Do you consider yourself a risk-taker? Are you eager to travel and do something different? Excited to meet new people from all around the world? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might want to consider working on a cruise ship!
At age 21 I was looking for a seasonal job. Those long summer breaks between college semesters had me yearning to get away. We all know that it’s not very exciting going from college, friends, and fun every day to home in the summer where the extent of your excitement is stringing beans for your grandmother and babysitting your neighbor’s screaming triplets!
To say the least, I was fortunate to land a cruise line job as a Seasonal Youth Counselor for Norwegian Cruise Line. In 2 years' time, (breaks between college classes, of course) I traveled to Alaska, Canada, Washington State, Bermuda, Belize, Cozumel, Guatemala, NYC, New Orleans, Bahamas and Port Canaveral, FL. And did I mention, it was all free? Air flight: FREE. Living and food: FREE! The best part: I even got PAID!
I would work during summer and Christmas break. One time they even flew me to New Orleans to work a ONE WEEK (perfect spring break) trip to Mexico. I was able to travel, make best friends (some of whom I still talk to today) who are from Peru, Canada, Philippines, Jamaica, and many more countries. This was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience, and I know I never would have been able to afford it on my own. PLUS, there are family/friends discounts, so what could be better than sending your family to the Bahamas for a Holiday Cruise?
Here are a few steps to consider if you think this is something for you and a few tips that could land you a job on a cruise ship:
- Make sure this is something you want to do AND that you have the time to do it. If you have a full time job and seven kids then this just might not be right for you. But if you’re like me, and like to try new things and have no prior commitments, then you may want to look into it.
- Search different cruise lines to see what their requirements are. The only cruise line that I found at the time that accepted seasonal employees (which means shorter contracts such as 2-4 months) was Norwegian Cruise Line. Most cruise lines only hire full time employees (which may interest you) and contract for anywhere from 6-12 months at a time.
- Apply! It won't hurt to apply. It took almost 3 months before I heard back from the cruise line. If this is something you would consider doing in the New Year or Spring/Summer then I suggest applying now. Depending on the availability, it could be a long process.
- Be Patient. Once you hear back, there are numerous steps to be taken before you can finalize your contract, such as an interview, immunizations, a physical, etc. I got my first email about working for the cruise ship in early April, and I didn't get put on a cruise ship until mid-June, which was actually expedited. I got a call on a Monday saying I was flying out on a Thursday!
- Be Open Minded! On my first ship, I was one of only 12 Americans who worked on the cruise line, which I saw as an opportunity. I was able to meet individuals from different countries, cultures, religions, and even lifestyles. I definitely walked away with an open mind!
- HAVE FUN!
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