How Many of Your Cruise Line Crew Change Lines During Their Time at Sea?

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While many cruise workers plan to spend a limited amount of time working on board and enjoying the opportunity to travel the world, meet new friends, make some money with very little spending and everything else that comes with a cruise job, many others consider it an actual career path, and a very good one too! Whether this comes after a university degree in a particular area, or it’s more of a new start, Cruise Lines offer a huge amount of benefits over land jobs, especially for certain nationalities where such opportunities would be beyond harder to get.

But the fact remains that different cruise lines offer different types of opportunities, perks and, for some, most importantly, contract lengths. Because of this, crew members are often tempted to try their luck with different companies. Browse around, if you will. I mean, it’s only natural to want to get the most out of the cruise job experience. However, hopping from one company to another also comes with some major downsides, aside from other reasons crew members might choose to stay put.

One of those reasons is comfort. When you start your cruise career, for the first couple of weeks you’ll have to learn Terabytes of information involving how to do your job, as well as how that company wants you to do it, learn a huge amount of names, both for on board management and shore side, and a lot more. As you spend more contracts on board, that information becomes second nature, and it gets what? Comfy. That delicious feeling of “I already know that” or “I can do that with my eyes closed” can deter anyone from thinking about switching companies. After all, every cruise line does things differently, and regardless of how much time you’ve been at your job, once you start with a new company, you’re a rookie, and you’ll have to go through the same process all over again.

Similarly, as I have mentioned in previous articles, promotions are a lot more frequent (if capable) than in jobs on land, where it can be more challenging and limited due to having to wait for your supervisor to retire before you’re considered for anything better, if even available. On board, with the huge amount of crew turnover, moving from ship to ship, manning newly-built ships or leaving the ship life, promotions come about fairly often, you just have to be in the right place at the right time, as with everything. Moving from one company to another, even with the best of references, means going to the back of the line to be considered for promotion, as cruise lines rarely hire new people for higher positions, leaning, instead, to promote from within, which allows for a great monitoring and assessment process of each individual. 

Finally, an aspect of their career that might keep crew members from considering a different cruise line is the perks that come with Seniority. Each company offers their own version of seniority benefits, like a yearly, contract-based or otherwise, salary increments, bonuses, the ability to request their next assigned ship or itinerary, or even perks related to their relatives coming on board for a discount… or completely free. EVEN within the same company, it’s not impossible to lose those seniority perks, when they leave the company for too long (in any capacity: work break, extended vacations, resigning…), and I can assure you they are much too treasured to give up just to taste around cruise lines which could, on occasion, offer lesser benefits.

The main “risk” when thinking of switching cruise lines is, in my opinion, the low acceptability to ask exactly how much money you’ll be making if hired. There’s a stigma preventing you from being too forward about it, other than asking what the base salary will be. Enquiring, for instance, how much you can make in tips, if you have to share them, or how much you can make in commissions on a certain ship or itinerary, is not looked at as professional, regardless of how big of a part it will be in your decision. – ThatGuy (onboard)

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