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Cruise Ship Job Experience

The following letter was written for visitors of our web site by Mark Anthony Sison who has been working on cruise ships since 1990 and has been to 87 different countries onboard luxury cruise liners since then.

Want to Work Onboard Cruise Ships?

by Mark Anthony Sison

Mark Anthony Sison

Here are a few tips for you:

First and foremost, a working knowledge of the English language is a must to those who wish to work onboard cruise ships. Fluency of the language is definitely a plus factor.

Secondly, knowledge and experience of the field (position you wish to apply for) is crucial. For example, for the hotel side positions like waiters, bartenders, cabin stewards, etc., you should have at least a year of work experience in the above-mentioned capacity/position in a DeLuxe, if not a 5 star, hotel or restaurant. Remember, working for McDonalds for 3 years is very different from working within the fine dining service onboard the cruise ships.

Thirdly, you should be in top physical, mental and psychological shape if you wish to be considered. Please bear in mind that working hours onboard cruise ships are normally long (12-16 hours a day). Some of the crew tend to give up after 1-3 months due to physical exhaustion, mental drain or psychological breakdown.

Working onboard a luxury cruise liner will always have its pros and cons. One thing is for sure: you will get to travel and see the world for free and get paid for doing it. I have been to 87 countries since 1990.

Also, if you play your cards right, you may get to save money for food and accommodation is free onboard cruise ships. You would also get to meet a wide range of personalities of different nationalities. But the few things I have just mentioned are not without the "cons" which normally serve as the trade-off.

If you think that working onboard a cruise ship is paradise - well, forget it. Difficulties will come your way from time to time while you're onboard. The key factor here is to maintain a proper frame of mind at all times. If you think that you've got what it takes to hack it, then go for it! Otherwise, forget the whole thing.
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There are more than a hundred reasons and factors for you to consider. There are frequent rough seas, inconsiderate guests at times, very strict ship rules and regulations, sexual harassment incidents, long working hours, a crew of at least 200 to over 900 of different nationalities, inconsiderate bosses, crew food which may either be of poor quality or totally foreign to your taste, living quarters (crew cabins) may be too small for the number of crew living inside, recreation or communication facilities for crew may not be available 24 hours (if ever they do exist onboard), or 7 working days a week to name a few.

I can go on with the long list just to prove a point. In other words, working onboard a cruise liner will demand so much from you. It may be way beyond your respective individual limitations.

It is not my wish to discourage any of you. I merely wish to help you open your eyes to the various difficulties you shall be encountering onboard the cruise ship for shipboard life can be hell to the weak but manageable to the wise.

Now, should you be really determined to work onboard a cruise ship, then go ahead by all means. By the way, should you succeed in finishing your contract, I can guarantee what will happen to you next: it's either you return home wiser ... or you return home psychologically impaired. It's now up to you to decide on how you see yourself coming home. So, to all the future applicants I say - good luck!!!