Jobs at sea do offer opportunities to travel the world and earn a decent salary while doing so. However anyone seriously considering a career aboard ship should take the time to do some research.
While there are many advantages to working on cruise ships, such as a regular salary in addition to free food and accommodations, there are also disadvantages. Cruise jobs are often very physically demanding with long shifts. Individuals who suffer from travel sickness may not be suited for cruise jobs, due to the possibility of rough seas.
Employment Prospects for Cruise Jobs
Most cruise ships employ anywhere from between 300 to 900 employees. Cruise lines experience high turnover and are constantly hiring. The high turnover rate is typically due to the fact that most people do not want to make a long term career in the cruise industry because of family obligations, etc.
Most people work for short periods of time in the cruise industry either to earn some money while in college or to travel around the world for free and earn some cash at the same time.
Cruise jobs are usually divided between tipping and non-tipping personnel. Non-tipped positions generally require less experience and receive only the base salary.
The employees who come in direct contact with the guests on the cruise ships are tipped employees. These positions generally require more experience than non-tipping jobs because the customer’s satisfaction is at a higher risk. In addition to their base salary (smaller than that of a non-tipped employee) the tipped personnel also receive the tips as advised to guests.
Cruise Job positions that are available on most cruise lines include:
- Kitchen staff
- Food server staff
- Retail clerks
- Gym instructors
- Office personnel
- Tour guides
- Medical staff
- Casino dealers
Not all cruise jobs are performed on board ship. Cruise lines have landside headquarters with employees who fill positions such as reservationists.
There are an almost innumerable number of cruise lines, both US and international, however the top cruise lines are:
- Carnival Corporation
- Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc.
- Holland America
- Celebrity Cruises
- Disney Cruises
Job Search in the Cruise Job Industry
Most cruise lines generally do not advertise open positions. Some cruise lines rely on recruitment agencies for prospective employees.
Unfortunately, there are a number of such agencies who offer ‘employment packages’ and ‘application packets’ who are merely scam artists. These companies offer packages for a membership fee that include online cruise job listings and even offer to send your application for you.
While these deals can sound great, the downside is that the job listings are usually inaccurate and out of date
The distribution service is more of a hindrance than an advantage because cruise lines prefer to see resumes individually mailed by the job seeker and not mass distributed.
Documentation is Important
If the cruise line is interested in your resume, they will follow up with application forms. It is imperative these forms be filled out correctly, with absolutely no mistakes.
When the forms are sent in they should also include another resume and cover letter
This keeps the HR department from having to hunt for the first resume and presents the candidate in a better light.
Provided the applicant forms meet with approval, the next step will be an interview. Finally, if hired, the job seeker will receive a letter of employment detailing information about the cruise line, the ship the individual will be serving on and specific information about their position.
Cruise lines expect all employees to undergo a medical examination before beginning work. This is critical to protecting the guests aboard the ship and to insure you can meet your job requirements safely while out to sea.
Cruise employees generally work on contracts. A contract is typically three months in length, although it could go as long as six months. Most cruise lines and prospective employees negotiate the lengths of their contracts.
Cruise Job Cover Letters
All cover letters pertaining to cruising careers should reflect back to what the candidate can to assist the cruise line in obtaining customer satisfaction. That is the number one goal of all cruise lines.
Resumes for Cruise Jobs
Job seekers looking to work on board cruise ships must know how to write a resume to fit the cruise industry in order to get their foot in the door.
Cruise job appropriate resumes are different than resumes intended for other jobs…
Prospective employees should apply for very specific jobs in order to be taken seriously by cruise lines. Resumes with objectives such as ‘any job’ or ‘whatever job is open’ are often tossed by cruise lines.
Cruise lines prefer to see a CV, curriculum vitae, resume. The resume should relate prior experience to how the candidate can successfully contribute to the enjoyment of the cruise ship guests. Job seekers who speak multiple languages should make a point to highlight these skills; they are a big plus to cruise lines.
Cruise Job Training & Qualifications
Many websites and ‘recruitment agencies’ advertise cruise jobs with little or no experience required. For the most part this simply is not true.
Cruise lines rely upon customer satisfaction for their livelihood
Jobs At Sea
Without satisfied customers who experience safe and enjoyable travels, the cruise lines would be out of business.
In order to insure they meet their goal, cruise lines are very particular about the employees they hire.
This means cruise lines must insure they hire individuals who can do the job, do it well and satisfy guests.