How Many Crew Make Cruising a Career vs. a Stepping Stone in Life?

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Working onboard comes with a lot of perks attractive to people from all walks of life. Whether it’s because of the monetary possibilities, enhanced by the currency exchange rate (mentioned in a previous article), the thirst to travel near and far to exotic places, which would otherwise be unachievable, or an opportunity to gain experience in your particular career, working onboard, in a literal floating city, comes with a lot of short- and long-term benefits.

a cruise ship in the water

I have found that a large percentage of crew members choose to make cruising their career but not necessarily sticking to one particular cruise line. Guests would be surprised how different the living and earning conditions and management are between one cruise line and another. This is not limited to the amount of money a person can earn, but a lot of other factors are involved, like length of contract (let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how much you love your job, working 4 months at a time, 7 days a week from morning to night, is not the same as working a 9-month contract). Also your job descriptions and involvement in different duties, entertainment allowances (i.e. keep alcohol in your cabin, being able to purchase different kinds of spirits and so on), and even being able to freely access guest areas as opposed to having to sign up or not being allowed at all. All these and more factors can lead a crew member to search further for a place that feels a bit more like home – at least in the work sense.

Yet, many crew members you will encounter during your cruise are simply “using” the cruise job for a different purpose in life. Given the fact that ships are so self-sustained, a wide range of jobs and positions are needed to run a floating ship, and that’s what can be enticing for people looking to further their careers and enhance their job experience, while traveling around the world no less. This can represent a huge advantage as opposed to searching for internships that barely pay anything, and might be limited to the chores the companies deem necessary, not always related to the job people mean to excel at in the near future.

a body of water with a cloudy sky

Circling back to those who will be calling the ship their home. There are a few things that keep us from even thinking about leaving. One of them is the incredible amenities and commodities we grow accustomed to. Not having to commute to work each day (how much of your life is spent in your car each day) and getting free food and laundry, and having, in most cases, a higher salary we could only dream of at home, are some of them. A very important aspect of working onboard, although depending on each individual’s eagerness to succeed, is the relative ease with which a person can be promoted and move ahead in their chosen career. Unlike many land locked jobs, a person’s dedication and hard work will in most cases have a lot to do with it. I have found relative to jobs ashore where a promotion is always a few years away, the very fact people come and go from onboard jobs allows for a smooth and semi-frequent turnaround, meaning positions become available often, and those deserving of consideration will get a promotion whenever needed.

a group of boats in a body of water

Most cruise lines choose to fill positions from in-house, meaning they would train and promote people already working in the respective department, which is a wonderful thing for those looking to increase their rank and earnings. It’s much more effective and cheaper than hiring someone new to the company and having to train them in the position others have already been exposed to. This is particularly useful given that most job descriptions and styles are MASSIVELY different according to the cruise line. An Assistant Financial Accountant, for instance, would have to pretty much learn the job from scratch when moving from one cruise line to another.

Regardless of how crew members see themselves in their onboard jobs, they would have to come from a very privileged background to claim that a cruise line job wouldn’t greatly improve their quality of life, one way or another. – ThatGuy (onboard)

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That Guy
That Guyhttp://www.FrequentFloaters.com
That Guy works for one of the major cruise lines and has for most of his career. He shares his unique insights from an insiders perspective and gives you a view few cruisers ever see or even think about.

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