Woman talking(l+r), Cruise ship(c)

Jouni Niskakoski/Shutterstock @iambrandeelake/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘It’s gonna be a long 9 months’: Black woman on Royal Caribbean cruise says other passengers keep assuming she is working on the ship

'If I get asked if I work on this ship one more time...'


Stacy Fernandez


Posted on Dec 20, 2023   Updated on Dec 20, 2023, 8:13 am CST

Racism alert. A Black woman on the infamous nine-month Royal Caribbean cruise said passengers and crew members repeatedly questioned how she could afford the at-sea experience.

A new niche opened up on TikTok over the last few weeks as people discovered that Royal Caribbean World Cruise was about to set sail for a whopping nine months. The amount of time it takes to fully form a baby.

The cruise goes all over the world to all seven continents and more than 60 countries, and passengers will have the opportunity to see 11 world wonders. While it is not mandatory to stay on for the entire length of the trip (it’s broken up into segments that you can opt into), many people will be living on the cruise for just a few months shy of a year, and several are documenting their journey on TikTok.

Several TikTokers have expressed that they’re following everyone on World Cruise TikTok because they’re certain problems and drama will arise. They not only want to be privy to what’s going on but also get a wide range of perspectives on the drama that will unfold.

Well, it’s already started, but with its racist implications, this drama is more concerning than fun.

In a viral video, Brandee Lake (@iambrandeelake), one of the nine-month voyagers, said multiple people have assumed she was a cruise ship worker and not a passenger because she’s a Black woman.

“If I get asked if I work on this ship one more time,” Lake says, frustrated.

She says it started from the very beginning of the experience with the pre-cruise gala, where people assumed she was working the event, not attending it. When she stated she wasn’t working on the ship, they asked intrusively if she was independently wealthy.

“Like basically, how did you afford this?” Lake translates other guests’ questions.

It happened again recently, this time with a crew member who assumed she was a worker when they returned to the ship after an excursion.

“It’s gonna be a long nine months,” Lake says.

For those curious, the entire length of the trip starts at $65,000 (about $7,200 a month) per person—close to the average yearly salary of a person living in the United States—for an interior stateroom and goes all the way up to about $120,000 (about $13,300 a month) per person for a junior suite.

“Apparently it seemed far fetched to some that a Black woman (and family) could be a guest on the once in a lifetime experience,” Lake wrote in the caption.

@iambrandeelake The first few days definitely had some bumps… Apparently it seemed far fetched to some that a Black woman (and family) could be a guest on the once in a lifetime experience. #ultimateworldcruise #serenadeoftheseas #aroundtheworldcruise #RoyalCaribbean #melaninatsea #blackworldcruiser ♬ original sound – Brandee Lake

Her video has nearly a million views and about 3,200 comments as of Wednesday morning.

Several commenters shared how she could turn the question back on people to make them question why they were making a racist assumption.

“Ask them.. ‘What prompted you to ask me that question?'” the top comment read.

“Two can play that game. i would immediately say ‘it’s funny you say that, I was gonna ask you the same thing,'” a person suggested.

“I would come up with a different story…something dramatic..like the plot of last holiday, tell them your the secret daughter of Janet Jackson,” another wrote.

The Daily Dot reached out to Lake for comment via Instagram direct message.

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*First Published: Dec 20, 2023, 9:00 am CST