Cruise ships typically overwork their employees like they have to overwork the chlorine pump in the kiddie pool. Anyone except the upper echelon can expect to work 80-hour weeks with the remaining time spent in shared quarters so tiny you can't even do a jig in them. When, not if, those medieval working conditions finally break someone's back, injured employees are often told to self-medicate with painkillers or, preferably, getting wasted. Those too injured to properly work finally get sent to a corporate doctor whose only fields of expertise are treating shuffleboard elbows and hot-tub resistant strains of herpes and who'll fast track workers for active duty like their paycheck depends on it.
How do cruise lines get away with such terrible labor practices? While the big lines are all headquartered in Miami, cruise liners incorporate in or "raise the flag" of developing nations where tax and labor laws are non-existent and they can pay less for human labor than for the frozen shrimp slowly thawing in the back of their Soviet-era merchant ship freezers. Royal Caribbean is incorporated in Liberia, where the minimum wage is $4 to $6 per day; Carnival calls Panama, where the minimum wage ranges from $1.22 to $2.36 per hour, home while Princess Cruises and Norwegian (naturally) are proud Bermudan companies, a country that doesn't even have a minimum wage yet.