From an outside perspective, working on a cruise ship must seem like the perfect job! Island hopping across the seas on a gorgeous cruise liner, surrounded by folks on holiday looking to cast aside their worries!
Whilst this sounds like perfection, it is better not to have such expectations till you understand all that goes on when working on a cruise ship. Lucky for you hospitalians, we have spoken with graduates of our cruise ship programs who have gone on to work with brands such as The Royal Caribbean, Silversea Cruises and Seabourn Cruises and now we have compiled their experiences to give you the honest summary of life working on a cruise ship.
The experience gained on a cruise ship is second to none, from culinary to rooms division, you need to be in the zone every day. Whilst this may seem daunting at first, you will eventually grow into your role and perfecting tasks will become second nature. Such experiences set high standards for the services that you deliver and plays a huge role in molding you into the hospitality professional you wish to become. This experience does come at a cost however, as you will most likely be working 10-14 hours daily spread across 2-3 shifts. So, while the travel aspect of working on cruises is very attractive, it is second to the work-life and experience. This doesn’t mean that you will be doing no sightseeing at all though, you have enough time on your well-earned breaks to explore ashore with your coworkers. Many spoke of the beautiful places that they have visited on their travels like Fiji, the Caribbean and Australia – places they would maybe never have had the chance to visit otherwise.
One of the best benefits of working on a cruise ship is the amount of money that you will save whilst working due to your necessities being covered by the cruise liner. Meals, uniform, laundry and obviously accommodation are all covered for you which puts the mind at ease as you don’t have to worry nearly as much about your finances. Not to mention, most cruise liners will offer you free health care from the on-board doctor if you were to fall ill.
When working in close quarters alongside hundreds of people as you do on a cruise ship, you will inevitably build some close bonds with your co-workers. Many of the cruise ship professionals that we have spoken with, have told us of the life-long friends that they have made and how much it helps to have a strong net of people supporting each other. As you are all in the same boat, quite literally, it makes your work life that much better when you enjoy the company of those who you are working with, eating and going out with. However, there is a common complaint from nearly everyone we spoke to – the lack of privacy and personal space. At an entry level cruise ship job, you will most likely be sharing rooms with 2 to 3 people and this can have its problems with many different personalities and cultures colliding.
On to the application process, bear in mind that cruise ship recruiters have a particular image in mind for candidates that they hire – reliable, resilient and approachable individuals. They desire people who have career goals and who emanate passion and excitement for the job. Usually the response time for an application is under two weeks because recruiters know what they are looking for, and if you are initially successful, you will have to undergo some situational and personality tests as they continually try to gauge what kind of person you are. If you are successful with your application, the cruise company will organise your flights, uniform and accommodation in coordination with you and you will undergo all training when you arrive. This will also entail trainings on health & safety, and overall cruise ship regimes, not just training specific for your role.
Undeniably, working on a cruise ship is truly a unique experience and everyone we spoke to can testify to this. You simply will not find another job that is similar, and with this is an experience that will stay with you for life. From the impression that your CV will leave on future employers, to the lifelong friends you make and the stunning destinations you get to visit around the world, working on a cruise ship is a challenging but worthwhile experience that any talented hospitalian should consider!
Do you see yourself working on a cruise ship? Start your training program now!