Monday, August 31, 2009

Marine Safety Certification for all Cruise Ship Crew

Once important reminder.
Yes, yes, it is true, most crew members, probably all crew members, are required to have their STCW-95 Certification prior to boarding a cruise ship and assuming your duties.
In the US it is called STCW-95; in Canada, the equivalent is called BST (Basic Safety Training). In whichever country you take this training, make sure it is equivalent to the US Coast Guard STCW-95 - if you are not sure, contact the Coast Guard in your country and just ask them. Also, make sure the cruise line and/or hiring agent, clarifies what you need before you spend hundreds of dollars!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Small Ship Cruise Jobs

Here is my favorite site for perusing smaller passenger ships and the jobs which may be available. Not everyone wants to be on a 5000 passenger RCCL ship with 1800 crew.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Can US Citizens Get Jobs on Cruise Ships?

I get asked this question alot....hmmmm, and the answer is of course!
Now if you have done some research on ship jobs, you already know many positions onboard are always reserved for crew members from specific countries around the world.
You will never see an American cleaning rooms, or serving in the officers mess or painting the ship, or serving in the main dining rooms, or working in the galley etc - get my drift?

You will however, see Americans in positions such as shops, casino, cruise staff, photogs, musicians, shore ex, pursers, computer officers, entertainment, and sometimes managing the newer boutique restaurants popping up on newer ships. As well, I do know cruise lines are trying to recruit Executive Chefs, Restaurant Managers from the US and Canada, UK etc.I know a guy from Vancouver BC who manages one of these smaller restaurants onboard Holland America - another guy from Colorado who who manages a boutique restaurant for Royal Caribbean.

If you are new to ships, you may try to work onboard the casino ships. They all employ US citizens in various capacities - especially if they are a US flagged vessel, in which case the are required to do so by law.

NCL has a brand called NCL America (one ship - Pride of America), whereby it sails around the Hawaiian Islands. The ship was constructed from a hull built in the US and flagged US so they did not have to conform to the Jones Act. (look it up)
Basically this (antiquated) law states that foreign flagged ships cannot begin and end their route in the us without stopping in a foreign port in between.

So, for example, ship sailing Alaska from Seattle, usually make a brief stop in Victoria, Prince George, Nanaimo, Campbell River (the requisite foreign port), in order to comply with the Jones Act.

Other cruise lines sailing the Hawaiian Islands would have to either cruise back to Ensenada Mexico or cruise for 2 days to Fanning Island, touch land, and then sail 2 days back to Hawaii, just to comply with the Jones act.

However, because the NCL America brand was flagged US, it can only employ US citizens in ALL positions onboard. As you can imagine, they have a difficult time finding US citizens willing to peform some of the jobs onboard. Here are the links for the Pride of America and its job site for US citizens.

3) Mina Yi;

Another company which hires US Citizens in all capacities is Cruise West based in Seattle. Here is a link to their job page.

"On the big ships, they fill all of the unskilled positions [kitchen and housekeeping] with cheap labor from foreign countries. That leaves far fewer jobs for Americans, and they usually want someone with special skills: dealers from Las Vegas casinos, performers through Hollywood talent agencies, fitness instructors with shoreside teaching experience, or hosts with tour guide experience."

This might sound discouraging, but cruise companies do vary in their hiring practices, and there are still plenty of jobs available on large cruise lines; you just need the right amount of persistence and determination. Furthermore, small, local companies tend to hire all-American crews. For the most part, non-English speaking employees work low-skill, low-paying positions such as kitchen staff, bedroom stewards, and janitorial positions. On many big-name cruise lines, these positions are filled almost exclusively with workers from Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Mexico adn Central American countries. Of these lower skill departments, each is further segregated by hiring primarily one nationality or another. For example, onboard P&O, the food service staff is almost all, but not entirely from India.

This form of discrimination has been around since the early 1900s, borne out of the Jones Act of 1886, a law forbidding foreign-flagged vessels from transporting passengers on one-way trips between ports in the United States. This law, intended to help the U.S. shipbuilding industry, proved to actually work against it. Registering a ship in the United States requires the ship to be built in the United States and staffed with an American crew. However, paying American wages and complying with U.S. employment regulations is extremely expensive compared to using employees from developing countries, who will perform the same work for a fraction of the pay demanded by North Americans. Foreign countries also subsidize their cruise shipbuilding industry, while the United States does not. As a result, almost all major cruise lines use ships built in Germany, France, and Italy, and then register them in countries imposing less onerous requirements on employers, such as Liberia and Panama. Some cruise lines even maintain recruiting and training facilities in places like Indonesia and the Philippines.

But there are still some US only companies out there - usually smaller ships but good for first time experience. Here are 2 links. They show you which companies are US flagged.

Monday, August 24, 2009

How to Gain Some Relevant Experience

If you live in a city which offers dinner cruises, sight seeing cruises, ferry service, day boat trips - even private boats - try to get some work onboard these vessels. Any catering, banquest, hotel work will serve you well as experience.
And no, playing with your red boat in the bathtub, doesn't count!

Keep in mind that cruise ships are just like little cities, so just about any job you can think about exists on a ship. Having said that, many positions are always earmarked for certain nationalities. Usually deck/engine crew are foreign nationals, the officers are usually but not exclusively from UK, Italy, Greece, Portugal, USA, Canada. If you are a cadet in training, you may be from Canada, USA, UK - just about any country.

The bar department crew can be from a number of countries - but it is looooong hours and mostly tips - monthly salary is very low. The same goes for dining room staff. Bartenders do a little better and many are from UK, Caribbean Islands, some from USA. Room attendants/housekeeping make pretty much straight tips only with a small monthly stipend or salary - once again, mainly crew from overseas.

My recommendation is to focus on Front Desk/Purser Dept, Shore Excursions, Shops/Boutiques, Casino, Photogs, Cruise Staff, Youth Staff, Future Cruise Sales, Port Shopping Guide, Bands/Musicians, Fitness/Spa, Internet Manager, Golf Pro, Show Dancers, Captains Circle/Repeat Cruisers/VIP Concierge.

Regarding river cruises, there is also a google ad link here somewhere, - check it out to see the various river cruise companies in Europe. The most notable is Viking River Cruises.

Other Cruise Ship Job Options like Day and Casino Cruises

Keep in mind there are options other than the big cruise lines. Consider for example day cruise casino ships like Discovery Cruise Line and Palm Beach Casino to name a couple. Or the 2 and 3 day cruises onboard Celebration Cruises out of Fort Lauderdale.

These involve more excitement and saving money than travel. But day cruises are great. I worked onboard SeaEscape which after 20 years, finally succumbed to the economy, the local indian casinos and as a result, no longer sails. It sailed twice daily from Fort Lauderdale on cruises to nowhere. It was a casino ship. Each night we were docked back in Fort Lauderdale, so many international crew had apartments, cars - 2 days off each week - it was great - a regular lifestyle.

As you see, many options.

Here are some contacts for these day cruises.

Celebration Cruise Line, Fort Lauderdale (Used to be Imperial Majesty)
They hire all shipboard positions including salon, photogs.
You can send any job inquries to Yolanda Reilly. (if they are using the new ship comapny email, it might be

Same rules apply - make sure your presentation is professional, (resume / photos) and relevant to the position. Also, in order to get onboard, it is good to be flexible in what positions you will accept. I once applied as to a ship in Europe as a CD and they offered me the Ass't position - didn't take it but I should have.
So apply for what you want, but keep an open mind.

Las Vegas Cruise Lines is strictly a casino ship. If you have any casino experience, here is where you would apply. They sail out of Port Canaveral (where the space rockets take off from)
You can send any job inquries to
The main principle for employment in the company is Giles Malone, managing director. The ship has been having financial problems and is currently for sale. It continues to operate.

Palm Beach Casino Line is a combination day cruise / casino ship. They hire all casino positons, cruise staff, youth staff, musicians, purser staff. Check their website.
1.561.845.2101 (If you have your phone pitch together, call them to inquire)
Port of Palm Beach
Riviera, Florida

Discovery Cruise Line
This ship sails early each morning from Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas. You get 3-4 hours tops in the Bahamas. It returns to Fort Lauderdale the same evening - arriving around 10 pm - but, because you visit a foreign country (Bahamas) all passengers must clear immigration and customs before crew each night upon your return to Fort Lauderdale.
Here is the link to the employment page with listings of current openings:

Send your inquiry to the Entertainment Manager - his name is Anthony.

All bar, deck, food service and housekeeping positions are hired from overseas. For these positions, contact Apollo Ship Chandlers‎
1775 NW 70th Ave
Miami, FL 33126-1341
(305) 592-8790

It's Time to Re-Read the Other Posts

There is alot of good and current information on the previous postings. Peruse these and locate the information pertinent to your current cruise job search.

Getting a job on a ship is more than simply knowing a contact name and an address. You need to present yourself as a good candidate - this is re-hashing I know, but the obvious needs to restated from time to time.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Good luck to Minerva

It's nice to get the time quite recent actually, when a passenger approached me and said she just saw "The Fighter", and that I looked like Mickey Rourke. Come to think of it, he looks pretty nasty and all beat up - not pretty at all - and my nose looks nothing like that!

minerva said...
Dear Gary,
First of all I will like to thank you for your Cruise ship advice, for soo long i have been applying and was very discourage when i didntrecieve a reply or when i was rejected.
I took your advice and i recieve a call from disney cruiseline, had my interview and now i am waiting for a response. Thank you once again for sharing your expertise it is greatly appreciated.

Minerva Gaskin

August 20, 2009 5:05 PM

Who Owns Which Cruise Lines

Many people are curious as to who owns which cruise lines. This is important because sometimes, if you have had a bad previous onboard work experience, you may not be permitted to work on any of the corporate companies other brands. I know from experience. Here are some.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line also owns:
Celebrity Cruises, Azmara Cruises

Carnival Corporation owns:
Carnival Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Cunard Cruise line, P&O Cruises, Costa Cruises, Ibero Cruceros, Ocean Village, Aida Cruises, Yachts of Seabourn, P&O Cruises Australia

Star Cruises owns:
Star Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line

MSC Cruises is independant

Crystal Cruises is independant

Disney Cruise Line is independant

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is independant

Paul Gauguin Cruises is independant

SeaDream Yacht Club is independant

SilverSea Cruises is independant

Oceania Cruises is indenpedant

Windstar Cruises (sold by Holland America and is now owned by Ambassadors International Inc and operated under the Majestic America Line)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cruise Ship Hook Ups

Yes yes yes...of course there are...for all ages! If you are one of the lucky onboard staff who have passenger priviledges, you will no doubt hook up with a passenger...if you want, and of course, if he or she, also wants to. Be as discreet as you can, but truthfully, when it comes to hooking up, everyone can usually see.

In many cases you will have the opportunity to hook up with more than one passenger per cruise. When I was a DJ with NCL, on the first night of the cruise, I spent the night with a nice young woman from Atlanta Georgia. Then, 4 days later, on our last formal night, I spent the night with a sexy older woman, also from Atlanta Georgia - yep, you guessed it...turned out they were mother and daughter - and Basil, don't even get me started about the Texas twins...Oh do behave!

On many cruise lines the policy is this: if you get caught with a passenger in your cabin, you will probably receive a written warning. If, on the other hand, you are found to be in the passengers cabin, you will most likely be dismissed from the ship - almost immediately! The sad fact is that it depends on who you are, who you know and whether or not senior staff/officers like you! So, as I have always advocated, (and not for this reason specifically), be nice to everyone you meet onboard - you will have a much better contract!

Just rememeber, what happens on a ship - stays on a ship - it's a tired cliche, but it's true. And remember, shipmates before shagmates! Don't forget about your duties and responsibilities.

Cruise ship jobs - hiring contacts, up to date

Always read the older posts for important job information

Manager of Cruise Programs
Celebrity Cruises
1050 Caribbean Way
Miami, FL
Fed Ex only

This is for cruise staff – all positions, youth/teen staff, lecturers, internet cafe manager, DJ's, teen DJ's, Onboard Future Cruise Sales
*Note: you may send your resume for other positions and follow up with a phone call. On most occasions, it will be forwared to the correct person.
Manager of Cruise Programs
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
1050 Caribbean Way
Miami, FL
Fed Ex only

Or, contact:
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Amy Chambers
Casting Specialist (fancy way of saying hiring person)
Guest Activities & Technical Operations
This is for cruise staff – all positions, youth/teen staff, lecturers, internet cafe manager, DJ's, teen DJ's, Onboard Future Cruise Sales, sound, lighting, stage crew, production staff, musicians, bands
*Note: you may send your resume for other positions and follow up with a phone call. On most occasions, it will be forwared to the correct person.
Carnival Cruise Lines
Chris Unstead,
Manager of Entertainment Staff
This is for cruise staff – all positions, youth/teen staff, lecturers, internet cafe manager, DJ's, teen DJ's, onboard future cruise sales, divers, shore excursion, musicians, bands, duos, dancers, singers
*Note: you may send your resume for other positions: in the subject line write: Your name, Onboard employment. On most occasions, it will be forwared to the correct person.
NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line)
Mina Yi
This is for cruise staff – all positions, youth/teen staff, lecturers, internet cafe manager, DJ's, teen DJ's, Onboard Future Cruise Sales, Divers, Shore Excursion
*Note: you may send your resume for other positions: in the subject line write: Your name, Onboard employment. On most occasions, it will be forwared to the correct person.
Holland America Line
Carey Rae Bolton
Manager of Entertanment Staff
This is for cruise staff – all positions, youth/teen staff, lecturers, internet cafe manager, DJ's, teen DJ's, Onboard Future Cruise Sales, Divers, Shore Excursion
*Note: you may send your resume for other positions: in the subject line write: Your name, Onboard employment. On most occasions, it will be forwared to the correct person.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lets Review Your Resume - WTF are your sending?

Always review older posts for information to your questions and contact current information.

I was recently asked to review some resumes. And after all I have suggested, regrettably some people are just getting it - and that's to be expected.
Errors like, Hope to hear from you shorty, Have a keen eye for derail, Dear Sir or Madman, I'm attacking my resume for you to review, I am a rabid learner, My work ethics are impeachable (go Nixon), I have nervous of steel and so on - you get the picture. A recent 2009 study of cruise line HR executives, stated that 3 out of 4 of HR executives, will absolutely not hire someone with even 1 spelling or grammar mistake in their cover letter or CV/resume. That's harsh! (On a blog, it don't got to madda much now do it peeps.)

No matter what anyone or any other website tries to tell you, getting a ship job is like searching for employment anywhere. Ship jobs are not gimme's. Yes, they are out there and indeed they are plentiful, but, you and 1000's of others want the same thing! Dig? Good!

You need to make sure you have done your investigative homework, who will you send it to, know the correct name or at least correct title of the department head or their position - that is who you are Fed-Exing, also your photo - not a shopping mall machine or blackberry photo - pro shot only - and for crying out loud .....SPELLCHECK!!! (See above again!)I have said this a thousand times and still, I receive emailed resumes for review with a ton of errors - are you kidding me?? You don't need a ship job, you need remedial grammar and spelling lessons - you know who you guys are - but don't lose faith...just pay attention to the details...why??? I will tell you why.....

Your résumé is your first chance to make a positive impression. Cruise ship H.R. Departments view your resume as a reflection of the applicant. (say this over and over) "If you make simple mistakes on your application materials, the assumption is that you will make similar mistakes on the ship." And on a ship, simple mistakes can be costly! So, make sure there aren't any typos, grammatical errors or spelling mistakes in it. You must do more than just spell check it. Print it out. It's easier to detect errors on paper than after your eyes glaze over from staring at a computer screen. Also, have a friend proof-read it for you. This goes for both your cover letter and your resume.

One version of your résumé won't be right for all the various shipboard positions you may wish to apply for. It's better to tailor it to a handful of openings on various cruise lines that directly relate to your experience and accomplishments, rather than to write one and spam dozens of hiring managers with it. Also, use the keywords that are relevant to the job desciption or cruise industry. It shows you know your industry. The biggest mistake people make on a resume is they think everything they've ever done, needs to be in their resume. The resume is the bait to get you the interview - usually by phone, unless the cruise line has an agent in your area. (These are not my words, but they are very true and even moreso here, because you may not get the benefit of a face to face interview) In many cases, your resume and a phone call is it. So, you better make sure its hot and your phone skills are at the top of their game!!! Why? In one day, you know how many email job inquires Princess Cruises receives???? Do ya???? Ha??? More than 1000..that's ONE THOUSAND!! A Day!!! So, you better make sure you stand out, and the way to do it, is to present yourself as eager, willing, with relevant experience and an accomplished individual. Don't worry if you do not have previous shipboard experience. Most cruise line HR offices, (and their respective agents), care more about what you have "achieved" as opposed to what you have "done." They care less about what your duties are/were; they care about what your achievements are/were? Know the difference - it will serve you well.

Managers are more likely to "take that bait" if you describe your accomplishments instead of listing your daily responsibilities - ho hum, boring. Your accomplishments, however insignificant as you may think they are, will set you apart from the competition. Quantify those accomplishments when possible. Describe what you made, saved and achieved for your employer.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another Ship Job Contact - Celebrity Cruises

Always read the older posts for good info you have missed!

When sending your smokin' hot resume to any cruiseline, make sure you know who you are sending it to. If you do not know the name of the person currently holding the management position, send it attention the position. WTF?

For example, if you want to send your resume directly to the person who hires for Celebrity Cruises, but don't know their name, send it to their "titled posiiton":
IE If you want to apply for any position with youth staff, cruise staff, golf pro, enrichment lecturer, shipboard entertainment, bands etc, any position related to onboard passenger programs, send your professional cover letter, 2 page professionally done resume and 2 pro photos - 1 head shot and 1 shot of 3/4 length. Dress and smile appropriate to the job you are applying for.

For Celebrity Cruises you would Fed Ex it to:

Manager of Cruise Programs
Celebrity Cruises
1050 Caribbean Way
Miami, FL

Seasonal Jobs - Short term contracts

Always Read The Older Posts

For those who prefer short term cruise ship contracts, there are a few postions which can accomodate your needs.

Youth Counsellors/Teen Counsellors
- The contracts for these jobs can be a short as 1-2 weeks. During peak seasons, such as Christmas, Spring Break, Thanksgiving, Easter and the summer time, cruise lines usually bring on extra short term staff for youth/teens, as well as teen specific djs. Its a great introduction into cruise ship employment. Many have gone on to full time contracts. As for ages, I have seen Youth and Teen Staff range in age from late teens to mid 50's.

Other jobs onboard with possible short term contracts are relief nurses, doctors, as well as short term showband musicians. Of course, most mainstage entertainment such as Comedians, Singers, Magicians work on short contracts as well.

Even though you are short term, you will still be required to have the full STCW 95 safety certification, as well as undergo all required cruisie line pre-employment medicals. Because you are short term, your flights be be paid for both ways.

I've had Youth Staff fly from the westcoast, all the way over to the Med for only 3 cruises! Pretty great little paid vacation!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Another cruise ship contact for jobs

Always read the older posts for information as well!

I just googled around for 30 minutes and came across another contact for ships jobs. It's easy, just have some patience, a curiosity, and some common search sense. You can find all the info you need without paying someone for the same thing. Remember, the only person who can offer you a ship job is the cruise line - no paid agent or paid website, no paid video or paid booklet or paid download - no one - nadda!

Follow some of my advice and you will find the ship job you desire. So, the contact I found is for Carnival Cruise Line. If you contact him, make sure you have done your homework first. Read my other blogs to understand whay I mean. You only get one chance to make a first impression - and it's true - not just a cliche'!

1) Short, succinct 3 paragraph cover letter.
2) Your resume is as I have suggested - short, relevant and commanding!
3) You send 1 professional photo geared towards the position you are looking for - let your personality shine!

Remember, never tell them you found this email here. You need to give the impression YOU have done all the work yourself - impress them with your proactive work habits!

Chris Unstead, Carnival Cruise Lines

His area of hiring includes cruise staff/entertainment hosts, youth staff, dancers, singers, musicians. In the subject line write your name and position sought: ie: Cruise Gary, Youth Staff

If you are looking for work as a nurse, doctor, computer tech, internet cafe manager, restaurant manager, or other position, first check their website to see if these positions are hired through a concessionaire (a company the cruise line contracts to provide shipboard services) If you choose to contact him and inquire about other onboard jobs such as security, nurse, doctor, boutiques, casino etc, write only your name and "onboard employment" in the subject line: ie: Cruise Gary, Onboard Employment
In most cases, if you have made a good impression, (ie resume, photo etc), your inquiry will be forwarded to the appropriate person - remember, cruise lines are always looking for good people)

I was looking for the person who hires the Onboard Future Cruise Consultants for RCCL. I found the email for the RCCL VP of Sales - I emailed her and she forwarded my inquiry to the correct person - I received an email from him. You can usually see on your emails, who has sent the email to you, and who they received it from etc - follow then paperless trail!

Keep in mind most galley, bar, restaurant, housekeeping, deck and engine crew positions are filled by nationalities from the Caribbean, Asia, South Asia, South/Central America etc - not US, Canada, UK etc. The exception may be manager positions, officer positions.

Always send your resume and cover letter as an attachment, unless you have been instructed otherwise.

As I did, it is always a good idea to make the suggestion you are willing to arrange a flight to Miami for an interview - chances are, they will not take you up on it, but is shows your commitment to getting a job with them. And if they say ok, flights are dirt cheap to MIA from anywhere in Canada or the US - and it will be worth it! Plus, organize yourself and you could personally visit most major cruise lines, as they are based in Fort Lauderdale area or the Miami area - except Princess and Crystal.

If you receive a reply from your enquiry, I suggest following it up with a phone call to the Carnival office. They are located in Miami near the MIA airport.Their executive office number is 305-599-2600 - ask for Chris Unstead, Entertainment. If you want to Fed Ex a hard copy of your resume, (which I think is always a great idea), the office address is:
Chris Unstead,
Manager of Entertainment Staff,
Carnival Cruise Lines,
3655 NW 87 Ave,
Miami Fl, USA

NOTE: Never ever hand-write your envelope address - get professional address labels printed for both receiver and sender's address....
...and for crying out loud - SPELL CHECK all your documents! (not like me)

Respect and good luck.

Take a cheap cruise and audition your cruise ship dream job!

Yep, if you are able to; it's a great cheap vacation but more important, you can actually see, all the jobs you are interested in - in action! Watch the cruise staff activites, shore excursions, photogs, shoppies, casino, pursers/front desk, youth staff, musicians, dancers/singers, bands....

Check out the gig, if you can talk to them about work/life onboard. Ships leave from dozens of ports around the US, Canada, Australia, Europe. Check or and check out the various cruise home ports.

Check out some crew ship crew websites and ask questions:,, go to Youtube and search "cruise ship crew cabins" and "life onboard a cruise ship".

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cruise Ship Resume - What Should I Send?

Here is a sample of what someone sent me - and its pretty good. It is obviously geared towards cruise ship/hospitality becasue he has had cruise ship previous experience.
The idea is to focus on your experience, training, volunteering etc, which is relevant to obtaining the job you want onboard. Remember, your prospective employer can't ask you any questions, so your resume and letter need to be clear about who you are, what you want and what you can bring to the position. I like how he has layed out his resume - its all about selling himself - what he can bring to the position. The traditional "resume stuff" comes after the sales pitch. Of course there are many ways to sell yourself - be comfortable with how you present yourself and whatever style your chose - be real...hype, over-the-top its all good, but make it real.

Name: Your name in full
Telephone: x-xxx-xxxx
Address: xxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxx xxxxxx xx
Nationality: xxxxxxxxxxx
Passport: Nationality – valid until ____
Marital Status: xxxx
Language Skills: Fluent:________ Intermediate:_________ Beginner:__________
Safety Training: Full STCW 95 Certification valid until 2011
*This is a mandatory safety certificate for all cruiseship employees. Check your local Coast Guard for schools which offer this STCW – 95 certification


A well presented, confident and articulate communicator and negotiator at all levels, who commands respect and credibility through the projection of a professional image. A proactive, focused and committed professional, with extensive expertise gained within the cruise / leisure / retail and hospitality sectors.

Commercially astute, with the ability to identify business opportunities and implement effective revenue ideas and customer activities to ensure customer satisfaction.

A self motivated, passionate professional, with the necessary skills to remain flexible and productive in a unique business environment. Successful broad-based management and leadership experience gained within a wide spectrum of cruise and business environments. Proven ability to manage relationship complexities within both the cruise ship and land based work place, and to capitalize upon opportunities to grow business and improve customer satisfaction.

An accomplished time manager, organizer and change manager, capable of conceptualizing, introducing and integrating innovative strategies, streamlining resources to maximize performance and quality standards to ensure the ongoing provision of the highest standards of customer care.

Key Skills:

*Managing a diverse team of up to 40 staff members
*MC / Social Host for major guest functions
*Adept at grasping new workplace environments very quickly
*Maintaining excellence in guest satisfaction
*Persuasive sales presentations to maximize performance and revenue
*Technically inclined, utilizing IT skills for sales presentations and seminars
*Planning, scheduling all daily activities, entertainment and special events
*Working in concert with other departments to maximize onboard revenue
*Detail oriented administrator including voyage/sales reports, staff evaluation

Career History:

Title of Position
Company Name
City, State/Province
Company Website
Date of Employment

Assist with developing and maintaining customer relations
Coordinate daily events with various departments and staff
Liaison with departments to ensure events are correctManage inventory of catering/event items as required
Responsible for ensuring delivery costs are in line with budget guidelines
Set up and attend events as scheduled

Title of Position
Company Name
City, State/Province
Company Website
Date of Employment

Managed all daily operations including sales, customer service, staff and administrative duties
Devised action plans to meet financial objectives
Created, organized and implemented all aspects of special events including, food, décor, staffing, entertainment and logistics
Managed all events on site ensuring maximum guest satisfaction
Responsible for budget targets and all financial aspects of the day-to-day operations

Title of Position
Company Name
City, State/Province
Company Website
Date of Employment

Managed all aspects of the cruise department
Supervised department staff of 40 staff and entertainers
Created daily passenger entertainment and activities schedule
Hosted all private functions, main stage and poolside shows
Worked other onboard departments to maximize passenger service and revenue
Prepared all end of cruise reports as pertaining to company policy
Ensured department was compliant with all safety, security and environmental policies

Industry Related Academics:

1997 – 1998 Sales Marketing Management Courses,
Florida State University, Broward College, N, Miami
1999 – 2000 Sports / Entertainment / Event Management, Travel / Tourism / Hospitality Management,
Johnson & Wales University, N. Miami (NCL)

Professional Associations:

Cruise Line International Association
National Speakers Bureau
Entertainment Management Guild
Professional Meeting Planners Association

Leisure Activities:

Football Photography Computers


Available upon request

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Best time to Apply for a Cruise Ship Job (Holland America Contact)

There is no special time, or "better time" to apply for a cruise ship job. It's pretty much high season year round for ships. Why? because cruise ships follow the good weather. Therefore, they are always an attractive vacation choice.

For example, in the summer months, ships will cruise north, ie Alaska, Northern Europe/Baltics, US/Canadian maritimes, and to the extreme south - Antartica and South America etc. In the winter months, cruise ships follow the good weather. That's why you will see ships repositioning in droves, to Mexico, Carribean, Southern Carribbean, Hawaii, South Pacific.

Most cruise lines have ships positioned around the world:
Royal Carribean Cruise Lines
Holland America Line
NCL Norwegian Cruise Lines
Disney Cruise Line
Princess Cruises
Crystal Cruises
Celebrity Cruises
MSC Cruises
Costa Cruises
Cunard Line
Oceania Cruises
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Windstar Cruises
Azmara Cruises

Many cruise lines are operating year round in places like the Mediterranean and Australia/New Zealand. So, as you can see, there will always be a need for new crew members onboard ships year round. So, the best time to apply? Yesterday!...the second best time to apply? Today!

But, as I always say, do some homework, prepare yourself professionally and then apply as per the cruise line requests. I always suggest sending a hard copy of your resume/2 professional photos, (headshot, 3/4 shot), with Fed-Ex. If you can produce a 3 minute intro video, send it on a DVD but ONLY, and I say ONLY, if it is filmed, edited and produced in a very professional manner - nothing stupid, homemade, goofy etc, unless it is applicable to the job to which you have applied. You will be dressed appropriately for the position; introduce yourself and give a brief intro about yourself and why you are a great candidate for the position you have applied for - you will be enthusiastic and authentic and passionate with energy level appropriate to the position applied - so therefore make the video relevant to your desired position!

And yes, you can call to follow up, but be professional, polite, articulate and greatful for any help you receive - you never know who you are speaking with, or who they know! But yes, follow up!!!!!

And remember, while you are creeping around the internet and making enquiries, use a pseudonym. Then when you are ready to make your presentaion and application, use your real name. Trust me, take some time to find who is in charge of hiring for the positon you want - and send it to the perosn. If this person is NOT the ultimate decision maker, then they will generally send it along for you. Remember, cruise lines want to find good people, just as much as you want to find a cruise ship job. It's match making!

Try it out:
I Googled around for 30 minutes and found this contact for Holland America. She hires for Cruise Staff, Youth Staff, Divers, Shore Excursions and I imagine she would direct you accordingly; if your interest is in say Pursers/Hotel Front Desk, musicians, bands, computer tech, internet cafe manager among others. Check the Holland America website to find the correct name for the various jobs onboard.
Do not send here anything unless it is short, articulate, relevant and professional.

Her email is (Carey Rae Bolton)In the Subject line write the name of the positon you desire.
IE: Subject: Cruise Gary; Seasonal Youth Staff (your name and whatever position you are interested in)

Like me, any of you can do the same searching on the internet and find out who you need to contact. The info and contacts are there!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Know Your Job Onboard

It is a good idea to peruse the various cruise line websites, to learn a little about the kind of product they offer: what their ships are like, what their customer profile is like, what their itineraries are like etc.

Do you want to work on BIG ships or smaller, more intimate ships. I've worked on Grand Class ships with almost 5000 passengers and crew, and smaller ships with less than 500 passengers...big difference - my preference is the smaller vessels - some may say...less work demands - but smaller ships have less crew, so its all relative.

Some crew may also find the smaller ships kind of boring, as they offer less for passengers, and the crew areas are quite limited in what they can provide. But, you may work harder and longer hours on the bigger ships - for the same pay by the way. Think carefully about the kind of experience you want to have onboard.

Check out the cruise line links here on this blog and look at their website information - see which type of cruise lines appeal to you. For example, Royal Caribbean has ships with 3500 - 5000 passengers and another 1800 crew. Other cruise lines will be more intimate so look around and see. Read reviews and ship/company information on, and my favorite

Then start the process of finding the travel job of your dreams.

Monday, August 3, 2009

So far so good - landing a ship job - it's hard work but rewarding

Yes it is worth it. The process is not as daunting as it may appear. Most people applying to ships for the first time know very little about the industry and that's to be expected.

That is why I advocate learning about the cruise industry, the various cruise line profiles and the various shipboard jobs available. If you don't have specific shipboard job experience, be prepared to accept position which suits your experience and personality. Once you are onboard, you will have the opportunity to see all the other possiblillites.

a) If you enjoy parks and recreation, teaching, child care, paticipate in teen clubs, adventure outings, sports - then working as a Youth or Teen Counslelor would be an ideal position for you - so tailor your resume accordingly and do your homework.

b) If you have any performance background, you are an extrovert, have any amateur peformance experience, singing, comedy, if you have been a ham all through school, love a crowd and can handle a microphone, then you would apply for the Cruise Directors Staff (cruise staff, acd, jracd, social hosts) each cruise line calls this position something different so remember to do your home work.

c) If you have any hotel or resort experience as guest services, office business experience, then you are a perfect candidate for Jr Purser, Purser, Hotel Front Desk, Guest Services. Again each cruise line will call this position something different so do your homework.

d) If you have theatre / stage crew/tech experience or education, then Production Staff, Stage Crew, Sound/Lighting Tech(if you have relevant training) will be for you.

e) If you have travel experience, travel leader experience, adventure sales/leadership experience, dive experience, and you are comfortable on a mic in fornt of a crowd, then Shore Excursions may be for you.

f) If you have cruise travel sales experience, cruise retail sales experience, then Onboard Future Cruise Sales is for you. To apply for this position, expect to provide a DVD of your presentation/sales skills. This is a business position and you will expect to be a polished professional.

g) If have played in bands, duos, solo, worked resorts or other ships as a top 40 band, you will find work. whether you are a soloist, a duo/trio/band, emphasis is on a variety of music in your repetoire. Remember, you have the same passengers for 7, 10, 12 days and more, so you have to know alot of songs...and play them very well. A good vocal band is important. Everything from oldies, 50/60's rock, to classics and top 40 - plus a little latin would be good. This applies to all musical acts on cruise ships - yes, it is expected you can be all things to all people so you will be expected to constantly learn new material whilst onboard.
If you are a Caribbean style band, it is expected you also can play top 40 songs in a "Caribbean style". Musicans work very little compared to others -its a good life onboard.

h) Are you outgoing? If you have any gift shop / retail clothing experience, souvenir, jewelry experience, fine fashion retail experience, retail experience with watches, diamonds etc, you will find employment easy. Most shops onboard are concessions contracted by each cruise line to operate shops on their ships. Princess Cruises is the only cruise line which hires for its own shops. While some say the pay may not always be great, you get most port days off, because ships cannot open their shops whilst in most ports - great job if you want to see alot of the places you are cruising.

i) Doctors, nurses looking for a paid work vacation - contact the cruise lines. They hire short term for this position. If you have a few weeks or months off each year, this is a great way to see the world and get paid.

j) If you have musical theatre / film / stage background, or you are a schooled dancer, or singer there are many year round positions in various productions. These companies are usually contracted by the cruise lines to produce shows. Some of the major companies are Jean Ann Ryan, Stiletto, Sixth Star, Cameron MacKintosh and Princess Cruises and Crystal Cruises who produce their own shows.

k) If you enjoy photography or videography, there are positions on every cruise line. These are usually concessions, which means cruise lines contract out the photo dept to another company, and this company employs the onboard staff. In fact, the photog companies are usually listed on the cruise lines website under employment.

Do your research, prepare yourself a good presentation and if you need them and ask to whom and to where, do you forward your Resume, CV, DVD promo etc. Send it registered so they know you are serious, and you know they received it - then follow up by phone - 7 days after they have received your information and use your best professional / enthusiatic phone manner. They need to "hear" you smile!!

All crew members need this information

If you are new to cruising, this is a reminder of some non negotiable requirements for onboard crew members.

1) Criminal record background check (city/province-state/country)

2) STCW-95 Safety Certification
It is the requirement of international maritime law, that cruise members be safety certified. The certifiation is called STCW-95. It may be called something different in other countries, but the requirements will be the same. You may not be permitted onboard until you ahve copmpleted this standard safety certification requirement. Here is the information website - The cost can cary depending where you take the training.
*Note: some cruislines may still offer it onboard.
Here is where I took my training in Florida:

STCW '95 Basic Safety Training
The certification includes theory and practical hands-on training and assessment for the following Four modules of STCW A-VI/1-1 to 1-4. These courses are approved to satisfy the requirements for Basic Safety Training on all size vessel. There are no tonnage limits. It is appropriate for all crew members. It includes:
Personal Survival Techniques
Personal Safety & Social Responsibilities
Basic Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting
Elementary First Aid
Lifecraft Training

Training will include:
Fire Prevention
Fire fighting Techniques
Compliance with Emergency Procedures
Safe Working Practices
Preventing Marine Pollution/MARPOL
Effective Shipboard Communications
Emergency Equipment
Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
First Aid
Proper use of:
Personal Flotation Devices
Immersion Suits
Abandon Ship Procedures & Equipment

*Most positions within the Youth /Teen Programs, may require advanced first aid and child care safety training or experience.

Contact any Coast Guard office to find out the procedure/location/school for obtaining the STCW-95

For more details about the STCW-95, follow this link.

Also, if you know how to swim...its a bonus!

The other area of concern onboard a ship is maintaining strict adherence to USPH, United States Public Health Vessel Sanitaion Program. If you are in the hotel department,you will be advised of this very important public health inpsection process, which can determine if a ship can sail or not. You will be advised of your roll, once you are on the ship.

What is the USPH - CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program and How Does it Apply to Cruise Ships?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is given the authority to run the Vessel Sanitation Program in the federal Public Health Service Act. The purpose of the Vessel Sanitation Program is to decrease the outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships. In order to accomplish this goal, the CDC inspects cruise ships, trains cruise ship employees and monitors outbreaks of gastrointestinal illnesses. Typically, ships are subject to two unannounced inspections each year. At each inspection, the ship is given a grade on a 100 point scale. Anything below 85 is considered failing. Ships that fail an inspection are always reinspected and may not be allowed to sail if there is an imminent threat to public safety. Inspection reports and scores are available to the public on the CDC website and are useful to future cruise ship crew (and passengers).

Some great cruise industry sites for general up to date info

As with any trade or industry you choose, it is important to know a little something about the business - other than "I want a job on a ship, because it would be cool to get paid to travel the world." KNowing the current up-to-date industry news you will not find in a pamphlet or book or video that is pretty much obsolete the moment it is printed. Things change too fast - there's that common phrases again!
Learn about each cruise lines profile, their customer base, their fleet, their history, their future etc. Be impressive with your knowledge (if you are asked) because companies care. Learn about the job you want to apply for onboard - read older posts here as well for this information is always revisited.
Here are some sites I like to persue on a weekly/monthly basis for up-to-date information - most of it amazing news, some of it not so amazing, and some of it horrible, but industry news nonetheless.
(yes its a big cut and paste but it's a great link)

Also, another good strategy for sourcing out job contacts is to contact the Port Authority office of each city where cruise ships sail. The following is a list of North American cities which are home to cruise ships. Contact / Google the Port Authority Office for your closet port, and call or email them, asking for the list of cruise line port agents for their particular port.

Each port agent will represent one or more cruise lines. Ask them for the local or corporate cruise line employment contact info. From my experience, they have been pretty cooperative because they do not get alot of cruise ship job enquiries...because most people don't know how to source them out - until now.

Cruise ship home ports:
Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles(San Pedro), San Diego, Galveston, LaPorte TX (Houston), New Orleans, Mobile, Tampa, Miami, Fort LAuderdale, Port Canaveral, Jacksonville, Norfolk, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Bajonne NJ, New York City, Boston, Montreal.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Things can change FAST!!!

So, I trained with a major cruise line for a new management position. The next training was scheduled, deployment date established - all lined up and ready to go - then BAM! Just like that, the new position has been eliminated. Current crew contracts will be extended - eliminating the need of new hires.

So, you see, things change fast in this business. But, I am continuing my search for a new onboard position - I want something different - maybe a European river cruise -who knows, but what I do know? No matter what position you apply for, with what cruise line, always make the same professional approach when applying.

And when things don't go your way, as I have just experienced, don't get pissed off and don't get mad at the cruise line or the person you were dealing with - you never know who they know - and they just might call you up the next day with another change in your favour.

Keep your head and continue your search as I have outlined - real all the older posts to get up to speed.