If you are searching for a high level position with a cruise line, there are two ways to go about it. You can search each cruise lines’ job board or you can sign up with a placement agency. Placement agencies are open to all types of applicants, even deck positions, but many of these agencies deal with individuals that are qualified to work in engineering, management positions, medical positions, and director positions, to name just a few.
Placement or “recruitment” agencies come in all shapes and sizes, but some are more popular than others. To sign up with a placement agency you should begin by identifying the top agencies in the industry. Next, you should submit your resume, references, and any certifications or designations you may have. The placement agency will call you in for an interview to assess your background, skills, and needs and match them to positions they may have available or positions they will seek out.
The following list includes top agencies in the field and contact information. After you have recorded the information below, continue reading to learn about working on cruise ships.
CTI Group Inc.
1845 Cordova Road Suite 215
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
404 & 408 SE 17th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Toll Free: 800.438.2739
Delta Marine Personnel Services Ltd.
Office Suite 2, Lockside Marina
Essex. CM2 6HF
Tel: +44 1245 251 377
Fax: +44 1245 495583
Isle of Man
IM 1 5PD
Tel: +44 (0) 1624 649 649
Working on Cruise Ships
So what’s it like working on cruise ships? For starters, it’s fun. Next, there’s lots of freedom. And finally, just about everything is free. Now, just how much fun, freedom, and free stuff you will enjoy will depend on where you fall in the ship hierarchy. Let us explain. Ship employees fall into one of three main categories: officer, staff, and crew. Officers are at the top of the hierarchy. They wear the stripes and enjoy superior accommodations. They also have free access to all ship facilities, and they enjoy the highest salaries. Captains average anywhere from $6,000-$10,000+ per month, staff captains typically earn $5,000-$7,000 per month, and first officers earn around $4,000-$5,000 per month. Can you imagine earning this amount of money plus paid expenses?
Staff members (not staff captains) are second in the hierarchy. These individuals work in retail shops, casinos, and spas. They are also photographers, entertainers, cruise staff, and concession staff. These individuals enjoy unlimited access to passenger areas and they are allowed more time off in port than officers. Most officers have to remain onboard in order to “man” the ship while docked. Staff member salaries vary greatly depending on the position. For example, hospitality managers may earn anywhere from $4,000-$4,800 per month, while retail salespersons may earn $1,400-2,000 per month.
Crewmembers are last in the hierarchy. These individuals make up the largest population of workers on the ship. Crewmembers are non-managerial bar and restaurant personnel, cleaning staff, cabin stewards, galley and laundry personnel, and deck hands. Crewmembers do not have as many privileges as officers and staff members. They have access to the “crew bar,” and they must share accommodations with one or more co-workers. That said, there are several advantages to being a crewmember.
Crewmembers make a significant amount of income in tips, they have lots of room to grow, and they can spend more time having fun at various ports of call rather than remaining on the ship. It is not uncommon for crewmembers to turn down a promotion if it means losing his freedom and his tips! Crewmembers salaries vary greatly depending on the position. For example, a cocktail waiter may earn around $1,600-$2,400 per month, while laundry staff may earn anywhere from $1,000-$1,400 per month.
Now that you know how things work on board, your place, and how much you can expect to make, it’s time to gather your belongings and head out to sea. Most new ship employees end up packing everything but the kitchen sink on their first working trip. Fortunately, you don’t have to bring much. Remember, ships are like little cities at sea. You will have access to grocery stores, clothing stores, pharmacies, salons, health clubs, bookstores, libraries, cyber cafes, and more, so the most important things to remember are: all of your identifying information (passport, driver’s license, state ID, Insurance cards, etc.), and any medications (or prescriptions). If you’re an entertainer, don’t forget your costume, accessories, and any necessary equipment. For all workers, check with the ship ahead of time to inquire about dress codes, but more than likely, you will have to wear a uniform while working. So, that’s it – you’re ready to go!
For more information about cruise ship jobs, pick up a copy of Working on Cruise Ships by Sandra Bow (Globe Pequot Press, Guilford, Connecticut).