Ship in Dry-Docks. What do crew members do?
The same as your car needs to be checked on a regular basis, a ship needs to be checked so often in a pre-defined time.
For this reason ships go into Dry-Dock (older ships every 2 years, newer ships every 3 to 5 years). The ship is basically taken "out of the water" so all surfaces and external machinery can be viewed, worked on, repaired.
What does that mean to you, a crew member onboard?
If you have a position, where you main salary is paid by the tips/revenue generated by passengers onboard, most cruise lines will give you the option to leave the ship for the duration of the Dry-Dock, at your own expense. Most Dry-Docks last in average 2 weeks.
Staying on a ship in Dry-Dock
Crew members who decide to stay onboard will get a minimal salary and will have to do duties as assigned by the ship. Some of the duties can include Fire Patrol, running the bar for the contractors, cleaning teams etc.
While the ship is in Dry-Dock, depending on the work which is done, a horde of contractors will come onboard to carry out the various works. Restrictions will apply on where you can be onboard the ship, what duties you have, in which location you have your meals etc.
The duty, while the ship is in Dry-Dock is normally easier than when you have passengers onboard, but it requires a lot of flexibility and often "being on call".
Since there are a lot of workers onboard, more attention needs to be paid when wondering around the ship. There is welding going on here, electrical work there, sanding of the teak floors, repairs overhead, etc. This results in sparks flying, cables hanging from above, areas off limit...
Most cruise lines have briefings with the crew members before the Dry-Dock to point out those hazards, as well as giving guidelines and rules on how things work while the ship is in Dry-Dock.
Some cruise lines also offer "tours" for interested crew members to go down to the dock, to see how a ship looks like on the bottom, what works are planned to be carried out and what the "holes" and other things you see there are for.
Dry-Dock first feels a little bit like a mini-vacation and at the same time you wish to get back into your usual routine with guests onboard. It is a time to enjoy the change in daily routine.
Some cruise lines give the crew members the chance to stay off the ship (your expense) for 2 or 3 days. So you could book into a hotel and enjoy the beach - depending of course on the location of the Dry-Dock.
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