This post may contain references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those advertisers. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For more information about our Advertising Policy, please visit this page. As an Amazon Affiliate, we may earn a commission on eligible purchases made through our referrals. Frequent Floaters has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. FrequentFloaters and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
As soon as you join your ship, one of the first things you will notice is that the people at your service come from a wide variety of countries, some of which you may not even have heard of! It happened to me as recently as last year when I met a dear friend from Swaziland, even though I’ve worked on ships for over 15 years!
This is certainly no coincidence. There are a few reasons crew nationalities on board cruise ships vary so much. Here’s a few of them.
- Currency value. In most cruise lines, workers will earn their salary in US Dollars or Euros. This means a huge advantage to us, as its value multiplies as we take that money home and exchange it to local currency. For instance, at the time this article is being written, 1 US Dollar is equivalent to 55 Pesos in the Philippines, which goes a much longer way than in the US. Another more accurate example would be in Peruvian Soles. You bring a $100 Dollar bill to Peru, exchange it for about 380 Peruvian Soles, and you can do with that about the same as you can do in the US with $380 Dollars! So, it’s a win-win situation.
- Income Taxes. Not only is the value of the money better, but also, in many countries, crew members don’t have to pay ANY taxes on the income they receive outside of their country. This can be particularly enticing for crew members from countries where taxes are really high.
- Everything is covered. If a crew member were on land at home they would have to pay for meals, clothing, laundry, medical care, and more. All of this can be very expensive but while onboard it is all covered by most cruise lines.
- Manners and Customer Service. Cruise Lines know that the service crew members provide will make or break guests’ experience on board. Certain nationalities are known for being more polite, soft-spoken and customer service-oriented. Cruise Lines capitalize on this and put that cultural difference to their advantage. Of course, working for an international company represents a great opportunity for many people from those countries as well. Again, win-win.
- Legal reasons. I won’t claim to know the exact legal reasons Cruise Lines choose to hire so many international crew, but part of the reason has to do with crew members’ labor rights. While all ship workers (on ships flying flags of ratifying countries) are covered under the protections of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), there are certain things that Cruise Lines can get away with when it comes to working hours, salaries and certain legal rights (dismissals, terminations and so on).
- Availability! Let’s face it. There are countries where jobs can be really hard to find, and others where opportunities abound. Given the less attractive sides of working on board, like being away from home for months at a time, or having limited time off (and NO days off), Cruise Lines will aim to hire from countries where a steady source of workers can be obtained.
Bottom line is while working on cruise ships is hard work and long days not to mention most times a very long contract and time away from family it can be a way to make much more money than possible at home.
Can you think of any more reasons? Feel free to post them in the Comments section! – ThatGuy
Frequent Floaters has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. FrequentFloaters and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.