Life on Ships: 5 Areas to Take Charge

Self- control (noun): the ability to control oneself, in particular one's emotions and desires or the expression of them in one's behavior, especially in difficult situations

Discipline (verb): train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way

I have found ship life to be a lot like college. I am on my own with many like-minded people, doing what I love, and we all live in the same area on campus (Hey, Deck 1 forward!). With that in mind, it can be easy to let a lot of responsibilities slide.

With room and board covered, at least three meals provided daily, and the draw of international travel at my fingertips, I have had to check-in with myself multiple times during these contracts to keep myself in line. Through heightened self-control and discipline, I have been able to budget and save a good amount of money this contract specifically without feeling like I have missed out on the joys of said international travel.

But it’s not just money, it is also in the way discipline is exercised in the time spent on the ship itself.

So where have I had to express self-control and discipline onboard?

1. Internet

Internet is not free on the ship, for crew or for guests. As someone who on land has a large data limit on my phone, it can be very easy to spend a lot of time online, whether I am thinking about it or not. Here, it is obvious when I am spending too much time online because there is a monetary indication as well.

For the month of May, I did not purchase any ship internet. Working out the math, I saved almost $200 for the month by being in control of that spending. How crazy!

2. Food

Buffet style eating is a blessing and a curse. The “all-you-can-eat” mentality can be dangerous on a ship. Finding good ways to express self-control in the mess is vital, especially as a performer who has to send in monthly fitness photos. I have found that by always going to the salad bar first, I am always getting vegetables before finding my protein or other carbohydrates to add to my plate.

Word to the wise: avoid the dessert table. You will get sucked in, and next thing you know, you’re having cheesecake every night. But if the dessert looks incredible, TREAT YO SELF. (It’s all about balance)

3. Gym

As a production cast, we are contracted to do 5 hours of gym per week. As time has come to pass, I have seen how crucial those 5 hours a week have become. It is my chance to unwind, take time to check-in and see where I am for the day, and to continue to improve my body and mind. It is to the point now where I know in order to feel my best I have to get up to the gym, even on the days when I’m not feeling it.

4. Bar

Just like on land, our bar and back deck area are a great place to socialize and unwind after the day is done. Specifically on this ship, we have the Slop Chest (a mini mart of sorts), a coffee bar, and an outside bar on the back deck.

Prices are reduced on crew members’ alcohol as well as some of the snacks in the Slop Chest, making it incredibly easy to swipe your SeaPass and spend more money than you intend. Spending my money wisely in this area is easy when I know I haven’t put any money on my SeaPass in the first place, thus stopping me from unnecessary purchases.

5. Port

Working on a ship, shopping becomes a way to unwind and feel like you aren’t repeating the same outfit every week (though it will happen). But it is also one of the quickest ways to spend your paycheck on things you don’t need and add to your already overweight suitcases on the journey home.

When going shopping at the mall or shopping center, I always make sure I am meeting my needs first and THEN addressing my wants. Even waiting a week or two to see if you still REALLY want that pair of shoes or that fidget spinner can help save you a pretty penny.

By expressing self-control and discipline in these five areas, I have found that I am healthier, happier, and in a good place financially. I have seen others onboard pay off student loans, credit card debt, even lose incredible amounts of weight simply because they put in the time and effort.

I am excited to take what I have learned onboard the ship home with me as I start the next chapter of my life, and I invite you to find those areas in your life where you can express more self-control and discipline.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square

© 2014 by Anna Saunders da Costa. Proudly created with