For most assignments, the cruise lines will provide full transportation from your home to the ship and back for the full assignment period. Valid passports are needed for all our new crew members. New hires that are not US citizens, US Permanent Residents, or Canadian will need to obtain a C1/D visa.
Although the room is small, you will have a comfy bed, a shared tv, personal closet space, and a full bathroom, including clean sheets and fresh towels. Laundry services are free. There is a common room where our employees can gather to play games, share experiences, and even to watch a movie. In some ships, we even have an Internet Cafe just for our crew.
Depending on the cruise line, some companies will pay for crew member's uniforms and some will require their crew members to purchase their own uniforms. Almost all of the cruise lines require their crew members to purchase their own shoes that are in accordance with uniform regulations. Make sure you determine what the company policy is on uniforms prior to accepting a position. There are shops onboard that our employees can shop from, at a discounted rate. And some of the best bargains can be found at some of the ports you'll visit. While you're onboard, the medical doctor onboard will provide you medical care, as free medical care is required by maritime law.
Another perk is that some of the cruise ships even have bar allowances for their staff, so this will limit your bar expense. Also, you get reduced price cruise vacation for family and friends
Q: What are some less obvious inconveniences of cruise employment or issues most employees must tackle regularly that differ from other jobs in tourism?
A: Norwegian Cruise Lines says its a seven day work week with 10+ combined hours per day. Employment on a cruise ship is definitely a full time position. However, due to the intensity of shipboard work & life, it is on an assignment basis. Yes, when you're not scheduled to work and off duty. We have a zero tolerance policy for certain positions and alcohol limitations, and no matter what, you are responsible for being on time for your shift and sober! Reporting to work under the influence or hung over is cause for immediate termination.
Space onboard is very limited, and any offer is for the employee only, not the whole family or pets. Guest facilities are for guests only. Employees are provided with employee only facilities. We have a well-equipped gym onboard for you to keep in shape! Not all ships have employee-only pools, but many itineraries incorporate beach destinations where you can relax with a swim.
There's not much privacy if you're a member of the crew. Quite often you'll have to share a room with at least one roommate or more. If you like to spread out, working on a cruise ship isn't the job for you. Speaking of sharing a room, quite often your roommate will be from another country, so there may be difficulties communicating. Other difficulties may arise if your work schedule is different from your roommates.
As stated previously, this isn't a 40-hour work week situation. Even though you'll have some time off, if the passengers can see you, you're liable to have to work. Also, some cruise lines will have employees work more than one job, so that will cut down on the amount of free time you have, as well.
Things are not as expected. Many new cruise ship employees think they'll have the same benefits as the passengers. This isn't the case. Unless the passengers are off the ship at a port of call, it's unlikely the crew can lounge by the pool. Food choices are also quite limited for the crew, regardless of what new employees might believe.
Q: How are voyages assigned to cruise employees? Are longer trips assigned based on seniority, or do assignments solely depend on need and availability?
A: Crew members are assigned to a position, not necessarily a ship. Although our preference is to bring back returning assignments on the same vessel, there's a chance that you'll be moved to where the role is needed. The ultimate final word is the Captain, Master of the vessel. There is a clear chain of command that should be followed in seeking advice, assistance, resolutions, etc.
Of course, being a cruise crew member isn't the only way to sail the high seas on a massive vessel.