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Ways to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship

Meghna Wani
Nothing can be more exciting than getting paid to travel and see the world on one of the luxurious cruise vessels. Therefore, CareerStint thought of helping you get on-board as a staff member, by listing some ways to get a job on a cruise ship.

Consider the Flip Sides!

Seasickness, little or no communication with the outside world, and long working hours should be taken into consideration before taking up a cruise ship job.
Cruise ships are stuff made of dreams. A floating resort with ultra-plush amenities is the only definition we can think of for these sailing grandeurs of the seas. But it requires a lot of hard work and hundreds of employees to maintain the ship in top-notch condition round the clock.
From housekeeping to bartending, to being the captain of the ship, there are many jobs available to be taken up. The main motto of all the people working in collaboration on the ship is to run the ship smoothly and ensure the best sailing experience to the passengers.
So, if you love meeting new people and checking out new places, then probably 'the sea and the ship' are meant for you. But there is one thing that you need to keep in mind; the work hours are going to be long and tiring (shudder).
However, this should not deter you from taking up a cruise ship job. Every job has its own set of challenges, and the key to success lies in being ready for those. Read on to know more about the ways to get a job on a cruise ship.

Understand the Operation of the Ship

If you are a beginner in the world of cruise ships, it is very essential for you to get a basic understanding of the ship and its operation.
Therefore, before getting your feet wet, you need to know the ABCs. First, check the hierarchy levels, and determine the level at which you would want to enter the chain of command.

You have to not only check the hierarchy, but also the job profiles. You need to understand 'who does what' on the ship. Get to know the responsibilities that come with each post.
After analyzing all the jobs, finalize the ones that you think are the most appropriate for you, and assess your capacity to fulfill the position. You could forgo this step if you are an experienced cruise ship crew personnel.

Know the Ship's Portfolio

Before applying for an opening on a particular ship, you need to be aware of its complete portfolio. You have to do background research on the clientèle it caters to. Is it youth oriented or the one for seniors and retirees?
Is food the major attraction, or the ambiance and décor the plus point? Are there a variety of entertainment programs to keep the passengers engaged? Are the spas, salons, lounge and bars, next to the best? Is the liner a 'luxury' or a 'premium' brand, or it is cost-effective and affordable for first-time cruisers?
You have to know it all, because you have show the HR that, you know their market. You have to take all the efforts to counter their suspicion that you are trying to get on-board just for fun. Accountability is what you should bring to the table.

Update Yourself With Job-specific Skills

Many a time, cruise ship job applicants are perceived as boneheads, who think these jobs would give them the leisure of sipping cocktails on the deck, watching the sunset.
To prove this notion wrong, the first thing you need to realize is that the position that you are applying for will have many applicants across the globe. The competition is going to be tough and you have to take it seriously.
To surpass your competitors, you need have an edge over them. Honing yourself with job-specific skills and certifications will give you that added advantage. If you want a particular job on your dream cruise liner, prepare for it by acquiring the skill set and some experience in the skill. Don't jump in without thinking, as rejection is difficult to handle.

Jazz Up Your CV

Your CV can be anything but drab. You have to make an effort to punch it up with highlights and properly-positioned text. Your CV should not run more than 2 pages.
If you are a fresher, your academic achievements should come on the first page, starting with the highest education first on the list. If you have substantial work experience, start with the latest organization, and end with your first organization. Highlight the relevant skills and certifications in the first page. If you know many languages, highlight it.
Don't use general words like 'team-player' or 'self-encouraged'. Give discreet examples of how you can justify these adjectives. Sometimes, the HR would like to see your photograph before meeting you in person. In such cases, attach a professionally-shot flattering photograph. 
At the end of your CV, give 2-3 references who can vouch for your credibility. A cover letter of 300-400 words should be drafted and sent along with each and every CV that goes out.

Select Multiple Job Openings

That's right... you have to look out for more than one position. But this has to be done correctly. You cannot just go around dropping your CV for each and every job opening.
Assess your skills first. For example: if you have a life-saving certification with training in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), first-aid, and handling medical emergencies , then you could apply as a lifeguard on the deck's swimming pool, as well as a medical attendant.
It is generally seen that when the vacancies are published, they are loaded with a long list of requirements. The sole purpose of doing this is to reduce the number of applications.
 In case you see a requirement that says, The candidate must be fluent in eight languages, be able to dance like MJ and sing like Britney Spears, must be able to give references of at least two A-list Hollywood stars, and be a Miss Universe contestant, then it's time for you take it a pinch of salt.
Everybody knows that not a single person would be able to tick all those boxes. So don't get scared; go ahead and apply for the position, even if you are fluent in 'just' five or six languages.

Get my drift? Sort out all the positions you think you can fill, and apply for those. But make sure you keep it in line with your education or work experience.


It is seen that cruise ships start hiring at least 3-4 weeks before setting sail, you have to grab this opportunity by timing your application correctly. For knowing the correct time, you have to keep a check on the market, and be aware of the sailing dates of various ships.

Contact Third-party Hiring Services

If you are not able to find a vacancy through traditional Internet search methods, then you could get in touch with third-party recruiters who know about the job openings that are not visible on regular job portals.
If you are asked to shell out a few bucks for registration, then make sure the company or website is authentic.

Emit Confidence

Clichéd... but true! Just like any other job interview, you have to be confident when you are finally facing the interview. Dress appropriately, but don't go overboard.
We need not reiterate the importance of physical appearance during an interview. You have to ooze charm out of every pore. And when faced with the inevitable "why a cruise ship job?" question, you have to tell them something more than just absurdly repeating your love for traveling and seeing the world.
Though it may seem a cushy job, working for a cruise liner is anything but that. To those who think they can make it big in this industry, here's another useful tip before concluding: look out for cruise liners that are adding new ships to their current line, and apply for those. Bon Voyage.