I worked on a cruise ship for 8 months because I wanted to travel. The low pay and exhausting schedule weren’t worth it.

Chris Libreros (left) Spectrum of the Seas (right)

The Miami native Chris Libreros told Insider he worked up to 11 ½ hours a day, seven days a week, and made $2,100 a month before taxes.Courtesy of Chris Libreros (left) PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images (right)

  • Chris Libreros worked on a cruise ship for eight months after working in the hotel industry.

  • He said he was shocked by the crew’s rigorous work schedule, lack of free time, and low pay.

  • It wasn’t worth it, even though he traveled to Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, he told Insider.

This as-told-to essay is based on conversations with Chris Libreros, who worked for a major US cruise line from March to November. He has chosen to exclude his employer’s name, but his position has been verified by Insider. The following has been edited for length and clarity. 

I’ve lived in Miami my entire life, so I’ve always watched the cruise ships go in and out of the port — but I never really understood what happened on board.

Last year, I was working at the Ritz-Carlton and decided I wanted to try something new. I had a friend who worked for a major cruise line, and I heard it was sailing in Asia, an area of the world I’d always wanted to explore. He helped me get a job in the guest-services department, which is like the general front desk of a cruise ship. My role was mainly customer service, assisting guests with questions and complaints.

I left the US in March and returned in November. I made $2,100 a month before taxes. We were originally scheduled to depart from Hong Kong, but because of China’s COVID-19 restrictions, the cruise ship was moved over to Singapore. From there, we sailed to Malaysia and Thailand.

My contract was originally for 5 ½

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