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  1. #1

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    I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship workers

    We just had a great week on the Disney Wonder in Alaska, made possible by its extraordinary staff.

    Just one thing: although almost all employees I spoke with seemed happy with their jobs, some told me they worked a minimum of 77 hours per week, and 4 months in a row without one day off. One said contentedly that he got ten hours off each day and didn't mind his 14-hour shifts.

    Whereas Disneyland & WDW draw mostly upon America's poorer half of our country to staff their theme parks, Disney's cruise ships have far more potential employees to choose from, and many of their workers seem to consider their jobs excellent opportunities. I'd guess that many are gaining valuable experiences that could help them work at 5-star hotels in their native countries. And Disney obviously did an impressive job of selecting CMs who are genuinely happy, service-oriented people.

    Remember how Apple customers were surprised at the lives of people making their Iphones in China?
    It would be decent if we helped motivate Disney to limit their cruise ship staffers to 60-hour work weeks with one day off per week. (Some do get two months off at a time.) Different departments handle schedules differently, but I would have felt even better about the cruise had I known that Disney's boats were kinder to all of their people.

    --Tom Sinsky
    Last edited by jcruise86; 11-25-2013 at 06:44 AM. Reason: typo & to reduce my own pompous hyperboyle

  2. #2

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    One of the things you need to think about on a cruise ship is the fact that there is limited space. To reduce the shifts of the workers would be to add another (guessing here) half as many crew members? Let's say there are 2000 crew members now. That would mean another 1000 people to take up cabin space, water, food and other supplies that are at a fixed supply rate because of the space issues of a ship.

    I have American friends who were entertainers on Carnival and RCCL ships. They worked 14 hour shifts doing 2 Broadway-style review shows a day plus "mingle entertaining," which basically means acting chummy with passengers, telling jokes, breaking into impromptu entertainments (a quick song, a dance step or three) and keeping the happiness level up. They did this for 6 months at a time, seven days a week. It is what they signed on for and what they expect. Remember, cruise ships pay fairly well and almost all that money can be banked because you are given food, shelter, clothing (to a point), crew enrichment activities and entertainment all as part of your job. Especially for those in less prosperous countries a cruise ship job is... well... what a Disneyland or Disney World job used to be; prestigious, exciting, and respected in the greater work community when it is time to move on adn get another, more hours-friendly job.

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  3. #3

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    a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week would improve their lives

    Good post, Attic Haunt! Thank you.

    I believe the Wonder had a crew of 950. Workers don't have families on the ship, and I spoke to one CM who saw his kids two months a year.

    I wonder how all of the largest cruise lines treat their employees differently? I'd like Disney to be a leader in this, though that doesn't seem to be a top priority at Disneyland.

    I also wonder how all of the different departments within the ship live.

    Yesterday I read an article contrasting Sam's Club with Costco. After the article, many comments pointed out that Costco had better products & food, and that Costco treated their employees much better. Some consumers appreciated this alone, and others pointed out that this was why they found that in general Costco's employees were much better.

    I asked two Disney Wonder employees about the food they ate on the ship. One said it was nothing like ours, but another one who worked at a buffet said that his food was prepared by the same chefs who served us and that he thought it was excellent.

    I've gotta add this:
    I visited WDW every summer it was open in the 1970s and the early 80s, and I remember the extraordinary CMs (a small % were then picked from a huge pool of applicants) who were so proud to be part of something amazing. And years later I went to Tokyo Disneyland and had to agree that their CMs surpassed their American counterparts at the time I went there---though I still encounter many outstanding CMs at Disneyland. But the many CMs I encountered on our Disney Wonder Cruise to Alaska were, I believe, the best Disney CM's I've ever seen. A couple of them had worked on a larger, newer Disney ship and said that they preferred the Wonder's size because they knew more of their co-workers. Many had been working happily on the Wonder for at least a few years, so my even mentioning Chinese workers manufacturing Apple products in the first post wasn't fair.

    Last edited by jcruise86; 04-26-2014 at 11:13 AM. Reason: typo

  4. #4

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    Seeing your kids that little is rather hard, I am sure. I know my cruise ship friends were single so they didn't have that problem. Not that I am comparing these two "jobs" in any other way, but I would assume ship employees view the disadvantages of their long hours away from home in much the same way as members of the military do. You do what you need to because it is part of the job. At least families of cruise ship employees have les concerns about their loved ones being hurt/killed in the "line of duty" (not counting the handful of cruise-tastrophies in the recent past).

    You also need to think a bit "non-First World" about the work conditions as well. Many (not all) cruise ship employees don't come from cultures that embrace the 40 hour work week and are happy to be there because despite the long hours and time away from loved ones, the surroundings are lush, the food bountiful and the work conditions are far above what the average worker expects/experiences in service industry jobs in their home countries.

    Overall, though, you are right. It would be nice if Disney was able to find a way to economically be able to provide more free time to employees between and during cruises.

    “That's the way a lot of things happen... You think one person did something
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  5. #5

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    Quote Originally Posted by jcruise86 View Post
    Just one thing: although almost all employees I spoke with seemed happy with their jobs, some told me they worked a minimum of 77 hours per week, and 4 months in a row without one day off. One said contentedly that he got ten hours off each day and didn't mind his 14-hour shifts.
    I wouldn't put too much faith in this feedback, as the employees are not about to tell guests how they really feel.

    On a recent Alaska cruise (on Celebrity), our waiters opened up a bit about how it's a terrible job, after my sister told them she used to work on a cruise ship. They specifically said that one of the big rules is that they are not allowed to complain to guests about hours or salary.
    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  6. #6

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    I'd say ask yourself - would / could I work these hours?

    if the answer is no (as it would be for me) then it shouldn't be ok for others.

    I certainly couldn't enjoy myself on a cruise if I knew people were working those hours

    I know all the arguments about poor people working for better money in the west but if we aren't prepared to work like that we shouldn't ask others to

  7. #7

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    On Cruise Ships, all of them the crew gets basically one time off. When the guests are off the ship. Ships don't spend 24 hours in a port to give a full day off. They unload and load or reload the passengers on the same day.

    Many of the employees have plenty of fun. It's like a college atmosphere. Work, party then sleep. There are clubs and bars for the crew on the boat. Lots of parties for entertainment. They get their own pools and decks to spend time in most cases.

    In the end they may not have researched what they signed up for. At least they make more than if they signed up to join a military.
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  8. #8

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    Quote Originally Posted by robbiem View Post
    I'd say ask yourself - would / could I work these hours?

    if the answer is no (as it would be for me) then it shouldn't be ok for others.

    I certainly couldn't enjoy myself on a cruise if I knew people were working those hours

    I know all the arguments about poor people working for better money in the west but if we aren't prepared to work like that we shouldn't ask others to
    But there are plenty of people who are willing to work these jobs, and not all of them are poor/disadvantaged/"third world" residents. As I said, I have friends who worked entertainment on ships. They said many positions on the ship are filled by average American/European/"first world" folks. Most are young and single. They view this as a way to work and save up money for later. As I and other posters have noted, everything is included that you would normally pay for in a regular job (except alcohol, souvenirs and personal items). Having no rent, no utilities, no grocery bills and very little in the way of an entertainment payments (off ship) means more of your money can be saved/sent home. Work exhausing shifts in a fun atmosphere for 3-5 years, then move on to a guest services position on land. Take those savings and go to college, put a hefty downpayment on a house, or invest in a retirement account.

    On the other side, many of the more physical jobs (housekeeping, wait staff) are poor/disadvantaged/"third world" residents. Half to two-thirds of the maintenance staff as well, according to my friends. It would be nice if there could be a way for those hard-working employees to receive hours closer to a 40-hour work week or a rotated shift.

    What it comes down to is this... how do you make it happen? How do the logistics/work rotations schedule out? Have two complete crews that cruise ten days, then stay home ten days? Do these workers go ten days with no pay so they can have time off?

    “That's the way a lot of things happen... You think one person did something
    but he was just the one to put the color on it." – Ken Anderson
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  9. #9

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    I currently work at WDW, and am considering transferring to DCL. I think it would be fun
    Many as a kid (1986-1998)Aug 98- Port OrleansMarch 03- Jr Band Trip (offsite)Aug 03- Port OrleansJan 12-Aug 5, 05- CP (CS)Jan 1-5, 06- AS Sports (Solo Trip)May 24, 06 to Jan 5, 07- CP (CS)Jan 31-Feb 3, 07- offsite (solo trip)March 1-3, 2007- Dad + Me (offsite)May 16-Aug 10, 07- CP (CS)Aug 10-12, 07- GF/P&PMay 21-Aug 15, 08- CP (PC)Aug 15-18, 08- AKLMarch 25-29, 09 (off-site)Aug 10, 09-Jan 2, 10- CP (CS)Jan 3-May 14, 2010- CP (CS)Feb 12-16, 2012: DCL DreamOct 20-27, 2012: DCL Fantasy (East)Sept 8-12, 2013: DCL Dream

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  10. #10

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    Another thing to consider is that DCL, Carnival Cruise Group, and others register their ships in different countries such as the Bahamas. Those countries have very different regulations as to labor laws. There is one cruise line (I can't remember the name) that has American registry and they only sail around Hawaii.
    I have been on two (soon to be three) cruises with Holland America and the foreign staff members seemed happy. They have been friendly and in many cases went above and beyond what their job should have entailed. The hotel service and food crews were mainly from the Philippines and Indonesia. I would imagine to these workers, cruise ship work was probably better than some of the other job prospects in their countries.

  11. #11

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    put it this way if they work like we do a disney cruise would be almost double the current rate

  12. #12

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    ^^I didn't ask for a 40-hour-work week. (Yet.)

    Going 60 hours with one day off a once a week would not double the cost of a Disney Cruise.
    I felt weird promoting a still-too-long 60-hour week, except that some now work 77 hours and sometimes change is made in steps.

    The American media needs a good Disney Cruise worker article & TV news piece.
    "We spoke with Thomas Staggs, a former financial officer who watches over Disney's Outdoor Entertainment and is now paid 10-million dollars a year by Disney. . ."
    Last edited by jcruise86; 11-25-2013 at 08:23 AM. Reason: misspelled "weird"

  13. #13

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    It's not much different on any 'isolated' worksite with limited resources.

    Be it you're working on an Oil Rig, working in some remote isolated site, or in the military. What do all these things have in common? Limited resources. The people put to work there are PUT TO WORK THERE.

    As another poster already mentioned.... taking people off shift means finding another body to work that shift. The ship is a finite size and it's resources are constrained. The crew already take up 35% of the boat's people capacity.

    You can't expect a home based work schedule everywhere... the job and environment dictate the work schedule's flexibility.
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  14. #14

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    It's not much different on any 'isolated' worksite with limited resources.

    Be it you're working on an Oil Rig, working in some remote isolated site, or in the military. What do all these things have in common? Limited resources. The people put to work there are PUT TO WORK THERE.

    As another poster already mentioned.... taking people off shift means finding another body to work that shift. The ship is a finite size and it's resources are constrained. The crew already take up 35% of the boat's people capacity.

    You can't expect a home based work schedule everywhere... the job and environment dictate the work schedule's flexibility.
    At least you called them "people."
    C'mon--77 hours a week? NO days off? This isn't Pixar making the first Toy Story or Disney animation before Katzenberg dropped his (joking?) slogan: "If you don't come in on Saturday, don't bother coming in on Sunday."
    (Mr. K., if you're reading this, I'd love to work at Dreamworks Animation in Glendale on your beautiful campus enjoying excellent free lunches.)
    Last edited by jcruise86; 04-26-2014 at 11:16 AM.

  15. #15

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    Re: I propose a 60-hour workweek with one day off per week for Disney Cruise Ship wor

    Crew are already stuffed on the boats... with virtually no personal space. Now you want to 'creatively fit in more beds'? What about the load on utilities, supplies, water, waste, etc. Every person on the boat is a tax on it's resources. It's a self-supporting island.

    These schedules exist for a reason... they've tried to fit the most guests on board they can. Crew are there to work.. they know that.
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