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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the Above coverage appeared on 19-06-17 of Herald. The article can be read here.

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Cruise Ship Jobs: Then & Now

Cruise ship jobs: Then & NowThe early cruise ships began plying in the 1850s serving the rich aristocracy and royalty. Cruises were always luxurious, serving fine food and offering stately accommodation. Crew conditions, however, were far from fair.

The class divide before modern labour laws came in was huge. Staff were expected to make life as comfortable as possible for guests with no thought for their own.

Ships like the Titanic had bath and bedroom stewards who served guests in their rooms and even assisted them with dressing. They were poorly paid and often overworked. Some were in charge of anywhere between three and 25 rooms depending on guests.

Downstairs, engineers and coal men worked hard to keep the ship running smoothly, shovelling coal non-stop in shifts for days on end. The working conditions were harsh – extreme heat, long hours and poor safety.

Most crew lived in cramped quarters and their food was certainly nothing to write home about. It was basic and mostly bland, served to offer nutrition more than to appetise. This was in stark contrast to passengers in first class who were served meals that would be considered rather fancy.

Safety was another major concern for cruise ship crew back in the day. With constricted living spaces and poor safety measures at work, conditions were ideal for disasters. However, as time went by and the cruise industry boomed – in small part credited to the Nazis who sent their officers on paid trips as bonuses – management took more precautions to safeguard ships with regard to hygiene in particular.

Today, holding cruise ship jobs is coveted in developing countries and also with gap-year students as the pay is excellent and living conditions are decent. Things might not be luxurious but it is still a far cry from cramped bunks with shared toilets. Crew now live two to a cabin with an en-suite bathroom, television and even Wi-Fi connectivity.

Cruise line companies look for people with specific qualifications and work experience, especially in positions that deal directly with guests, while decades ago anyone looking for a job and agreeable with the conditions on board could be taken on and trained.

Pay scales are on the rise, and many crew today are able to support entire families at home on the back of the compensation they receive. Management also ensures that crew receive medical insurance with an on-board pharmacy and nursing room, leave following the end of a contract, the minimum number of hours off duty while at work, discounted alcohol, free food, and even organised entertainment.

Thanks to the internet and recruiting companies like Kamaxi Overseas, aspirants can avail of cruise ship jobs from a range of companies based on their preference. Working on board a cruise ship sets crew up for an exciting life ahead – at sea, or back on land – owing to the strict adherence to standards and excellent exposure.

The biggest advancements have come in the sector of safety and security. Today’s cruise companies have policies in place for every role and all crew are trained in matters of safety – from fighting fire to life-saving and even personal hygiene to avoid the spread of diseases.

Like any other job, the world of cruise work continues to forge ahead with advancements and conditions for crew continue to get better each day.

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Cruise Ship Jobs: Pros and Cons

Cruise Ship Jobs: Pros and Cons

Every job has aspects of it that you absolutely love and others that don’t appeal to you all that much. It’s the same case with cruise ship jobs, but compared to land-based employment, working at sea is quite different. Let’s look at a few advantages and disadvantages of cruise ship jobs.

PROS

savings

Savings

This is the single biggest advantage of working a cruise ship job, particularly for staff originating from developing countries. Cruise crew are mostly paid in dollars, and with excellent exchange rates, earnings are much higher compared to land-based jobs of the same position.

Additionally, almost all essentials are paid for on board, so you spend next to nothing getting by. You get free accommodation, food and medical insurance, low-cost laundry, communication, medicines, and even entertainment. Everything you earn can go straight to savings.

For someone starting out and looking to put together a chunk of money for something big, like a house, expensive medical treatment for a family member or even an advanced college degree, a cruise ship job is ideal.

Travel

Travel

Being moving hotels, cruise ships naturally call in at the most picturesque ports in the world. On one’s own steam, it would be difficult even imagining a holiday at places like St Maarten, the fjords of Norway or even the Arctic circle. But as part of the crew, you’ll have no choice but to travel to some of the most coveted holiday destinations in the world.

Many cruise ships have a dedicated crew manager who ensures that those off duty get a chance to tour the ports or call, often at a lesser fee than the tours for guests. Cruise ship jobs ensure your passport pages are filled with stamps that make your friends jealous.

Friendship

Friendship

People from around the world sign up for cruise ship jobs. So it’s only natural that you will meet and work with people of different nationalities. Working on a cruise ship offers opportunity to learn cultures and even languages of new friends from everywhere, from Scandinavia to Asia, Africa to Australasia, the Americas to the Middle East. It serves as an excellent way to widen perspectives and enrich lives.

CONS

Long Hours

Long hours

The service and hospitality industry is notorious for its long hours. Given the high standards and volume of guests on board a cruise line, 10-12 hour shifts are not uncommon. While the Maritime Labour Convention ensures a required amount of rest for all employees, there is no uncertainty about cruise ship jobs being long, hard work.

While on board, staff work seven days a week for the length of their contract, which ranges between four months for higher positions and up to eight months. This means not a single day of leave, unless you are ill, for the entire duration of your contract. Instead, you receive around four months off – unpaid – between contracts.

cabin quarters

Cabin quarters

Space is limited on board, and passengers obviously get preference. Crew must learn to live with at least one other person in a restricted space. The cabins are kitted with amenities, but they’re often just enough to get by. You’ll mostly find bunk or twin beds, small cupboards, a desk, small safe for valuables, telephone, DVD player and perhaps a mini fridge. It is certainly not spacious and will probably not compare to your room at home.

Cabins for crew are also below sea level, so there will be no view to look out at. There will probably be no porthole – or window – at all, which can be a problem for people with claustrophobia.

Family

Family

Due to their nature of being away at sea for months at a time, cruise ship jobs can affect family life. Depending on contracts, you are typically unsure of being at home for important occasions, events and festivals celebrated with family. Working parents may miss out on their children growing up, and youngsters may feel like they cannot spend enough time with ageing parents.

Wi-Fi connectivity on board has made this easier, but many suffer homesickness at least in the first few weeks of their cruise ship jobs, until they learn to adjust.

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Money matters: Insurance for Cruise Ship Crew

Money matters: Insurance for Cruise Ship Crew

Cruise ship jobs offer excellent opportunity to earn high salaries in a short period of time. It’s a lucrative option for youngsters fresh out of college and positions are often lapped up quite quickly.

While salaries are high, one must be aware that no matter what type of work one does on board, there is always the chance that an accident or sickness could occur out of the blue that digs into any savings. When applying to a company for cruise ship jobs, it is imperative to understand the firm’s policy on insurance and safety measures in unforeseen situations.

It is unwise to leave aspects such as travel and health insurance to chance as medical costs in developed countries, particularly Europe and the US, are extremely high. Without cover, a simple procedure such as being put on a drip or a trip to the dentist could burn a hole in your pocket.

Many cruise ship companies provide health insurance to crew, but one must always cross-check if this is so. However, even in cases where cruise companies do cover crew, the insurance can be claimed only during the term of the contract, while staff is on board.

If you happen to fall ill while travelling to the ship or back home, you might not be covered. It’s always a good idea to buy travel insurance that not only covers emergency medical expenses, but also lost or stolen bags and personal liability against suing for property damage or injury. Some insurance policies will even fly you home for treatment if needed. However, injuries sustained during adventure sports, which are available in many tourist ports, are not covered by travel insurance, and a separate cover will have to be obtained if you enjoy that sort of thrill during your off hours on shore.

Note that cruise ship medical insurance may not cover dental work, so understanding what exactly can be claimed from the company in precise circumstances is important too.

Many cruise ship crew from developing countries are sole earning members of their families, sustaining lives that depend on them. For those with dependents – either old parents, young families, or even dependent siblings – taking a life insurance cover is smart. As a youngster, premiums are low and returns are high, but understand that this will benefit your dependents only in case of your death. An additional policy that covers permanent disability may not be needed if such accidents occur during the duration of the contract.

For the typical cruise insurance, companies ask staff to undergo a medical examination at a clinic or hospital they recognise. Some of these check for pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart conditions and others which are not covered under the insurance policy.

In most cases, insurance policies go unused and one must be thankful for that. But it is always a good idea to safeguard your health and your families’ best interests by paying small premiums for a stress-free life. Remember to always read the insurance policies carefully and compare two or more before narrowing down to the ones that suit your situation best.

 

 

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The Fun side of Cruise Ship Jobs

staff only sign

When it comes to cruise ship jobs, your workplace is your world for the duration of the contract. Crew members work and live on the vessel, making careers and enjoying social lives, all in the same floating space.

To keep employees happy and eager to work on board, cruise ship companies have a team dedicated to crew welfare and entertainment. Many vessels these days have an expansive crew only area that is out of bounds for passengers. Here, you’ll find a fully equipped gym, a swimming pool and deck, lounge areas, dining rooms, internet cafes, and even pubs.

One of the most frequented spots is the crew bar, typically located on Deck 3 that goes by the name ‘I-95’ after one of the oldest highways in the US. Here, alcohol is much cheaper than in guest areas and anecdotes reveal some of the wildest parties on board take place here. However, all crew are aware that despite having easy access to alcohol, they must turn up to work in a responsible, sober state and be able to put in the required hours the following day.

Cruise ships often hire a manager and team solely to ensure crew enjoy themselves while on board. The team organises a host of events through the year, looks after logistics and decides how to spend the crew entertainment budget in the best way possible.

Before the ship reaches port, the team organises tours and other activities that can be availed by crew who are free to go ashore. They also coordinate activities for corporate social responsibility taken on by the cruise company, and encourage crew to volunteer and participate.

Most cruise vessels have crew from around the world, representing many different nationalities and cultures. Companies take trouble to ensure that important national and religious holidays of all the major represented cultures are celebrated with equal fanfare. Cruise ship crew from India can be certain that there will be crew festivities for Diwali and Eid as there are for Christmas, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.

Crew will often see theme parties, movie nights and other activities organised on a regular basis. Management sometimes provides for on board television channels with a variety of movies for staff, as well as crew bingo, and at times, live shows. There are extensive libraries that rent out movies and books, crew competitions, party games and quizzes, and board games.

Some cruises often also put together skills expansion courses, such as language classes or management sessions with certification so interested staff can work their way up or build their resume while on contract.

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Top Cruise Ship jobs

top jobs

Being paid to travel the world seems like an exciting job, and for many it is the calling of a lifetime. Hundreds of young folk from India and other countries around south east Asia revel in the luxury afforded by excellent conversion rates of their salaries paid in dollars. There are many different types of cruise ship jobs, but some appear just that much more enticing than others.

Health & Fitness:

Most applicants do not see this sector as a potential job creator, but with all things health-related increasingly turning into a trend, positions in this space can get lucrative. Most cruise ships these days have fitness instructors on board, so having a certification in streams ranging from yoga and pilates to functional training and zumba can help. You’ll be dealing with age groups and fitness levels across the board, which keeps it interesting. Plus, it’s port calls generally see reduced footfalls, so it’s more likely you’ll have the day off.

Entertainment:

All cruise ships focus on entertainment to keep their guests busy and engaged during days at sea. Some of the most lucrative jobs are in this arena, with cruise entertainment positions requiring barely any prior experience, but offering a rise in position to cruise entertainment director which pays one of the best salaries on board. Entertainers, such as dancers, comedians, musicians and singers, magicians and gymnasts, are most often free during port calls as passengers prefer going ashore.

Casino:

Guests enjoy spending their money on board a cruise line and this sector is one of the easiest ways to meet new people in a buzzing atmosphere. Depending on experience, you can put away a decent amount of money, with casino managers pulling in as much as USD 3500 (INR 227,000) a month. Barely any experience is required as a dealer, and with some past in one of Goa’s off-shore casinos, landing a job in this sector should not be too difficult.

Food & Beverage:

Cruise ship chef jobs are admittedly demanding, but also rewarding. Working in the kitchens on board offers excellent post-cruise career opportunities thanks to the exacting standards required with big companies. Even service in food & beverage is monetarily rewarding. Starting from the bottom, it is possible to make your way up to head waiter or waitress in the dining room, where tips and gratuities at the end of every cruise can sometimes notch up salaries to as much as USD 5000 (INR 325,000) per month on a good ship.

A great variety of positions are available on board. Finding one you enjoy and fit in will help with job satisfaction and also keep your career trajectory on a smooth path.

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Visa Requirements for Cruise Ship Jobs

Visa foe cruise ship

Gaining employment on a cruise ship rests largely on your qualifications and experience, but actually getting on board calls for a work permit as with cases of land-based jobs in other countries. However, the type of permits are often different.

Most big and popular cruise ships are headquartered in the US or operate from there, so to get into the country and join your ship, you will need the necessary travel documents. Other than your passport with a validity that comfortably extends beyond the end of your contract, you will need a special type of visa. It’s good to let your recruitment agency know that you have a valid passport and the date until which it extends so they know you are employable immediately.

Most work permits to the US for land-based jobs are B-type visas, but cruise ship crew fall under the ‘Seamen’ category, and as such require C1, D or combined C1/D visas. Whether or not you need a visa is dependent on the country you’ll be joining the ship at and the ports you might want to get off at, no matter what flag the ship flies.

Cruise ship companies deal with thousands of employees every year, so they have Human Resource divisions dedicated to helping new crew with the required procedures. However, the cost of getting the visa will be borne by the employee. While the recruiting agency or crew manning agent provides assistance, the employee must ensure that he/she has all necessary documents in order and turns up to the visa interview, if required, on time.

If a cruise line chooses to hire you, they will provide you a letter of appointment which will be required when applying for your visa. This is where you will choose the type of visa to apply and pay for.

C1 visas request the consulate to allow the non-immigrant applicant to enter the US, usually by air, and transit directly and immediately to the cruise ship. With a D visa, crew members can be in the US for as long as the cruise ship is in the country, up to 29 days at the most. To allow crew members to enter and exit the US, and also go ashore at ports of call, most cruise ships suggest applying for a C1/D visa.

To join a cruise ship in the UK, you might need a visa for ‘Visitor in a Transit area’ and a Transit visa (subclass 771) for Australia. Your recruiting company will suggest the most appropriate visa type based on where you will join the cruise ship and the ports it will stop at.

To apply, remember to fill up the application form – usually online – with all the requisite information. Also ensure that your photograph is strictly according to the specifications requested, or your application may be rejected.

For US visas, applicants are required to appear personally for an interview, so don’t forget to schedule one as soon as you receive confirmation that your application has been received. For all visa interviews, dress smartly, and carry your passport, letter of appointment, visa payment receipt, a print out of your completed visa application form and an extra photograph that complies with the specifications.

You can keep renewing the visa over the course of your employment. You should also consider getting a Seaman’s Book or a CDC, a document you can obtain to show a record of your career certifications that might help with future visa applications.

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Grievance Redressal and Cruise Ship Rights

GREVANCE REDRESSAL

Grievance Redressal, there is no company in the world that has never had problems. With hundreds of crew members on board a single ship, and with many ships under their helm, cruise ship companies see grievance redressal more often than not.

Not too long ago, cruise ship jobs came with a blot of harsh working conditions and few rights for employees. But following media blow outs and pressure from the international community, many companies have changed their on board conditions and also provided measures for cruise ship employees to get their problems addressed.

In this regard, it is first important to know your rights as a cruise ship employee. The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) lays down certain guidelines that companies are expected to follow for the well being of the crew on board. There are many agents and websites working under the radar, promising jobs and necessary training. One must be wary of these fly-by-night operators, as they might be working in collusion with companies violating the international Maritime Labour Convention laws with regard to work conditions and safety on board.

As a cruise ship crew member, you are entitled to a work environment devoid of bullying and harassment, overtime in case of responsibilities that go beyond your contracted hours, a minimum of 10 hours of rest every 24 hours, and approximately seven days of paid leave for each month of service.

The cruise ship company is expected to cover the cost of your flight home after your contract ends, and medical treatment if you are discharged due to sickness while on work. You also receive sick pay and compensation if you are injured at work, 14 weeks of maternity leave if you get pregnant and the right to join a trade union.

Cruise ship companies, like many land-based firms, have human resources departments to deal with any and all issues related to the crew. Redressal systems are different based on the cruise line, and in-depth information is always provided during or before orientation.

Typically, the key to getting your grievances redressed is to note down specifics of situations and report them to your supervisor. Feedback forms and management reports are part of quality reviews that occur on a regular basis. This is one important way of getting your voice heard regarding management and working conditions.

Cruise crew are responsible for reporting any harassment so it can be appropriately addressed. Emails and any reports for feedback or management reviews should be written as professionally as possible, without any derogatory remarks or discriminatory language. This will leave you in the clear during any investigations that follow.

It is advisable to follow the procedure detailed in the crew guidelines provided in your contract or during orientation. Typically, the hierarchy begins with your supervisor, followed by a senior crew manager, the human resources department, the managing director and finally the company. Further than this, specialist lawyers deal with bringing cruise companies to task for violating maritime laws.

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