We spoke to former seafarer Clare about her time on board and her return to life ashore.
What made you choose to work in the cruise industry?
After graduating university, I had only one thing on my mind, to travel. I’d done a stint before in the Canary Islands, but cruising offered the security of a roof over my head and meals included!
Which company did you work for?
Carnival Cruise Line
What was your job onboard and how long did you spend in the industry?
I started my life at sea as a bar waitress. During my first contract, I became the crew bartender and spent a total of 5 years in the bar before donning the white uniform of a Purser. I was the Purser College Trainer for a while before making it to Chief Purser, then Guest Services Manager and retired after 18 years as Senior Guest Services Manager for the fleet.
What did you enjoy most about shipboard life?
No two days are the same and you never know what the day will bring. One day I left my hotel heading for The Bahamas and by the end of the day found myself in Juneau, Alaska!
Why did you choose to leave ships?
I longed to sleep in the same bed for more than a couple of weeks at a time! For me, the stars aligned to suggest it was time to move on. I had accomplished as much as I felt I could.
What was the hardest thing about returning to a life ashore?
Employers have no idea what we have done on board and how it translates to land. When you describe a day in the life to an interviewer, they are incredulous and maybe slightly disbelieving that all those things can happen in a day!
What piece of advice do you have for anybody considering a career on cruise ships?
It’s not for everyone, but you’ll never know unless you try it and even if it’s not for you, you will learn more about yourself in that short time as a crewmember than in a decade on land.
Which country are you originally from and where do you live now?
England and England. Being closer to my ageing parent was another reason to leave ships, so I now live a short walk away.