Cruise secrets: Ex cruise ship worker reveals the most difficult thing about life at sea

Cruise holidays see hordes of travellers flock to floating hotels to relax, travel and make merry. They are looked after during their holiday by cruise ship crew working onboard. Those who work on cruises are often keen to travel the world and meet new people. In many ways, it’s a fun and rewarding job – but it also has its downsides, a former cruise ship crew member has explained.

Joshua Kinser, from Florida, USA, now 39, worked on cruise ships between 2006 and 2013 from the age of 26.

He described his time on cruises in his 2012 book Chronicles of a Cruise Ship Member. spoke to him exclusively about the worst aspect of working onboard.

Kinser revealed that the most difficult things of all about life at sea are romance and relationships.

“The most difficult thing I feel most crew members endure is the hardship crew members face if they fall in love with another crew member on a cruise ship,” said Kinser.

“There is a constantly changing group of crew members on ships. Every cruise many crew members finish their contracts and pack up and head home or to their next ship.

“And every cruise a new group of crew members arrive to start their journey at sea aboard that ship.

“The peril of falling in love on a cruise ship is that the person you fell in love with will one day pack their bags and walk down that gangway.

“Sometimes the love lasts. Sometimes life on land or ship life pulls you in different directions.

“A lot of true love has fallen overboard and been lost at sea in ship life. Ocean currents are a mysterious force, and many times they pull the love of crew members apart.

“The power of the ocean has drowned a lot of love and crushed many hearts.”

It’s not just romance between crew members that can spring up on board cruises, however.

Cruise passengers can often be keen to develop a fling with crew even though it’s forbidden – and they sometimes have a codeword for it. 

Jay Herring wrote in his book The Truth About Cruise Ships: “Even though it was company policy not to sleep with the passengers, it happened so often that we had a nickname for it,” he wrote.

“It was called ‘coning,’ from the infinitive ‘to cone.’ Passengers were referred to as ‘cones.’

“Some say it’s because, during boat drill, the passengers look like the neon orange traffic cones, but others say it’s from the 1993 movie Coneheads where, just like the aliens in the movie, passengers ate everything in sight.”