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Cruise Ship Sector

The Cruise Ship Sector

iStock_000011770245XSmallCruise shipping is one of the fastest expanding of all shipping sectors. Due to the cruise sector, many more women now earn their living at sea.

Between 1995 and 2005 the number of berths available in the world's cruise fleet increased from 160,000 to 310,000. The duration of a cruise may be anything from two days to several months.

In addition to those employed to handle the ship, cruise ships also employ waiters and bar staff, chambermaids, entertainers, hairdressers etc.. These so called hotel staff are not recognised as seafarers by many governments, companies or trade unions. The growth of this area of shipping means that many more women are now at sea.

For passengers, a cruise may mean a tour of the world's cultural high spots; enjoying onboard pampering and entertainment; or trying their luck on a gambling cruise. For the crew, it is work which separates them from their families, perhaps for months at a time.

Globalisation and the race to the bottom in terms of salaries and working conditions have also affected the cruise sector. In 2002 the ITF and War on Want, a UK-based NGO, issued a report called "Sweatships – what it's really like to work onboard cruise ships". The report alleges that certain cruise lines subject crew to atrocious working conditions including long hours, slave wages, sexual harassment and a culture of fear.

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