Return To Sender: How Easy Is It for Crew Members To Receive Mail?

Carnival ship in Costa Maya

The internet allows crew members to stay in touch with their families, but sometimes, nothing can come close to a physical letter. So, how could a crew member receive a letter or an order from an online store? Cruise Industry News has asked four crew members to find out. They agreed to provide comments on the grounds of anonymity.

“It varies with cruise line and home ports. But usually, it’s a very easy process (not at the moment with the restrictions),” said a crew member who worked for all the major cruise lines – Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International.

“Every home port has a port official that has an address. You would pay them to deliver your boxes to the ship – this could take some time. There are other ways. In a lot of the U.S. ports, we have crew stores that cater only to the crew. When you are back in port, you go to the store and collect your packages – this is the quickest and easiest way to get packages,” he continued, adding that the cruise line's HR department would be able to provide the address of the crew store in the home port.

The last option, he said, would be through the ship’s address, “which is most likely in Miami.”

“Your package can be delivered to the cruise line’s head office. They separate them there according to the ship and send them to the ship. This takes a lot longer than any other way, but it’s the cheapest option,” the crew member said.

A crew member working for Marella Cruises said that he gets mail sent to the harbor office.

“And then (since we are anchored), we collect it while we do tendering operations to the harbor. Unfortunately, not all crew are allowed to do this,” he said.

Crew members working for AIDA and Disney Cruise Line said that they received mail through an agent.

“When it comes to these questions, I can just tell you that it's organized perfectly,” the crew member working for Disney said. “All mail is addressed to local ship agent. Then, depending on how often we are in the turnaround port, those are delivered to the ship.”

AIDA crew member said that the cruise line’s HR team worked with the agency to organize the mail processes.

“It runs well,” he said.

The best way for a crew member to receive mail, according to the crew member who worked for multiple cruise lines, is through an outside store. The store can accept the delivery, and the crew member can collect it when the ship is in port.

The crew member added that it was a “very easy” process, but sometimes wait times could be long.

“All in all, if you know how to find out information onboard, it’s a very easy process. HR usually knows everything and, depending on your port of call, it’s usually very good,” he said.

The crew member working with Marella said that receiving mail and packages was currently “not easy.”

“Before, we were able to go ashore, and therefore we could send packages to ‘Amazon hubs’ or stores like Coop. Now, shore leave is banned for all crew, so we can’t do that,” he said.

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