Shore Excursions for Crew Members
Most guests go on a cruise to see new places, explore the exotic and get the flair of a country, a city. You as an employee are primarily onboard to work. However, one of the benefits of working onboard a cruise ship is also to see these new and exotic places.
To lay on the gorgeous beach of Bora Bora, do some shopping in Istanbul or see the Pyramids of Gizeh is a unique experience and feels like a little holiday, a breather, while working onboard a cruise ship.
While going ashore as an employee is a privilege and not a right, everyone will have a few hours here and there to "get some fresh air".
When you are off duty, you may have to attend safety meetings or you may have to be on port manning and therefore must stay onboard. When these restrictions do not apply, you are free to explore the shores.
Basically there are 3 possibilities, depending on what you want to do:
1. Explore the sites on your own
You can just grab a taxi and get to where you want to go.
Often you will find colleagues of yours with the same or similar interests. So it is worth while to share a cab or arrange a little tour, within the time you have available to you.
2. Help with organizing shore excursions for guests
If you have more free time available, the shore excursion department often needs a hand with the organized tours for the guests. You would assist the shore excursion staff with counting the guests (before leaving from the ship, then when leaving from the visited sites again) and with general assistance to the guests. Most cruise lines make this option available to the employees. Wearing a name tag, being helpful to guests, follow the instructions of the Shore Excursion Staff will be required.
However, this way you get to see the sites as well - and for free.
3. Tours for crew members
Many cruise lines nowadays, especially the bigger cruise ships, arrange special crew tours. This is mostly organized by the crew pursers office or by the crew welfare. The advantage here is, that you pay very little for the tour, you can relax and you are not surrounded by guests who you have to look after, and that it is an organized tour from the ship. Should there be a delay in returning to the ship, the ship will wait for you and you will not get in trouble.
You can find out more about what the ship you work on offers by asking fellow crew members or in the crew pursers office.
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