Job Seekers Advice

General information

Cruise lines tend to hire their staff either through concessionaire companies for specialist posts, or through recruitment agencies throughout the world. If you wish to apply for a job with a cruise line, it is advisable to send your CV or application to their recruiting agency.

Cruise lines will hire all sorts of people from students to career changers, retired people and people who enjoy being around and working with others. Experience in relevant and/or related fields pertaining to the roles on board is very important, as is the ability to entertain generally, and to be friendly and approachable with a firm belief in 100% customer satisfaction. The crew and staff on board cruise ships are there to provide a safe, happy and enjoyable experience which passengers will want to repeat. For this they require people who are dependable, reliable, unflappable, outgoing and confident.

Review several jobs that would interest you and compare the skills, abilities and responsibilities required with the work experience, skills and abilities that you have developed. Search websites to gain information on certificates, training and skills you may need to get on board. It is also good to find out what life is like on board as a member of staff or crew – it is very different to a passenger’s life on board! Cruise companies differ within the industry, so it’s important to research beforehand who you would like to work with.
You need to be able to sell yourself on your CV/application and show those who are recruiting how you are qualified for a role, and what you have to offer, not just in terms of the technicalities of the role but also in how you are able to contribute to the overall cruise experience of the passengers.

If you are not successful first time round, send in a letter or your updated CV in a few months time.

CV information

When completing your CV or application form to send to a recruiting agency or concessionaire company, it is important to note that many applications cross the desks of recruiters for the cruise industry and that yours will have to stand out and make an impression if you wish to have a chance of being called for an interview.

Bearing in mind that CV’s and applications are reviewed in the first instance very quickly, the following suggestions may be helpful:

Your CV must be typed with no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.

Your name, address and contact numbers and email address must be easily seen (so put it on the first page somewhere near the top)

Your CV/Application form should be tailored towards the particular company you would like to be stationed with, and the particular area of work you’re interested in.

Your CV/Application should state your work history in date order, giving the month and year you started and finished employment, the name of the company, job title and brief outline of responsibilities. Any promotions or achievements should also be included. Your work history should be completed in reverse order (i.e. your most recent or current place of employment first).

There should be no unexplained gaps on your CV or application form relating to your work history.
Unless your education is relevant to the post you are applying for, or you have just left school, college or university then it should come after your work experience on your CV.

Any training completed should be stated. Where you choose to place this depends on its relevance to the post you are applying for.

State any volunteer work you feel is relevant to the post you are applying for.

Stating what your skills are is useful – this can include PC skills, organisation skills, administrative skills, communication, language etc. Please be advised that these can and may be tested during an interview. Sometimes a personal profile can be added to your CV in the form of a brief two to three sentence paragraph (usually positioned on the first page).

Generally CV’s should be no less than two pages and generally no more than about four.
It is important to be able to sell yourself, your skills, talents and abilities on your CV. However it is best not to exaggerate or lie on your CV as you will be asked to provide evidence during an interview or when you have been offered a job. Failure to provide evidence may result in not obtaining the job or in having the offer withdrawn.

A cover letter should be sent with your CV or application form. This should state the role you are applying for, any job reference numbers, and cover briefly your skills, relevant to the post you are applying for.

It is always useful to do some research on the company you are applying to as well as on the industry and post you want to work in. This will not only help you to focus and tailor your application and covering letter but will help you during an interview when thinking about what questions to ask etc and to give you a head start on the nature of the industry and the post.

Finally, proof read your CV/Application and covering letter to ensure there are no mistakes.

Application form

If you wish to apply for a position onboard then please download an application form and return to Cyg-net Ltd, either via e-mail or via post together with a copy of your CV.


What kind of employees are the cruise lines looking for?

Cruise lines look for individuals who have excellent communication skills, are confident and friendly and who enjoy working with members of the public. They like to have people who can make a lasting impression with the passengers. Appearance is important, as you are an ambassador for the company, and so staff and crew must be clean and well groomed at all times. Individuals who are hardworking, all round team players, enjoy working with people, who are committed and dependable are seen as ideal candidates for working on cruise lines.

If I am hired, what documents will I need?

You require a valid passport. Some countries on the ship's itineraries will require Visas (i.e. crew will require C1D visa for USA ports). You will be required to have a complete pre-employment physical prior to joining the vessel and provide the company with a Medical Certificate.

Who will I work with?

You will work with a wide range of employees representing nationalities from all over the world. Being able to appreciate and understand other people’s differences and values will make your job more rewarding and create some lasting friendships.

What is the standard length of a contract on a cruise ship?

Most cruise lines offer minimum four to six month contracts, depending on the cruise line or/and position. New contracts are then offered depending on performance. A lot of positions are entry level, as most cruise lines promote from within based on job performance so career path advancement is possible.

What are the hours of work?

You can expect to work seven days a week, approximately 8 hours a day and your schedule will vary from day to day. It depends on your position, the ship’s itinerary and your department head.

What are some of the policies and codes of conduct I need to be aware of?

Staff and crew are responsible for the smooth sailing and operation of the ship. The rules and regulations set out for all employees are necessary to maintain the safety and well being of all on board, passengers and crew alike. The public facilities are for the passengers to enjoy. Use of these facilities is limited or not permitted for staff or crew. Usually, staff status allows access and use of the public rooms and bars/lounges. Crew (usually) are not permitted in these areas when off duty. You are expected to behave and dress professionally at all times whilst under contract. Excessive drinking or socializing is not tolerated either on or off duty. There is zero tolerance towards the use of drugs. Crew and staff would be sacked, disembarked and submitted to local authorities regardless of the ship’s location. In this instance you would have to find your own fare back home. There is frequent drug and alcohol testing on board.

What happens if I wish to terminate my employment before my contract finishes?

If the employee wants to terminate the contract earlier than the end date, then the employee will be responsible for the cost of transportation of going back home. If a crewmember is dismissed, then the cruise line will be responsible for the cost of the return transportation. In this instance the crewmember is disembarked and cannot continue home on the cruise.

Are the crew expected to perform duties other than their work onboard?

All cruise lines require all the crew to take part in weekly training/safety drills (demonstrating safety equipment to passengers, life jackets etc.), or carrying out gangway duty. You may be asked to help out with shore excursions, depending on the department you are based in. Teamwork is very important.

Do crew and staff have to wear uniforms?

Yes.  Uniforms are required and are provided by the cruise lines with the exceptions of Guest Entertainers, Lecturers and Musicians. There are dress codes onboard that must be adhered to and crew working in passenger areas are expected to follow these dress codes.

Do the crew have food and accommodation free of charge? Will I have to share a cabin?

Food and accommodation are free of charge, so your living expenses are relatively cheap. You may be required to share a cabin with at least one other person and maybe up to three others (depending on your rank), although some officers will be entitled to a single cabin.  Crew facilities often include crew fitness centre, a crew recreation room, crew bar and a crew deck, possibly with a swimming pool. Cruise lines take seriously the well being of crewmembers, since it could affect the quality of work and passenger service. Most companies will also provide you with emergency medical insurance when you are signed on the ship as an employee, and you have access to the ship’s Doctor and medical staff.

                                      Do crewmembers get to see the ports that the ship is visiting?

Yes. Crew are free to visit the ports of call when they are not on duty. This does vary depending on the position you hold on board.

Are the employees allowed to purchase goods onboard?

Crewmembers enjoy duty free prices onboard cruise ships. They can also get a good discount on goods purchased in the onboard shops.

Can employees choose the destination or the ship where they would like to work?

Generally new employees do not have a choice of destination or vessel.  Long serving employees may be able to request to serve on a particular vessel, and this can sometimes be accommodated when manning schedules are planned.