If you want to be the first in line to work any cruise lines’ maiden voyage, you will have to have several years experience in the industry, and depending on the position, a certificate or degree may be required. All engineering and management positions require a bachelor’s degree or higher in a related field and 5-7 years experience. Crew positions, office positions may require experience only and positions in the entertainment department require everything from a certificate to talent, of course.
Whether you are on a maiden voyage or the ships’ 100th voyage, positions will fall under one of several categories/departments including Activity/Entertainment Department, Deck & Engineering Department, Service & Hospitality Department, Personal Care Department and Office Positions.
Jobs on cruise ships in the Activity/Entertainment department are considered some of the most glamorous jobs aboard the ship. These positions deal with anything relating to passenger entertainment. This department includes: DJs, Production Managers, Photographers, Managers, Casino Staff, Host/Hostess and Cruise Consultant, to name a few. Those best suited for jobs in this department are typically enthusiastic and extroverted.
The Deck & Engineering Department is one of the most important departments on the vessel –without it the ship would never set sail. This department is responsible for maintaining and running the vessel. Please note that the positions in this department are not typically entry-level positions, especially on large ships. The department consists of deckhands, maintenance workers, engineers, and officers. These positions help to motor or sail the ship, attend to the physical maintenance needs of the ship, and keep it in accordance with fleet regulations and international maritime laws. Officers are in charge of passenger safety as well.
Staff members in the Service/Hospitality Department or Hotel Management Department have the responsibility of managing the bars & restaurants and passenger cabins, as well as shipboard retail concessions like gift shops. Just a few Service/Hospitality positions include: Hotel Manager, Cabin Stewards/Stewardesses, Accountant, Executive Chef, Wine Steward, Chief Purser, Purser Staff, Chief Purser, Bellman, Pastry Chef and the list goes on and on. Most service positions such as bartenders, waiters and cocktail servers can earn a good amount of extra money from tips.
No cruise would be complete without a department devoted to helping passengers pamper themselves. The Personal Care Department includes spa, fitness, beauty and medical services. It helps manage hair stylists, manicurists, massage therapists, fitness instructors, beauty therapists, spa attendants, nurses and physicians all dedicated to the well-being of passengers.
Most office positions are onshore — employees typically work in the main office performing administrative tasks, arranging cruises or performing general office tasks. Office positions generally fall under the following categories: Accounting, Administrative/Clerical, Air Operations, Marketing/PR and Reservations/Sales.
To apply for a position on a maiden voyage, you will first have to gather a list of cruise ships that are currently being built or close to completion. Ships typically begin the staffing process months (and in some cases years) before the ship is complete. Check out cruise news sources such as Cruise Travel Magazine (http://www.cruisetravelmag.com/) or Conde Nast Traveler (http://www.cntraveller.com/) to find out what’s new in the cruise world. You can also take some time out to contact your favorite cruise line to see what’s in the works.
Visit the Ships and Cruises Directory for cruise line listings and official websites. Once you have located the site, visit the website and jot down the contact information if you prefer to call or fill out the contact form with any questions you may have. Many cruise websites also have a section for news or media information. You can check here and read the latest news and media releases about your favorite cruise line.
Most cruise line websites have a career center or job postings page. If the cruise line lists job openings, be sure to follow the application procedure to the letter. Applicants that do not follow directions are typically passed over in favor of those that do. If the cruise line does not list job openings on its site, send a polished cover letter and resume to the cruise lines Human Resources Department. The Human Resources Department is typically located at the cruise lines headquarters. This information is usually listed on the cruise line website. It is important to include the position you are interested in so that it can be directed to the appropriate department manager. Good luck!