What is the crew living conditions on a cruise ship?

Let’s look into introduction on Disney Cruise Line Career Pages (Link) to get clear idea.

  • Life on a ship can be compact yet comfortable, rewarding and fun. This does require flexibility on your part. Most crew members onboard share a cabin with one or more crew members. Each crew cabin has limited space and is equipped with:

    ★ A bed for each crew member
    ★ A bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet
    ★ A small closet/storage space for personal belongings
    ★ A small lockable area to store valuables
    ★ A desk
    ★ A telephone
    ★ A TV/DVD player (U.S. or NTSC compatible)
    ★ A mini-refrigerator

    Smoking is not permitted within Crew and Officer cabins. Electronic cigarettes (subject to shipboard electrical check and approval) are allowed with roommate agreement. Each ship does have designated Crew smoking locations.
    Most crew members move into a crew cabin during their first cruise onboard. Your first cabin can be what is called a 'training cabin' (a temporary cabin assigned to a crew member who is in training), or may be the cabin in which you will live for a select period of time. This will not be determined until after you embark the ship. Please realize crew members are occasionally required to change cabins periodically throughout their contract, as crew berthing is based upon operational need. This is when your flexibility will make a difference!

Crew Cabins on Disney Cruise Line

Also on the Job Monkey (Link) , the vivid description is worth quotation.
  • If someone came up to you on the street and asked if you would like to live in a twelve-by-twelve box with a total stranger for six months, you’d undoubtedly say, “No thanks.” Yet, at sea, this is done willingly.

    It’s true that accommodations are sometimes cramped, especially on smaller vessels, but the ship’s company is generally interesting and friendly. Many people compare it to their first year in a college dorm, without the homework.

    On the larger cruise ships, most employees share cabins on one of the crew decks, and some people, especially the cruise staff, actually have living quarters in the plush passenger areas. Although some employees get single cabins, these are usually reserved for cruise staff with more seniority. Employees are usually separated by department, at least on the larger cruise ships. Cruise staff lives on the same floor, kitchen and maintenance staff on another, and often the crew is further divided by nationality. Generally, the higher the quarters the better, since on some ships cabins below the water are somewhat noisy from the splash of water and hum of the engines.

Take Norwegian Cruise Lines (Link) for Example, they set up the accommodation rules as followings:  

  • Your crew cabin has 1, 2, 3, or 4 bunk beds, desk and chair, T.V. and telephone. Space is very tight.
  • Crew members share cabins with one, two or three team members, depending on the entitlements.
  • You and your roommates are responsible for keeping your cabin clean and tidy at all times.
  • Towels and linens will be provided once a week.
  • No guest in cabins! Violation will result in termination / dismissal.

Recommendation: Open your mind and Embrace friends worldwide

As the crew member, you may discover differences that surprise you, but more likely, you’ll find that people all over the world — despite their different taste in food or clothing — are interestingly similar at their core. Friendships expose us to the fascinating differences and surprising likenesses of the global human race.

International friendships open our eyes to all the adventures we can have and the many wonderful people we can have them with. The crew member stays away from home and old friends. When the crew encounters stress and difficulty in cruise life, new friends play important roles in support and assistance. And just because you go through tough situation together, this international friendship becomes stronger and stronger. Even though international friendships might mean eventually having to say goodbye, the strength of these bonds overcomes miles and borders, bringing not only two people, but two places, closer together.

The more we travel, the smaller our world becomes. Those connections benefit us, as well as the people we meet and the people back home, bringing more understanding and greater empathy to our world.