One of the first things I learned, or rather, came to know was that time means almost nothing on a ship. What I mean is that the date is irrelevant, we count voyages, and voyage days. So, Tuesday June _ or Saturday June _ are referred to as “Day 3” or “Day 5”. The only reason I know that Friday has rolled around is that I lead the weekly Jewish Shabbat prayer service onboard, and if that wasn’t indicated in my calendar I would have no idea it even happened.
Time, as far as hours go is also another factor. 7:00AM or 7:00PM mean nothing, the ship is always working. Now, we take breaks and have rest time but the only part of the day that signifies to me that it is night time is 6:00PM. Why? because that is the time I change into my formal evening uniform. The amazing thing is that I could teach 3 classes, have 4 meetings and conduct 8 interviews and if you told me it was 9:00PM I would have no clue.
Now, don't assume that we work all the time, because we don’t. In fact, every crew member has strictly monitored and enforced rest and duty rules. So we always are ensured 10 hours of rest every 24 hours. The difference from a land or “shoreside” based position is the ship is humming and alive 24 hours a day. We plan for this and schedule accordingly. This is also another reason why the date doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is if it is Day 2 or 7.
Meals are another interesting aspect. The crew are offered 3 main meals a day, snacks are always available and then a late night hot meal is also available for those working night or off hour shifts. Because the time doesn't matter you really have to pay attention to the clock so that you don’t accidentally work through a meal…
Your cabin is determined based on your rank and role on the ship. One of the things that I have come to love though is that, because crew cabins are generally on the lower decks of the ship is that I can hear the ocean running along the hull of the ship and that sound is the most amazing, therapeutic white noise I have ever experienced. I may have to download this sound for when I return home for my vacation.
A final fringe benefit of living and working on a ship is the commute. I can walk out of my cabin and be at my office in less than 3 minutes, 6 if I stop by the coffee shop. Gym? I can be there in 2 minutes. This is huge, back home if I wanted to leave work to go to the gym I would need to carve 4 hours out of my day to do a 2 hour workout. On the ship? 2.5 hours from working to gym to showered and back to work or off and relaxing.