How to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship in 2021

Let’s start with the obvious: the hospitality industry has taken a beating in the past year. Movement of our guests has been greatly restricted and non essential businesses across the globe have been forced to shut down due to the quarantine measures in place to prevent COVID-19. This is the obvious, however what may not be so obvious right is that we will get through it, and cruises should be your choice for when we do.

Did you know that by the end of 2019, the cruise industry had generated a global total of 134 billion dollars  in revenue? Furthermore, jobs on cruise ships are, on average, some of the most well paid in the industry. On top of this, most cruise ships provide their employees with multiple benefits on ship (such as free accommodation, free meals and insurance) which make cruise work some of the best jobs to earn and save money in hospitality. 


While cruise companies have been some of the hardest hit by the proverbial economic “storm” of Coronavirus, the industry is set to survive the disaster. In fact, many of the very same companies that were previously struggling, are now hiring again as the situation improves and many of the ships are implementing newer regulations  to make sure passengers and staff are safe

So now you know the state of the industry, I’m going to give you the steps to break into it!

Step 1: Send us your CV 

Maybe in fairy tales, great stories begin with “Once upon a time...”, but in the real world (at least in this case) they start with “I made a really great CV and sent it to Placement International..”. So you should always make your first priority to make your CV look as professional as possible. It’s also important to make sure your profile fits into the basic requirements of the cruise program: 

  • +21 years old

  • Current student or graduate majored in Hospitality/Culinary

  • Valid passport for 1 year minimum 

  • Be passionate about life at sea 

These are the basic requirements that most cruise ships ask for, but the requirements and preferences of the companies are changing constantly, so make sure you add every important skill that you have (hint: languages help a lot on a cruise ship!)

Step 2: Book your first interview

Congratulations! If you have gotten to this stage it means that we have checked your profile, circulated your CV to our cruise ship partners and they have shown some interest. In this case you will need to book an interview with our team in order to further the process.

The interview will, in part, be an assessment of your character and English skills but will also be your best opportunity to voice any questions you may have before getting started with the main bulk of the course and interview process. So make sure to go into this interview with a professional mind-set but also don’t forget to let your personality shine through, and don’t be shy when asking questions!

Step 3: Gather the necessary information 

During the interview in step 2, our team will also guide you as to the documents that you need before you can proceed. To help prepare you for this stage, you can see the specific necessary documents you’ll need below:

  • Your CV
  • All your Certificates and Diplomas
  • All your references letters
  • Copy of your passport

During this stage we will also inform you as to how exactly your CV should be formatted for the cruise program. You can see a list of these guidelines here.

Step 4: Earn your Cruise Hospitality Certification

This is arguably the most important step in getting your hospitality career abroad - for all major cruise companies, it is required for applicants to earn a standardised certification in both operational cruise hospitality and the STCW. So naturally the next step of the process is to obtain this certificate. 

The courses themselves are filled with multiple modules designed to prepare you for a life at sea and the international safety/security standards of working on the boat. This will include: Itineraries, guest satisfaction, crew life and pirate fighting (okay it’s not quite phrased “pirate fighting” but anti-piracy procedure is an aspect of the course that you will need to master before starting the program) 

Now if I didn’t convince you on how useful this course is when I mentioned the pirate-fighting, there are some other distinct advantages of taking this course:

  • A Lifetime certificate: That’s right, once you have completed the cruise certificates, you will have this qualification for the rest of your hospitality career. Meaning that if you wish to work on a cruise again in the future, you will not need to go through the procedure again. This also means that if you are wanting to take your course and delay your placement (maybe until after COVID-19 has been put under control) this will be entirely possible!

  • 15 hours of useful skills, all online: The course is designed so that candidates from all around the world can get the qualification without having to commute to an education centre. This could be perfect for all of you hospitalians in quarantine itching to get at your next challenge!

  • All-but-guaranteed a placement: At this point we would have already circulated your CV to our partner cruise companies and have received some interest in your profile. This means that the odds of you getting your placement after completing the course are very much in your favour!

Step 5: Have your official interview

Look at you Mr/Ms cruise course alumni! Now that you have gotten your certificate, it is time for the real thing. Between yourself and our team, we will find a time in which both you and the HR of your chosen cruise line are available for the interview.

Once you have secured your interview slot, you will be able to show off your new-found knowledge and skills to your new potential-boss. Don’t worry! We’ll prepare you for the interview and will be with you every step of the way!

Step 6: Start your Journey at Sea!

Nicely done!! You aced your interview and now you’re ready to pack your bags and start your adventure. We will guide you through the procedure of obtaining your transit visa and make sure the next few steps are as easy as possible. The exact procedure of what comes next will be dependent on the ship, we will try to streamline it as much as possible so all you have to do is prepare the necessary paperwork, pack your belongings and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

If you would like to start your career in cruises now - or prepare for one in the future - then now is the perfect opportunity, just click here


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