What “cambusa” means on board a ship? You can hear this word among the crew, at least once a week 😉

I mentioned this word in one my previous posts… Let me finally explain it now.

Cambusa was a huge discovery when I started my life at sea. A tremendous surprise (and a good one of course).


How does it work?

Once a week, my cabin steward was handling to me a simple piece of paper. On this form…. Heaven!

This was an order form to purchase alcohol and soft drinks! Just for me. Just for my cabin. Once a week I was able to order beer, vodka, coke, water, gin, whisky, etc. So much choice! I was amazed by this process and the large list of choices.

The cambusa is available to any crew member and the frequency and the list of items depend on the cruise line of course. Some companies were actually not doing it…

Once your order, you wait 🙂 Then you pick up your order at the designated location, or your steward delivers it in your cabin.



Why was it so important to the crew?

You know, we do have a Crew Bar on board. But at some point, it closes 😉 So the cambusa allows the crew members to organize their own party, with their friends.
Sometimes, you just don’t want to mingle and rather drink one glass alone in your cabin after a long shift, or to invite a few friends and play the music you like.
Of course, I have to say that you do that while respecting your neighbors 🙂

The price was also very interesting. That’s why it was so popular. The cruise line was selling to us at a cheap price. Our employer could still get a profit margin, but it was as big as it was with the passengers in the regular bars.

Also, the good thing was to receive the products onboard. You didn’t have to go ashore et go to the store. Bottles are heavy and time is precious!

So this bottle of vodka, the red wine and the 6-pack of Guinness only cost me $34 ! I was happy, as you can imagine ! The red wine and the beer disappeared quite quickly, but I have to admit that the vodka was not the best choice and I kept it during my entire contract…

Anyway, Cambusa is an important process for the crew and I clearly missed it when I worked for a different cruise line that didn’t want to offer this service for their employees…


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The author is a cruise ship officer and loves travelling around the world. He started the expatriation adventure in 2016. He is passionate about learning new cultures, about local food & beer. *Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my current employer or my previous employers*

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