Guide for finding a job on a cruise ship.

The ship line is extremely attractive and because it involves leisure traveling, meeting new people, learning new culture and overall having fun while earning a good income. There is a lot of glamour involved in this job, by nature of work and because it caters to high-end clientele. Each cruise is an experience by itself.

For those who wish to work on the ship, the first step would be to locate placement agencies which staff for ships. The list below has the coordinates of some employment agencies and concessionaires which can be helpful for you. The majority of cruise liners will recruit through such agencies. Other than the UK ships which require that you are minimum 19 years of age, all other ships will need you to be at least 21 years old. You will also be required to have a valid passport and no criminal record.

Usually, the companies which employ you will make all the arrangements for your visa, flight tickets and reservations to-n-fro. In order to be eligible to work on a ship that sails out of USA a C1/D visa will be needed; you need not worry, the concessionaires will get it for you. Keep in mind that all the matters pertaining to the job are looked into by the concessionaires and employment agencies and not the liners.

Many of the sites below will charge a fee for placing you. You will need to interact with a few of them till you get the hang of the negotiations and the feel on the way things move in this line. You should be careful though to check thoroughly before entering into any type of agreement with any agency or cruise liner. Before you accept the job offered, make sure you understood the terms and conditions that the appointment imposes on you, the salary and perks offered and the time off that you can enjoy.

Some big names will require that you commit yourself for at least six months, period in which you will not be released of your contract even if you want to. Sometimes the contract length is negotiable; but most of the time it is fixed and concurrent with the cruise duration, or a series of cruises on the same itinerary. This could be for a period of one month or the whole year, though the most common is about 6-8 months. Let your employer know whether you are serious about a career at sea, or you are just trying to see if it suits you. This will be important criteria for selection for long or short contracts with any liner. The more interested and committed to the career you sound the better the offer and the longer the contract you get.

College students are advised to stick to the job. The job not only offers great exposure and a new horizon for work, but also pays well. Making a base for yourself will be important if you plan to take up this type of a job for your immediate future. Students would do good to apply more for regional (and smaller) vessels because (i) the jobs are seasonal and can match the holidays they get from college and (ii) it is easier to start with the smaller ships and work out your way up to the mega names than applying directly. Another valid reason is that the smaller vessels would more often than not registered in USA and will seek an all American crew (and hence pay well too) while the big names prefer non-US citizens for entry level positions (payments are accordingly much lower - sometimes as low as one third of what the smaller vessels pay).

For those who want to get a feel of the job before really starting on the ships, they can always opt for on-the-shore jobs that this industry has in plenty. These will include promotional staff, marketing, sales, secretarial, reservation agents, and so on. Many people prefer to start here because they get better informed and hence better equipped to negotiate their way in the ship jobs better than the novices. Moreover, the experience that they gain from their job on shore will stand them good when they will apply for jobs aboard the ship; the ground staff usually get the first preference when vacancies are announced.

Equally exciting are the positions of lectures and excursion manager/ staff. Many times you will be required to relocate for this job at some point where the ship will have its itinerary. Your job would be then to escort the passengers on the shore and show off the locale so that the passengers can enjoy it s beauty and attraction optimally. This job is very interesting and will involve traveling though not in the same measure as the staff aboard the ship. You can then shift to the ship, if you find the jobs there more attractive.

In order to raise your chances of selection be sure you have your CV drawn up carefully. It should match as closely as possible the job you are applying for. Keep in mind that vague applications will instantly be rejected. You have about 7-10 seconds at the best to make an impression on the recruiter. Make sure your CV will stand up to the initial scrutiny. Since there are hundreds of applications every day, you will have to be persistent if you want to get through. The most important thing however will always be the quality of your presentation and your qualifications.

When you appear for the interview, you should be well informed about the agency and the liner(s) that you are likely to work on. You will be able to get sufficient information from the Net, the state library and people who were/are employed with/though the same agency. It will take some effort to learn some in-depth things about the proposed organization, but this is time well invested because the recruiter will be on the look out for highly perceptive and intelligent people. You can also call the company directly and politely enquire about the work, job and responsibilities involved and/or places where you can learn more about the organization.

Please note that some organizations will accept your application only in their prescribed format, while some will allow you to submit your CV in the way you find comfortable. It is imperative that you know about this aspect, as otherwise your application will be rejected right from the start. When filling up the prescribed format, be careful not to leave any of the spaces/ columns/ questions unanswered or blank.

In case the question or section is not applicable to you, either scratch it off with an oblique line drawn across, or write in neat handwriting 'NOT APPLICABLE'. Many applications have been rejected in this line, because there were blank spaces left in the format.

Another important point to keep in mind is that cruise liners will vary from ship to ship and each one of them will have different ways to enter into contract with you. However, most of the ships/agencies will have you enter into a short contract initially (say, for about 2-3 months) and then offer you longer contracts one they find you suitable for the position. Once you have completed a contract satisfactorily, the same agency/liner will keep calling you back for more contracts as and when they require hands. In case you become a specialized hand, you will be having 'continuous contracts' with a few months in between as paid off.