Working on a cruise ship is not only challenging, but very beneficial experience. However, you need to be eligible to apply to work positions.
First of all, you need to be at least 21 years old and to be able to pass a criminal background check. Holding a valid passport and a US C1/D visa, for non Canadian and non US citizens. You also need to posses a pre-employment medical exam certificate and to meet the English fluency requirements relevant to your position.
This is also known as a seaman’s visa and you will probably need it too, if you plan to work onboard a ship and to travel to certain countries. It normally lasts at least two to five years and in order to get it you need to make an appointment at the nearest US Embassy.
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Contract lengths depend on a cruise company and usually are about three or four to ten months. A daily work schedule depends on a position, but it is normal to expect to work seven days a week and 10 to 13 hours a day.
Types of jobs on board cruise ships
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There are thousands of employees on a cruise ship and a large choice of different positions. However, jobs are mainly divided in two categories:
These employees are known as the Deck and Engineering Department and are in charge of keeping the ship well maintained, on course and functioning perfectly. Their duty is to ensure everyone’s safety and to hold the necessary knowledge of maritime laws and regulations.
Deck positions include:
- Chief mate
- Second mate
- Third mate
- Deck cadet
- Able seaman
- Ordinary seaman
Engineering positions include:
- Chief engineer
- Second engineer
- Third engineer
- Fourth engineer
- Chief Electrician
The rest of the employees on a cruise ship are in charge of guests. Their job is to perform various guest service operations. There are different departments:
Service and Hospitality
These jobs provide a direct service to passengers – cooking the food, serving the food and drinks, cleaning cabins, doing laundry…
Personal Care and Medical
This type of jobs provides direct care to passengers, like medical care and treatment, but also different types of massages, hair and beauty care and similar treatments.
Shipboard Entertainment and Activities
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Shipboard entertainment is very important, too. Guests come to a cruise ship to visit different countries and places, but much of the time, they will spend on a ship. So, there must be some sort of entertainment and fun to keep the guests in a good mood. A wide range of events is organised and shipping companies are ready to pay and hire various artists and entertainers in order to keep the guests amused and satisfied.
Entertainers and artists provide music, like bands or DJs, they sing, act, dance, juggle. They are glad to hire magicians, comedians, acrobats and other performers.
Different activities are organised to enable guests to experience something new and entertaining: diving, rock climbing walls, water coaster, speedy ziplines, ice skating, dancing, yoga etc.
On a ship they will also need a photographer, a cameraman, shop assistant etc.
If you are looking for vacancies, then you can visit All cruise jobs and see some of the latest cruise ship jobs.
Written by Marko Tomcic