for an appetizer. Then I had the quiche, which was not very good. It was following by key lime pie but I was pretty full by then.

We just came back from playing on onboard trivia game that was kind of fun. In an hour or so we are going to play bingo. While we were playing the trivia game, one of the questions was “What is Indonesia’s largest export” and the Australian cruise director said the answer was not: ‘your cabin steward.’ His comment was rather indicative of what is happening on this ship.

I would say the entire service crew: wait staff, bus people, room stewards, and housekeeping are almost all from the Philippines and Indonesia. I am actually finding it a little bit uncomfortable from a social justice place. It seems entirely wrong to me that one ethnic group is in servitude to another. The cruise ship passengers are almost exclusively Caucasian. Something is really wrong here. It seems like we are perpetuating slave like relationships with yet another ethnicity for us to exploit. I think this would be a very horrible job – being away from family for long periods of time. Plus who really knows what their accommodations are like in the bowels of the ship. They also count on tips to round out their compensation. I suspect they are paid very little.

If you contrast the ships’ crew – the Captain and other officers, they seem to be primarily European. Our Captain is definitely Dutch. I suspect the conditions they live in and their compensation is quite competitive. There definitely seems to be two very different standards here for staff.

Tonight is a formal night so we all have to get dressed up. There is also a show to see – some Broadway thing which I think I will enjoy. Our room steward just delivered fresh corsages to wear tonight.

One more thing – I have to say I love the luxury of having our own concierege. Anything we want or need he can take care of it. We don’t have to contact the various places on the ship to change shore excursions or book a time for dinner etc. We just let him know and it is done. They do seem to make very good use of technology here for booking appointments. I love the concierge!

 

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Published in: on June 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I remember years ago, working on a cruise ship was kinda like the glamorous version of tree planting. You could make lots of money in a few months by working your ass off with free room & board, then come back home the other half of the year & loaf. Maybe the competition is driving wages down in the industry now, so it’s only attractive to people from less wealthy countries? Not sure…

  2. I researched working on cruise ships when I finished culinary school. When you get home, I’ll give you more details, but yes, the industry highly depends on 3rd world labour. Wages were fine – not fantastic, but OK – but you did work your ass off and have to live in a communal situation way below decks. The big risk on cruise ships is illness. Viruses run rampant when you’re so tightly packed in.

    Glad you’re enjoying yourself, though!

  3. You are accustomed to a Caucasian Sherpa, dear-heart, love of my life. The money sucks, but the fringe benefits are awesome! 🙂 Seriously, though, I can fully understand your discomfort regarding the plight of service crew aboard the ship. Your mother is a snob and a racist who believes she deserves her standing because of her financial situation. You know that everyone on the planet bleeds red, and accident of birth is a cruel reality that destroys many deserving people while creating giants out of small people. Not hard to tell you are adopted.


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