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Q&A About Working on Cruise Ships

Q: What types of jobs are available on a cruise ship?
A: The staff required for a cruise ship is very large and as a result there are a great deal of cruise line jobs awaiting eager employees. Click the link for a free job board. Hosting staff for guests, restaurant workers, bartenders, entertainers, casino workers, kitchen staff, childcare staff, retail clerks, excursion guides, organizers and other cruise ship staff are all apart of the functioning cruise ship model and are all opportunities for potential employment.

Q: How much can I expect to be paid?
A: A typical cruise ship salary is usually somewhere between $1,500 and $8,000 a month.

Most cruise ship employees find that their salaries are one of the largest benefits to working on a cruise ship. Because there are so few expenses the potential to save money is very high. Living expenses, such as room and board, are almost always provided by the cruise ship company and large benefit packages including: insurance, dental, 401K, travel benefits, disability and family perks and discounts are also common.

The size of the ship, the company, the clientele, and your working position are all variables that will affect your salary. Time off at ports and large bar tabs are a good way to dent your sizeable savings however, excursions and expenses such as these are rarely enough to impede the savings potential working on a cruise ship affords you.

Q: What is it like for an employee living on a cruise ship? What can I expect?
A: Most of the living quarters on a cruise ship are small and shared by groups of the staff. This typically offers little to no personal space and on smaller vessels the living conditions can be especially cramped. Usually the staff can enjoy employee-only dining halls and lounges as well as access to public cruise ship amenities like the pool and spa when they are in need of time alone. While living conditions are typically on par with what might be expected from sharing a room with two or three other people, the sunsets at sea, crew bars and time off in breath taking locations are excellent compensations for a little personal space lost.

Q: Where can I expect to travel as a cruise ship employee? Will I be limited to one area?
A: Today, cruise ships are sailing all over the world. There are nearly no travel destinations not frequented by a Cruise line. Whether it be the Caribbean, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean or an icy adventure in colder waters, cruise ships are traveling all over the world. You will only be limited by the destinations of your particular employer so if you want to see the world, picking a cruise line which travels between many ports of call is an important consideration when applying.

Q: As a crewmember, am I allowed access to the same amenities as the public?
A: Crewmembers are almost always allowed access to the same amenities as the public. Members are usually asked however, to give priority to the guests when using popular areas on board. Crewmembers often have access to staff-only areas on the ship, which often include private dining halls and lounges or bars, which often provide cheaper prices to the staff.

Q: What if I want to work on the same ship as a friend or spouse?
A: This is a common concern among those applying for cruise ship jobs and one that employers are happy to consider. Special arrangements are more commonly made for married couples however, there are no guarantees. The process is the same for a couple, or set of friends as it is for an individual. You need to apply separately and progress through the interview process as such. Once you are in the later stages of the interview process you can let your recruiter or the human resource department know of your request to work on the same ship. If there is a position available for both of you aboard the same cruise line most employers will do their best to accommodate requests of this kind.

Q: Will I be able to share a room with my spouse on board?
A: This is a very common request among married couples that have been granted employment on the same ship, and is typically one the cruise lines are happy to concede. It is important to notify your employer of your request before room assignments are made so your employer has enough time to organize accordingly.

Q: Can I apply to work on a specific ship?
A: The best thing you can do is apply for the different cruise lines you would most like to work for. After you have been granted employment you can submit a request for a specific ship.

Q: What happens if I need to break my contract?
A: Because the contracts of each employer differ, it is difficult to outline the specific outcome of breaking your contract. Typically, you incur the costs to return home and may lose aspects of your benefits package as well.

Q: What if I become sick or injured onboard?
A: You will be covered medically for any injury or sickness you sustain for the duration of your employment. This includes medical attention both on and off the ship. At sea, there is a doctor and medical facilities onboard that all staff members have access to for free. It is always wise to investigate your company’s health insurance policy and if comprehensive coverage is not granted, to seek out independent or traveler’s health insurance.

Q: What are the legalities surrounding citizenship when seeking employment on a Cruise Ship?
A: Citizenship laws and requirements are an important aspect to research and consider prior to seeking cruise industry employment. Some cruise lines which operate out of, and tour mainly within US waters, are subject to US labor laws and restrictions. Others are foreign flagged and do not operate under such strict laws. Therefore there are a great number of cruise lines that hire employees from all over the world. In fact, it is more common than not to have a diverse staff onboard and cruise ships usually enjoy a staff that is highly diverse and from more than just a few different countries.

Less important than nationality is the ability to speak English. Since most of the cruise lines you will find here advertise and enjoy a clientele of mostly English speakers, employers usually demand that their staff speak and understand English well. This is especially true for positions which require a large amount of contact with guests. Thus, excursion guides, bartenders, entertainers, casino workers, retail staff, spa employees, wait staff, hosts and hostesses, personal trainers, childcare workers, etc., must all have a high level of comfort with the English language.

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