Dear friends! Please, welcome Przemyslaw from Poland who agreed to share for you his feedback and insights about bartender job on cruise ship.

My agency asked me for writing about my work experience on the ship MS Marina. Well, I need to admit that after those first 6 months I can’t imagine that I work somewhere else, but… this is not what I want to tell you. For you – working on the ship can be totally different story. The true is that everything depends on you! If you are positive and hard-working person, you probably will be alright, in other way, I advise you to re-think the idea, before investing money in your preparation :)

Anyway, whatever I write here about working on the ship, it really shouldn’t mean anything for you. It’s your life, your way, so just do what your heart tells you! What should mean something for you is the few advises, which I wrote below.  It took me few months to realize them, but I believe that they are very helpful and if you follow them from the very beginning of your contract, maybe you will skip the hardest time of your ship experience.

  1. Start work before your contract

Sometimes you have to wait for your contract 2-3 months. If you are unlucky like me 6 or even 8 – don’t waste that time. Ask your agency about a current menu and learn about products (beers, wines, spirits), their prices and obviously cocktails recipes. If you get 5 orders in the same time and you are not sure, which spirits you should use, it makes you slower and slower! And believe me, after 9-10 hours of work, the last thing you want to do is learning. Come already prepared.

  1. Prepare your bar, make sure you have everything ready

There are days, when your ship sails away at night, so your bar most often is very quiet. It’s tempting to skip some preparation (like i.e. salt and sugar glass rimmer), but I advise you to do everything. It’s called a routine. Maybe the next day your bar will host a huge party and you will have to prepare many more other things. If you don’t have that routine it is very easy to forget about some small details. One day I had my bar very well prepared, but I forgot one small thing – brown sugar. Of course, we managed to bring it from other bar, but still because of such simple mistake in consequences my guests had to wait far too long for their order.

There was also other day, which seemed so cloudy and rainy. Despite it we prepared our pool bar like we should for the equator crossing party. One hour later when the sun showed up and I had hundreds of people to serve I felt really proud that everything went well.

  1. Control your stock

It’s very tricky when you have so many bottles to control on daily basics, but even if you are tired you should give an extra attention to do it. When you miss something on your bar: your guest has to wait for his/her cocktail,  your waiter instead of making money is running around and looking for your bottle and obviously your other guests have to wait for being served by the missing waiter – simply speaking – one bottle can make a disaster. Also try to analyze your sales, first because you don’t have to have 10 bottles of wines, which are not moving, but maybe you should have some extra bottles of the most popular beers,  and second because you should check if everything is charged properly. Your waiters usually do a great job, but we are just human beings and if you don’t find their mistake, the hotel controller do it for sure :)

  1. Be innovative, but always listen your supervisor and colleagues

We all have different background and knowledge – don’t be scary to use it! As you can see below on the photo – Oceania really appreciate your initiative, but… don’t forget to listen your supervisors. Your head-bartenders or caller masters have been working for the company for a long time. They know the business very well and even if something seems unreasonable from your side, in the end of the day they are usually right :P

  1. Remember work first!

The ship is very specific environment. You work, eat, go out and do many other things with the same people. Because of that it’s very difficult to separate your private and professional life. Maybe one day you have a great time with someone and the next day that person want to use the relation in your job in one or another way. Well, it’s very difficult, but you have to always remember that the reason, why you are on the ship is work.

Also you should remember about that, when you are docked in some nice port and your friends are outside and only you have to stay in work. That’s happened, but you always have to try give your best and be positive. There are always new people to meet and new fascinating ports to visit :)

I think that’s it. Enjoy your contracts and let’s hope one day we have an occasion to work together!

* Article is taken from Przemyslaw’s personal blog. Thank you so much for sharing with us your experience! http://livingmylife.zwierzynski.co.uk/photograph/few-advices-for-future-bartenders/