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And as a result there's generally no shortage of commentary -- pro or con -- from fellow crew members who get to watch your relationship play out.
What's often amusing is that an onboard relationship is like pushing fast-forward on a remote control.
For crew members, romance is unlike anything folks experience on land -- where you start off in separate living quarters and can take a "timeout" by going to work or seeing pals.
Onboard ships, time and space exist in the same, well, time and space.
It's easy to understand why: With 500 to 2,000-plus cruise ship crew living in one place -- and with the job's natural byproduct of being months away from home at sea -- people naturally seek out companionship as they miss family and friends.
Once you've become, er, fond of someone, gaining their attention is easy since most work regular shifts, eat together in the cruise ship's mess, celebrate together at crew parties and enjoy the gossip.
Today, the score is about even between women to men with more diverse ages and nationalities to heighten interest.
But it's still the same old three-ring circus (whose performances tend to be fairly continuous).
As a result, females could really pick and choose ... One of the oddest dynamics was a scramble that occurred every 14 days or so (my first ship sailed two-week voyages); the cast of characters would change as contracts ended -- and others began.It takes willpower and strength to hew to your priorities. Flaunting a relationship is not recommended -- it's neither diplomatic nor, in some cases, safe in such a confined environment. An ex of my one-time beau actually entered my cabin, pulled one of my formal gowns (my favorite, naturally) from the closet and ripped it apart with scissors, scattering sequins everywhere.A Canadian coworker once threw away the work clothes of a Honduran woman because the Honduran was developing a close rapport with my coworker's Polish boyfriend.In fact, candlelit dinners and movies away from "home" onboard are almost un-gettable luxuries.That's why time together is pretty much spent in respective cabins -- or in front of coworkers.