A day in the life of a Hotel Utility

Hi everyone ! It's 10 pm on day 180 of my contract which is 272 days long.

So I have done more than half, and I can assure you, I am getting tired. I am one of 20 Hotel Utilities onboard, and we make sure the public areas inside the ship are always kept clean throughout the day and night.

We work in 3 shifts and for the next 2 months I am on a night shift. Oh, I almost forgot to introduce myself. I am Ayesha Bahawalanzai and from Pakistan. I know, you probably got all tongue tied trying to say my last name which is why onboard we normally use first names which makes things much easier.

As Hotel Utility, I work in the Housekeeping department and report to the Assistant Housekeeper. This is my second contract onboard, and regardless, that I have worked as room stewardess in a hotel on land before, I had to start as a Hotel Utility. The first few months is on a day shift – I think this is so the bosses can check on the quality and speed of work that you do. While working the night shift is harder, it also means that the one in charge trusts you more and that you do a good job.

My shift starts at 23.00 pm and I have been assigned for this week, to the Theater, the backstage area, the conference rooms and corridors, and some of the bars in the forward area of the ship. First I need to report to the Asst. Housekeeper to get the keys for some of the areas which are locked, to sign in for duty and get any additional instructions, if needed.

Then I get my vacuum cleaner and my little cart with all the brushes, garbage bags, rags and cleaning materials on it and make my way to the conference rooms – which are, by now, not longer occupied. I like cleaning the conference rooms as there isn't as many glass items and brass areas to clean. Once a week we need to clean the windows inside, dust all areas, clean the chairs and tables, vacuum and put the tables and chairs in order.

By 1:00 am I am done with the conference rooms and can make my way to the Theater, which takes a long time. Besides dusting and cleaning all the handrails and armrests, each seat needs to be opened and vacuumed. Since the material shows a different color, depending on in which direction one vacuums, we need to follow a certain pattern to get them looking right. After all the seats have been done, the floor and steps need to be vacuumed.

By 3:00 am I go for a break and to get something to eat. Our crew mess is open all night, so all the night workers can get a snack or a full meal. Of course the majority of the crew works during the day – but between all the cleaners in the Galleys, Restaurants and public Areas, you will find Cooks, the Bakers and the shift keepers from Deck and Engine, in the Crew Mess at night.

My shift will end at 11:00 am, and when the first guests appear in the morning, we need to be done with the work in the public areas. There are plenty of places which need cleaning, such as the tender assembly points, on days when the ship is docked alongside. And there is always a lot of brass items to be cleaned around the ship. There are also public areas that the crew use which also needs to be cleaned, such as the crew bar, gym and the recreational rooms. As you can see, we never run out of work.

One of the good parts of my job is that I will be off in the day and the ship is in Antigua today so I will get to go to the beach.

I hope you enjoyed the time with me and I wish you a good day.

Ayesha Bahawalanzai, Pakistan