How to get a cruise job at sea

If you are considering a career at sea and how to find a job on a cruise, firstly, you must decide whether life at sea is for you.

Working onboard a cruise ship is not a 9 to 5 Monday to Friday job.  You can be away for months on end with contracts varying from 4 to 8 months and normally a 2-month vacation upon completion of your contract.  You will be required to work 7 days a week and usually long hours each day. You will of course receive statutory time off and the opportunity to spend time ashore in some of the wonderful ports of call around the world.  Salaries are generally paid whilst onboard only, so ensure that you save for when you are on vacation.

Cruise lines will usually expect previous experience in your chosen career path and having previous experience working in the higher end of the hospitality sector is advantageous. Based on your experience, you would need to choose the position and company that would suit you the most.  You would need to put together a CV and cover letter that would focus on your experience and strengths for the position you are applying for.

If you have not previously worked onboard ships before, you should also consider undertaking the STCW Safety Training course required to work on any ship, although some cruise lines will undertake parts of the training onboard. Having this training in place before applying, puts you in a stronger position.

You can apply either through an agency such as Viking Crew or directly with the cruise company. Please ensure that your application is professional and clear as to what position you are applying for. Sending a CV with one line saying I want a job is not going to cut it. Please use a professional email address.   References from the last two years of employment will be required in most cases and if you have worked on board before, make sure you have appraisals/evaluations to cover your last two contracts. Some companies will also require verbal references, so ensure you have the contact details for your referee(s).

If you get to interview stage, ensure that you are well prepared by researching the company. They will not expect you to know everything but a number of ships in their fleet, guest numbers and knowing the ship’s itineraries will show that you have done your research and show your passion to work for them. It is unlikely that the interview will be face to face, so even if it is by telephone and certainly by Skype, ensure you have dressed appropriately, ideally business dress. It will also make you feel more professional. Focus on your experience relevant to the position you are applying for and the qualifications and training you have undertaken relevant to the job. Do not be afraid to ask questions at the end of the interview. 

If you are successful, you will receive your contract and start date once all your training is up to date and you have successfully completed your medical.

Then, you will be ready to start this exciting opportunity. Check out our current positions.