Crew member spotlight: Rose

A horse-drawn carriage rolls down a narrow cobblestone road. There is a long line of buildings on either side with plants, wicker baskets, and awnings outside the storefronts. Some clothing hangs from the rightmost balcony.A person holding a tablet with icons on it.

Rose Lynn Aquino is a shining example of what can be achieved with hard work and a glass-half-full outlook. Rose—or “Rossy”, as her friends call her—is from the municipality of Manaoag in the Pangasinan province of the Philippines, and has worked as an Assistant Waitress since 2016.

Rose’s seafaring adventure actually began when a lack of permanent employment ended her elementary school teaching career. What started as a disappointing turn of events led to an exciting life change. “An opportunity to work in Dubai, UAE appeared; and Dubai was one of the countries on my list to visit!” However, after happily living and working in Dubai for three years, Rose’s restless spirit and thirst for adventure caught up to her. She had some food service experience, and leveraged that to begin searching for her next big move. “I wanted to challenge myself, seek excitement and thrills, and live a more interesting life. A friend invited me to join him in applying for a cruise ship job – so I said yes!”

In October 2016, Rose began work on her first ship, quickly moving through the ranks thanks to her infectious personality and dedication. She began as a Snack Stewardess and is now an Assistant Waitress on the MS Marella Celebration. “Everything was new to me, and I had to learn to ‘expect the unexpected!’ At first it was difficult to adjust, but I’ve learned to cope with the challenges.” Beyond learning about being at sea and how to live happily far from home, Rose also discovered far more about the world than she expected. “I did not just learn about doing the work, but also to love and embrace different types of people. I have made a lot of friends from different countries, with different cultures and beliefs, and we all consider each other family.”

Though adventurous and passionate about her career, Rose does miss her family back home. She looks forward to vacations, which she typically spends with her nephews. “On holiday I cook my favorite dishes, chat with my relatives and friends, and help take care of the kids. I really love playing with them; they keep me feeling young!”

Once she’s back on duty on the Celebration, Rose refocuses on the opportunity crew life gives her: exploring and learning about the world. “A lot of people dream and spend lots of money to see the world, but for us, it’s free. I feel like we deserve the chance to travel to so many places because we all work so hard.” Of course, Rose is eager to share her journeys with family and friends in the Philippines, making sure they know she’s always thinking of them. “I never forget to take pictures, both for remembrance and also for posting on social media to show the world all the places I’ve seen,” she explains.

Rose knows firsthand how difficult and rewarding a life at sea can be. So what would she want people to know about living the crew life? “Working in the cruise industry is not forever,” she advises. “And working on ships isn’t as easy as you think. Sea-based jobs are really different from land-based jobs: there is a lot of pressure and few days off.” When asked why she keeps going despite the hard work and homesickness, however, Rose’s response is simple:

“Because…this is my dream.”