Cruise Ship Jobs

If travel is your passion, then consider getting a job in the travel industry. How about a cruise ship job?

Jobs in the cruise industry are highly coveted because they afford an opportunity to travel, meet people from around the world, earn a solid income, and get excellent employer benefits. Here we’ll tell you a little bit about working on a cruise ship. You can learn much more about cruise jobs on JobMonkey.

Jobs on Cruise Ships

Cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes.

There are harbor cruises in places like Seattle, Boston, San Francisco and other coastal cities in the U.S. and abroad. These types of operations typically have one or more small cruise ships and take tourists, businesses, and other groups on dinner cruises and sightseeing cruises that last several hours. Each ship might employ between 6 and 12 people. Then there are the large, luxury cruise ships that sail all over the world with trips lasting a week to a month or more. Luxury liners employ a staff of hundreds, typically people from many different countries. Finally, there are specialty cruise ships that travel to exotic locations like the Galapagos Islands in South America, up the Yangtze River in China, and around the Greek Isles. A crew of between 20 and 50 people is often needed to operate this type of vessel.

Getting a cruise ship job requires diligence and hard work. Some types of cruise jobs require specialized education or experience. For instance, if you want to be a cruise ship photographer you’ll need education in photography and a related work background and probably your own equipment. Similarly, chefs and other kitchen workers may need culinary training and a fair amount of on-the-job experience.

Then there are other jobs that require little to no special training, such as cruise ship gift shop staff, waitstaff, and room steward. It does help, in all instances, to have a strong background and orientation towards customer service. And for many of the higher level jobs, such as cruise director jobs, it would be great if you had education in the hospitality field.

Seasonal Cruise Ship Jobs

The global cruise ship industry never really stops or slows down during the year. There are certain regions, though, that are highly seasonal such as Alaska. A dozen or more cruise lines travel seasonally to Alaska and end up hiring for summer cruise ship jobs. This is true even though many of the large cruise ships are simply relocated, with their regular staff, from one part of the world to Alaska.

In addition to the cruise jobs available on large ships operated by companies such as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Norwegian Cruise Lines, in Alaska you find many smaller, seasonal sightseeing cruise lines. They hire seasonal crews for deckhand positions, cooking jobs, tour guide jobs, room stewards, ticket sales positions, bus and van driver jobs, naturalist jobs, and so forth. A contract with one of these cruise lines typically lasts from mid-May until October.

Alaska cruise ship passengers disembark at various ports like Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka where they go salmon fishing, enjoy salmon bakes, visit myriad shops, and partake in activites like sea kayaking, hiking, bear viewing, nad mountain biking.

Working a summer job in Alaska affords the tremendous opportunity to see glaciers and wildlife, scenic beauty, to fish during off hours, and lots more.

Types of Cruise Ship Jobs

Typically, jobs on large cruise ships can be divided into a variety of distinct categories. Some positions are specific to maintaining passenger berths and fall into the Hotel category. There are entertainment jobs, ship maintenance and engineering, so called Office jobs, and a variety of service positions.

Activity and entertainment positions include cruise directors, activity leaders, music directors and disc jockeys, sports instructors, bands, dancers, and so forth.

Every ship has engineers, mates, and deckhands who handle responsibilities related to shipboard operations, engine room activities, and mechanical tasks.

There may be more staff in the hospitality or service area than in any other. The Hotel staff, as they’re sometimes called, work in the ship’s restaurant, bars, casinos, passenger accommodations, and in gift shops.

These days there are dozens of people providing personal care, health and fitness, and spa treatments during all hours of the day, as well. Cruise lines categorize these types of positions in a variety of ways.

Finally, every ship has a large number of administrative jobs or office positions, ranging from reservations, reception, bookkeeping, and so on.

Cruise Ship Concessionaires

Your cruise ship job search should not be limited to the cruise lines (e.g., Holland America, Celebrity Cruises, etc.). Most large cruise lines utilize staffing agencies or what the industry refers to as cruise line concessionaires to staff many jobs on cruise ships.

Cruise ship concessionaires are always looking for more qualified applicants to screen and potentially place into cruise positions. If you get placed, so to speak, by a concessionaire or agency then they are your employer, not the cruise line.

What is a concessionaire? Basically, they rent space on a cruise ship much like a hair stylist rents his or her booth at a salon or food vendor or store gets permitted to work in shopping mall. Another example would be the food vendors inside a college or professional sports arena. The vendors have negotiated contracts to rent space in order to sell hot dogs and beer to the fans. Aboard a cruise ship there are spas, art auctions, photographers, and salons, all of which may be operated by a licensed concessionaire. The staff are hired and paid by the concessionaires.

Sometimes cruise lines will hire certain staff through staffing agents, many of which are located in Asian countries, Europe, India, and South America. These agencies are used to find and screen applicants for many lower level positions on cruise ships. If you’re hired through an agency then you end up working for the cruise line…they’re your employer, not the staffing agency.

Cruise Industry Statistics

Cruise Industry News, a leading industry publication, reported in its June ’07 issue that there were 40 cruise ships currently being built or on order (or option) for deliveries through 2011. Combined, those ships add a room inventory of 1,115,078! Of all the new vessels, 24 are reported bound for the North American market, and will boost North American capacity by 3.5 million passengers by 2011.

Sixteeen of the new cruise ships are going to service European markets, and will raise the annual cruise passenger capacity there by more than two million passengers by 2010.

Of course, the number of ships being built and ordered/optioned continually goes up. By 2010, for instance, even more ships will be on order for years well beyond ’11.

Summing Up

If you’re tired of working in an office, staring out the windows at the same old view, then consider getting a cruise job where you might travel worldwide – for free. You could end up traveling the world and having a rewarding career! (and life)

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