Copyright 2006 Neil Maxwell Keys
With Winter here, and the cold setting in, maybe it's time to think about climates sunnier? One very popular solution is to "Get a cruise ship job!" Think about it, sailing around the Caribbean for 6 to 8 months at time, visiting idyllic islands everyday like Barbados, St. Thomas, Aruba, and the Bahamas. Oh and having great fun in the sun! This is exactly what I did for five years in a row, and you can do it too!
Now, before you run off and start blasting your resume out to every cruise ship company in the world there are a couple of things you need to think about. Although cruise ship life does have its perks, I must warn you that it also has some 'negatives'. First of all, you will probably be living in a room smaller than most walk-in closets, and sharing it with another person. Secondly, when you start to work for a cruise ship company, you will not have the freedom of "Land life". As a cruise ship employee you will be under fairly strict rules and regulations (what you can and can't do on the ship, crew curfews, what you can wear, and other rules).
This is generally for the safety of all ship passengers. You don't have the freedom, to just jump in your car and go to the movie theatre, or go for a long road trip to relieve stress. When you sign a contract on a ship, it is usually for a minimum of 6-months (although shorter or longer contracts are available for certain positions). Plus in many positions you can be expected to work everyday. Not ALL day but at least a part of the day. Usually this is when the ship has left port and all the passengers are back onboard.
With all this, I feel that a cruise ship job is the best place for young people to work, earn $300-$700 U.S. per week cash, and travel the world for free with all of your expenses paid. Every cruise ship company that I have worked for really does go out of their way to take care of their crew. They pay for your flight and travel expenses to meet the ship, and if you complete your contract they pay for your way home. Food is provided for free to crew of the ship and alcoholic beverages are dirt cheap. There are not too many places in this world that you never have to pay for food, board or travel.
To work on a ship you have to be able to leave everything behind at home for at least six months. This job is perfect for people without any ties like a spouse, a house, or even a pet. The job is a great fit for students that are taking a 'gap year', or have graduated and are looking for a break before they enter the "real" world. All you need is a valid passport, be drug free (they randomly drug test their employees on a regular basis). You must also be prepared to leave when needed, and be a friendly, 'customer focused' person.
A lot of people come to me and tell me that they have applied to cruise ship companies before and have never had a response. Well this is very understandable when you realize that major cruise ship companies receive thousands of resumes every week. They often sort through the resumes and throw them out for the smallest reason. I have a couple of friends that were human resource managers at major cruise lines, and they have told me some interesting stories. The first sort of a pile of resumes is done on punctuation and spelling errors. If there is absolutely any punctuation error your resume will be "filed" (thrown away). They could then sort on anything they feel like, for example, font, paper color, or even length. The best advice I can give you is to keep it simple, and be meticulous for details and consistency.
They have jobs for most everyone on board a cruise ship. A lot of the newer cruise ships set sail with over 2,000 guests and over 800 crew on board. Cruise ships are becoming small cities on the ocean. They have everything you could want from a shopping area, theatres, dining rooms, live shows, hotel services, passenger activities, health clubs, and spas. Whatever your trade or skill is on land; there is a 99% chance they have a job for you on a cruise ship.