Interview with Cruise Ships - how to get there

It is not very tough to land a job once you have decided to enter this line of work. Before doing so however, you need to weigh very carefully the pros and cons that the ship line is offering you, because the ship job is very different from any type of land-job that you have ever worked in. Once the decision is made, then you need to know the way to apply and land your dream job.

The first thing you will have to do is to apply for a passport if you do not already have one. Then, write a good CV highlighting those strengths which will back your application for the position you are seeking to fill on the ship. The ships usually hire through certain employment agencies. Identify a few of them, buy their forms (most of the time they sell forms or membership or both) and then apply with them. The first interview will be obviously with the agency. If you click here, the second round will usually be a piece of cake.

Your first job will be a short contract of one-to-three months' duration. Be sure you read very carefully what is offered in the contract and what is expected of you to do. Do not ignore anything that is written and be extra-careful of any small print. The contract will most of the time bear your to-n-fro flight cost to the cruise departure point. Once you complete successfully the first contract, your agency will provide you better and longer contracts all the time. The maximum period of a contract will be one year, though the most common is the eight months contracts.

As you become more experienced, you will be able to apply for higher rank positions and draw higher salary. Your perks too will move up the ladder commensurate to your position and seniority in that position. The career graph is sharp in this line, and it is not uncommon to raise to some of the best paid ranks (US upwards per month) within 4-5 years of work.

Of course, if you have the qualifications and/or experience required you could directly apply for senior positions on the ship, including that of the Captain. The interview schedule here will be most likely held by the ship's management itself and can be pretty grueling, but once you are in, your career in made. The higher the rank the more pampered are the staff, and those of the rank of Captain and immediate below crew are of course, the most privilege of all.

As mentioned above, there are plenty of opening in the ship line. You will need to know both your strengths as well as what is required on a particular liner if you want to be successful with your application, because your CV should clearly reflect the match between your strength and job requirements. There are hundreds of applications sent, and if your fit is not obvious in the first 5-7 seconds of perusal, your CV will be rejected.

I have described briefly the jobs that you are likely to find available on the ship in alphabetical order for easy reference. I hope this will help you in your decision.

Casino staff - depending upon the area the ship cruises and the passenger type it carries, the casino staff can have long hours of work, or just a very limited working time. If their passengers are European, then gambling is not very highly preferred and hence, the work load will be less. However, if they carry American crew, then they will be likely to work almost round the clock, because American love casinos. Of course, this also implies that there are chances for high income in tips as well.

Cruise directors - this position is usually a promotion position and rarely it is filled in by direct entry. This is because to become a cruise director on a ship, you should know the ship and its cruises very intimately; and this is possible only when you have some experience with the ship. This is one of the most glamorous and highly paid jobs on the ship.

Cruise staff - these positions should be applied for only if you are an extrovert and a people's person. This is basically a social position and it involves a great deal of interaction with the passengers. As a matter of fact, you will find that you will be almost 24x7 on duty. Your duties will be to keep the passengers happy and enthusiastic about all ship activities. Hence, you need to be cheerful, convincing, motivating and above all always with a smile on the face because you are the face of the ship. You will need to be talented and know a great of social graces to be good in this job. You may be required to dance, to host a cocktail party or a dinner party, assist tours, assist the cruise director, act as a guide and so on. You should also have very good organizational skills because many things would have to be organized from scratch. The salary and perks are great; hence the trouble is worth it.

Disk jockeys on luxury liners - this is a very important position since entertainment is very important on the ship. Depending upon the type of passengers it carries the disk jockey will need to create the right ambiance. They will team up with the stage managers and hence, any additional knowledge in lighting and sound direction will give you an edge over your competition. These jobs come under a six-month contract with a good monthly salary and standard perks.

Cruise Dive instructors - for this position you will need to have completed some certified course which will qualify you for the position. You should also be trained in giving CPR so as to be ready in any emergency. Lifeguard experience will give an extra edge, though it is not a pre-requisite for the job. You will need to have good in communication skills and be a good motivator so as to attract the passenger to water games when required. The salary and perks are among he best.

Entertainers - all the ships need a good team of entertainers for live shows. For this job you will need, above your CV, to have about two or three original acts taped on a cassette for the perusal of the management. The entertainers can be actors, comedians, vocalists or someone who can do all the above. The contract terms for entertainers vary from ship to ship. Sometimes, they are paid salaries and sometimes they are paid in kind - that is they are given the best accommodation and all expenses paid on board in lieu of payment.

Tour leaders or Expedition leaders - when the ship docks in ports all over the world, somebody needs to act as a guide for the passengers or they would be lost on their own. In order to do that the incumbent will need to first of all have excellent communication skills, ability to absorb details and explain these with clarity to others. The candidate will need to have background and/or experience in travel and tourism industry besides being a college graduate. He/she should speak English fluently; any additional international language would be an added advantage. Many times these positions are promotional and are given to those who started as assistants. However, if the right candidate is not available among the junior staff, the vacancy will be filled from outside. The contracts are negotiable starting at per month plus perks.

Gentleman hosts jobs - Many times the female-male ratio is high and ladies will be found wanting escorts for the evening socializing. The gentlemen hosts, usually middle aged to elder gentlemen, make it their duty to act as escorts for the ladies during the evening. Since this is a position where a great deal of socializing is required, the gentlemen hosts will be required to be very refined in their speech, know to dance a number of popular dances, have to ability to stand and/or dance for long periods of time and maintain a lively conversation throughout the evening. The hosts usually have the day to themselves, as they work only in evenings till late night (party timings). The pay is sometimes in cash and sometimes in kind (such as first class passage on the cruise liner). There will always be vacancies for this type of positions since the luxury cruisers carry many unescorted elder ladies, who would need to be looked after. This position should by no means, be confused with that of a gigolo.

Lecturers - These positions require the candidate to have excellent public speaking abilities. These people will be required to brief the passengers about the attractions available on shore, the shops and stores which are recommended by the ship. The port lecturer besides being very knowledgeable regarding the facilities found on shore, they should also be great motivators and enthusiastic salesmen/women.

Naturalists on boat trips - A ship will touch a great variety of natural locations and people are always interested to learn more about each place. This is when the Naturalists come in. They are trained to answer questions for the places that a ship covers over an itinerary. If the Naturalists is good, the cruise becomes even more enjoyable for the passengers as they can appreciate the places they visit better. Hence, a good naturalist needs to be an enthusiastic speaker, knowledgeable and genuinely extrovert to make the right impact on the people he/she is interacting with. The salaries are good, but they vary from ship to ship and sometimes even from season to season.

Shore excursion manager - This type of job is usually extremely stressful since it involves a great capacity for trouble shooting, guide, sales, accounting and host duties all rolled into one. The shore manager is usually a college graduate who has excellent public speaking abilities, and an open outgoing attitude and temperament. Some experience in travel and tourism are expected since the incumbent will be needed to talk on the merits of different locations the ship touches during its itinerary. The excursions are many times planned by the ship itself as an entertainment routine for the passengers. The success of the excursion will very much depend on the ability of the excursion manager to hold the attention of the passengers. This position will also require the candidates to interact with other people on the shore such as bus companies and tour operators and others for organizing the excursions on land. This is why this department is an independent department which functions independent of the ship crew. The positions are salaried and highly paid.

Shore excursion staff - This position is equivalent to that of a Junior Purser, in some cases this post is actually designated as such. This job involves the ability to do all the paper work and coordination required for the bookings for the excursion. The candidate will need to have good secretarial skills and be able to coordinate and organize lively excursions. Many times the people who work in these positions will move to positions on this ship after gaining some experience. This job is on contract and payment is salaried.

Stage managers - This is a technical position as the stage manager is responsible for all the stage arrangements such as lighting, sound, effects, etc. The candidates applying for this position will need to have some theater experience and be able to use state-of-the-art computerized equipment. These positions are salaried and highly paid.

Youth counselors for cruise ships - this is basically baby-sitting positions. Since children usually accompany their parents only during summer vacations, these positions are seasonal. The candidate basic pre-requisite for this job is that they can connect with young children and be able to spend long hours with them keeping them entertained and content. The work is hard and monotonous, but it pays well and it can pave your way to a lucrative career on the ships.