How To Get A Job On A Cruise Ship
Author: Chef George Krumov
Due to the high interest in my previous post about cruise line jobs I decided to answer some of the questions I have been receiving, here on this page.
The most common question people ask me is "How to get a job on a cruise ship?"
- The most basic and straight forward way to apply would be to go to the employment pages of some of the biggest cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney Cruise Line, Princess, Norwegian, Seabourne, Cunard, Holland-America, Celebrity, Crystal Cruises and to apply online. Simply search internet for "carnival cruises careers" or something like that, and you will find their employment page.
Make sure you have a professionally written resume and references, if needed. However, this may not be the best way to apply, since some of the cruise lines don't update their job postings regularly. If the cruise line works with an employment agency in your country, they will advise you to apply through the agency. If you know the address of the agency that recruits for a particular cruise line, you should mail your resume and cover letter directly to them. If you are invited to an interview and you are successful, you will receive a "Letter of Employment" directly from the cruise line office within 2 or 3 weeks. After that the agency will send you for a medical exam to a doctor or institution approved by the cruise line. If your medicals are ok, the recruiting agency will handle your application for a US C1D visa (if the cruise ship originates from the US, and most of them do).
Another way to find a job on a cruise ship would be to search in internet. However, be wary of web sites that want you to sign up and pay in order to view the listings. Most likely they are crooks. Here is a web site that always has some cruise line jobs postings, and it is easy to apply - Hotel Job Resource or Indeed.com. Also, check the employment section of your local newspaper or some of the national newspapers (most have an online edition) for ads by agencies that recruit for the cruise lines. I have seen quite a few of them. Most respectable agencies should not ask the applicants for any money in case that they find you a job. If they do, especially if it is against the laws in your country, you should stay away from them.
A lot of people also ask me "Am I too young to apply for a cruise line job?"
- You can apply for a cruise line job as long as you are 18. However, being 18 would imply that you have almost zero experience in the job you are applying for. That would be ok for some jobs such as baby sitter, but not so good for other jobs such as in Food & Beverage department. For a job in the on-board casino you musr be at least 21. Here is the web site of the company that recruits for the casino jobs for most of the cruise lines - Ocean Casino Jobs. And that brings me to the next question that I am getting a lot.
"Do you think it is a good idea to apply for a cruise line job straight after college?"
- No. I always advise people to work on a similar position on land for at least a year in order to gain some hands-on experience. This way not only can you get a better position on a cruise ship, but also the job on the ship will make more sense to you, and you'll be able to learn even more valuable experience. On the other hand, I do know what it is to be young and restless, so if you apply after college and get a job I wish you good luck.
"Is it difficult to get a job on a cruise ship?"
- I don't think it is difficult to get a cruise ship job. If you really want it you can get it. The cruise industry is growing fast, despite the economy. In 2001 when I left Carnival they had 14 or 15 ships. Now they have 25. Some of the new ships employ up to 1600 employees, and there is high turnover.
"Is working on a cruise ship secure?"
- Working on a cruise ship is more secure than working on dry land. You will have the option to keep your valuables in a security box, sexual harassment is not tolerated, and fighting is a definite cause for termination.
"Is it really fun? I've heard different stories."
- For me it was mostly fun, and I could tell that most people had fun working there. I visited some great places, met many good people and made some money, although not much. May be the only negative thing was the quality of the on-board management. They were pathetic on all levels, the worst I've ever seen in my career. Nevertheless, I really have good memories of my cruise ship job, and if I could turn back the time I'd do the same thing again.
"I am afraid I might get sea sick"
- For probably 99% of the time you won't even notice you are on a ship. Most cruise ships are very large and have stabilizers that make you feel as though you are walking on dry land.
"Is there enough time off to visit the ports"
- That depends on your position, but generally everyone gets to visit all the ports at least for several hours. That's enough to go to the beach or do some shopping.