Working 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.