Lots of people want cruise ship jobs, but not everyone is cut out for a job on a cruise ship. Cruise ship employment is difficult, and one must not be blinded by the attractions of life at sea if they wish to realistically consider whether working for a cruise line is a good prospect. It of course can be, but it depends on your disposition, inclinations, needs, and basic direction in life. Are you right for a cruise ship job?
First, we should be clear what we mean by a cruise ship job. We’re not talking about working in any capacity for a cruise line. Many of these jobs are perfectly normal, at least insofar as they require a standard work week in a standard office, where you might fill any number of standard roles – from office assistant to accountant to manager. Rather, we’re talking about working on a cruise ship, as these are the positions that require a unique set of attributes and a distinct personality.
First, you must have the ability to thrive outside your comfort zone. This seems to be the most essential attribute to possess because when working on a cruise ship, the simple truth is that you will confront challenges on a daily basis, and moreover you will be without the normal resources (friends, family, the local watering hole, etc.) that you might otherwise rely on at home to find the strength to address these challenges. Moreover, the ability to work outside your comfort zone is a characteristic that carries with it several other skills that are essential to have for cruise ship employment. Why is the comfort-zone criterion so important? Most obviously, you will be on a ship at sea, often for multiple days, meaning you won’t even walk on solid ground for relatively extended periods of time. And when you do go to land, you will often be in a foreign land, confronting several cultures and peoples that may vary widely from one another in a matter of days. On a cruise ship, you will also find yourself working with employees from many different countries (cruise lines are decidedly multinational employers), and indeed you may even be sharing close living quarters with them.
This last consideration gives rise to another helpful attribute that a cruise ship employee ought to possess, namely, an appreciation for foreign cultures. This means that you should be comfortable regularly interacting with people whose way of life differs from your own; this will include passengers and, again, your fellow employees. On a related note, it is immensely helpful to possess linguistic skills. Ideally, you should be able to speak two or more languages. Which languages you should know will of course depend on where you work, but language skills will likely be essential no matter where the cruise line for which you work is based. Given its status as the global language, it is all but essential to know English, but knowing a language besides English is also important.
Finally, you should possess a strong work ethic because working on a cruise ship is demanding. The days are long, and you have to work many days in a row. A typical cruise ship employment contract lasts for four to six months, and you will have to work the vast majority of these days. In other words, full days off are few and far between, and you definitely can’t expect much leisure time during your period of employment. Depending on the position you hold, moreover, the work might also be physically demanding.
If you want to work on a cruise ship, you should be able to live outside your comfort zone, embrace foreign cultures, and work hard. These are by no means the only attributes that are helpful to possess, but they are particularly important. If you think you have these skills, a cruise ship job might be perfect for you, or, in any case, it might be worth trying because in the worse case scenario, you endure a job you aren’t well suited for, but it will only last a few months. And no matter what, working on a cruise ship will be an unforgettable experience – a trying experience, perhaps, but an enriching one just the same.