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Cruise Ship Jobs

Finding Seasonal or Full Time Cruiseship Jobs - Could It Be The Job For You?
Finding a cruise ship job seems like the dream job to many people. This type of work has a glamorous image; sailing across the world’s oceans and seas, visiting many different exotic countries, living onboard a luxury cruise ship where everyone dresses up for dinner and enjoys the entertainment and casinos. And of course, all of this comes for free and you get paid for your work while you are having the travel experience of a lifetime.

It’s not difficult to see why so many gap year students and graduates are attracted to applying for seasonal work or even full time cruise ship careers. If you’ve got the travel bug, it seems like the ideal option. However, all jobs and careers come with pros and cons and accepting a job on a cruiseship is no different. In this article, we will give an overall, general picture of this type of work and you can decide for yourself if this is the career for you.
Cruise Liner

Most (but not all) cruise ship job vacancies are for 4-6 months and you need to be aged 21 to apply, so they are perfect for recent university graduates looking for seasonal work. If you are still studying, we have loads of summer job alternatives.
What Types Of Work Are Available To Me On A Cruiseship
The great thing about cruise ships jobs is that, because the cruise ship needs to keep everyone happy while at sea, their customer service is excellent. It’s easier to think of a cruise ship as a floating entertainment centre rather than a sailing vessel because there are many different types of jobs available. Think about what skills, hobbies or qualifications you have and any of these could be the deciding factor in the success of your application.

Are you ready to travel?
When applying for seasonal positions on board a cruise ship you generally apply to work for a company, rather than a particular ship. This means you probably won’t be able to choose your ship or the route it is taking, so be prepared to work anywhere in the world; a happy thought for some but maybe not for others. If you can be flexible, your chances of landing a job are increased.

Are you qualified?
In trying to get a job on a cruise ship you are going to be up against a lot of stiff competition. Any official qualifications or good experience in your chosen field will help your application forms stand out above others. If you have graduated from college or university with relevant, professional qualifications - for example, as a pastry chef or beautician - then these are the types of things recruitment companies will be looking for so make these qualifications obvious. Cruise ships also like to take on returnees because they already know that person and are happy with their work. These people are your competition but even these staff were first time applicants at some time. Make your application a winning one and get the job you want.

Are you the right person for the job?
While the idea of travelling the world while sailing the ocean waves and earning money at the same time might sound almost dreamlike, remember you will be there to work and you need to have the right type of personality. Are you confident and outgoing so that passengers on the cruiseship will enjoy having you around? Do you love to meet new people all the time and do you enjoy making new friends? As a graduate or someone with particular, relevant skills, you might look good on paper but if you are the shy and retiring type, be honest with yourself and ask yourself if this type of seasonal work really is the job for you.

The Job List
So let’s assume you’ve decided a job on a cruise ship really is the type of position you would love to do. What are your options for work? Choosing something you are not only good at but something that you also love doing is essential. Working on a cruise ship is difficult and demanding, it’s long hours (sometimes up to 14 hours a day) and you won’t have much time off. The job you do needs to be your passion because you need to be able to keep smiling and providing excellent customer services to passengers, even when you all you really want to do is collapse on your bed for a few hours sleep. Keep in mind that whatever job you would like to do on a cruise ship, it is always for the benefit of the passengers who are there on the ship to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime. Your job is to make sure the passengers leave with happy memories.

Management - There are many types of management positions available with cruise companies, both on board the cruise ship and on land in head offices around the world. These types of roles would suit graduates looking to begin their career after leaving university.

Entertainment staff - Perhaps when thinking about work on a cruise ship, it is some form of entertainment that immediately springs to mind. Indeed, these types of jobs are usually amongst the most popular and therefore the most competitive when people are applying for jobs. If you are a student or graduate with a particular talent for dancing, singing, hosting, maybe you’re a qualified swimming instructor who knows a few water-based games; these are all the types of roles available. Obviously, entertainment staff need to be outgoing, confident and love working with the public. and if you are the type of person who enjoys working with the public, taking charge of shore excursions means you also get to see more places when the cruise ship stops off at its destinations.

Chefs, pastry chefs, bakers - If you have graduated from catering college or are experienced at working in kitchens, there are many types of cruise ship work available to you. These are just a small selection of them, as you will know if you are experienced in catering. Could you handle a seasonal job in the kitchen of a cruise ship?

Bar staff, waiting staff - It’s not just matter of pulling pints and serving bottles of beer when working on a cruiseship. If you are an experienced cocktail maker - maybe you’ve done part time evening and weekend work in the city centre as a student - these are the types of skills that are likely to win you a job over someone else who is inexperienced. Likewise for waiting staff - head waiters and waitresses, commis waiters and waitresses, wine waiters. Any experience or training in these fields will give your application a boost.

Accommodation staff - Passengers on a cruise ship are just the same as hotel guests in that they need their cabins to be cleaned, bedding and linen changed. There are positions available from laundry, cleaners, stewards up to head housekeeper. If you have studied any type of hospitality course at college or university, this area of work could be a good option for you.

Fitness and Beauty - There are many roles available on cruise ships for students and graduates with experience in beauty therapy. Think of the options available: hairdressing, manicures and pedicures, massage, beauty treatments, fitness classes, training. Experience and qualifications are key in these types of cruise ship job opportunities.

Childcare - Even on a cruise ship, parents still like to take a bit of relaxation time out from the kids and that’s where the childcare staff come in. Qualified nannies and people with experience of leading kids clubs are in demand. It might be to babysit in the evenings while parents enjoy an evening out or it might be to run a club to provide daytime entertainment for restless kids. These jobs are perfect for students who have studied any type of childcare and if you've got experience to boot, that's even better.

Retail - People love to go shopping for that all important retail therapy. could you be the person to convince passengers to treat themselves to your wares?

Casino - Cruise ships usually have a casino so for students and graduates with experience in this line of work - maybe you are a croupier expert - working in the casino could be an option for you.

Office and IT - Maybe you don't want to work onboard the cruise ship and just want to begin your career working for the company that runs the ships. All types of office, admin and IT work can be done in this sector.

Deck and Engine room staff - as you are responsible for maintenance and therefore the safety of the passengers, people who work here need to be the same nationality and the officers who run the ship. The good news for UK graduates is many officers are from the UK. Check with recruitment companies when applying for jobs which nationalities tend to operate ships in each area.

These are just a few of the posts that are available for students and graduates interested in cruise ship vacancies. There are many more that you can check out with the hundreds of recruitment companies who look after the recruitment for cruise ships.
How much can I earn by working in a cruise ship job?
Beach sunset
Compared to seasonal work in US summer camps or being a seasonaire in a ski resort, the pay for working on a cruise ship is very favourable - and also, because you are working at sea, depending on which country you are from, anything you earn could be tax free.

Accommodation and food is all paid for and you will have no bills to pay. Also, apart from the odd excursion (if you’re not too tired, that is) where you might want to buy a couple of local souvenirs, there is nothing to spend your money on. So, if you are a graduate with a few loans and an overdraft you need to pay off, a few months cruise ship employment could go a long way in making a sizable dent in the debts.

If you are doing the type of job where you are dealing with the cruise ship passengers, tips are a major part of your earnings so your strong personality and pleasant smile is going to help you accrue more earnings.
Working on a cruiseship - The good bits and the not so good
We've had a look at the type of work you can do and the type of person you need to be to work on a cruise ship. Now let's look at the pros and cons of this type of work to see if it really is the type of job for you.

The good bits
  • The pay: As we said above, wages for cruiseship work compare very favourably to those of other seasonal jobs usually taken on by graduates and students.
  • The friends: Cruise companies employ people from all over the world to work on their ships and you will be working and living with these people for between 6 and 10 months. Some of these people are likely to become life friends.
  • Travel: It might be hard work on cruise ships - but on top of your pay, cruise ship positions are a great way to see different parts of the world without having to pay for it.
  • Meeting people: If you take great pleasure in meeting new people and making sure they have a good time, working on a cruise ship is perfect for you.
And the not so good

Well, nothing in life is perfect. you just need to decide if the good outweighs the bad...
  • Accommodation: Are you ready to sacrifice your privacy because you are likely to be sharing a small, windowless cabin with at least one other person. Staff quarters on a cruise ship are not places where you bring all your worldly goods. You are here to work and sleep.
  • The hours: Yes, you are here to work and sleep. A job on a cruise ship can entail long hours and you will probably be working every day. If you are a gap year student or graduate looking for a freebie round the world trip, jobs on cruise ships are not the way forward for you.
  • Seasickness: you might not even realise until you’re onboard the cruise ship that you are sea sick. Expect your ship to hit rough seas - and if you get sea sick, it’s likely many of the passengers will do, too. This is where the anticipated glamour will leave you because you will be expected to look after your sick passengers and clean up after them.
Castaway Cay
How To Get A Job On A Cruise Ship?
If you really like the idea of doing a seasonal job or even beginning your graduate career on a cruise ship, the first thing you need to do is know what it is you want to do and then research, research, research. Find out about the company you want to work for and the recruitment agencies that find the staff for those companies.

Cruise ship companies tend to use recruitment agencies to select and vet possible candidates for their jobs so look into as many companies as you can. Beware of fake companies because there are a lot of scams out there. If you are asked for money to register with them then they are probably scammers! Take a look at agencies such as "The Agency" and London based CTI Group who are already established. If you take your time to do your research, you should get a feel for the more reliable and established recruiters.

Some cruise liner companies recruit themselves, such as Voyages to Antiquity. You can apply for their cruise ship jobs by emailing your CV and a cover letter.

Make sure your CV is tailored towards the job you are going for. If you are graduate in accountancy but you also happen to be a trained dancer and you are applying for a position as part of the entertainment crew, the people glancing over your CV don’t need to have your 1st class honours degree jumping out at them. Of course, it can be there but your dance credentials are what should be standing out the most.

Because it is seen as such a glamorous job, many people want to work on cruise ships and the recruitment centres will be receiving hundreds of applications. Don’t make the people there have to search through your CV. It’s got to be clear and concise so they know exactly what you are about. Many people make the mistake of applying for a broad range of jobs thinking that will give them a better chance of being taken on but cruise ships need staff who are knowledgeable, qualified and who can prove they are very good at what they do. Sending in an application form that makes you look like a jack of all trades does not show any expertise and your form will be pushed to one side with all the other rejections.

Send your CV and covering letter, maybe even a professional photograph of yourself, to different companies (remember, you need to be flexible on where in the world you work) and be proactive by giving them a call occasionally to see where your application is up to. This shows you are committed and serious about your work. If your application is successful, it will be forwarded to the cruise company, you will be invited for an interview, and will hopefully soon be boarding a ship to embark on your new cruise ship career.

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