Perks Of Working On A Disney Cruise Ship

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Curious about what it’s like to be part of the crew on a Disney Cruise Ship, or maybe you’re a guest who’s intrigued by the inner workings of the magic? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Having spent three contracts across two ships, I’ve got the inside scoop to satisfy your curiosity. In this blog, we’re diving deep below the Disney decks and uncovering the secrets, perks, and unique experiences that come with the territory. And, if you’re interested in the flip side of this enchanted journey, you can also check out my previous blog post where I candidly discuss the reasons behind my departure from Disney Cruise Line. 

Whether you’re considering a career onboard or just want to peek behind the curtain, this insider’s guide will give you a firsthand look at the enchanting world that keeps Disney Cruise Line sailing smoothly. So, let’s hoist the anchor and embark on this informative journey together!

The travel

In total, I got to check out like 20-something countries in just a year and a half. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was often just a quick pitstop, a few hours at a time, but you know what they say about making the most of every moment, right? So, whenever my schedule allowed, I tried to do something different at each port. And let me tell you, each Disney Cruise Ship has its own unique itinerary, and those routes change up seasonally to keep things fresh.

After my stint in the Bahamas during my first contract, I was itching for a change of scenery. Then came the transfer to the Disney Wonder, and that’s when the real adventure kicked in. One of the standout moments for me was when we sailed through the legendary Panama Canal – talk about once in a lifetime moment! And cruising up the stunning West Coast from sunny San Diego to the iconic San Francisco, and eventually up to the postcard-perfect landscapes of Vancouver and Alaska, those were days etched in my memory.

If I’d stuck around, I had this dream of working on the Disney Magic. Why? Because I wanted to experience that Atlantic crossing action, setting sail from New York City and heading straight for the enchanting destinations of Europe. And here’s the kicker, with new ships joining the Disney fleet, there are endless opportunities to keep discovering new places and making those unforgettable memories.

Friends all over the world

So, let’s talk about the incredible friends I made during my time on the ship. I had roommates hailing from Canada, Ireland, Spain, Mexico, South Africa, and even Australia. While most of the guests are usually American, the crew represents a whopping 60 different nationalities. Since Americans were in the minority, I got a crash course in cultural diversity every day. There was even a period of time where I was the only American on the lifeguard team, and let me tell you, that was a wild experience. 

However, making friends on ships is a bittersweet thing, because yes, it can be tough when you’re constantly saying goodbye to friends as they come and go. But on the flip side, it’s pretty damn cool to have friends scattered all over the world.

Just to give you an idea of how these friendships can stick, recently, a friend I met on the ships came all the way to Seattle to hang out with me. I’ve also got a wedding invitation from England for later this year. But the craziest part? When I was down in New Zealand, I met up with a couple of crew members, and one of them, believe it or not, was in the same new hire group as me. Small world, right?

Disney cast discounts

Now, let’s chat about one of the sweetest perks of being a cast member – those coveted cast discounts. I mean, who doesn’t love a good discount, right? As any fellow cast member will gladly spill the beans, we get some pretty cool deals, like discounts on food, merch, and even free entry to *most Disney parks. Yep, you heard that right – free park entry, folks!

But it doesn’t stop there. You can even score a discount on certain cruises. My parents got to sail with me on a breathtaking Alaska cruise, and it saved them a boatload of cash. How? Well, Disney occasionally opens up some unoccupied staterooms to us cast members, and they’re practically a steal.

But, and this is a big ‘but,’ please don’t even think about asking for a cast member’s discount. Disney keeps a watchful eye on this stuff, mainly for friends and family or for the cast member themselves. It’s not a free-for-all. However, if you happen to be a three-striped officer or higher, you’ve got the power to sign people on for a cruise for free*. Yep, free!

Free port adventures

Now for one of my favorite perks of being a lifeguard onboard – the free port adventures. So, here’s the deal: lifeguards were part of the ‘port adventures’ department, which meant we had the inside scoop on some pretty epic excursions, and the best part? We could ‘audit’ certain PAs for free. Yep, you heard me right – FREE.

No need to reach for your wallet because all you had to do was fill out a survey after you got back, and voila, you’re off on an adventure. And here’s the kicker – it was usually paid time, which meant we didn’t have to clock out to enjoy these experiences.

I mean, I’ve swum with sea turtles and stingrays in the Bahamas, hopped in a sea plane and soared over the Tongass, which happens to be the nation’s largest national forest, and I’ve even gone dogsledding on a glacier in Alaska. These were the kind of adventures you’d usually have to fork over some serious cash for, but for us, it was just another day at the office. Can you say ‘living the dream’

Room, board, and drinks

So, here’s the scoop: our meals are technically ‘free’ in the crew mess, but every now and then, we’d hit the jackpot with dinners in fancy places like Palo or enjoy ‘movie nights’ where they’d deliver delicious food and sodas right to the crew lounge. But wait, there’s more – as Petty Officers™, we had the privilege to dine in the regular dining rooms with the guests if we felt like it. Eating in Tiana’s place or Animator’s Palate set us back around $6, plus a tip, and for a meal at Palo, it was roughly $40, plus tip. Unless, of course, it was a recognition dinner, then our leaders would foot the bill. Now, Remy, that’s the super fancy restaurant on the Dream Class ships, we were not allowed a reservation there.

Technically, per my contract, I could munch on quick bites at any of the upper deck stations, but that’s where it gets interesting. It wasn’t exactly encouraged by our leaders and fellow crew members to ask for ‘upstairs’ meals too often. It’s not a complaint, just keeping it real.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the crew bar. Those drinks came with a heavily discounted price tag too. We’re talking a beer for around $1 and some change. During the day, it functioned like your average coffee shop, with the bonus option to grab a smoothie, Red Bull, or even a candy bar if that’s your jam.

Crew events

Now, when it comes to epic parties, you can always count on the entertainment department to take it up a notch. They threw the best shindigs, from silent discos where you danced the night away with wireless headphones to celebrating Christmas in July right on the Walt Disney Theater stage. They knew how to bring the fun.

But that’s not all; there were other awesome happenings like Crew Awards, where the spotlight shone on outstanding crew members. And whenever we hit a top-notch guest satisfaction score, it was party time – ‘sponsored’ by none other than the captain himself. Now, that’s how you know you’re on a ship that values its crew.

So, whether it was department-specific gatherings or ship-wide celebrations, there was never a dull moment in the world of Disney Cruise Line crew life.

TLDR; I worked on a shop and talked about the good stuff.

Thanks for reading & drink more water

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Raisa Lynn

As an experienced freelance copywriter and web content writer, I help businesses and brands find their voice, tell their story and spread their message, using copy that engages, informs, persuades, motivates, challenges, provokes and entertains.

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Raisa Lynn

Welcome to my weird little corner of the inernet. I started this blog as a way to share my knowledge and experiences with others who are interested in my life. I hope that my insights can help others to learn and grow. Thank you for reading!


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