Today we live in a more globalized world than ever before and one of its advantages is that job opportunities are wider. Now in addition to being able to work in your own city, you can also easily work anywhere else in the world, work remotely or even work on the road.
But if none of these options appeal to you and you’re looking for a well-paid job that allows you to travel, expand your language skills and deal with tourists, you’re sure to love the idea of working on cruise ships.
Responsibilities when working on a cruise ship
If you are thinking of working on a cruise from the beginning you must be aware that although the environment invites you to it, you are not on the holiday boat but to work. Working on a boat means long hours of work any day of the week (weekends are the same as any day of the day) and perhaps working with co-workers with whom you do not have much relationship.
This will be the case for several weeks or months and the sooner you accept the situation or assimilate your responsibilities, the sooner you can start enjoying the benefits of working on a cruise ship as well.
Your responsibilities will depend on your job and any previous experience in your area will make your duties easier.
Also, in this type of work the knowledge of one or more languages will make you better able to serve customers and even that you can relate better with other employees who do not speak Spanish, having basic or advanced knowledge of English, German or French will help you personally and professionally.
Types of work on cruise ships
This sector needs a large number of employees in different areas in order to adequately serve the hundreds of people who stay on a cruise ship.
Therefore, it is true that there is a great variety of work on cruise ships for positions such as waiter, cleaning staff, manager, animator, etc., which can be divided into 3 groups:
To begin with, different professionals will be required to manage the crew of the vessel. The captain, placed in the highest rank of the cruise, must have a maritime degree and a minimum of 5 years of experience. We will also find the second command, in charge of supervising daily operations, the radio chief, in charge of climate and traffic supervision, or the security chief.
In this case, we will be talking about customer service personnel to assist passengers. We will find commercial and administrative staff to attend to any request. The tour guides will also be on deck to answer questions about land tours or excursions. It will also include the staff responsible for the activities carried out on board or the lifeguard, if there is a swimming pool. We must not forget the medical personnel, obligatory in all the cruises.
Cleaning and maintenance on board
This group includes the floor waitresses and maintenance personnel of the facilities. Among the requirements, they should be professionals with a pleasant character and preferably with experience in cruises. In the case of the personnel responsible for the facilities, they must have technical and manual skills.
Kitchen and living room
In this niche, we find cooks, waiters, maîtres, kitchen assistants, storage staff, kitchen cleaners, among others. In these cases, especially for chefs, it will be necessary to have a degree in cooking and specialize in different types of cuisine.
Depending on the type of cruise, service personnel will also be required. This is the case of hairdressers, beauticians, masseurs, gym monitors or nursery staff. Also singers, comedians, dancers or artists for different performances that can be performed on board. Or croupiers or DJs in the case of casinos and discotheques.
Can you work on inexperienced cruisers?
Obviously any company prefers employees who have experience in their sector, but when there is a great demand from consumers (as in the case of cruise ships) can slightly lower the level of demand for jobs and compensate for this deficiency with training courses while working.
As interest in cruise ships continues to grow, job opportunities in this industry are very good, even if you have never worked on a cruise ship before.
It should be noted that if you do not have previous experience working on cruise ships during the hiring process, companies will look at experience related to this sector such as having worked in hotels, restaurants, hostels, bars, etc. Therefore if you have already worked in the hospitality sector you will have a good chance of being able to work on cruise ships.
Requirements for working on cruise ships
Each cruise company imposes its own personnel selection process, but since this is a sector whose workplace changes from port to port, probably the first thing you have to do is fill out an online form and send your resume.
Possibly you will find companies that help you find work on cruise ships paying a small commission, but in most cases this is not necessary because you can finish the whole process yourself and follow up if you access the official website of the shipping company that interests you.
Before starting to talk about certain basic requirements to be able to work on cruise ships you must bear in mind that the most important thing to get a job on a cruise will be your own personality.
If you are not a sociable person or do not like to serve other people, it is better to look for work elsewhere. But if you are an extrovert, educated, sociable, fun and friendly person, these are the requirements you must meet:
Advantages and disadvantages of working on cruise ships
You’ve probably heard that working on cruise ships is something you should do when you’re young, but this is more of a myth than a reality. People of any age work on a cruise ship, although it is true that the best jobs are usually held by older people.
In order to properly value the suitability of working on cruise ships according to your personal preferences, we have drawn up a list of the advantages and disadvantages of working on cruise ships.
Salaries will depend on the job, but it is normal that salaries start at around 1,300-1,500 euros and can exceed 4,000 euros if the position involves many responsibilities and/or the person has extensive experience in that position.
As much as you want, on a cruise you won’t have time or opportunities to spend your salary; not even when the ship docks in port because you’ll probably have to work. So you won’t have any major expenses as you won’t have to worry about food or accommodation.
Discovering new cultures
Regardless of the national or international destinations of the cruise, you will have the opportunity to get to know new cultures even if you have to be inside the boat all the time. Remember that on cruise ships there is a very diverse mix of tourists from all corners of the world, so this aspect will help you get to know details of other cultures that you will never learn by reading or watching television.
We already mentioned in the previous section that you probably need a minimum level of one or several languages, however while you are working on the cruise you will also be able to improve your language skills in different languages as you will be surrounded by tourists from very different countries.
Get to know new places
Depending on your job, you may have the opportunity to go ashore at the same time as other travelers. However, this will also depend on the shipping company’s policy regarding the obligations of its crew and that your day off (if you have one) coincides with arrival at a port.
Working on cruise ships offers you the opportunity to have new experiences that will make you grow as a person, such as learning sports activities (kayaking, scuba, etc.), trying food from different countries and learning to relate successfully with people from other cultures.
Cruise companies are interested in you continuing to work for them because it is preferable to have an efficient employee than to risk hiring a new one. For this reason, promotions are common when working on cruise ships and they will probably offer you all the necessary training.
Loss of personal space
Remember that for weeks or months you will have to live in a reduced space 24/7 and that you will not have your own room but will have to share it with other co-workers. If this is a problem for you, consider another type of work.
Extensive working hours
Even if in theory you are told that it is normal to work 8 hours a day… be prepared to work more hours because it is frequent that some days you have to work 10-12 hours if necessary.
Do you get dizzy at sea?
If you have this little problem, evaluate its seriousness because it is not very convenient that you are constantly taking pills to avoid dizziness.
If you find work on international cruises check very well the countries that will be visited and consult with the human resources team if you will need a visa.
Working on cruise ships is not going on vacation.
Don’t forget that even if you’re immersed in a relaxed, holiday atmosphere, you’ll have some tasks to perform as you’ll be on the boat to work and not to enjoy a paid holiday; for example, you probably won’t eat the same food as your customers.
Finally you must also take into account the sentimental aspect, when working on cruise ships you will be away from home for quite some time and if you do not know if you can cope with this situation, perhaps being at sea for many weeks is not the dream of your life.