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.
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.
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.
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.
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.