Jobs on Disney Cruise ships
The thought of setting sail on the open seas onboard the Disney Cruise Line is usually a stress-free image, complete with long days basking in the sun, spa treatments, gourmet dinners and intriguing ports of call. For some setting sail on the Disney Cruise Line, though, the days are filled with staff meetings, long hours on your feet and plenty of costume changes. These are the days of the crew members onboard the Disney Cruise Line. Come sail with me, a former Disney Cruise Line crew member, as we take a voyage behind the scenes of the Disney Cruise Line and discover whether life on the open seas is really as exciting as it seems.
Working onboard a cruise ship had always been a dream of mine, much like many other travelers who take a relaxing, week-long cruise and then imagine how much fun it must be to work onboard a ship. Luckily, my dream coincided with my employment with the Walt Disney Company while they were planning the inaugural cruise season of the Disney Wonder. Through my position with Disney's On-Property Sales and Marketing Division, I was part of a team given the task to introduce the new Disney Wonder crew members, most of whom were from foreign countries and had never been to Walt Disney World, to the wonders of the Walt Disney World Resort Property.
While talking with the crew members for three days, I decided that I just had to get a job onboard the Disney Cruise Line. After a month of leaving voice mails and resumes with the Disney Cruise Line's Human Resources Department, I was finally called in for an interview.
The interview was in a small office, crammed with all of the essentials that it takes to run a cruise line from the shore while all of the action takes place on the ocean. The questions were typical of any position where you're in charge of entertaining guests... hypothetical "what-ifs" on how you would handle a power outage during a dance party, what to do with unruly guests, etc. I was warned of the rigors of working onboard a cruise line - the long hours and no days off during your six months on the ship. I wanted to work onboard so badly by this point, though, that it would have taken a lot to dissuade me.
When I got the call offering me a Cruise Staff position underneath the Cruise Director onboard the Disney Wonder, I was ecstatic. I had only two weeks to prepare, though. I had to quit my job at the Walt Disney World Resort because the Walt Disney Company is not the same as the Disney Cruise Line company. Turning in my Cast Member ID and giving up my Walt Disney Company seniority was hard, but the prospect of a new career with the Disney Cruise Line was exciting.
I then had to move out of my apartment, pack all my belongings and drive to my parents' home in North Carolina (during a hurricane evacuation, no less) where I would be leaving all of my possessions for the next six months. As soon as I got home, I had to start packing once again.
If you have ever tried to pack for a one-week vacation using only two suitcases, imagine packing for six months using only two suitcases. Because of weight and space issues, crew members were restricted on how much luggage they could bring on the ship. Every single item I packed had to face extreme scrutiny. After packing shoes, outerwear, personal clothing, and medicines and toiletries to last at least a month or two in case I couldn't get off of the ship, I was only able to pack a couple of photos and mementos to stave off homesickness for the next half a year. You quickly learn what is important and what is not when you're essentially living out of two suitcases for six months.
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