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Hospitality at Sea

The adventure awaits!

Popular Cruising Questions

By Hospitality at Sea - Winter 2018
  • Roughly, how much money will I need for each port?

Shadee: “I probably spent around $30 per port, that is including tax, food, and souvenirs”.

Dyani: “It depends on the port. Some port cities were more expensive than the others. South America has the most amazing food, therefore, I brought extra cash for meals”.

  • Will I experience home-sickness?

Dajia: “Since I am a shopaholic, I do not know exactly how much I have spent at each port stop. But, I know I did spend a total of $600 off the ship and $360 on the ship”.

Shadee: “I did not necessarily experience homesickness, but by the last couple of days of our trip, I was ready to be on land and off of the ship.”

Dyani: “I did not experience homesickness. If I did, I think the best way to deal with it would to keep reminding yourself to “live in the moment”. You’ll never get these moments back and be able to take a college course on a ship, while traveling and meeting so many people. It is truly a blessing. Take advantage of who you meet and spend everyday on the ship with because you’ll be home before you know it”.

Daniela: “I did experience homesickness. In order to feel better I kept reminding myself that opportunities like this are once in a lifetime. I kept myself surrounded by the people in the same classes as me and this helped keep my mind off of home”.

  • What do I need to bring to class on the ship?

Sacelia: “It is always good to bring a notebook, pen, and folder. I recommend printing and preparing your material before you get onto the ship because you never know when the wifi can loose connection”.

  • It is my first time cruising, will I be okay?

Sacelia: “YOU WILL BE OKAY! 🙂 There is nothing to be scared about. Cruising is an amazing experience”.

Dyani: “This was my first cruise ever! I was terrified of getting seasick, so I brought many different remedies with me. Thankfully, I did not get sick! Some other students did get sick and they said if you keep yourself focused on something throughout your day it helps from getting sick”.

Dajia: “This was my first time cruising. My biggest concern was being left at a port. But, I made a great group of friends and we stuck together at every port to make sure no one was left behind. I recommend creating a Whats App group chat with your travel friends”.

  • How will life after study abroad be?

Shadee: “Life after our trip is pretty good! I am happy to be back at work. After talking with students and professors on the ship, I now feel like I have a better grasp on what I want to do in the Hospitality Industry. So, when I arrived back in Miami, I cleaned up my resume and applied to many jobs!”

Ship Life

By Hospitality at Sea - Winter 2018

We learned A LOT on this trip. Norwegian Cruise-line really educated us about ship life and the different positions offered on cruise ships.

One crew member really stood out to the FIU crew during our whole time on the ship.

Our server: Rico.

Rico is from the Philippines. He has been on the ship for 8-9 years because he is supporting his family back home. He told us he is married and has one child. We could tell how extremely difficult it was for him to be away from his family.

Although, Rico was very positive and loved to be the best at his job every single day. Being a waiter on the ships is a difficult job with long hours. Rico started off as a Food Runner. He was promoted to an Assistant Waiter. Shortly after, he was promoted to a Waiter. Now, he is a trainer and one of the head servers. There are some pros and cons to being promoted. If one wants to switch ships, they have to start at the bottom of their department and of course, if one is promoted they make more money!

Rico, along with many other crew members, work on the ships so they are able to travel and make good money to support their families. Of course, because of the free meals and rent too!

RECOMMENDATION: As you can see, it is extremely hard for one to work multiple contracts on a cruise ship. Crew members work very hard all day and everyday. They are not able to see/speak to their families often. They’re human beings just like us and a lot of passengers seem to forget that! I have seen so many passengers treat their stewards/servers like complete garbage. As future Hospitality professionals, it is our job to change this.

Every ship has Comment Cards, which gives bonuses and rates employees to put them into qualification for a promotion. So I recommend you tell everyone you know about these little cards and remind future cruisers to be kind!

Santiago, Chile

By Hospitality at Sea - Winter 2018

It is a bittersweet moment for myself, the professors and the rest of the students!!!

Our last day!

Our trip is officially over and I cannot believe it. These two weeks flew by….

Half of us loaded on the bus to the airport and the other half loaded on the bus for a wine tasting excursion at the winery! When we arrived at the airport, I checked my bags in because my flight was later in the evening. Then, a couple of friends and I hopped in a taxi and headed into the city.

RECOMMENDATION: Make sure you find a taxi driver who gives you a SET price and keep reminding him/her of the price you agreed on thoughout your drive. If your driver asks you if you want to stop at a certain landmark, ask if the total price will change. (Yes, I did have one minor dilemma with a taxi driver.) We agreed to pay $80 total for a four-hour tour around the city. By the end of our tour, we were forced into forking up $120. This is a story for another time!


SANTIAGO! Wow! I thought I was in New York City the whole time! Beautiful parks, buildings, street art, and culture. I didn’t know what to expect of Santiago because I didn’t do much research on this port stop, but I can say that I loved being here. I would even come back and stay for a week! At this time, the city was a little crazy because of the holidays. Our taxi driver told us to be careful and hold on to our belonging tightly. And so we did! Thankfully our day went very smooth. 

We visited: 
-Plaza de Armas de Santiago
-Las Condes
-Jardin Japones Cerro Santa Lucía
-La Chascona Casa Museo 

We chose to eat at a Peruvian restaurant on our last day in Chile. Simply because we couldn’t resist.

Unfortunately, our adventure-filled day came to an end. We headed back to the airport, grabbed our luggage, and headed to our assigned gate. We still had a couple of hours before our flight took off. We met up with a couple of professors and students who happened to be on the same flight! We all grabbed some dinner and reminisced about the amazing memories we created in the past two weeks.

This trip was truly one to remember. My eyes opened up to the world even more, and I was exposed to so many cultures. Until next time, South America…

Arica, Chile

By Hospitality at Sea - Winter 2018

What a cute little city!! I took advantage of this small city and walked everywhere instead of paying for taxis. Everything was so close together, and it felt safe.

I began my walk through the market, around the streets, and up the hill (with a group of friends of course!). Morro de Arica is a steep hill located in the city of Arica. Its height is 139 meters above sea level. It was the last bulwark of defense for the Peruvian troops who garrisoned the city during the War of the Pacific. Climbing up this hill was very interesting part of this port stop. We didn’t realize how HIGH we really were! Amazing views of the whole city were seen from the top! We found a small museum, a piano (YES, A PIANO), the Christ statue, and a HUGE Chilean flag! 

We had two hours left before we had to board the ship again, so we went into the city and on the Main Street. We found stores, souvenirs, and cafes. 

Lima, Peru

By Hospitality at Sea - Winter 2018

Today was a special day! We are a week into our trip and I feel as if the students officially formed a family. Every night, we all have dinner together and discuss our plans for the following day. In the morning, we all meet in groups according to what excursion each group is doing for the day.

Today, Henry arranged an itinerary for our group with his friend who lives in Lima. His friend arranged for a driver to pick all 14 of us up from the port. When I say “14 of us,” I mean ALL 14 of us pilled into one van. It was an adventure, for sure. Now that I look back at it, all I can do is laugh at this crazy memory we made! 

1: Breakfast! We all ate empanadas and had our coffee fix. Even though we had an itinerary, we still strategically planned what we would do next….

Gabby: “I want to visit the Larcomar Mall that’s by the bay since I’ve heard very good things about the place”. 

Congrats Gabby!! We found the Lacromar while driving! It was beautiful!! YES, this mall was literally on the edge of this cliff. (Pictured below) 

2: Sightseeing! We drove on the coast of Lima to see the beautiful scenery! We hopped in and out of the van to take pictures so many times because it was just so pretty. When I looked to the right, it reminded me of Hawaii. When I looked to my left, it remained me of Miami.

3: Abregu. We walked around a beautiful park. Passing by a church, cafes, greenery, bridges and rivers. So peaceful. 

4: Lunch at Panchita. We made reservations for all of us to try the best Peruvian food in the city! We all sat and had the best time trying new foods, drinks and sharing conversations. 

Check out our dishes..

5: Shopping! I felt bad for the men, but the girls have to shop! We went to the Indian market where we found handmade goodies! We found beautiful purses, jewelry, and clothes and shoes made from Alpaca!

I believe everyone had a really good experience in Lima. There were plenty of excursions and activities to choose from.

Thank you, Lima. You will be missed.

Trujillo, Peru

By Hospitality at Sea - Winter 2018

We have a short time here in Trujillo (about 5 hours). We disembarked the ship around 9am and hoped on a bus, which brought us to the city center.

We all ask, “What is there to do in Peru?” 

Everyone’s response on the ship was, “Eat!!”

We all tried so much food in the past three port stops, including this one! I have to say Peruvian food has been the best!

Since Christmas is around the corner, the locals were attending church and there was a parade going on in the city. Most restaurants and stores were closed, but we made the most of it!

Since we didn’t have that much time in the city, we made sure we kept the night going strong on the ship!! We all met up for dinner and celebrated life!

Crew Interviews

By Hospitality at Sea - Winter 2018

We had the privilege to meet with the ship’s Restaurant Manager, Mihaela Mocan. She was very open with the FIU students and helped us understand a lot about ship life and the various positions on the ship.

The Norwegian Sun currently has:

98 waiters 
90 assistant waiters
18 food runners 
9 managers
1 restaurant manager 
1 host manager 

The Restaurant Manager is in charge of the crew mess, room service and the main dining room. Waiters usually work breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. Chefs are basically working around the clock. They start their breakfast prep at 2:00 am. We usually wouldn’t think about how many hours chefs and waiters are working because we tend to forget that the ship is a 24 hour operation. The sports bar is open until 5:00am. Then, room service is open 24 hours.

We were told that the managers on the ship try their best to make everyone’s schedule fair. If a server wants to go out in a port city, they need to get approval beforehand and get their shift covered. Unfortunately, on most port days, the staff has mandatory training. It is sad sometimes because if a waiter has off, they still may need to work instead of exploring a new and exciting city.

How to balance home life and ship life: 

Mihaela states,”If you’re single, its easier to be away from home. If you’re married, you experience a lot of pressure. It’s difficult, but we have to keep calling our families everyday to keep in touch. A lot of us have to make sacrifices and our families understand. Some stay 8-9 months away from home.”

What was your best and least favorite experience on the ship?


  • “First promotion
  • Traveling around the world for ‘free’
  • Interacting with 65 different nationalities! Becoming more of a family everyday. “

Least favorite: 

  • “Cannot be apart of family functions 
  • Scared to lose a family member while at sea.”

Cartagena, Colombia

By Hospitality at Sea - Winter 2018

I’ve always seen the “Cartagena, Colombia” geotag on Instagram. Although, I never really understood the importance of this city! It is such a beautiful and vibrant city. These days, Cartagena is safe and only a 2.5-hour flight from Miami!! Also, an increasingly popular tourist destination for travelers from South America and the States.

Everything from beautiful beaches, bright flowers, vividly-painted Spanish-Colonial houses, funky souvenirs, Chiva tours, delicious seafood dishes, street art, and high-rises can be seen and found in Cartagena.

A group of friends and I took another tour since we had a great experience in Santa Marta. We ended up paying the same amount and receiving another great experience! We really wanted to take a Chiva tour, but it was impossible for us to find a Chiva for some unknown reason. If I’m not mistaking, another group of students DID find a Chiva in Santa Marta. Maybe they’re easier to find there.

Our Day in Cartagena….

Our first stop: Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

Next:  Cerro de La Popa

Next: The wall of Cartagena

Next: Explore the Streets!

One last thing…. PLEASE don’t make the mistake I made and NOT buy yourself some Emeralds. Colombian emeralds account for 70–90% of the world’s emerald market and are said to be among the purest emeralds in the world! I told myself I would buy myself a ring before I got back onto that ship. Guess what? By the time we got back from our tour, we had exactly 6 minutes to get onto that ship before it left us to go to Ecuador ? At least several other students were lucky enough to score themselves rings and earrings!

We made it back on the ship with one minute to spare! It is now hot tub time! (I mean… It is now time to study!!)

Next Port: Manta, Ecuador!!

Santa Marta , Colombia

By Hospitality at Sea - Winter 2018

Here we go…

Our first stop!

The first port stop always brings the students close together. Everyone is trying to form friendships and connections since most students are solo travelers. I love watching who ends up linking together and who becomes great friends when the trip is over! 

Student Interviews:

  1. Were you a first time cruiser? If so, what was your biggest concern?

Leeanne Grunow: “I was a first time cruiser! I was really scared of not having anyone with me as I explored each port city, but that was quickly fixed! Everyone was so friendly.”

Dyani Roberts: “This was my first cruise! I was terrified of getting sea sick. I brought so many different remedies, but I ended up not even using them. By focusing on my new friendships and keeping myself busy everyday on the ship, it helped balance my equilibrium!”

2) Were you a solo traveler?

Leeanne Grunow: “I went completely alone. I met Nick within the first 20 minutes of checking in, and I met Tia immediately after. It didn’t take long to meet a fellow classmate, but it was intimidating at first.”

Shadee Rios: “I was a solo traveler. Besides having Professor Thomas as an online professor, I did not know anyone else. Kennedy was actually the first person I met before we got onto the ship. We sat next to each other during the mandatory study abroad meeting at FIU a month ago. The meeting really helped me feel more comfortable before the trip.”


After two long sea days and long hours in the classroom, it’s finally time for some fun in Santa Marta, Colombia! When we arrived at the port my friends and I went straight on a local tour, which cost $20 a person. The tour allowed us to see three major sections of the city, go to the beach, have lunch, and shop.

Alfonso, our tour guide, was a local older man. He was extremely happy to have us and to tell us about Santa Marta. I was happy to find him because it was extremely overwhelming when we exited the port in the morning. Locals were very overbearing, trying to sell tours. I would recommend staying in a group and finding a tour guide who you can trust. Alfonso spoke English, spoke Spanish, and he grew up in Santa Marta. Also, look to see what car/van you are getting into. Make sure it looks clean/ safe and has the correct tour logo on the side of the vehicle.

Alfonso: Our Tour Guide

Colombian Food

We all celebrated and ate good in Colombia because we were so excited to be on land! Do not get me wrong, the cruise food was amazing, but once we got off the ship we had the exciting opportunity to try authentic and local foods/drinks! Alfonso brought us to one of his favorite restaurants, close to the beach…

The time is now 4:00pm and it is time to head back to the ship!!

Next stop: Cartagena, Colombia

Sail Away

By Hospitality at Sea - Winter 2018

Our first couple of hours on the ship were so special! We were all so excited to meet each other. When I first board a ship I like to find my stateroom to drop off my belongings and put my bathing suit on! Then, head up to the top deck, by the pool, and socialize with everyone! Usually ships will have a sail away party (WE DID) as the ship leaves the port, which is fun. Everyone grabbed a bit to eat, a drink, and danced the night away by the pool!

Stay tuned for our upcoming study abroad adventures!!!

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