Cruise Ship Crew Salary

cruise-ship-crew-salaryIt’s often said that money makes the world go round. For employees on cruise ships, this could not be more true. Top level management such as the captain and executives are full-time staff, but those on the bottom rung such as line cooks and waiters are contract staff whose salary vary depending on the cruise line they work for and the position they are at.

For crew – those at the bottom of the hierarchy – gratuities are a lifeline. Many cruise lines officially pay their crew very low salary as it is expected that they make this up on tips from passengers.

Author of Cruise Confidential (2008), Brian David Bruns chronicled his life as a crew member in the kitchens of a Carnival cruise line, where he suggested he was paid US$60 a month (excluding tips), with his food, accommodation and two crew parties taken care of. Times may have changed and realities on different cruise companies are different, but it remains that gratuities make up a significant share of compensation for cruise ship crew.

The US has had a longstanding unspoken rule for tipping. Even on land, tips are given freely and only withheld in case of very bad service. Establishments have come to understand this practice and therefore offer lower salaries to staff that are made up by these gratuities.

As a mixed guest list for different countries has surfaced on cruise lines – particularly those following US law, companies have started incorporating what is called ‘auto-gratuity’. This is a mandatory tip added to the bill without the passenger having determined the amount or even being asked for it.

Reports suggest that auto-gratuity on board cruise lines today can range from US$80 to more than US$100 per person for a week-long cruise. Passengers in suites can pay up to US$7 extra per day, while bars and spas add about 15 per cent extra to their bills.

Earlier, passengers would tip crew in cash at the end of the cruise. However, this system did not allow for all crew members to receive a fair share as many passengers did not come into contact with all the people who might have made their vacation pleasant.

Auto-gratuities allows the cruise line to pool the rewards and share them among more positions. For service staff such as waiters, this becomes a better prospect. If their end pay – from tipping – depended on the number of tables they were assigned to as would be the case earlier, the amount of money they took home at the end of the contract would be widely inconsistent.

For example, if a waiter was assigned to look after 18 tables, he or she would receive much less by way of tipping than someone assigned to 24 tables. Auto-gratuities also covers the chance that guests assigned to those tables do not turn up for meals. Many guests opt out of eating at the dining room often, and choose to visit the many specialty restaurants on board or eat in port.

Through the system of auto-gratuities, crew are ensured a more balanced take home pay at the end of their contracts.

Compensation for crew in housekeeping as well as food and beverage from the company can often be as low as US$2 a day. That is far less than what one could expect to earn even at a budget establishment on land in India. However, gratuities make up for more than 95 per cent of the take home pay on board a cruise line.

When gratuities come into the picture, cruise ship crew can take home a decent chunk of money. Assistant waiters can expect to make around US$900 (Rs 58,000) per month on the low end, experienced dining room waiters can take home as much as US$3200 (Rs 200,000), and assistant maitre d’s could make around US$4000 in total (Rs 260,000) per month.

Similarly, through gratuities, housekeeping staff like a cabin steward can expect to take home around US$2000 (Rs130,000) per month.

Compensation is one of the biggest draws of the cruise ship industry, and if the take home pay was not as appealing as it is, there would be fewer prospective employees vying for jobs.

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Can you get a cruise ship job if you have tattoos?

Can you get a cruise ship job if you have tattoos

The world of today is officially far more liberal with differences than it was even 10 years ago. However, while this is the official line, ground reality can be a little more conservative. This attitude is particularly seen regarding tattoos on cruise ship crew.

A large percentage of cruise passengers, especially in the US, are older people. They grew up during a time when having a tattoo was considered rebellious, and could have meant that you had been to jail or were involved in illegal activities such as dealing in narcotics or belonging to a violent gang.

For this reason, having cruise crew with tattoos attend to them could make them feel uncomfortable. Even though general perception may have changed, tattoos may have a negative effect.

Corporate culture in the US evolved to a very professional image, where personal appearance made a big difference to business. Older folk grew up believing that if you looked professional – clean cut, well dressed and polished, you could win your clients’ trust more easily.

With their client profile in mind, almost all cruise line companies have regulations regarding tattoos. While the companies might not have anything against the art, they are always looking out for the comfort of their guests. The general rule is that tattoos should not be visible when cruise ship crews are in their uniform and in passenger areas.

For staffs who wear shorts, skirts, or short-sleeve shirts, this would apply to tattoos and other body art on their calves, shins, forearms, and perhaps even their ankles. Those who wear trousers and long-sleeved shirts can get away with these tattoos.

Tattoos on the neck – an increasingly common trend, and face – such as tribal tattoos – are highly discouraged and may not be permitted. You could face termination if you do not comply with company rules.

One way to overcome the issue of very visible tattoos is to consider laser removal, particularly if you are looking at a long and successful career in the cruise line industry. However, this is expensive and can be quite painful. The process also takes a number of sessions and can have side-effects including blistering and temporary scarring.

Another easier and painless option is to use make up to cover the tattoo. Depending on the size of your tattoo, this can be a time-consuming process. In a world where long working hours are the norm, this is something you will have to consider before completing your application process for cruise ship jobs.

When applying for a cruise ship job, always asks the recruitment agency about the company’s policy on tattoos, whether you already have one or are considering one. If the company has a very strict policy, you can think about other firms or defer getting your tattoo to a later date. If a relatively liberal policy is at play, consider areas of your body that will not be visible in your uniform – shoulders, back, upper thigh, torso, etc.

At work, ensure that your tattoo is well covered. A small tattoo on your wrist can be hidden using a band or watch. Others should be concealed using long-lasting make up, touching up as and when necessary.

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How to Beat Stress while working on a Cruise Ship

How to beat stress while working cruise ship jobsCruise ship jobs are known to be one of the most stressful jobs out there. They often include long work hours, new team members every day or week, and high standards of quality. Combined with this, crew members have personal responsibilities, perhaps paying off a loan, supporting a family back home, and even simple things such as doing their weekly laundry or studying for a qualification upgrade.

All together, these factors can present a very trying time for cruise ship crew. Having a contract that needs you to work seven days a week for six months at a time means you can hardly allow stress to affect you as much as it does on land. There are no weekends to relax on or calling in sick to perk yourself up.

Here are a few ways to beat the stress while working cruise ship jobs:

Time management

Getting organised each morning will give you a better perception of the workload expected through your day and help you get through it without confusion. Take five minutes out of the start of your shift by listing everything expected of you and work through each item one at a time.

Be realistic

After a few weeks on the job, and even from hands-on training at your cruise culinary institute, you will learn how long it takes you to do a particular job. When making your daily list of things to do, think about how long it would take you to do each job. If you find you have too many tasks, speak to a superior about it so the task can be divided with someone else or taken off you entirely. It shows commitment to get the job done right and work as a team.

Exercise & meditation

One of the cheapest, easiest methods of stress management on board is exercise and meditation. Cruise ships ensure that  the crew have free gyms, swimming pools and / or exercise space for their leisure. Exercise produces endorphins in the body which are natural painkillers. They also promote sleep, which is a great stress buster. Try to learn a bit of yoga and meditation between contracts so you can practice on board before or after your shift. Even 15 minutes a day will do wonders.

Make reliable work buddies

Teammates change often. There is always someone coming and going, but being able to assess who you can rely on for small things during your work day will help take the load off you. Conversely, offer help when you can so others are more likely to help you when you are in a sticky situation.

Enjoy downtime

All cruise ship jobs ensure downtime. Based on international labour laws, there is a certain amount of time that each employee must have off work. Use this time to catch up on sleep if you are feeling tired, or engage in an activity you enjoy. Read a few pages of a motivating book, catch up with your buddies over a beer in the crew bar, call your family back home, or talk about any troubles or issues you face with a trusted friend.

Stay positive

As far as possible, stay positive. When you feel the stress start to build, take a short break and think of the reasons why you love your job and the reason you are there. Think of any positive comments you received or achievements you have made. Avoid colleagues with negative attitudes and give yourself a small treat (even if it’s an extra scoop of ice cream after dinner) for little accomplishments.

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How to Avoid Cruise Ship Jobs Scams

How to Avoid Cruise Ship Jobs ScamsThere is no escaping the fact that with cruise ship jobs in high demand, the incidence of related scams increases. Many unfortunate victims have paid hard-earned money to criminals masquerading as overseas recruitment companies in the hope of landing a job on board.

Cruise ship companies themselves are being impersonated by these unscrupulous elements in a bid to hook job hopefuls with a renowned name. As soon as they become aware of this, the cruise line companies add these fraudsters’ names to a long list of cruise ship jobs scams to help applicants.

But since there is no way of listing every fraudster on the hunt, there are a few things you can look out for to identify possible cruise ship jobs scams.

CLUES FROM FRAUDSTERS

Read all communication properly

Cruise ship companies and their overseas recruitment agencies are filled with professionals who are good at what they do, particularly the HR department. Emails, calls, advertisements and any other means of communication will display impeccable language skills. Letters from fraud companies and their websites, if any, generally show poor English with spelling and grammar mistakes. They also have low-quality images.

Emails generally come from free websites, such as Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, etc. Cruise ship companies and their overseas recruitment agencies have their own internal email accounts.

The offer sounds like a steal

Often, to get you hooked, cruise ship jobs scam artists will offer you an immediate job posting, just as soon as you send money to them. Cruise ship companies follow certain procedures and overseas recruitment agencies never ask applicants for job consideration fees, advance payments for uniforms or medical expenses. Any offer that assures you a job on payment of money is probably a scam.

Legal fees

Many cruise ship jobs scams involve asking prospective crew for ‘fees for the immigration lawyer’ or ‘fees for Green Cards’. Neither of these is required by a cruise crew member when working on board. There are separate requirements for seafarers.

Scam artists can ask for a scanned copy of your passport as well as lawyer’s fees in US dollars, Euros or other currencies. Any personal information you hand over is at the risk of being misused.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Stay up-to-date

Read cruise news regularly to know of new scams and ways to identify them. Look through the websites of cruise ship companies to know in what way scam artists have recently used their name. Many of these companies, such as Royal Caribbean International and its sister companies (Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises), send out warnings about fraudsters, their email addresses, websites and names. Get on their mailing list to stay on top of things.

Apply through the right channels

When you are ready to apply for a job, look for the right places to apply. If you see an advertisement in the newspaper, it helps to cross-check whether the cruise recruitment agency is real by accessing their website online and calling their office if needed.

Cruise ship companies generally have a list of authorised overseas recruitment agencies through which they permit job applications to be routed. Either apply directly to the company or through a legitimate recruitment agency.

 

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The Brave New World of River Cruising

The brave new world of river cruisingAt the recent Seatrade Europe meet in Hamburg, the European cruise and river trade industry threw the spotlight on a booming potential market for cruising, thereby inviting new job opportunities for cruise ship chefs and other employees on board.
Since the beginning of civilisation, habitation proliferated on banks of rivers, so towns and villages with history are almost always connected with river cruises, offering a look into quaint settings and interior areas most often off the tourist map.
River cruising is finding more and more takers, particularly among the younger population who prefer more intimate settings and more shore-based activities. Cruise Line International Association stated that there are currently 184 river cruise ships, with 13 new ships hitting the waters this year and 18 more on the way. For 2018, 26 more ships have been ordered.
Strong river cruise zones are Europe and Asia, taking great advantage of the maze of waterways available. Some of the most popular river cruises take guests down the Rhine and Danube in Europe, the Amazon in South America and the Mekong and Yangtze in Asia.
The market is certainly different from ocean cruising. For one, the ship size restricts river cruises from offering the full variety of amenities, facilities and entertainment available on board a typical ocean cruise. Companies are, however, looking at experiences and specific demographics to allow for more specialised services.
Uniworld’s U river cruise is aiming at travellers in the age group of 21 to 45 that will cost less and offer activities that interest this demographic – night trips to local trendy restaurants and pubs, as well as craft cocktails, DJs and silent discos on board.
Others have trips for families who enjoy activities – some targeting those with children and others those with teenagers and 20-somethings. These include biking routes, walking tours, zip-lining, visits to farms or medieval castles. On board, they offer activities to learn how to cook local dishes such as German pretzels and fun activities like talent shows. Uniworld even has special family river cruises with extra staff to look after young children, trips to toy factories, scavenger hunts using GPS and short walking tours.
For travellers who enjoy adventure, discovery and nature, Coral Expeditions is opening up the lesser known regions of Papua New Guinea through its week-long cruises down the River Sepik where guests can marvel at villages and visit tribes who have had little contact with the outside world.
The Seatrade Europe conference is positive about the huge growth potential in river cruising. Already, it is looking at larger vessels to offer more cabin space for passengers and crew and eco-friendly river propulsion systems. Mystic Invest is already looking forward to putting its subsidiary Duoro Azul’s vessel on the water in 2019 when it will become the world’s first fully electric river vessel.
Much is still left to be done, particularly security and protection against unauthorised access, but from an employment perspective, river cruising opens up a whole new world of opportunity. For river cruise ship jobs, knowledge of local customs, traditions, cuisines and tourist hot spots will be necessary.
As demand for eclectic experiences and more tailored trips increase, both clients and staff have promising opportunities to look forward to in river cruising.

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How Cruise Ship crew get their Grievances Redressed

No industry is without its dark underbelly and no workspace without its problems. As the industry expands exponentially, there is a huge demand for people to fill cruise ship jobs. And with it comes the undeniable existence of friction between staff and managers, company and guest. Cruise ship jobs involve a great deal of compromise, particularly on the family front and on work hours. Many low-rated and untrustworthy companies have been known to take advantage of their staff. In other instances, staff reputation has been put on the line over customer accusations of misconduct. Even in situations where the accusations are false, the company could suffer a loss if word got out, and follows the adage - “The customer is right”. Over time, cruise companies have developed a system to handle crew issues. Typically, the contract lays down the law that staff must follow and offers a grievance redressal system in case of any problems. The key is to read all contracts and guidelines before joining and listening carefully during orientation so you are aware of procedures to handle any situation involving colleagues, superiors or guests while on board. Here’s how you can get your problems solved when on board: Grievances with colleagues: Most cruise ship jobs entitle you to a work environment free of harassment or discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental abilities and age. These include verbal or physical misconduct, derogatory words or gestures, and distributing offensive printed or electronic material. Companies also protect staff witnesses who may try to object to these occurrences. If, however, you do come across a situation where you face such harassment or discrimination, the first step is to make the other person - no matter what his or her rank in the work hierarchy - that you are uncomfortable with the behaviour or language they use. Bringing the offensive situation to their notice could help stem the behaviour at the beginning and remove the need for further action if it was simply a misunderstanding or a result of insensitivity. This does not mean you should completely dismiss the situation. Take note of it, and maintain a log. If it occurs again, you can use this information to contact the grievance redressal unit or the HR department of your company. Make the report to your immediate supervisor, manager and head of department. You can do this verbally, but if you feel more comfortable or your complaints have not been addressed, make a formal complaint in writing to the crew office. Always remember that most cruise ship companies have a hotline to deal with cases such as these, where grievances are not redressed on board to the complainant’s satisfaction. Grievances with guests: This is a tricky area for most cruise ship companies as they prefer to maintain their reputation. For this, all major ships insist that no intimate relations between guests and crew are allowed. Passengers cannot be invited to officer or crew accommodation and vice versa. Crew may be in passenger rooms only on official work - for example, housekeeping or room service. However, in the event that a crew member is at the receiving end of harassment on the part of a passenger, it is his or her right to take the situation to their immediate superior. Always remember that you should try remember as many details as possible about the incident. It is better to write them down as soon as the incident has taken place - names and contact details of any witnesses, time and place, exact nature of the incident and anything around you that may have contributed to the incident occurring. This will help the company make a stronger case for you when dealing with guests. Grievances with the company: If you are unfortunate to have an unresolved issue that continues despite going to the top, being well prepared will ensure you get justice, no matter how big the company. For this, always note down details of the incident. Make a copy of all your written reports that you are filing with your managers and store them in a safe place. You could also take photographs of the area where the incident occurred. Small details that may have been overlooked can come up on closer inspection at a later date. If there was a physical assault involved, see the doctor and get a copy of the medical record. Do not sign anything other than your written incident report as there may be clauses that you could overlook or that may not be in your best interest. Speak to an experienced maritime lawyer who can handle such cases where laws differ depending on the country the ship is registered in.No industry is without its dark underbelly and no workspace without its grievances. As the industry expands exponentially, there is a huge demand for people to fill cruise ship jobs. And with it comes the undeniable existence of friction between staff and managers, company and guest.

Cruise ship jobs involve a great deal of compromise, particularly on the family front and on work hours. Many low-rated and untrustworthy companies have been known to take advantage of their staff. In other instances, staff reputation has been put on the line over customer accusations of misconduct. Even in situations where the accusations are false, the company could suffer a loss if word got out, and follows the adage – “The customer is right”.

Over time, cruise companies have developed a system to handle crew issues. Typically, the contract lays down the law that staff must follow and offers a grievance redressal system in case of any problems.

The key is to read all contracts and guidelines before joining and listening carefully during orientation so you are aware of procedures to handle any situation involving colleagues, superiors or guests while on board. Here’s how you can get your problems solved when on board:

Grievances with colleagues:

Most cruise ship jobs entitle you to a work environment free of harassment or discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental abilities and age. These include verbal or physical misconduct, derogatory words or gestures, and distributing offensive printed or electronic material. Companies also protect staff witnesses who may try to object to these occurrences.

If, however, you do come across a situation where you face such harassment or discrimination, the first step is to make the other person – no matter what his or her rank in the work hierarchy – that you are uncomfortable with the behaviour or language they use.

Bringing the offensive situation to their notice could help stem the behaviour at the beginning and remove the need for further action if it was simply a misunderstanding or a result of insensitivity.

This does not mean you should completely dismiss the situation. Take note of it, and maintain a log. If it occurs again, you can use this information to contact the grievance redressal unit or the HR department of your company. Make the report to your immediate supervisor, manager and head of department.

You can do this verbally, but if you feel more comfortable or your complaints have not been addressed, make a formal complaint in writing to the crew office.

Always remember that most cruise ship companies have a hotline to deal with cases such as these, where grievances are not redressed on board to the complainant’s satisfaction.

Grievances with guests:

This is a tricky area for most cruise ship companies as they prefer to maintain their reputation. For this, all major ships insist that no intimate relations between guests and crew are allowed. Passengers cannot be invited to officer or crew accommodation and vice versa. Crew may be in passenger rooms only on official work – for example, housekeeping or room service.

However, in the event that a crew member is at the receiving end of harassment on the part of a passenger, it is his or her right to take the situation to their immediate superior.

Always remember that you should try remember as many details as possible about the incident. It is better to write them down as soon as the incident has taken place – names and contact details of any witnesses, time and place, exact nature of the incident and anything around you that may have contributed to the incident occurring.

This will help the company make a stronger case for you when dealing with guests.

Grievances with the company:

If you are unfortunate to have an unresolved issue that continues despite going to the top, being well prepared will ensure you get justice, no matter how big the company.

For this, always note down details of the incident. Make a copy of all your written reports that you are filing with your managers and store them in a safe place. You could also take photographs of the area where the incident occurred. Small details that may have been overlooked can come up on closer inspection at a later date.

If there was a physical assault involved, see the doctor and get a copy of the medical record. Do not sign anything other than your written incident report as there may be clauses that you could overlook or that may not be in your best interest.

Speak to an experienced maritime lawyer who can handle such cases where laws differ depending on the country the ship is registered in.

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Benefits of Working on a Cruise Ship

benefits of working on a cruise shipWorking on a cruise line offers many benefits. It is no wonder that dozens of people from developing countries make their way on board to take advantage of these. A recent report suggested that Indians make up as much as 30 per cent of global recruitment for the international cruise sector, with workforce from Goa taking up 40 per cent of the Indian representation.

So many people opting for jobs on board cannot be wrong. It is true that shipboard life may not be for everyone, but it offers a great many advantages.

The most obvious benefit, particularly for people from developing countries like India, is financial. Cruise ship companies often receive flak for poor pay, but even at the most basic position on board, this is enough to support a family from a poor country. Reputed cruise ship companies, however, adhere strictly to wage laws and staff working in galleys and in housekeeping can expect decent pay by international standards. Due to good conversion rates from the dollar to rupees, they make much more money when compared to a similar position on land.

Medical insurance is another benefit, which is required by maritime law. Employees at reputed cruise companies are able to choose from a variety of programmes that suits their situation. This means that while there is basic insurance coverage, other paid programmes are also available for wider coverage or discounted rates for medical services such as advanced eye care. It is worth noting that medical assistance and services are quite expensive in developed countries like the US or the Caribbean where cruise lines stop at, so having medical insurance taken care of is a great boon.

Cruise companies also offer basic life insurance for free, with supplemental insurance that is can be paid for by the employee. In addition, there is life insurance for spouses and children, insurance covering accidents, death and travel to and from the ship.

Some employees are even eligible for retirement savings plans through the cruise company itself. Princess Cruises, for example, pays those who have worked for five years or more up to six per cent of their pay, if they contributed as much towards the retirement plan during their years of service.

If you are looking at investments with your hard-earned money, your company might offer you a chance to be part of the growth of the cruise industry. Employees are often able to buy company stocks at a rate lower than the market price. As the company profits, so do you.

However, not all benefits are related to finance. The cruise company pays for your tickets to and from your home to wherever the ship is docked when you’re joining on contract. On board, you may be able to avail of free laundry service depending on your position. Crew bars, stores for general supplies and medicines, and even restaurants on the cruise ship you work on offer discounts and low rates  for crew.

The benefits of cruise ship jobs can even extend into port. Tours to sites of interest or activities are cheaper for crew compared to guests. Management puts in place a crew director who looks after employee affairs, part of which includes organised tours and trips at cheaper rates in port.

In addition, food and lodging for the duration of your contract is paid for by the company. The cruise ship crew mess will serve food from the place of origin of most employees, so you will be bound to find Indian and Filipino dishes along with other world-wide favourites like mashed potato, pizza, pasta, sandwiches and desserts in your buffets each day.

All in all, it is worth noting the many benefits of cruise ship jobs when considering employment in the hospitality industry.

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Safety at Sea Courses for Cruise Ship Staff

Safety at sea courses for cruise ship staffOne of the main differences between shore-based hospitality jobs and cruise ship jobs is the safety factor. On board, the risks are considered greater than on land, and many precautions are taken by companies to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. In addition, cruise ship employees must have training in STCW – the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.

Anyone sailing on seagoing merchant ships must be qualified with this certification, which is a global standard on the basic requirements for him/her to be able to handle the risks of a career at sea.

STCW was issued by the International Maritime Organisation in 1978 and then amended in 1995. Before it came into existence, each country had its own safety standards and rules. Shipping, including cruises, is one of the most international industries in the world, and varying practices with no reference to other countries potentially put many lives in danger. As of 2014, 158 parties follow the standards of the convention, comprising 98.8 per cent of the world’s shipping tonnage.

As a cruise ship employee, you will be required to get certified in STCW to sail. Some companies provide training after the hiring process, but recruitment advice suggests it might bode well for those looking at posts in demand to have their certification ready before applying for a job.

An STCW course will provide you training in:

> Basic fire fighting

> Personal safety

> Elementary first aid

> Personal survival

Typically, courses last up to five days with 4-6 hours of instruction each day. Some might put in longer hours, but all schools offering these courses are bound to teach all the requirements of the international law.

Generally, you will learn first aid, CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation), how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), survival in and around water, personal safety, social responsibilities, and fire fighting. These include theory and practical sessions, with safety in water usually conducted in a swimming pool.

Doing this course will keep you aware of the dangers of life at sea and how to respond in case of an emergency. It is pertinent to remember that guests on board cruise ships will not have this rigorous training and as an employee, it will be your responsibility to look out for them in case an emergency arises.

This training must be taken very seriously and you must ensure you are well-versed with it by the end of the course. An untrained crew member could endanger not just himself/herself but also the chances of survival of the entire ship. Split-second decisions are crucial in times of emergency and hands-on experience during training will serve you well.

Since the safety techniques are governed by an international set of rules, you can be sure that all those working with you – no matter where in the world they come from – will follow the same procedures you do.

A number of institutes in Goa and across India offer certifications in STCW, and Kamaxi Overseas Consultants can help you find the one best suited to you.

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Cruise Ship Jobs Vs Shore Jobs

Cruise ship jobs vs Shore jobsWhen considering a career in hospitality, it can work well in your favour to look at the kind of work environment you hope to be in at your job. Hospitality offers shore jobs and cruise ship jobs, and while preference for one or the other lies with the individual, it helps to know the main facets of each before making a decision.

Location: Cruise ship jobs are coveted around the world for their ever-changing picturesque locations. Based on the ship you are assigned to, you could be in Key West in the United States one day, Nassau in the Bahamas on another day and the Cayman Islands on yet another. It gives you sneak peeks into a variety of societies and cultures in a short span of time.

At a shore job, you will be located in a single operation for at least a few months. More often, it is a few years, before you can be transferred. That said, this allows you to enjoy each location in depth, and become more knowledgeable about the local culture.

Pay: Depending on where you’re from and the company you work for, cruise ship jobs can offer excellent pay. Negative reports on sweatshop-style conditions for low pay arise from companies who do not comply with international labour laws, and this can happen in any industry. Respected companies offer employees higher pay than shore jobs owing to the risks and other requirements of the job, so it is always a good idea to get in touch with some of the best cruise recruitment agencies like Kamaxi. However, most cruise lines do not pay employees when they are between contracts.

Shore jobs offer a more stable income, even though it is often lower than cruise ship jobs of the same level. The pay also depends on the location and demand – areas high in tourist numbers may actually pay less for entry-level jobs due to easy availability of staff. In such cases, your skill level, proficiency and experience if any will count.

Vacations: Cruise ship jobs do not have vacations. They only have time between contracts, and one is technically not guaranteed a return. However, most cruise ships keep offering contracts to employees to avoid having to search for, hire and train new ones regularly. Contracts last between six to eight months and staff usually take between two to four months off before returning to work so they get to spend quality time with their family and friends.

Shore jobs have a guaranteed number of days off each year, along with options for casual leave and sick leave. It is possible to plan social trips in advance or be home for an important occasion.

Work environment: Cruise ship jobs boast a multi-cultural environment, which can be a positive addition to your CV. Staff from all over the world find a place in the various positions on board, and you will most probably be sharing your cabin with someone from another country. It offers a great perspective into other cultures, traditions and quirks from living and working with other nationalities in close quarters.

In this sense, shore jobs offer a sense of comfort. The work environment and other staff are familiar. Even if you are posted in a city away from home, it is easier to adjust to a single type of new culture over a period of time than many in a short while based on your personality.

Many cruise companies have shore jobs too, including personnel and scheduling coordinators, clerks, payroll managers, human resources consultants, marketing agents, reservation managers, sales representatives and corporate chefs who lead culinary development and implement new concepts across fleets of ships.

You can easily move from cruise ship jobs to shore jobs and vice versa. It is simply a matter of charting your own career trajectory and working towards it.

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Cruise Ship Jobs: Life after Retirement

Cruise ship jobs: Life after retirement

 

The start of any career is an exciting prospect, more so with cruise ship jobs as these have a lot of advantages. Not many consider, however, a long-term plan after retirement.

Cruise ship jobs afford many opportunities and benefits, but many of the disadvantages such as long hours and having to stay away from family for many months can take its toll. Planning ahead for retirement offers goals to work towards and a strategy to take on life ashore.

Moving back to land-based life requires lots of patience and a small amount of determination. Even being around family 24×7 can take getting used to.

The first way to prepare for retirement is to plan for it. Knowing when you would like to retire – give or take a few contracts – will help you chalk out a post-retirement plan of what you will keep yourself occupied with.

Owing to the relatively high compensation on board – particularly for those in Asian countries – early retirement is possible. This will allow you to return home and spend time with your family, start your own business or take care of aging parents.

For this, you will need to begin saving early. Thanks to cruise ship jobs offering free meals and board to employees, a major chunk of your salary can be saved for the future. It could help you save for courses you may like to do after you quit, or even invest for your children’s education for the future. This will also provide you with sufficient capital to begin a new business, if this is your plan.

Before you retire, work out what type of business you would like to engage in after you leave shipping. It is important to remember that administration, government and management often do not function to the high standards on board a ship. So preparing to set up a business shortly before you retire – perhaps during the period between contracts – will help you save some time.

If you have a cruise ship chef job on board, you could consider opening a restaurant, quirky food service such as a food truck or even joining high-end hotels in their food and beverage ventures. Your time on board will stand you in good stead, and post retirement from your cruise ship job, you will have more than enough experience to take you through interviews for shore-based F&B jobs.

You could also pursue your passions, by turning hobbies into careers. Many cruise ship crew have become professional musicians, authors, financial consultants and entrepreneurs after retirement. Another option is to clear exams for civil services and join high-profile government posts, or complete MBA programmes which can get you into shipping companies and other private organisations as CEOs or managing directors.

To stay with the shipping line, you can do specialised courses in many places around the world and take up well-paying jobs as a surveyor, vetting inspector, agent, broker or other similar post in the industry. You could even join an institute to teach and share the knowledge you have gained over the years.

Read motivational and self-help books to assist you in dealing with land-based realities such as dishonesty in work, cut-throat business, reading markets and trends, etc. If you do not plan to work after leaving your job at sea, you will still need to think about how you will occupy yourself at home. Rediscover hobbies or find new ones so you have something to look forward to when you make the change.

Always remember that mental preparation is the first step towards a successful retirement.

 

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