WHAT TO EXPECT
Most North Slope housing is dorm style, meaning you will share a room with someone and the communal bathrooms/showers are down the hall.
The majority of rooms are double occupancy and billeting will try to put a day worker and night worker together. This gives you some privacy - when you're off work you'll have the room to yourself.
If you're working a temporary job then you could find yourself in a quad room. Four people in a room can be tight but it's usually for a short period of time.
Some rooms are single status (you don’t share) and come with an attached bath that is shared with the room next to you. The bath is between the 2 rooms so you each have your own entry – I've heard this referred to as a Jack & Jill bathroom.
People who work directly for ConocoPhillips, BP, ExxonMobil, and folks higher up the food chain are usually assigned to single status rooms.
Many contractors working regular, year-round jobs (not seasonal hires) also have single status rooms. A lot of this depends on your camp. Older camps don't have as many single rooms so folks end up sharing.
Your room will have a bed, closet, dresser/drawers, table or desk, phone and TV hookup with free cable television. Lots of rooms already have a TV installed but if not you’ll have to bring your own.
Bedding and towels are provided and housekeeping will wash them for you on a regular basis. Housekeeping also vacuums your bedroom, cleans your bathroom and generally wipes things down. These people work very hard at a difficult job. Please treat your housekeeper with respect.
There is no such thing as family housing in the camps on the North Slope. Only workers are housed - no spouses, no girlfriends, and definitely no kids. Visitors are not allowed. The camps are owned by commercial operators. There is no public housing available.
While there are some spouses/couples working on the slope, I have never heard of them being housed together.
INTERNET AND PHONE SERVICE
More and more camps are installing free wireless internet. You'll have to ask if this is available in your room or just in the common areas. Some camps, like the Prudhoe Bay Hotel and Aurora Hotel (both in Deadhorse) have free cable internet in the rooms but you have to provide your own cable. These two camps sell cables in the commissary if you need one (about $15).
If free cable is not offered in your room then you must purchase a cable internet package – there will be a hookup in your room with a cable provided. Many of these internet packages are offered through GCI. There are daily and weekly internet packages available. At Alpine and Kuparuk, two weeks of service runs $25-$35.
Most rooms have telephones and you can receive calls and phone other rooms and offices, but you cannot make a long distance call. I'm not sure about using tollfree calling cards – you'll need to ask your company about that.
Cell phones work in the camps located along the Spine Road system and have expanded to cover many of the more rural locations. Co-workers report good coverage with ACS, GCI, AT&T and Verizon. Whether or not you have slope coverage as part of your cell phone package is a separate issue.
NEW CAMPS FEATURE UPGRADED HOUSING
Housing is changing on the slope. New camps being built mostly feature double occupancy rooms. Some of the newer camps have all single status rooms. Double or single status, these rooms have their own sink & vanity and share a bathroom (toilet and shower) with a neighboring bedroom. Flat screen TVs with cable and free internet access are being installed in every room.
I asked about these changes and was told studies have shown workers who are happy with their room assignments tend to stick around. There's less worker turnover, which makes employers happy.
These changes make sense to me. When slopers are considering other work offers they always ask about the housing. If your current job provides you with a single room and the new offer puts you in a shared room, you'll think twice about leaving your current job and the privacy of your own bedroom.
More coming – Info about: