There are many things that cruise ship jobs are and are not, and most of the notions we believe come from rumours or stories passed between friends and family. Some of these might be true, and some not. Let’s look at the top five myths about working on a cruise line.
- Working on a cruise line is quick, easy money
While it is true that employees on a cruise ship receive higher pay than those in land-based jobs, the pay does not come easy. In general, you are paid for the entire length of your contract, but not during your months off. And labour laws require cruise companies to ensure that each employee gets a minimum number of days off. Contracts vary between six and eight months, with full-time contracts ending with about two months off. For many on the lower rung, seasonal contracts apply, and getting called back is dependent on how soon a vacancy opens up. It’s generally a smooth, regular rotation, but in no instance should you take it lightly.
- Life on board is a constant party
It is easy to see why so many are drawn to the attraction of cruise ship life – social media posts and engaging stories from working friends and family can make it seem like a hell of a ride. But there’s a lot of work involved. Crew have their own bars with alcohol and food at reduced rates, and also take every opportunity to enjoy their time off in port, but they work very hard when they need to show up for duty.
- Cruise ship jobs are just regular jobs at sea
It is true that nearly every hospitality job imaginable on land is also up for grabs at sea. What you must remember, however, is that it is only natural for cruise companies to want to be able to accommodate the economically optimum number of crew to guests allowed by law. So while all your friends back home enjoy eight or nine hour work days, depending on which department you are in, your shift might stagger throughout the day and could last between 10-12 hours. You also work seven days a week.
- You should avoid cruise ship jobs if you get seasick
Cruise ships are not the heaving hunks of metal you see on choppy seas in the movies. Most cruise lines choose to visit regions and ports of call during the best weather conditions there, so it’s quite unlikely that you might hit a storm. Even so, most ships are fitted with stabilisers which help ensure smooth sailing, and most of the time you might not even know the ship is moving. If at all you do feel slightly ill, medication for seasickness is easily available over the counter at the cruise pharmacy. So it’s no reason at all to avoid pursuing your passion on board!
- You are out of touch with your friends and family for months at a time
This really only depends on you. Most cruise ships today offer on board internet. While this can be a little expensive, it is important to note that cruise lines touch port very often, unless it is a transatlantic voyage, which is rare. This means, you can top up your phone card or visit an internet café during your time off work to telephone the people you love, send mail or even couriers, and perhaps video call too. When in port and connected to the internet, you can still make everyone jealous of your job that pays you to travel to exotic places with picture postcard updates on your favourite social media!