Oh I see you taking a gander at that old photo on the hallway wall. Yes that’s me in Rio De Janeiro for Carnival a few years back when I worked for Holland America Line. We were on a 49 day cruise to Brazil and back. Yes, I’m wearing fruit hat on my head; a craft I felt inspired to make as I thought the guests would be more inclined to listen to me about tender boats if I was dressed like Carmen Miranda. I mean, no one is going to argue or be upset about a two hour wait when Carmen Miranda’s in charge.
Anyway, glad you get a kick out of it. My cruise ship days sure were fun! I learned a lot while I travelled by vessel around the world such as how to organize small spaces aaaaand organize everything else for that matter. I think that was probably the most impressive aspect- of knowing the front of the house and behind-the-scenes of a ship and seeing how it all works together like a puzzle. I always get asked how many days off we would have in an 8 month or 4 month contract and there weren’t any. When 4,000 guests departed in the morning, 4,000 new guests will be sleeping in those beds that night but actually in the rooms by early afternoon. After leaving the industry to start a family, although onboard family options are allowed depending on rank, I have taken some of those organizational and operational methods and have adapted them to our home. And yes, my husband thinks I’m ridiculous but he gets it because he still does work for the industry sometimes.
So if you admire what the cruise ships are capable of and are in wonder with how they can plan, organize, feed and clean after thousands of guests, we should be able to manage our average size households (with much more square footage per person) easily right? Riiiiiight…
Okay, okay wishful thinking. But here’s a few ways to Run Your Home Like a Cruise Ship anyway.
In an emergency onboard a cruise ship, every crew member has a duty including your waiter, steward and even the performers. The duties vary, but you should feel assured knowing they have each undergone extensive training in the water, flipping turned rafts, fire extinguisher training, first aid and knowing a crazy amount of facts about lifeboats and life raft supplies. The Coast Guard tests each ship and crew yearly which is always a big deal as the company is relying on us dancers to know how many flares are in the life raft. At least that’s how we felt. But it’s kinda true. It’s always something that we would dread as we would have to study but secretly we looked forward to it a little as I personally think the Coast Guard has some of the best looking, I mean, um, most intelligent Officers.
One of the biggest safety concerns and rightfully so, is an onboard fire. I know it sounds scary because it is! But rarely happens. That being said, fire extinguishers are placed EVERYWHERE and they even have fire tight doors. I’m not saying you need to put fire tight doors in your home, but a fire extinguisher under every sink is probably not a bad idea. On land sometimes it’s not about where a fire might start, but where you are when the fire starts. So I place one under every sink in every bathroom in case I need to use it to make a path for myself to get to my babes. Ladders and fire blankets- all good choices for keeping your home safe too. Oh and fire alarms. Buy a couple of those and you’ll be ready for your Coast Guard visit too. Oh and lipstick.
My husband hates this one. If you’re like us you might occasionally shop at Sam’s Club or Costco. And when that happens you come home with 24 rolls of T.P. and 6 tubes of tooth paste. Weeeeelll our bathrooms aren’t built by Sam’s Club standards so I refuse to stock them to the rim with T.P., diapers, wipes, 15 deodorants, etc. So I put a few in the drawers and the rest in the garage (but you have to say garage like the British “gare ridge”). Husband doesn’t really get this form of organization. He’ll always ask where is the so and so we just bought? And I’ll say “Check the provisions!” This is when he rolls his eyes. Ships organize the same way. They carry office supplies, menu stationary, crazy amounts of ink, photo paper, pillows, and other dry goods in storage spaces down, down below. There is even a Provisions Officer that overseas (see what I did there?) everything onboard and is accountable for all the needs of different departments. They check the supplies coming on and off the ship so we know the weight of the ship, we know the value in which we’re carrying and so we know what we need for future voyages. I keep our “provisions” in the “gare ridge” and it has helped to keep our house a little more tidey (did you see that too?) 🙂
#3 Galley Hours
As a paying guest onboard a ship, you can order food at any hour. Even if the dining room is closed, room service is always available and some even have late night options in cafes and bars. For the crew though, there are open and closed times for the galley. By implementing this into your own kitchen, you’ll be following the tips of a lot of dietitians. I used to eat exactly at 8:00am, 12:00pm and 6:30pm. I wouldn’t eat a thing after that and I have to say I would fully digest my food and felt really good. I wasn’t piling food on top of food with snacking. I was mostly able to accomplish this because I didn’t want food in my little cabin and I rarely went to the galley or mess to say, pop popcorn because I didn’t want to pass my bosses in the hall once I was in my pjs with no makeup! It’s a very weird and revealing experience working and living, well, at work. But I must say I loved the commute! So put an open and closed time on the galley and stick to it! I think you’ll be amazed by how good you’ll feel.
This one is short and to the point. Establish a hierarchy and duties for each person of your home. For example, Husband and I are both Captains but he is in charge of the electronics of the ship and I oversee the operation. We both share galley duties, housekeeping duties, exterior upkeep and assist in the infirmary when one of our crew is sick. Saylor, our little skipper is in charge of messing all of that up, so maybe she’s really the Captain…
#5 Interesting Entertainment
If you want to meet interesting or different people, go on a cruise. Both the guest entertainers hired and the guests themselves have really intriguing personalities and stories to tell. I suggest inviting a handful of friends over for your next dinner party that maybe you’ve not had over before. It’s fun to mix things up and see what happens. Also great to have a party game ready too. Oh and the Officer’s Bar needs to be open as well.
#6 Clean Machine
There really needs to be a different word for efficiency of ships. It’s just amazing how they can house so many people, turn over the rooms, galleys and dining rooms and have relatively little outbreak of sickness. Believe me, I have done my share of cleaning my own cabin for “Cabin Inspection” and sanitizing areas of the ship when a small outbreak arises. I try to keep our house clean in similar manners like making our bed by 10am and putting a mint on the pillow. Okay, I don’t do that. Well, maybe I have for guests. It’s true our little skipper tosses everything like a tsunami but I have felt inspired to clean quickly and can do so pretty fast when need be. Oh and the occasion towel animal is pretty fun to make!
One last thing before I debark…
This all might sound ridiculous but I don’t think I’ve gone overboard at all. It really has helped us to have smooth sailing. But if I start loading our car like a tender boat, Husband might just abandon ship…