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Working for a Concessionaire vs. a Cruise Line

When you’re seeking a job with a cruise line, don’t forget to apply to both the cruise line itself and the concessionaires that operate the many shops and services onboard. If you’re only applying to cruise lines, you could be missing out on any number of job opportunities offered by the concessionaires.

Working for a Concessionaire vs. a Cruise Line

What is a concessionaire?

A concessionaire is like a retail store or service than rents out space in a shopping mall. Their independent business runs entirely under their control - including staffing, store policies, and potential profit - as long as the concessionaire complies with the mall rules and pays their rent on time, they can run their business as they like. To a certain degree the same thing applies on a cruise ship; a concessionaire, such as a spa, rents space from the cruise line and operates their store or service as a separate entity. When you’re hired by a concessionaire, you work for their company and not the cruise line.

What type of work is available with a concessionaire?

Generally a concessionaire hires specialized experienced staff to fulfill specific job opportunities within a cruise ship. Some examples of these positions are:

  • Retail clerk for a cruise ship store
  • Massage therapist for the ship’s spa
  • Hair stylist for the salon
  • Casino staff
  • Entertainment staff
  • Scuba diving instructors
  • Food and beverage staff

What are the advantages of working for a concessionaire?

A cruise ship employee must be identified as such at all times while onboard the ship.  But as a concessionaire employee, you’re not subjected to the same rules as you don’t work directly for the cruise line; when you’re not working, you’re free to spend your time as you wish which can include going ashore and sightseeing, unless you have to attend a safety training or you are on port manning. A concessionaire employee also has the advantage of being able to work on a number of different cruise lines servicing different areas of the world; you’re not limited to one destination or one specific ship as with a cruise line job contract.

How do I apply for a concessionaire job?

The process is the same as with any job - take the time to craft your resume and cover letter to highlight your skills for the specific position you’re applying for. Many concessionaires accept online applications through their websites. 

What concessionaire companies can I apply to?

Depending upon your job experience, there are a number of concessionaires located around the world that cater to hiring skilled employees. Some examples of concessionaire companies include:

More Information

Scarlet Perez has been working for cruise lines since 1992. Her comments about working for a Concessionaire vs. a Cruise Line follow next:

While the crew member is employed by the concessionaire and not directly by the cruise line - the crew member has to follow all the disciplinary rules which exist onboard, participate in the safety training, fill a safety position, do port manning, can only go ashore, if not on duty and not on port manning or does not have safety training. Also the same rules of conduct and certain dress codes apply to concessionaires.

Most cruise lines also do not like to have guests see them as a seperate company. When the guest has a problem they still go to Reception to complain about the Spa.

Crew members from Concessions must be identified at all times while onboard - in wearing their name tag - wearing a Uniform - some are allowed to wear private formal clothes on formal night - with their name tag.

If one applies for a position of a concessionaire employee to the cruise line, chances are, that those applications never make it to the concession. In the rarest cases, does one get a reply to an application to do something different, or are the applications forwarded to another company.

Scarlet Perez