4 Must-Dos For Cruise Ship Chefs

4 Must-Dos For Cruise Ship ChefsCruise ship chefs jobs demand hard work, attention and many hours. Despite the intensity, there are times when a little bit of time off can go a long way. It’s a given that cruise ship chefs will work with dozens of others from varying multi-cultural backgrounds every day, and also learn a great deal from superiors.

But there are other aspects that can promote genuine all-round learning as a cruise ship employee. Here are just four of these must-do / must-have experiences on board:

SHORE LEAVE

It’s a gamble whether you will have shore leave or not, but there will be at least a couple of occasions when your time off work and the ship’s time in port synchronise. Due to your long hours, the natural tendency may be to attend to your other chores – washing your laundry, tidying your room or even catching up on sleep, but it’s safe to say that you should take the chance to go on shore when you can.

Shore leave offers a great deal of opportunity to cruise ship chefs. For one, most cruise ships stop at some of the most coveted tourist destinations in the world. Many of the Caribbean islands are otherwise almost inaccessible for middle-class tourists from south east Asia, so get out and explore. Enjoy the beach, the local food and drink, and soak in the culture. These are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

CREW PARTIES

One of the big open secrets on cruise ships is the fun that revolves around the crew-only area. Cruise lines are aware of the fact that they demand more than six months of their employees’ time, seven days a week and sometimes up to 10 or more hours a day. They ensure the crew have sufficient entertainment and leisure at their disposal.

There are whole teams assigned to schedule and organise crew events – themed gigs, sports competitions, DJ nights, festival celebrations. While it is up to each person to ensure that they are fit to work the next day, these parties can be unrivalled by land-based dos. As always, you must not do anything you do not want to, but seeing how staff let their hair down cruise ship style is something you do not want to miss.

VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCES

Many cruise ship companies offer volunteering activities in their ports of call as a way to give back to the less fortunate in the countries they visit. These may include anything from beach cleaning to activities that help endangered animals or helping underprivileged children.

Signing up for these activities will give you a chance to give back to the communities that indirectly impact your life. It will give you a new perspective to the places that you work in. The crew activities department ensures that interested employees are easily able to give back to the communities during their time off. Take the opportunity to do a good deed.

HEALTH INSPECTION

Life would not be the same without an unannounced health inspection. It may be a rare occasion that a cruise ship chef avoids a health inspection during the entire duration of his/her time at sea, particularly in ports in the US.

While dreaded, these health inspections can help a great deal with your job. Without a doubt, they instill a high sense of hygiene and sanitation into every cruise ship chef, one they will carry with them for life. Successfully passing a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention inspection is a must-have experience on board.

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How long do Cruise Ship Contracts Last

How long do Cruise Ship Contracts LastLanding cruise ship jobs means committing yourself to working contracts that last months, far away from home. But not everyone spends the same amount of time on board. Contract durations change from one cruise ship company to another, and from position to position.

On board a cruise ship, employees are divided according to departments: activity and shipboard entertainment, deck and engineering, service and hospitality (including food and beverage, purser, housekeeping and hotel administration), personal care and medical, and sometimes corporate.

When you first start working on a cruise ship – typically at the bottom of the hierarchy depending on your experience in hospitality, contracts tend to be on the longer side. Princess Cruises offers contracts that can last up to 10 months long with work schedules demanding as many as 10 to 13 hours a day, seven days a week during this time.

Caribbean Cruises offers contracts that average around six months. An Aida Cruises assistant bartender can expect to work up to 10 months at a stretch per contract, according to job site Indeed. Carnival Corporations, similarly, offers eight to nine-month contracts to staff in positions such as galley supervisors. A stateroom steward can expect contracts of about seven to eight months with the same company.

Roles with more responsibility can come with shorter contracts. Disney requires chefs de partie to spend around six months on board, and commit to at least two to three contracts before they consider a promotion. Sous chefs with big companies, such as Royal Caribbean, typically work around four months per contract.

Disney’s chefs de cuisine, one of the higher level positions on board, enjoy four-month contracts with two months off as well as medical and life insurance, disability insurance and retirement plan benefits as long as a return contract is signed.

No matter what the duration of the contract, most employees in the service and hospitality sector can expect to work very long hours – longer than similar positions on land. Even executive chefs are on their feet most of the time, even if they may not be doing as much actual cooking as say a line cook. They must visit every restaurant under their watch, do food tastings and sometimes put the final touches on dishes before they go out for service.

There are no holidays on board, for anyone. It’s a seven-day week and once your contract ends, so does the payment. This holds especially true for entry-level jobs where cruise ship companies have thousands of applicants to choose from and can replace staff at the drop of a hat.

Most staff can indicate whether they would like to return for another contract and the cruise ship company will send them the details at the requisite time. It is then up to them to choose whether or not they would like to continue, just as in a land job.

In countries like India and the Philippines, many work multiple contracts, rising through the ranks and gaining valuable experience while they are young and able to handle the demanding pressures of the job. They can then use this experience to either join a high position at a land-based resort or company or start something on their own.

In entry-level positions, contracts allow for around six to eight weeks off between contracts. Often, one does not receive any salary for this ‘vacation time’. However, in top positions, depending on the type of contract and company, one may get paid for the time off. Usually, this can last up to about two months.

Many cruise ship companies like to sign rolling contracts with their employees. Rolling contracts are the opposite of fixed term contracts where employees are brought on board for a certain period of time. A rolling contract continues until one party – either the employee or the company – decide to end it for whatever reason they see fit. This works well for both parties.

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Tips for Cruise Ship Crew in a Foreign Port

Tips for Cruise Ship Crew in a Foreign PortShore leave is one of the most awaited benefits for people with cruise ship jobs. It’s where many of the memories are made and Instagram pictures are taken. Cruise ships stop at beautiful ports of call around the world, so taking advantage of shore leave and exploring the place is on every crew member’s to-do list. Here are a few things to think of when you’re planning to go ashore.

Experience the local

Because culture is so different around the world, shore leave gives you the chance to discover new things. Cruise ship chefs in particular should take the opportunity to taste local dishes and exotic ingredients hard to find in other parts of the world.

There could be craft beers or local liquor, a specific type of seafood, fruit or vegetable. These will help open your tastebuds to new flavour combinations that may come in handy if you decide to start your own venture. Experience counts.

Shopping

Take a trip to the local supermarket and pick up a few essentials. While cruise ship crew have access to a store that offers items for a more discounted rate than passengers, you may still not enjoy the variety you do on land. If you have a particular sunscreen or toothpaste you use, it is worth a trip to the local store to stock up.

In particular, getting a hold of medication is easier on land. Just remember to carry your prescription as many pharmacies in western countries are averse to selling drugs without them.

Items like clothes and souvenirs will probably be more expensive on land, so save these for a special purchase.

Be respectful

It’s important to note that while every port is a tourist destination, there are local customs and traditions that deserve your respect. It is never alright to enter a place of worship dressed in a swimming costume or even shorts, so always carry a wrap around you can use to cover up.

Learn about the local laws and traditions so you can be mindful as you enjoy your time in port. Take photocopies of necessary documents with you when you go ashore in case you need to show a law enforcement officer. Never litter, even if a dustbin is not easily available or you see other trash on the street. Carry your trash back with you to dispose on board or at the nearest available opportunity.

Avoid unruly drunken behaviour and walk away from stressful situations that may lead to brawls, even if you are not at fault. Police may side with the locals and the last thing you want is a night in jail in a foreign country.

Treat everyone with respect and they will surely return the favour.

Get in touch with home

Getting out in port is a great chance to make contact with home. Cruise ships often have expensive internet connections, so in port you can make cheaper video calls to relatives and friends.

Keep the bonds of friendship and family alive, so you can easily pick up where you left off when you come home, and those you have left behind can feel loved and remembered.

Take advantage of crew excursions

Cruise ships try to keep crew happy and one of the ways they do so is organising excursions in port. These are separate from passenger excursions and can be much cheaper. You can get the chance to see local monuments, relax at a beach and generally have a good time without worrying about guests.

These are mostly organised by big cruise ship companies and should there be a delay, the ship will wait for you.

Keep an eye on the time

This is important during those times when you do not go ashore on a ship excursion. Always ensure you get back to the ship at the designated time, which is usually an hour before scheduled departure. If you miss the ship in this case, it will go on without you. You will have to pay for transport back to the ship and your contract may be terminated.

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Law and order on cruise ships

Law and order on cruise shipsOne would imagine that out there on the high seas, everything is pretty straight laced. But often it is not so. A lot of ambiguity exists with relation to law and order on cruise ships, particularly when the victim insists the court or law enforcement authorities get involved.

Still, based on the thousands who go cruising each year, the amount of crime appears to be relatively low. From 1990 to 2017, it has been reported that just six murders occurred on cruise ships, although there were occasional cases of rape or sexual assault as well.

With respect to cruise ship crew, the captain’s word is the law on board. This potentially means that any misbehaviour can result in termination of contract, however slight, if the captain feels fit. While most captains are reasonable and look at both sides of the picture, it remains that cruise ship companies would likely prefer that issues are settled without any negative press.

Depending on the contract, cruise ship jobs may offer accident insurance coverage that pertains to any issues suffered while on the job. It is important to know the extent of these offers as an accident on account of the cruise ship can be claimed and the crew member can even file a lawsuit against the company.

Cruise ship crew are forbidden from interacting in a personal capacity with passengers. This means that physical or sexual relations are completely out of bounds, and guests are prohibited from entering crew areas. These laws help protect guests from misbehaving crew and conversely cruise ship crew from false allegations of sexual misconduct by guests.

Typically, the laws governing cruise ships are based on the penal codes of the flags they fly. This often puts cruise ship companies at an advantage over guests and crew as many fly flags of convenience – registered in countries with more lenient laws such as Liberia, Panama, the Marshall Islands, Malta and even Hong Kong.

Law and order on cruise ships is still the subject of international discussion. It has been suggested that cruise ship companies are not required to report crime statistics to any international governing body, and jurisdiction – i.e who investigates the crime – is anybody’s guess. Generally, governing laws follow these jurisdictions:

  • In port and national territorial waters (up to 12 nautical miles): The laws of the country the port belongs to
  • Contiguous waters (12 to 24 nautical miles): The country has restricted rights in this zone so its laws may not apply to petty crime such as theft
  • International waters (more than 24 nautical miles): The country of the flag the cruise ship flies

Lawsuits can be heard based on cruise ship rules when booking a ticket or signing a contract. It’s all in the fine print which is why it is important to thoroughly read a contract before agreeing to join a cruise ship company.

Still, many law firms have noticed a gap in this market and offer their services to both passengers and guests who would like to take up an issue against a cruise ship company. They represent clients in cases of accidents, assault and illnesses, with some even providing free claim assessments consultation.

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What Millennials are Looking for on Cruises

What Millennial's are Looking on CruisesThe generation born between 1980 and 2000 have a greater power than ever before on market trends. The millennial’s, as they are called, are the first generation to assimilate digital and virtual life. As such, their spending trends are pushing cruise ship companies to vye for their attention more and more.

Data has shown that millennial’s favour experiences over material objects. So when they travel, they prefer adventure, cultural immersion and unique experiences rather than a shopping trip or a hop on hop off tour to see famous sights.

Typically, cruise ships have catered to slightly older folk – vacationers over the age of 45, and their families. Most likely, many millennial’s first travelled on cruise ships as children and there is a certain level of nostalgia connected with cruising.

Still, as adults, they are unlikely to take a cruise unless it hits the mark on several criteria. For one, a cruise should offer value for money. It is more likely that they will opt for an all-inclusive package that incorporates many activities than a cheap base rate with expensive add-ons. They also have tighter budgets and will prefer to spend on unique activities on shore, rather than gambling at the casino on board.

Destinations are also equally important to millennial’s looking for cruises. Companies are expected to cater to ‘cool’ quotients and include ports that have vibrant culture and nightlife. Cruises around Spain and Barcelona should expect to spend a night at Ibiza so millennial guests can enjoy the island’s world-famous nightlife, instead of being in port just for a few hours.

More off-beat destinations are an attraction for millennial’s too. G Adventures, for example, offers a cruise that incorporates visits to the Galapagos Islands in South America as well as a hike up the Inca Trail in Peru and a stop in Quito, Ecuador, domestic flight included.

Others look at variety to sell holiday tickets to millennial cruisers. The Aida Prima gives guests an opportunity to tailor their vacation activities as they wish. It hosts theme parties and offers upbeat nightlife at the onboard discos as well as a range of workshops such as cocktail-making or sushi-making. In port, the cruise ship teams up with shore excursion companies to give millennial’s a taste of adventure, such as biking, canyoning or a tour in an open-air ATV.

Uniworld’s U tour runs on similar lines, but heads down Europe’s rivers instead. Its two ships – The A and The B – promise exciting and informative activities such as kayaking, mixology classes and wine tours, and even a chance to share a meal with locals for a truly immersive cultural experience.

Other cruises are attracting millennial’s interested in making a difference or those who are environmentally or socially conscious. Carnival’s Fathom offered cruises to the Dominican Republic where guests could engage with the local community and volunteer to do activities such as reforestation or teaching English over the time they spent there. Others like Peregrine Adventures organises cruises that are low impact, banning all single-use plastics including water bottles, cups and straws on its trips to Cape Verde, Senegal and The Gambia in Africa.

While there is no specific data yet on whether more millennial’s are opting to cruise, companies are certainly looking at the demographic as a potential market. Even large-scale commercial cruises are opening up to them as well, particularly by offering faster and cheaper internet packages so the digital generation can stay connected at all times.

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How Passengers Budget on a Cruise

How Passengers Budget on a CruiseMore people are sailing than ever before, and the numbers are expected to continue rising in the coming years. This may not mean that everyone has more disposable income. It could mean that they are spending their money a little more shrewdly.

Budget cruises are one of the key options travellers use when looking for a vacation. Beverages, fine dining, shore excursions and photo ops are some of the big money draws on a typical cruise. Guests travelling on budget cruises look for ways to drop their expenses on these elements.

Accommodation

Cruise passengers can reduce their expenses on holiday by opting for an inside room on board. This means they will not have the luxury of a balcony or view that staterooms on the outer portion of the vessel enjoy.

These rooms are smaller and cheaper, but for guests who prefer spending much of their time on activities, this rarely poses a problem. Booking at least six months in advance also brings the advantage of early bird deals, lower prices to certain off-beat destinations, free upgrades or even discounts for senior citizens.

Some budget cruises offer all-inclusive deals too, with food and beverage paid for in the cruise ticket price.

Food and beverage

This is one of the highest wallet busters on a cruise ship. Cruise ships offer free buffets in the main dining room but specialty restaurants are typically highly priced. Budget-conscious cruise goers may splurge on one or two fancy meals and enjoy the rest at free food and beverage outlets.

Cruise ships offer a multitude of free services and deals to attract customers to spend more. One of these is room service that is complimentary during the day, but chargeable at night. Ordering off menu could also invite an extra charge.

Alcohol brings in a lot of money for cruise ships. It is more expensive on board than land-based pubs, and this also applies to soft beverages such as sodas and even bottled water. To make indulging more attractive, cruise ships offer beverage cards, although these often include only select alcoholic drinks and most soft drinks.

To reduce these costs, passengers often keep their consumption in check on board and splurge in port. Refilling reusable water bottles at the main dining area allows them to save on bottled water.

Tips

Gratuities are an important part of cruising. A sizeable portion of eventual take home pay for many cruise ship jobs including service and housekeeping comes from tips. So it presents a moral issue as well to guests.

Tips are often included in bills at places like bars and premium dining, but guests are expected to spend about US$15 a day for wait staff, room stewards, bistro service staff and cooks, altogether.

There is also a customary gratuity envelope filled in at the end of the cruise. The charge card given to each guest allows them to pay for tips as well. Instead of paying the recommended amount up front, budget travellers keep the tip figure at zero and add gratuity as the service merits.

This is why it is important for people with cruise ship jobs to be at the top of their game and consistently deliver good service. At the end of the day, it reflects in your paycheck.

Miscellaneous

There are several other ways travellers enjoy cruises on a budget. Some of these include booking their own shore excursions, using spa facilities and internet cafes in port, visiting local restaurants, using loyalty programme perks, etc.

All of this keeps more people cruising and the industry booming, which in turn means excellent employment prospects for those looking for cruise ship jobs.

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Why Jumping Ship is the Worst Idea for Cruise Ship Crew

Why Jumping Ship is the Worst Idea for Cruise Ship CrewEven today, there is a very real distinction between economies across the world. For many in developing nations, living in the west can seem like a dream come true. For cruise ship crew, the temptation to jump ship lurks at every port as the picturesque landscape and squeaky clean seaside towns beckon.

The lure of jumping ship is great as we often perceive western countries, particularly the US, as lands of great opportunities, high salaries and a good life. The reality can be starkly different, especially when you have no documents and have overstayed your visa. It is simply a struggle from the bottom.

In the current economic and political climate, international borders have been brought under extreme scrutiny. Across Europe and the US, even valid tourist visa applications are being rejected on a slight suspicion of possible overstaying.

In such a scenario, jumping ship or overstaying visas poses huge problems for cruise ship crew. Some companies remain quite concerned about this possibility and in rare cases, there could be an agent or security guard escorting departing crew from the ship to the airport.

As cruise ship crew, you are eligible for a C1/D visa to the US – and similar visas in other Western nations – which permit you to remain in the country as long as the ship stays in that particular port. Once the ship has departed the port, you are expected to have left the country. Most cruise ship companies buy tickets for departing crew for the same day their contract on board ends.

If you do overstay, the consequences can be quite serious on the work front, and you may never be eligible for another US visa again. According to the rules, if you overstay your visa by 180 days, but less than a year, you can be barred from re-entering the US for up to three years. If you overstay for even a day more than a year, you are looking at a 10-year-ban on entering the US.

Consider the consequences of this. You will officially be an illegal immigrant, and the western world is increasingly cracking down on people without valid documentation. You may be able to find work but generally on the low-end of the hierarchy. This means being paid minimum wage, but shelling out for food, utilities and rent.

If you take Florida as an example, where many cruise ships begin their trips from, the minimum wage is about US$8.25 per hour. A studio apartment on average costs about US$1200 to rent per month and electricity bills average about US$130 monthly. In addition, you will have to pay for gas to cook food, and groceries will set you back around US$270 each month. Each trip to a primary care doctor will set you back $95 or more. And this estimation does not cover transportation and any other expenses, such as state taxes or entertainment.

Cruise ship crew who still take the hard route and jump ship eventually feel the need to come home to see family they have left behind. Some do not see relatives for decades. This becomes a huge dilemma given the ban on re-entering the US. Even if they do leave and attempt to apply for another visa – say a work permit, this offence will pop up in the system and it is most likely that the overseeing officer will deny them the visa as trust has been lost.

There are others who marry citizens and try to use this route as a way to get a green card. The US has been taking measures to avoid dishonest unions or marriages of convenience, and each application is thoroughly scrutinised. Laws typically require that the citizen spouse returns to the offender’s country to stay out the period of the entry ban, except in very dire circumstances such as medical requirements.

Jumping ship and overstaying a visa is certainly not the best idea to create opportunities. It is far better to take the legal route.

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Facilities for Cruise Ship Crew

Facilities for Cruise Ship CrewLife at sea for a cruise ship crew revolves mostly around work. Long hours with no days off make up every day of your contract. However, cruise line companies ensure that cruise ship crew have a number of facilities at their disposal to keep them happy at work.

Accommodation & food

Room and board is paid for by the cruise ship company. Typically, each crew member shares his or her cabin with another, most often of the same sex. Only in special cases where heterosexual spouses or long-term partners get permission from the company are they allowed to share a cabin.

These days, each room is equipped with an en-suite shower and toilet, a desk, mini fridge, safe box, storage space for luggage and sometimes a television. For crew, the layout often involves bunk beds to save on space, but higher ranked officers get either separate bedrooms or a room to themselves.

Cruise ship crew also have separate galleys and buffet areas for them where they are served delicious food ranging from healthy and nutritious to decadent comfort food. Often, menus are designed keeping the nationalities of the crew in mind, so Indians can expect to find rice, dal, curries, rotis and familiar vegetable preparations.

Amenities

For cruise ship crew to be able to put in their long hours, companies offer additional amenities for various conveniences. Laundry areas – either free or for a very nominal fee – ensure that crew have clean uniforms to wear every day. They are available 24 hours a day as cruise ship crew work in shifts.

There is also a separate convenience store and medical shop where cruise ship crew can get daily essentials such as batteries, stationery, hygiene products as well as medications for a variety of illnesses particularly common colds and sea sickness.

A doctor is available on call especially for crew so they can get treated at the slightest sign of an illness. This helps cruise ship companies nip conditions such as norovirus in the bud before they can turn into potentially dangerous epidemics.

Entertainment

To keep crew happy, cruise ship companies offer a variety of entertainment and leisure options. There are outdoor and indoor spaces reserved solely for crew, where passengers are prohibited from entering.

Here, you will have access to a swimming pool and sunbathing areas, a gym, recreation room with indoor games such as snooker or billiards, foosball, chess and cards. There’s also a lounge area with a DVD player, a library of books and specially designated crew smoking zones.

Additionally, there is a crew bar and disco offering beverages at rates much lower than what passengers would pay. A specific department on board caters to the crew entertainment and regularly organises everything from volunteering activities to theme parties, with something new happening each week.

All of this keeps the cruise ship crew motivated and happy to perform at their peak and stay loyal to the company.

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Safety From Infectious Diseases on Board

Safety From Infectious Diseases on BoardConsidering the thousands of passengers embarking on each cruise trip, and the hundreds of crew changes occurring every month, there is no dearth of viruses and germs all around. Cruise ship crew may be insured, depending on the company policy, but as always, prevention is better than cure.

One of the most common illnesses on cruise ships is gastrointestinal disease. Often, norovirus is the main culprit. This is highly contagious and because the disease spreads easily, can turn into an epidemic very quickly.

Most gastrointestinal diseases are characterised by nausea, vomiting, abdominal and/or muscle pain and diarrhea. If you experience any of these, it is time to tell the ship’s doctor and get treated.

An important part of cruise ship jobs is hygiene and sanitation within the galley, service and storage areas in particular. It might be hard to keep guests from transmitting the disease, but ensuring the virus does not have a chance to multiply keeps any infection from spreading or affecting many people at one time.

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), great care and hygiene must be taken during storage, preparation, service and sanitation. One of these is personal hygiene, which includes washing hands thoroughly, bathing regularly, wearing clean uniforms and reporting any illnesses.

Others include maintaining food within its safe temperature zones – hot food remains hot and cold food remains cold. Bacteria multiply quickly in temperatures ranging between 40F and 140F, doubling in just 20 minutes. Any food left out at room temperature for more than two hours can fall into this temperature zone and be susceptible to harbouring dangerous bacteria.

Appropriate utensils must be used for various food items during preparation, and safety rules call for products to be stored according to strict rules – for example, raw meats and fresh vegetables cannot be stored next to each other. There are various procedures to follow when washing dishes and sanitising them as well.

In addition to gastrointestinal diseases, cruise ship crew are also susceptible to a few other infections. One among these is influenza, which also spreads easily because of close contact with others. It can also be transmitted through sneezing and coughing, so – just like norovirus – many places touched by infected people such as door knobs and handrails will be contaminated.

It can help to speak to your doctor before you join the ship and if recommended, get a flu vaccine to keep yourself protected. If you are not protected against chickenpox, it might be wise to get a vaccine for this disease too. It is infectious and can involve complications for adults.

Also beware of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, zika and yellow fever. These have been known to affect common cruise destinations such as Brazil, the Caribbean islands and Latin America. Remember to wear protective clothing or insect repellent when making port in these areas to stay safe.

Finally, it is important to practice safe sex when on board. Many cruise ship crew have sexual encounters during their contracts, often with multiple partners. This increases the risk of STDs, including HIV/AIDS. Pregnancy among staff may not be well received by the company either.

While some cruise ships offer free condoms and other contraceptives to crew, it may not always be the case. In such cases, check with the cruise medical store or carry your own.

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How to Get a Cruise Ship Chef Job

How to Get a Cruise Ship Chef JobSome of the most coveted positions in the marine hospitality world are cruise ship chef jobs. For those passionate about the culinary arts, these careers offer exciting new avenues, higher-than-normal pay – for developing countries at least – and excellent exposure.

So how do you get a job on a cruise ship?

The first thing to do is to determine whether or not you are indeed cut out for this type of job. Understand the environment you will be working in and how ready you are for it. Cruise ship chef jobs involve working seven days a week for between four to six months, and often 14 hours a day.

This also means often working through holidays such as Diwali, Christmas and New Year, and being far away from family at this time. You will get a couple of months off between contracts but there is no guarantee that these will coincide with the holiday season back home.

Staff live at sea for the entire duration of the contract. Those with a tendency to fall sea sick often might want to consider how this might affect their work. Mild seasickness is common and you get over it and used to it quickly. But more persistent conditions can become a liability.

Another factor to consider is being away from family, friends and familiar people for months on end. Communication back home is limited but certainly available. You will have to make do with short calls that depend on internet connectivity most days.

The next thing to do when trying to get a cruise ship chef job is to check whether you have the qualifications, experience and most importantly, aptitude for the job. Do you want to be a chef? Do you have a passion for cooking good food, presenting beautiful dishes, serving people and interacting with them?

Check cruise ship company websites for various posts and check the qualifications and experience required. Some positions ask for a year or two of similar work experience in a shore-based job. If you don’t have the requirements, you can work towards it and perhaps land a better position on board instead of having to start at the very bottom of the hierarchy.

While it is possible to get cruise ship chef jobs by applying directly, it is probably a better shot to go through recruitment agencies. Do your research on various cruise ship recruitment agencies and be aware of fly-by-night operators and scamsters. Good recruitment agencies like Kamaxi Overseas Consultants work with reputed cruise ship companies, and you can always cross reference information.

Always check the position you are applying for and tweak your CV to reflect the work experience, volunteer work and qualifications they want in a prospective employee. For example, it helps to highlight that you handled the dessert bar at your local café if you are applying for the job of a pastry chef, even if you had more experience cooking Chinese food at a pan-Asian restaurant.

The final process to get a cruise ship chef job includes a preliminary interview to check whether you are suitable. If you are not shortlisted for the job, the recruitment agency will inform you of your shortcomings so you can work towards it.

If you are shortlisted, there will be a technical interview to grasp your knowledge of the job at hand. After this, you will be interviewed by the cruise ship company – as opposed to being interviewed by the recruitment agency in earlier rounds.

Once you are selected, the recruitment agency will inform you of all the necessary documents required and how to process them. These include visas, STCW, police clearance, medicals and vaccinations, seaman’s book, etc.

You will then receive a joining date and a short orientation of what to expect during travel and on your first contract on board.

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