How To Get A Job On A Cruise Ship

Getting paid to travel the world on a cruise ship! Sounds too good to be true, right?

Get ready to have your mind totally blown – into the water that is – because for cruise ship crew members, getting paid to visit ports around the globe is just one of the many perks of cruise ship jobs.

It’s not all walking on white sand beaches and sipping on cervezas, though that does happen quite a bit. Cruise ship crew play hard, it’s true, but they work hard too.

Whether it’s the Cruise Activities Staff helping passengers have an awesome time by hosting fun activities like karaoke, pool games, or bingo, or creating the perfect signature cocktail as an onboard bartender, ANY crew member’s main duty is to create a great vacation experience for each and every guest onboard.

If providing excellent customer service while exploring new ports around the world sounds like a dream come true, maybe a life at sea is the perfect fit for you.

The Job

While working on a cruise ship is truly a once in a lifetime adventure, and pretty luxurious (imagine port time off in Tahiti one day and an overnight in Maui a few days later) in the end it is still a ‘job.’

If you show up onboard expecting to get weekends off and to see each and every port then you will be disappointed. Prepare yourself for 7-day-work-weeks, lots of split shifts, and being required to be ‘on’ even all the time, even when off duty, in passenger areas. But most of all, prepare yourself for one of the BEST experiences of your life!

The truth is, if you love travel, saving a ton of money and meeting and working with amazing people then working on a cruise ship will be one of the best career moves you will ever make.

Do you have what it takes?

There are three things you need to ask yourself before you make the choice to pursue a life at sea.

  • Do you enjoy meeting and working with diverse groups of people?
  • Are you flexible and adaptable?
  • Do you thrive in an ever-changing environment?

To ‘make it’ on board one should come with a very open mind and be ready to work! Know that there are good people who will come into your life and help guide you to make the transition to sea life a smooth one. Come with a “can do” attitude!

Cruise Ship Jobs: Getting Started

Decide if going to sea is the right decision for you. It’s important to be honest with yourself about the possible hardships you may experience and whether or not you see yourself excelling in such an environment.

Gather information. There is a wealth of information online regarding cruise ship employment. Go to each cruise line’s main webpage and search for their employment links.

Determine which position(s) you are best suited for. Look at all of your past employment, volunteer and/or educational experience. If you’re not sure what onboard position would best suit you speak with a Cruise Ship Employment Specialist.

Cruise Ship Jobs: Requirements/Training

Certain roles such as Bridge/Deck and/or Technical positions will require post-secondary training at a certified marine school, however, for almost every other role onboard, most cruises lines do not require any post-secondary training. Instead cruise lines prefer to see at least 1-2 years of relevant experience in a related role ashore. For example, if you are applying for an onboard retail sales position the cruise line will want to see that you have 1-2 years of high-end retail sales experience. You may also want to consider some additional cruise specific training via a Tourism/Hospitality School and/or an online Cruise Ship Program.

Cruise Ship Jobs: Onboard Hierarchy

There are three main crew categories that exist onboard a cruise ship. Each category’s associated positions may differ from company to company, however, these three categories will usually always be in place.

Officer Category

This category often includes the following personnel; Deck Officers, Technical Officers, and Hotel Managers. Hotel Managers and related Officers include: Hotel Director, Cruise Director, Human Resources Manager, Crew Trainer, Ships Doctors, Security Officers, Retail Manager, Photo Manager, Casino Manager, Youth Activities Manager, etc. In addition, some entry-level positions onboard are given Officer level status from day one. These roles can include Pursers (Hotel Front Desk), Cruise Activities Staff and Entertainers.

Staff Category

This category often includes non-supervisory/non-managerial crew in the following divisions: Retail/Gift Shop, Photo/Video, Spa/Salon, Casino, Youth Activities Staff, Production Staff, Entertainment Staff and sometimes Cruise Activities Staff.

Crew Category

This category often includes crew in the largest departments onboard. For example, all Housekeeping Staff, Food and Beverage Personnel, and Security Patrolmen.

How to get promoted on a cruise ship

One of the best things about working onboard a cruise ship is that promotion is NOT based upon seniority. Advancements are made based on mid-term and end-of-contract evaluations. Participation in ‘Career Path Transfer Programs,’ professional development training, and registered job shadowing can also aid with a crew member’s promotional options.

As outlined above, most new-hire crew will start either at a crew or staff level and then progress to a supervisory/managerial or officer level thereafter.

Good news, promotions can happen very quickly based upon your job performance! It can also happen due to the ever-growing number of new ships being added to cruise ship fleets every single year.

Cruise Ship Jobs: The Reality Of Working At Sea

Many new crew, or ‘fresh fish,’ are unaware of the challenges that they will face onboard after they get a job on a cruise ship. We always inform candidates that they should expect to potentially ‘hate’ their first couple of weeks onboard. New crew are doing so much during their initial time onboard including (but not limited to) dealing with jet lag, learning a new job, and getting used to a new living situation. Also, doing all of their additional emergency training. It is a lot to take in. If you can make it the first 30 days you will start to see and experience the benefits of working on a cruise ship.

Preparing for the Unknown

A crew member’s life is lived primarily on the water. Those who have chosen a career at sea may or may not have a primary residence. They often spend their 8-10 weeks off in between contracts traveling or visiting/staying with family.

It is a good idea prior to departing to assess for yourself what it is that you truly want to focus on for the duration of your contract. Will it be the travel? Saving money? Or, just having a good old time? Honing in on your goals prior to departure will help you to stay motivated during your time away at sea.

Getting a Job With a Cruise Line

Some cruise lines prefer that you apply directly to their main offices. But most will prefer that you apply via their official hiring partners in your home country. This is where we, Fair Time Recruitment, come in. Check our job board often or subscribe to our newsletter on the bottom of any page in our website and we will notify you with new job opportunities straight in your inbox.

This article is pieced together with information from zerototravel blog Source Here.


Essential Skills & Personality Traits for Jobs at Sea

What is a seafarer’s job and what skills and personality traits should you possess if you’re thinking about a career in jobs at sea? It’s a good question – and there are any number of right answers, depending of course, on what type of ship jobs you’re thinking of training for or applying for.

Let’s take a look at probably the easiest one to break down first: the personality traits needed to become a seafarer.

Do you have essential skills and personality traits for jobs at sea?

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that anyone thinking about working in seafarer jobs will need to have a strong work ethic, tenacity, punctuality, people skills, courage and diligence. These are all highly desirable attributes in many industries, however in maritime jobs they’re virtual necessities.

The very nature of shipping; the living and working in an enclosed space, the long weeks or months spent at sea and the need to get along with people of different cultures, languages and backgrounds all require a very distinct personality.

Would you be comfortable with being away from your family or partner / spouse for months at a time? Could you cope with potentially being away for special occasions or holidays? How would you deal with someone who wasn’t the easiest person to be around onboard your vessel? All valid questions that you should ask yourself before you seriously consider thinking about applying for entry level cargo ship jobs.

So you think you’ve got the right personality for working in jobs at sea, but what skills do you need and do you think you could acquire them?

Hard skills versus soft skills for working in cargo ship jobs

Having certain personality traits (soft skills) and being in possession of the necessary proficiencies (hard skills) are a must for working in any position in cargo ship jobs. And soft skills and hard skills play an equally important role, so don’t make the mistake of thinking soft skills aren’t as important as their ‘harder’ sibling.

Soft skills such as critical thinking, sound judgement, effective communication, decision making, social intelligence, problem solving and time management are all extremely valuable virtues for seafarers.

Meanwhile hard skills are things that you will learn on the job and then become better at over time as you continue to perform them onboard and learn more about them – for example through seafarer training and education.

What is a seafarer’s job and what skills are needed to work in one?

Obviously it goes without saying that a very specific skill set is also mandatory for anyone wishing to forge a successful career in jobs at sea. At the beginning of this blog post we asked ‘what is a seafarer’s job?’ It’s a question that Google is often asked but the reality is, there’s no such thing as ‘a’ seafarer’s job. There are numerous different types of seafarer jobs!

Obviously, a career in maritime jobs demands a sound understanding of, and proficiency in, many different areas of knowledge. And the skills needed by an able seaman will differ massively to those needed by a master while anyone working in oiler jobs will clearly need a different set of skills to the ship’s cook – and vice versa.

In the case of an able seaman, they should be competent in lifesaving, CPR and first aid, telecommunication systems, sanitation, geography, general maintenance, and mechanics. That includes knowing how to operate, maintain and repair the machinery, safety equipment and tools used on cargo ships or other vessels. That’s quite the list of skills!

An AB will also need to know how to look for obstructions in a cargo ship’s path, stand watch as a helmsman and lookout, use a compass and be able to read nautical maps, keep a steady course by correctly carrying out rudder orders, communicate using navigational terms, and be able to use semaphores and blinker lights.

Meanwhile the skills needed by an oiler will include knowing how to perform routine maintenance on equipment, repairing faulty systems or machines, watching gauges and indicators to make sure machines are in good working order, and troubleshooting and finding the roots of operating errors and deciding what course of action to take.

As you can see these are just two different seafarer jobs onboard a vessel and the tasks they perform and the skills needed to do those tasks vary wildly. So to find an answer to the question ’what is a seafarer’s job?’ you will first need to decide which seafarer you are talking about!

What other skills are needed in jobs at sea?

Possessing physical strength is also a huge asset – for obvious reasons. But there are other skills that might not seem relevant to the shipping industry, but in fact are increasingly valued in modern seafaring.

That includes things that will not only help your career in cargo ship jobs, but will make you a better all-rounder and more popular onboard – such as being able to speak a foreign language.

Crews are usually made up of any number of nationalities and being able to communicate with your fellow seamen will make life at sea easier, more productive, safer and more sociable.

Knowing your way around a computer, being able to use relevant software programs, and having a working knowledge of spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel are becoming more important.

While some might even say that it won’t be long before essential skills for seafarers will include computer programming and being able to code. After all as technology advances so too will the systems used on board, and subsequently the skills needed to operate and troubleshoot them.

Finding jobs at sea with Fair Time Recruitment

The demands on the modern mariner are increasing but whether you are looking for seaman jobs, offshore jobs, or jobs in renewable energy (to name just a few) subscribe to our newsletter in any page of the website and get notified about new opportunities straight in your inbox. Alternatively schedule a call or a meeting with a Fair Time Recruitment rep and find out more.


Why should we hire you? Interview techniques for seafarers

Whether you’re on a commercial ship or on a cruiseliner, working at sea or ashore you will likely have to go to a job interview at some point. No matter how many tickets or years of experience you have it’s highly unlikely you will get any job without going through some sort of interview. It’s not a perfect system, some fantastic employees interview badly, and some terrible employees are great at interviews, but for now, it’s the system we have to use.

Once you’re happy you have the skills and experience you need to do a job, you should start working on your interview skills because, like it or not, that is what’s likely to be the difference between getting your dream job and not.

Why should we hire you?

Your interviewer may not ask you this question directly, but that is what they’re trying to work out. Any job description will have a set of competencies you will need to fulfil. Before you go into an interview you should match yourself against each of those competencies and have a real-world example of a time when you have done something that fulfils it.

If they’re looking for a team player, you should be able to demonstrate when you’ve worked well in a team; this shouldn’t be difficult if you’ve worked on ships. If they’re looking for a problem-solver, you need to have a specific challenge in your back pocket that you used your brilliant problem-solving skills to resolve.

You’ve probably already got the required “core competencies” for the role (eg. Degree, Master Mariner ticket) otherwise you won’t have been invited to interview. Interviews usually, but not always, focus on “soft skills” such as management or communication, so make sure you’re able to demonstrate them.

Do your research

Sometime early on in any interview, you’re likely to be asked what you know about the company. In reality, no one really cares what you know, but they do care that you’ve taken some time to research the company and the role. When we say research, we don’t just mean looking at their website. Make sure you’ve carefully read the job description in full, check whether they’ve been in the news (you can set up Google news alerts for this), take a look at the company social media profiles, the LinkedIn profiles of your interview panel, and check for reviews on Glassdoor.

If you’re armed with plenty of information on the role and the company you’re far more likely to impress during the interview and far more likely to ask the right questions later on.

Look and act the part

First impressions count, and it’s important to dress like you mean business whatever job you’re applying for. Every company will have slightly different dress codes but a smart business suit or dress for an interview is never a bad idea.

First impressions aren’t just based on how you’re dressed, it’s also how you act. Smiling, eye contact and a firm handshake go a long way to building rapport and demonstrating confidence. People will make a judgement on you within the first couple of minutes of the interview starting; by dressing the part and building rapport straight out of the gate you will do yourself a lot of favours.

Don’t be late

It’s better to be two hours early than one minute late. Hiring managers and HR managers are busy people, they’ve got teams to run and their time is valuable. If you’re late, no matter what the circumstances, you will annoy the panel and you will have an uphill battle from there. Of course, time-keeping shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve worked at sea, but if you’ve got far to travel or there are other factors outside of your control make sure you build in some extra time to allow for something going wrong. If you know you’re going to be late and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it make sure you call ahead to explain and apologise.

If you’re five minutes early, you’re just on time.

Check your social media history

91% of employers now check social media to screen job applicants. Have you got any skeletons in your social media closet? Are you tagged in the photos from that run ashore in Singapore? Your social media accounts have a very long memory and you should be comfortable talking about anything on there in a job interview.

If there is anything in your social media feed that you aren’t comfortable talking about in an interview delete it, or as a minimum make sure your account’s privacy settings are set up so that people you don’t know can’t see it.

Ask questions

As well as revealing a lot about your potential employers, the questions you ask will reveal a huge amount to your potential employers about you. If you only ask about salary, time off, and bonuses, it will become fairly obvious to the interview panel what your priorities are. Asking about learning and development opportunities, company culture, and where they think the company is headed in the next five years will show that you’re not just interested in money and time off.

Interviewing is a two-way street, it’s not just about whether we like you. You’re likely going to commit around 40 hours per week for the next few years to this job, make sure you’re armed with all of the facts before making any kind of decision about whether to take a job offer or not.

Finding jobs at sea with Fair Time Recruitment

The demands on the modern mariner are increasing but whether you are looking for seaman jobs, offshore jobs, or jobs in renewable energy (to name just a few) subscribe to our newsletter in any page of the website and get notified about new opportunities straight in your inbox. Alternatively schedule a call or a meeting with a Fair Time Recruitment rep and find out more.