On the Water

Cruise Ship Doorman’s Hat

This hat, resembling the traditional hotel bellhop’s cap, was part of the uniform worn by a doorman, named Dadang, who worked aboard the Holland America Line’s cruise ship Zuiderdam in 2007. The hat is red and blue polyester, with a golden braid stretching across the top of the head from ear to ear. The uniform also included a tailored red jacket, dark blue trousers, and a name tag. As a food and beverage worker in the ship’s hotel department, Dadang reported directly to the dining room manager. His primary job was to welcome passengers into the dining room by opening the door, to ring the dinner chime, to serve breakfast pastries, and to perform other services in the restaurant arm of the organization. In 2009, a cruise ship job similar to this paid about $1,200 to $1,400 per month, with room and board provided on the ship.

Taking a cruise has become a popular leisure activity for many Americans. In 1980, 1.4 million Americans took a North American cruise and by 2005, that number had increased to 9.6 million. As both the number and size of cruise ships have grown, the number of people required to keep them running smoothly and to serve the needs of passengers has increased as well. Aboard the Zuiderdam, 800 crew work around the clock to fulfill the needs of 1,848 passengers.

Cruise ship employees are recruited from around the world for a wide variety of jobs, from waiters to chefs, housekeepers to hair and nail technicians, and shop managers to wine auctioneers. For the many jobs requiring interaction with passengers, workers must have a good command of English, and English-speaking workers from the Philippines or Indonesia (like Dadang) fill many hospitality jobs aboard modern cruise ships. Americans are not typically attracted to most cruise-ship hospitality and service jobs because of low wages, long workdays at sea, and the hardship of having to be away from home and family for long periods of time.

ID Number:
2007.0172.04
Material:
polyester fabric
Date:
ca 2007
Dimensions:
3 x 7 1/2 in.; 7.62 x 19.05 cm
Source:
Holland America Line