Dining Room Schedule, Sleeping, and Downtime

ShelleyModisetteShelleyModisette Operations Senior Staffing ManagerMember, Moderator Posts: 61 - Current Staff
Cathy Ellis, one of our newly accepted Dining Room volunteers, has a few great questions:

I read that we work 2 days on, one week, and then that week is followed by long days/hours the next week.  That is fine for me, but, in an 8 bed dorm, for myself and my job with odd hours, ( and so many others I suspect) is it easy to sleep "odd" hours?I can sleep in a large dorm, usually, but when gals are coming and going at all hours...how does this work on day to day basis?

Plus, on our days off, can we go and enjoy one of the beach town close by?  Do crew members go together, for a few days away, and stay in one of the beach guest houses?  .....  on our own dime, of course...

Plus, can we join local church services on our days off?  In past, overseas volunteer work and personal travels, I like doing that.

Thank you in advance for the feedback!



  • KatieStullKatieStull Member Posts: 19
    Hi Cathy. Great questions! My name is Katie Stull; I’m the Chief Steward here on board. I’ll do my best to answer your questions!

    The schedule you’ve read about is correct; you will work on a two-week rotating schedule in the dining room. The first week you will work Monday & Tuesday, and Friday-Sunday. The second week you will only work Wednesday and Thursday. On the days that you are on duty, you will work from 05:30—19:30 with 4-5 hours of accumulated breaks throughout the day.

    Sleeping in a cabin with lots of roommates and lots of different schedules can definitely be a challenge. J However, no matter how many crew members are in your cabin, there are only ever two beds in one berth. For instance, the eight-berth cabin has four berths in it, each with two beds. Around each of those berths is a floor-to-ceiling black-out curtain to make it completely dark in your berth. If someone is working a night shift, they will hang a si

    gn outside their cabin to remind passers-by to keep their voices down. You can do the same thing if you have a day off and want to sleep in a bit. There are also public bathrooms on each deck that you can shower and get ready in if you don’t want to have to worry about making a lot of noise on your work days. If you are a light sleeper anyway, I would recommend bringing earplugs with you. Hopefully between the pitch-darkness and muffled sounds, you will be able to get all the rest you need!

    Of course you are allowed to go off-ship on your days off. We do ask that you do not go into town alone but since you will have the same days off as your team mates, that shouldn’t be a problem. J Also, in each city that we are in, there are certain “no-go” areas that we have been recommended to avoid by local authorities. The Captain or Security Officer will make clear what these areas are in your safety orientation and there will regular safety updates given to crew. But as long as you are following instructions, you are free to explore the city! There are also places to stay overnight; you can scope out locations inthe Information Book on board once you arrive.

    Local church services are highly recommended! There is a Sunday Worship gathering on the ship but it’s in the evening, specifically so that crew can go off-ship for church in the morning if they would like. There is a church-sign up binder in the café; a driver will put in a sheet with information on the church, what time the service is, what language it will be in, if there is translation available, and what time they’ll be back. There is also a service in the wards on deck 3 every Sunday from 10:30 to 11:30 that all crew are welcome to attend.

    Looking forward to welcoming you here to Benin! Please let me know if you have any other questions.


  • Cathy EllisCathy Ellis Member Posts: 5
    Thank you Katie!  Nice to meet you, and lookng forward to meetinig you in person, end of February.  Thanks for all that info, sounds very good.  I like the idea/variety of longer shifts and then days off.  I worked my career as an  ER  RN, so was use to shift work and longer shifts.  No license now, retired, had some vision changes, so dont trust myself with critical care, and dont want the stress of working as a hospital nurse.   But, I miss international health care, miss the local and international team mates, patients, families, volunteers.  I volunteered in the past with NW Medical Teams, (disaster response medical team), so I am very excited to be part of your health care/hospital team!   Happy Holidays!  Cathy  Orcas Island, (San Juan Islands) Washington State (NW of Seattle).
  • KatieStullKatieStull Member Posts: 19
    Hi Cathy!

    Nice to eMeet you. :) We're looking forward to having you on board! If you do have any questions that weren't answered elsewhere, please do let me know ... I'm happy to help! Merry Christmas!

  • Cathy EllisCathy Ellis Member Posts: 5
    Hi Katie

    me again!   My bags are almsot packed  I travel to Benin next week!

    One last question...with the AC ,(got my clothing layers packed) I read that it can be chilly, so...do we have a balnket that is issued to us for our bunk?   I suspect so,  but I read that a few folks brought their own blankets, and would hope to not have to travel with that, for my two months.

    thanks again, Cathy
  • KatieStullKatieStull Member Posts: 19
    Hi Cathy Ellis‍ ! 

    So sorry this has taken me a few days to get back to you. :( Hopefully you haven't left quite yet! 

    You are issued a blanket so you certainly don't need to bring your own. The ship is chilly but if you are used to air conditioning it probably won't bother you that badly. If you have room to stick in one of those throw blankets that are $5 at Walmart, that might be helpful for those times where you are a little cold. But if you can't, I certainly wouldn't stress about it.

    Have a great flight and I hope your time on board is fantastic!

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