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Being hired by cruise lines can be tough!

The following article was written by Joe Amort, the President of Better Business Bureau of Windsor and South Western Ontario, Canada. It was published in local newspapers the Windsor Star and the Chatham Daily News.

Being hired by cruise lines can be tough!

Working on a cruise ship can be an exciting experience and it would be nice to get such a job just by responding to an ad in the classifieds. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. We recently received a fax from the Canadian High Commission in Malaysia concerning a Windsor-based company that was advertising extensively in Malaysia seeking applications for jobs on cruise ships.

After responding to the ad, prospective job seekers are asked to send an application fee of $59. The Windsor address of this company is a mail drop, the company name is registered in Aruba, and the mail is collected in Detroit. These companies can advertise and be located anywhere in the world. Once they have taken your money, the won't find you a job.

What do you get after sending your money? You either receive a brochure telling you how to obtain a job, or they promise to put your name on a list. Usually no one sees the list or if the list is sent to cruise lines, they do not read them. Occasionally, they will include addresses of cruise lines but these are usually outdated. Some companies, in their advertisements, will also guarantee a refund if they do not find you a position within three months. However, in a disclaimer in the fine print, they will refund your money on the condition that you have three rejection letters. It usually takes more than three months for the cruise line companies to respond to you if they respond at all! So, how do you get a job on a cruise line? One way is simply through word of mouth; it's good to know someone that has worked for a cruise line because they should have information to help. Another way is through hiring agents that assist cruise lines to recruit prospective employees.

Hiring agents will run advertisements in the classifieds. These are always job-specific in that they will advertise for an existing opening, such as an assistant purser or gift shop attendant. These agencies do not charge any upfront fees, will conduct interviews and also check your references. They will also do orientation and training. They earn their fee after you have been accepted for a position. A word of caution: Cruise lines usually offer a six-month contract, which may be a problem in you have school commitments.