Many negative articles have been written about life for cruise ship crew, chief among them relating to pay scales and living conditions. However, it must be noted that these are mostly written from the perspective of a Western world where costs of living, job expectations and benefits are much higher.
The hospitality industry is largely the same on land as well as on a cruise ship as far as professional demands is concerned. However, the perks and benefits received by cruise ship crew are often much better. Registered, well-known cruise line companies are known to give their staff excellent reasons to join and happily stay on.
The main benefits for crew come by way of salary as the accommodation, food and some entertainment is paid for. Travelling to exotic places is part of the job, and you will have scant need to save to see far-off places during your vacations.
The cruise ship company also pays for your international flight ticket to and from the ship. On board, laundry service is usually free. While working cruise ship chefs jobs, this can save a lot of money as uniforms are expected to be spotless when you turn up for work each day.
Other benefits, however, are quite important and can help save families in time of distress. Cruise ship companies offer health benefits and insurance to all crew members. You must pass a medical examination at a recommended clinic before you get on board, but once there, the situation eases up financially.
If you are ill on board, you have quick access to a doctor as well as prescribed medication free of charge. Various types of other insurances are available, differing depending on your contract and position, and it is best to understand them in detail before you go on board.
Only in rare cases do cruise ship companies offer to pay for health insurance while the crew member is on leave. This is usually applicable only to those with US, Canadian or EU citizenship.
In case of injury or death that occurred during service, the cruise ship company will usually pay the family of the crew member a lump sum amount as compensation. However, they are not eligible for this compensation if the injury or death occurred due to the crew member’s negligence, suicide or an attempt to do so, misconduct or natural causes.
Some of the less morbid benefits for cruise ship crew and their family is to do with entertainment. At the crew bar, alcohol is heavily discounted compared to the prices paid for by passengers. The general store and health store sell items including non-prescription medication such as pills for motion sickness or common colds also at a lower rate compared to the shops accessible to passengers.
Depending on position, crew ship crew gets discounts at certain bars and restaurants on board, and sometimes in port as well with ventures that have tie-ups with the company. Employees of certain rank or having been in service for a certain number of years get added family benefits such as discounted prices on cruises. This benefit is not extended during peak holiday season but can still offer an exciting way for families to spend time together and understand how you work.
The benefits for cruise crew and their families differ according to each company. Royal Caribbean for example offers its employees retirement pension options. It even has special services for its Filipino crew which helps them with housing loans through a long-term commitment with renewable contracts. It’s a win-win all around.
It’s always worth looking into the benefits offered by different cruise ship companies before settling on the one that best suits your needs.