“This was one leap off faith”
I actually didn’t want to do the job or take it, i got offered it the day after i applied on the TUI website. I was very apprehensive. I wanted to do another season in the Lakes and Mountains, but because i did get the job as a Bike Guide… Couldn’t be that bad? I am getting paid to ride a bike around Europe. What a job!
…It wasn’t what i exactly thought it was going to be. Ship life is a one kind life. It won’t suit everyone but some people it does. When i joined the ship, i defiantly didn’t like it. I hated it. I handed in my resignation, i wanted to leave, i was crying my eyes out all the time and was just hating the life onboard with the job i was doing. However, my manager was really supportive and persuaded me to stay, as i technically only been there about 3 weeks. I stayed. But, i still wasn’t enjoying myself because i kept comparing it to my resort season’s previously and felt i was trapped, with no where to go.
TUI Discovery 2
I joined Thomson’s new ship, Discovery 2. I joined before it even got launched. I had a dry dock period of around 2-3 weeks, where basically all i did was build the bikes up and cycle around Cadiz with the other Bike Guide, Callum, then went out all night with my team. I soon get bored of this, hence handing my resignation in. My perspective soon changed off the ship when i met Mr Johnny Morris at the launch party, after we met we would always be talking or going ashore. This soon made me feel, more at home. It’s a nice feeling having someone there, who just get’s you and you can talk to about everything. This put me at ease.
Ship life, isn’t all what you think.
People just see all my photos and think i am loving life on the ship, i guess that’s why i have done 2 contracts now going into my 3rd. However, i do enjoy the ship but i enjoy aspects of it. For example; i love taking guests out on the bikes around the ports we stop and especially when they give you such positive feedback, when you have made their holiday! But the Destination Services side of it, when guests are screaming down your neck because they want a refund, is generally demoralising.
I probably have the best job in the world, except being a chocolate taster, but i really do. Who doesn’t want to get paid to ride a bike around new city’s and travel on a floating resort? It’s an amazing way to travel!
“What do you actually do?” – I take guests, who have paid out on a bike tour at every port of call we stop at. I am basically a hop on hop off bus but on bikes. We see everything. You see all the highlights but with fresh air and some exercise thrown in too. If not bike guiding, i will either be looking after the bikes and maintaining them or sitting on my desk selling the tours. As we don’t get a day off, we just get ‘hours’ off. Which, isn’t very much for myself because i work all day and night anyways… On turn around day, when we have the new guests, i do the check in. Just like at an airport, i check the guests in and get them ready to jump onboard.
Our accommodation isn’t nothing like sharing an apartment, like i have previously experienced with a nice sauna, oh no. It is just a standard cabin, luckily i do have a little port hole so i can see the waves crashing against it. I am located on deck 2. We have bunk beds, with a little en suite too. They aren’t nothing spectacular but you aren’t really in them much because you are always working… TOP TIP: Take lots of homely photos and decorations with you.
Ship life isn’t just, go anywhere you want any time. Depending on the job you have, depending on what ‘privileges’ you have, they say they don’t go off hierarchy, but they DEFIANTLY do! I also find from working onboard, if you are walking around with a white uniform on and stripes you get treated a lot nicer then when you don’t. The rules are very simple but they are annoying.
- Don’t walk around with a glass in your hand.
- You aren’t allowed to order from the bar.
- You can’t drink out of a can, you have to have it in a cup.
- If there is too many guests in the one area, you have to not be in that place.
- Request to eat at a restaurant.
The list goes on… you get the jist? However, not all the crew are allowed up on deck. It all depends if you have it in your privileges… luckily i am or else life onboard would be VERY boring. Even when my parents come onboard, i still have to request to go and eat with them. I am unable to just go… only because guests get priority. When you see someone walking around onboard in a white uniform with strips, from a guests point of view, you think wow – they are important. Fair enough, they may have a good job and crucial part in keeping this ship moving however, i feel no matter with or without the uniform your still exactly the same as me. You don’t need to be rude. I experienced 3 men in their white’s, i was standing next to the bar with a couple of my work colleagues having a chat and a drink, these 3 men come marching over telling us too “move, this is our spot”. How dare they? I have every right to be here, the same as them. I can tell you for certain, i certainly didn’t move and told them to jog on.
We do have our own crew area’s with a bar, dining area, pool table and somewhere we can all get away from the moaning guests. No guests are allowed in our area, only the crew. This is where most crew go at night, as they aren’t allowed up on deck, they head over to crew bar and grab a beer with their mates. We have a crew itinerary every week meaning, their is a different activity going on every night for us ranging from parties to bingo. This is to give everyone a chance to mingle with all the 47 different nationalities onboard and have a different kind of fun for a change… The highlights are when our crew manager organises crew parties! This is the one big event where all crew are invited to have free beer, a boogie and socialise. They always get a bit messy. But when that music comes on, I’m defiantly the first one on the dance floor, thats the best bit!
I get paid to ride a bike and travel.