Sometimes working aboard a cruise ship has nothing to do with entertaining passengers, visiting faraway shores, or relaxing during your free time. International law, fleet regulations, and a rich maritime tradition mandate that life at sea be quite different from life onshore. There is a military-like hierarchy of authority that must be respected and obeyed. Government and fleet regulations require constant safety and general emergency drills. Sanitation standards are applied with an almost religious zeal. It’s not the Navy, but you can expect liberal doses of protocol, rigmarole, officers, stripes, and “yes sirs” from the crew. The captain of the ship has ultimate authority. He or she may remove or detain any crew member for any reason deemed necessary. The captain and the deck officers take their jobs very seriously, which is a good thing, since every year there are maritime mishaps. These rarely affect cruise vessels, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.