How Was Your Day ... Caribbean Cruise Ship Electrician?
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because sometimes it’s OK to talk to strangers.
By Maria Yagoda
In this occasional series, OZY takes to streets and neighborhoods across the globe to ask a simple question: “How was your day?”
I’ve just finished 8-hours doing mostly elevator maintenance. Sometimes the elevators on this ship just stop. If we’re lucky, nobody is inside. If we’re not…well, it’s our job to evacuate the people from the elevator quickly and safely. Most of the time, people are understanding; sometimes, they’re not so willing to cooperate, and just want to get out ASAP. But it’s important to remain calm.
Of the last 13 months, I’ve spent 11 on a ship. My hometown is Split, Croatia and that’s where I spend most of my time when not working. I’m 26. I work for AIDACruises on a mid-sized cruise ship with approximately 600 crewmembers and 2,200 guests. A 10-day Caribbean cruise isn’t just a privilege of the wealthy anymore. I’d guess that most of our guests aren’t doing great financially, but belong to that famous middle-class, if such a thing still exists. I’ve learned that there’s a huge world out there, but that most people occupy their minds with pretty much the same things.
I hate being polite with bitchy guests.
Today we had problems with something called the earth fault. Some machine’s electrical insulation was damaged and part of the current leaked into the ship’s hull. If there is more than one serious earth fault, the main breaker trips, causing about thirty machines in the Main Galley – where food for the guests is prepared – to be instantly out of order. And then begins the fun part…when people go crazy. Once a guest yelled some random shit at me because of the power failure in his cabin. I looked humble and apologized and said it was completely our mistake, although it wasn’t – the breaker was tripped because the guest had too many devices in use at once.
A cruise ship is pretty much a floating company. Do as you are told and your contract will be respected. Dare to disturb the order of the ship and measures will be taken — an informal talk with your supervisor or a formal talk with the Captain; getting beaten up by an angry drunk colleague or getting fired and being obligated to cover all the travel expenses for yourself — and your replacement.
The worst parts of my job are taking orders and never having a “day-off.” I never have family and friends around when I really need them. I hate being polite with bitchy guests. I do, however, love making sweet love to women from all continents.
After this contract, I’m taking a break from sailing. Probably a long one. I’ve grown bored with this kind of life.
- Maria Yagoda, OZY Author Contact Maria Yagoda