Frequently Asked Questions:
Are there any fees to apply?
No. SHIPLIFE Cruise Hiring Agency does not charge any application, recruitment or placement fees. We do, indeed, charge for premium services like Workshops and Professional CV Formatting.
Can I make phone calls?
There are phones on board. However, we recommend using them for emergency use only. They are usually much more costly than a land line. Some vessels will have crew phones set up at a reduced rate. You will have access to crew calling centers at mostly every port.
Do I have to wear a uniform?
Yes. Your uniform is supplied by the cruise line and will be given to you upon arrival to the ship. Some positions are able to use their own clothes and accessories instead.
How long are the contracts for?
Contracts can vary between 4-8 months depending on which cruise line you will be working for. After each contract, you will have a work break that can range from 4-8 weeks. Work breaks are usually not paid, so be sure to put some money away for your vacation.
How will I get paid?
Depending on the cruise line, you may be paid bi-weekly or monthly. You will need to take some cash, ATM card/and or credit cards with you to carry you through the first month. You’ll find you probably won’t use much, but better too much than too little. In most cases you will be paid in Dollars but in some companies offer to receive in Euros.
What about taxes?
Income taxes are only withheld for American Citizens. As every country has different tax laws, we suggest you consult an accountant to find out your tax obligations.
What do I do about banking?
You can open an account in your homeport, or in one of the ports in your itinerary. We suggest making money orders and sending them home to either a family member, a friend or directly to your bank. It is probably the smartest and safest option. Many cruise lines have their own bank accounts and you can easily transfer between your cruise account and your bank account back home.
Who do I work for?
The cruise line or concession that hires you will be your employer. Please take notice that all cruise lines have different rules and regulations that need to be followed. Failure to do so can result in dismissal.
How often will I be working?
In most cases, you can expect to work 7 days/week and anywhere from 6-12 hours/day. Steiner SPA employees will work 5 1/2 days/week and 10 hours/day. Park West employees will work less than 60 hours weekly.
What about my flight to the ship?
Your flight to the ship may or may not be provided by the cruise line. Depending on the company policy, you may have to pay your way there, and upon completion of your contract, they will fly you home. Some lines require you to pay your flight there, and upon completion of your contract, you will be reimbursed your flight and flown home. Then there are some lines that will pay your flight to and from the ship! If you need a quote, our agency is also able to search for the best fares and cover almost all internet prices.
Can I get mail?
Every ship has an address. We can usually give you the address prior to departure. If not, you will receive the information onboard. We recommend using a service called ForCrewOnly as well.
How much notice will I get if I am hired?
The amount of notice you may get can vary. Positions are always coming up, some sooner than others. Emergency positions do come up that may only leave you with a few days notice, so be prepared! We will always try to give the crew member as much notice as possible.
What am I responsible for as far as living expenses?
All your food and accommodations are provided. Cruise lines also provide medical insurance whilst under contract. You will be required to pay for any incidentals, souvenirs, internet access and as well as any alcoholic beverages.
Do I share a cabin?
Yes, all the cabins are small and compact and are shared with one other person of the same sex. In some instances you may have to share with up to three people. Most cabins have a bathroom; however, some bathroom facilities can be shared by up to four people. The cabins are cleaned with linen changed daily by your cabin steward.
Can I do laundry on the ship?
Yes. You may have access to laundry facilities or a service will be offered for a nominal fee. You can also pay someone to do your laundry for you, as it is a common practice.
Do I have to have a medical before I get on board?
Yes. You have to complete a medical prior to leaving for the ship. The medical is a thorough exam that involves taking blood tests, urinalysis, blood pressure, eye, hearing and lung function tests, as well as a chest x-ray. They are testing that you are physically fit to work on board. Please note that a drug test will also be conducted. Failure of the medical or drug test will result in the termination of your contract. In most cases, it is your responsibility to pay for your medical exam, but there are some cruise lines that will pay for it or reimburse you the expense.
Can I get off the ship while in port?
Of course you can! When you have free time during the day you can get off the ship and do what you please, providing that you are not scheduled to work or in port manning – for safety purposes – and that you are back on board by the required time.
Can we socialize with the passengers?
Socializing depends on your position. It may be an integral part of your job, although it is important to note that fraternization with passengers is cause for immediate dismissal.
Can we drink in the lounges/nightclub?
Some positions have “deck privileges” and some may not. If you don’t, you are not permitted to be in passenger areas when you are off duty. Positions that usually have deck privileges, such as cruise staff, youth staff, merchandise, pursers, entertainers, casino and more are able to socialize with passengers in the lounges until your set curfew which will be given to you when you get onboard. Some ships do not allow staff to drink alcohol in passenger areas. Should you be found drunk while on duty or too drunk to perform emergency procedures, this will result in automatic dismissal.
Can we smoke in passenger areas?
As a rule you cannot smoke whilst in any passenger areas. Your general manager will define this rule in more detail when you arrive on the ship. There is a determined crew lounge where you can smoke any time of the day.
Is there a crew bar onboard?
Yes. The crew bar serves drinks until their particular set time, which may vary, from ship to ship. It is where you can relax and socialize out of sight of the passengers.
Can we use the gym?
Yes, as a rule you can use the gym, as long as you are not depriving any passengers of the facilities.
Can we use the swimming pool?
As a rule aboard most ships, you are not permitted to use the pool. Anytime that you would have to use the pool, you will probably also be able to get off the ship to sightseeing, and go to the beach or shop in port!!
Where can the crew sunbathe?
There will be designated areas for the crew to sunbathe.
Can my family or friends come to visit?
Of course they can! Every cruise line has its own policies about visitors. There are discounts and it is usually based on availability.
Will I enjoy working for the cruise industry?
If you are a committed, hard working fun-loving team player, then you will have the time of your life! There is no other job that can give you so much experience and knowledge of the travel industry. The things you’ll see, do and learn along with the many new friends you’ll meet will stay with you forever. It is truly an unforgettable experience. Your confidence as a crew member can only increase as each week goes by, and we constantly encourage our crew to develop their existing skills and learn new ones whilst onboard. You will need approximately one month to settle in and feel comfortable in your new surroundings. All we can say is “hang in there” – it’s worth it!!!