I am a 28 year old guy for Ottawa and I was a G.O. for mini-club as well as a bartender in 97-98 in the Bahamas and I've been working as a DJ and entertainer in the Ottawa area.
Now initially what I wanted to do was become a cruise director. Perfroming as a master of ceremonies for many high profile events such as Jean Chretien, John Manley. Wayne Gretzky, and the Ottawa Senators to name a few, I felt I had the experience needed to apply as a Cruise Director. Now I have been told that promotion is done from within the company and now I understand that.
Now if anyone can help me decide what I should do. The person I was speaking to was saying that it would eventually be quicker to advance by starting as cruise staff if I wanted to become Cruise Director. Now I know they are always hirng cruise youth councellors for the ships, but I am not sure if I would be better off to apply as a DJ or a bartender (both for salary and advancement as I am told they are higher paying jobs) to which I have extensive experience and know that I would ba able to do a good job there are well.
I will just as a few questions note form please tell me what you think. Thanks
Advantages and Benefits between positions of Youth Councellor, DJ, or Bartender, i.e.working conditions, salaries, posibility of advancement, time off etc?
How long is the average time before staff can pobibly get promoted to Cruise Director?
I noticed that DJ's do weddings on the Ships do they get payed extra or tipped as some of the other staff?
Do we eat in the same areas and participate in the same activities as the guests as they do in Club Med?
Are we allowed to go to the Casino in our spare time?
How often do we dock to go around and visit the area?
I was looking into an agent for Royal Carribean Cruise Lines, Celebrity and Cunard Cruises, and I would ideally like to start working in Sept or Oct 94. If any one has worked these ships please let me know about your experiences. Thanks
First of all you don't need an agent unless you're trying to get a job as a dj. Even that you can do without paying someone else. Don't give anyone money to help get you a job on a ship. It usually turns out to be a scam.
Most cruie lines aren't going to hire you as a bar tender. Those position are taken by crew member from countries like the Philipines and Indonesia. Places like that. People form countires such as America, Canada, Australia, ect. normally only get work on the entertainment staff or youth staff. Youth staff is the easiest job to get, but pays the least and if you want to be a Cruise Director (CD) it does nothing for you. DJ and Cruise Staff ( or Social Staff on some cruise lines) pays similar, but you'll eventually have to be Cruise Staff before you could work toward CD. The chain of command is Cruise Staff to Assistant Cruise Director to CD. The DJ and Youth staff fall under the ACD but aren't really in line to become CD. Having experience as a DJ will help you get a job as a DJ on a ship and that might be a way to get your foot in the door. Then try and transfer to become Cruise Staff on your next contract.
Depending on the person and the cruise line, it will most likely take at least three years to become a CD. That's moving up pretty fast. For most people it takes longer. However, if you have all that Emcee experience it will definately help speed up the process a little, but only a little. It comes down to a matter of timing. You need to work your way up the ranks to ACD, then have the CD on your ship leave for some reason so that gives you a chance to fill in and show them what you can do. Then you'll still only be an ACD. You'll then need to work your way to the top of the ACD list and hope a CD retires or a new ship is built. It just takes time and luck. That whole right place at the right time thing. I was on a ship that had no ACD. Out CD left for two weeks and the most senior cruise staff filled in as CD. When the CD came back she was given the title of ACD and within three months was transfered to another ship to fill in a CD again. Now she is the permaneny CD on that ship becuse she performed well when given the opportunity. Had our CD not had to suddenly leave for two weeks allowing her to step in as CD, she would still just be Cruise Staff. It wierd how it all works.
As far as the casino, you can never go in there. That will get you fired. Any of the positions you asked about other than bar tender, are allowed to get off the ship whenever the passengers do. That's a huge perk to being part of the entertainment staff. Also all of those position eat in the same dinig room. Again, not the bar tender. A bar tender is a crew member. It's not a very high ranking position and not one that you would want. I promise.
If you have any other questions let me know. Hopefully I helped. By the way. I know all tis because I just finished working on ships for the past two years. When I left I was an ACD. I also wanted to be a Cruise Director, but don't think I can invest the years that it takes to get to that position. I was moving up fast, and it still wasn't happening. Good luck though. Hopefully you'll get there.
HI there- just wondering how difficult it is to get the position of Group coordinator?
I have years of experience with running and coordinating events as well as corporate events. Are my chances good at being hired right away as coordinator or do I have to go thru all that cruise staff stuff? thanks!
Grandeur of the Seas
Voyager of the Seas, 01/03
Radiance of the Seas, 01/04
Radiance of the Seas, 05/04
Sovereign of the Seas 08/04
If you want to be Groups Coordinator it really has nothing to do with the entertainment staff. Therefore you won't have to work your way through the ranks. With your background, I would think that you would have a very good chance of getting that job. I've seen people hired as the Groups Coordinator that had no experience with running events or corporate functions. The postition is part of the Purser's office, also known as the front office or information desk. They usually have a desk somewhere in the back.
If you go on the different cruise lines websites and look under shipboard employment, you should be able to find it under the purser's office. You may have to apply to work in the pursers office, but in your cover letter of info packet inform them that you're interested in the position of Groups Coordinator. I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think it's a position that is heavily applied for. What is your nationality? If your an American or Canadian, then that will also heavily increase your chances of getting that job. They need someone that speaks English as a first language.
I see that you're going on a cruise in two weeks. While you're there ask to spend some time with the Groups Coordinator. I'm sure they won't at all mind. They'll most likely love the company. Also ask them how they got the job and what steps you should take. Ask them if they'll give you the email address of the person in charge of hiring for that position at the cruise lines headquaters. They'll definately have it. We all do. It's how we communicate with the office. I would go ahead and put together a packet including a photo of yourself and send them out to cruise lines. Then take a packet with you on your cruise and ask the Groups Coordinator to put in the bullet that goes back to the main office. That way the person doing the hiring will get it in there hands right away and you cut out all the time spent trying to get someone to look at your resume.
Good luck with that. Hopefully by the time you leave your cruise you'll be on your way to setting sail for several months.
Wow- that was so helpful, thank you very much! I didn't know that it was part of the purser's department...
I didn't actually understand this part of your explanation:
Quote: " Then take a packet with you on your cruise and ask the Groups Coordinator to put in the bullet that goes back to the main office. That way the person doing the hiring will get it in there hands right away and you cut out all the time spent trying to get someone to look at your resume.
Do you mean to bring up my cv with me?
I am Canadian, speak 3 languages so hopefully that will help too. I love the event planning industry I am in. I think I am ready for an adventure by doing it on ship!
How long is it before someone gets back to you? If I am hoping to start in September when is the best time to send out my CV? Is the any way to request a ship based on having experience already ?(the radiance class has many corporate functions held onboard)
Thank you for all your help! What was your position? What made you decide it was enough? What cruise line did you work for?
Grandeur of the Seas
Voyager of the Seas, 01/03
Radiance of the Seas, 01/04
Radiance of the Seas, 05/04
Sovereign of the Seas 08/04
Okay. This is what you'll need to put together. You need what i'll call an application packet for lack of a better term. In it needs to be your resume (CV), a nice cover letter expressing your desire to be the Groups Coordinator and explaining why you would be perfect for the postition (you know this), and a photo of yourself. In the entertainment world we use headshots. It's an 8x10 photo of yourself from the chest up. Since you most likely don't have a headshot, just use a good photo of yourself. They want to see what you look like. It may not be fair, but it's the way it is. However, you don't need to be a model. Please don't worry about the photo part of this. They just want to see that you're not a freak with pink hair and piercings or tatoos covering your face. Obviously you'll need more than one copy of the picture if you apply to more than one company.
Put all this material into a nice large envelope and mail them to the cruise lines using their employment addresses. Hopefully you can find them. If not I may be able to help.
Let me attempt to answer your question about the part you didn't understand. Cruise lines recieve so many application every day of the week. They literally recieve tens of thousands of application every year. Most of these application and packets are never looked at or even opened. When they do open one it gets a very quick glance, then either thrown away, or passed on to someone who is actually involved in the hiring.
That may be someone who does an initial interview and then moves you forward to the actual person who does the hiring. Or it may be that person directly. It all depends on the cruise line. One of toughest things to do is get your application packet in front of the person who can actually hire you or help move you forward.
Alright now that you understand how hard it is to get your info in the hands of the right person, I'll give a tip to help you do that. Every ship has what is called bullet mail. That's mail that is sent to the cruise lines main office at the end of every cruise. It's generally important mail that needs to get there quick. Things like the previous cruise reports and paperwork like that. Each department sends bullet mail to their department head in the main office at the end of every cruise. Take an application packet with you on your cruise. Maybe two. Get to know the Groups Coordinator and get her to give you the name of her supervisor back at the main office. Write that persons name on the front of your packet. Then just kindly ask the Groups Coordinator if they would add your packet to the bullet mail for that week. They should have no problem doing that if you're nice. Then your packet with quickly get into the hands of the person who can directly hire you and put you to work. Now you just cut out all the waiting time and hoping that your packet makes it to that person's hands the long way. I would still mail a packet as well, but I would definately do this.
To answer all your other questions, there is no way to ever tell how long it will take to here from a cruise line that you've applied to. I had one answer my initial application within a week, and others that I heard from several months later. I was actually getting calls from cruise lines after I had already taken a job with one and was already on the ship working. Send out your application packet now. It takes time. If you get an interview or offer and can't leave until September, tell them that after they've offered you the job. Position always open up. However, I would be ready to go when they call. They'll usualy give you some time to prepare. Usually a few weeks if you need it. There's no way that you couls request a certain ship in the beginning. It's hard to request a ship once you've been working for a while. That's one of the reasons why I just left the business. My girlfriend and I got seperated. She was on one ship. Me on the other, and as much as we begged them to help us, they couldn't or wouldn't. Take whatever they offer you. Then try and make request later.
I've worked for both Holland America and Carnival. Two totally different experiences. When I left I was an Assistant Cruise Director. It sounds like you're interested in Royal Carribean. They also offered me a job. They're hiring process takes a while longer than some of the other cruise lines. They put you through more than one interview and then sometimes on a waiting list. However, I'm not exactly sure how they handle that postion. I left for so many reasons. I would have to write you a book to explain it all, but I do somewhat miss it. There's allot about that lifestyle is so addictive and amazing, but there's also allot that just plain sucks. You'll find out and make your own decisions.
o_t_w: Thanks so much for all your help and information. I'm also looking to apply to work on a ship next fall in the purser department as a receptionist/front desk staff. I'm wondering, how competitive is this position? It's entry level, so I'm assuming the cruise lines have a lot of applications for the purser department.
Oh and one more question: Ship life is obviously not easy. What advice would you give to a new crew/staff working aboard a ship?
I can't even begin to tell you how helpful you have been... thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
I will bring a packet up with me- thank you for that advice. I wasn't sure if I would be allowed to contact the group coordinator but I most certainly will ask now...
Woul dyou by any chance know how long the contract is for this position and the salary range? No one hasd been able to tell me and I sort of would like a heads up so if I am ever contacted I have a general idea of what to expect or bargain with.
Yes I am interested in RCI. I have made some great contacts there and hopefully now, with the info you have given me, I can take action now.
Oh and I do actually have a head shot- need it in the event management industry too, therefore had to get a business profile done.
Is it usually on-the phone interviews or in person?
Again, thank you!
Grandeur of the Seas
Voyager of the Seas, 01/03
Radiance of the Seas, 01/04
Radiance of the Seas, 05/04
Sovereign of the Seas 08/04
I really don't know how comperitive it is to get into the purser's office. On all the ships I've been on the purser's office is comprised of mainly foreigners. Not to many Americans or Canadians. I know that Holland America fills allot of those positions with people from the Philipines and Indonesia. They do this to save themselves money. People from second and third world countries will obviously work for a lot less money than we tend to. However, they do hire a few American/Canadians.
I know that Carnival tends to hire a little more American/Canadians for those postion than some other lines. So try them. I'm not really sure how many Americans apply for those positions. Most America/Canadians that I know through ship always applied to be part of the entertainment or youth staff. I can only assume that being a native English speaker would give you an advantage for that position over those non-native English speakers if you did apply for it. Put together your packet and send it out. I'm sure you'll hear from someone.
Shiplife is a funny thing. Most people either just love it, or they really hate it. There's few that fall in between. I would be one of those few. The best advice I could give you would be to get involved and have a very open mind. A lot of people are shy to all the new cultures that they suddenly find themselves emersed in. So they stick to themselves and take a while to get to know people. A lot of people spend a lot of time by themselves in their room. Please don't do that. Just dive in head first and get involved in everything. Hang out and meet people. Talk to them. Learn all about where everyone is from and what brought them to work on a ship. You'll hear some great stories, and you'll get to know some amazing people.
Also, become friends with the shore excursions department. They can make it so much fun for you. They handle all of the tours in the ports and get to do anything they want generally for free. A lot of the time they take people with them. Even if you don't become good friends with them, still go on tours. You can go for discounted rates, so go. Don't just go to the beach in every port and lie in the sun. Obviously you're going to spend a lot of time doing just that, but go on as many tours as you can. Learn about the places your seeing.
Lastly, don't be affraid of the foreign offices. Ganted some of them can be real arrogant prics, but most of them are really nice. Hang out with them and get to know them. Especially the more senior offices if you have the chance. It's amazing what they can do for you when you need a favor. Whatever you do just have fun. Get involved and have a good time. If you're not having fun, then go home. Don't stay out of guilt thinking you'll be screwing over the company if you leave. Give them your two weeks notice and go home. They'll have no problem quickly replacing you. If you're miserable on a ship, then you make everyone else miserable becuase it's suck close quaters.
Read what I wrote under Crew Conditions if you're more interested in what it's really like on board. Let me forwarn you that in what I wrote I may have made it sound not so glamorous. That's because at times it's not, but it is also tons of fun. I would tell anyone interested to take the plunge and go for it. You'll quickly learn whether your one of the ones that just loves it, or hates it. Either way it will definately be a life changing experience.
Most contracts are for six months. That seems to be the standard for most cuise lines. There were a few that offered shorter, but from what I understand they're all heading in the direction of six months. I have no idea what the salary of the Groups Coordinator is. Sorry.
RCCL usually start you off with a phone interview. Then sometimes they want to give you a webcam interview, but not always. Then depending on the position, they may want you to come to Miami. You should be able to do a webcam interview in place of going to Miami. Good luck.
o_t_w: Thanks again for your reply and informative insight on what it takes to work aboard a ship!!! It is interesting that you mentioned that the pursers' offices have been mainly foreigners. I've been told that the purser's department is composed of mostly American/Canadians, being native English speakers and all. I understand the part about hiring forgeiners to save themselves money--as you mentioned, since they will work for a lot less money than we tend to. I'm thinking this policy is different from cruise line to cruise line..
I am looking into working on either the RCL or Princess (my first choice)..do you think it's possible to apply for two different positions: Purser Staff and Youth Staff? The thing is, I don't have a lot of working experience, because I'm in school full time right now. (Taking time off next fall and spring to work) Would cruise lines consider hiring those who have the education, and skills it takes to perform the job, (and enthusiasm!) even though they may not have tons and tons of experience?
As far as what you've heard regaurding the Purser's staff being mostly American/Canadian, I'm only going by what I've seen on the ships that I've worked on and the Purser's staff that I've worked with. As I mentioned before I have met some American/Canadians working in the Purser's office. However, most of the staff tended to be from South Africa, Europe, and places other than North America. Although I guess there was a good mix of cultures in there. I know for certain that Holland America hire mainly from the Philipines and Indonesia. Their more senior pursers tend to be from Europe (Holland and England especially). I have never worked for Royal Caribbean or Princess and therefor really don't know who they hire for those positions. Maybe that is the case on those lines. I don't know.
Purser's staff and Youth staff are two totally different position in two totally different departments. I say go ahead and apply for both, but not with the same application packet. You don't want to apply for both positions using the same cover letter and at the same time. That may look as if you only want to go on a long vacation and you're not really looking for a job. You're looking to cruise. I get that. Most people are. That's why we all wanted the job in the first place, but it doesn't look good if you send a letter applying for any job that they'll give you. However, if you send seperate application packets to each of those two departments (using the two seperate addresses of course), then one department most likely will never know of the other unless they both want to hire you. At that point one of them will.
If taking that chance makes you nervous then I would just apply for the Youth staff position. Of course each cruise line has there own guidelines for hiring each position, but from what I understand the youth staff is one of the easier positions to come by. With little experience in either area, you most likely have a better chance of getting that job that you do the purser. I say apply for them both, just not together in the same letter. Then again, I could be wrong.
how about this, you put your email address on here and I'll get in touch with you. after that i don't care if you email me with your questions. i was once the one asking all the questions. the only way to learn anything is to ask.
Thank you for the info. I haven`t been on the computer latelyand that why it took so long to reply. The fact is as well that my boss of my present job is trying to keep me here but I want to leave.
I have a few more questions if you could answer please.
How many DJs are there on the ship. Can I play for the staff as well or just the guests. Do I have to play everynight or can someone fill in for me sometimes. What is the policy for tipping the DJ. I was thinking of putting a tip jar beside a request list
There's only one DJ per ship, and he or she plays at least six nights a week. Some cruise lines may want you play every night since that is your only job on board. However, most will give you one night a week off. Now the night that you get off is chosen by the Cruise Director and it always stays the same. It's up to the CD to make any changes. Normally no one is going to fill in for you since you are the only "professional DJ" on board.
If someone offers you a tip, take it. However, when it comes to things like putting out a tip jar, that is all up to the CD and Hotel Director. The Hotel Director is over the CD and basically the top dog. The only person over the Hotel Director is the Captain and his job is geared more toward the technical side of things and making sure the ship doesn't sink. I wouldn't think the HD or CD would go for the tip jar, but who knows. I've seen crazy things that they've okayed. You do make extra money for playing at events like weddings and private parties. That usually pays about $50 a hour or so depending on the cruise line, and then the party may tip you.
It's hard for the DJ to play for the crew since you're working every night in the disco. You may get the opportunity to play the later part of a crew party once you've finished in the disco and the crew party is still going. This is actually a problem on some ships. When they have crew parties it's hard to find a DJ. Usually one of the other crew members will volunteer to be the DJ, and then everyone is at their mercy. Also, whenever I would ask my DJ to play a crew party they normally didn't really want to do it. They would claim that it's to hard to please such an eclectic crowd. The crew is very diverse and very few are American. So I guess it's tough to find music that people from all over the world are into. I don't know. I never tried to DJ a crew party.
As far as the position, it all depends on the person. I've had DJs that get out meet everyone and get heavily involved in crew life. They seem to have a lot of fun. Then I've also had DJs that I rarely saw. They worked all night and slept all day, and didn't really get involved with the other crew. No none really knew them. To me that seems to be a lonely existence, and one I wouldn't recomend. It can be a good job. You don't have to deal with much of the bullshit. You have to deal much with the whole pecking order of things since you rarely come in contact with the offices. You really only have to deal with keeping the CD happy and the people in your disco. You can always get off in every port with the passenger or fellow crew since you'll rarely ever work during the day. The down side would be that you will miss most of what's happening in the crew life. It will be hard to make it to any of the parties and activities since you're working during those hours, and therefore you may have to put out some extra effort to get to know people. You're part of the entertainment staff and therefore can go anywhere on the ship that you want other than the casino and a passenger's cabin. All in all, I would say that it's a great position to have with a lot of perks.
on_the_water: Received. Will write you email shortly. Got some pretty exciting news. I actually got a call two nights ago with a job offer for a junior purser/receptionist position aboard a cruise ship. (It's so soon, really unexpected) I had to turn the offer down though, but I will be contacting them back in the next year or so. Won't get into too many details here, but I'm pretty stoked. (Does anyone even use that word anymore?)
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU ABOUT PUTTING IN A APPLICATION TO WORK ON A CRUISE LINE. I UNDERSTAND IT'S HARD TO GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE TO EVEN SEE YOUR APPLICATION. WHAT IS THE EASIEST JOB TO GET, JUST TO GET MY FOOT IN THE DOOR??
There really isn't a job that I would say is definately the easiest to get. It depends on so many different factors. First of all is what are you're qualified to do. What is your background in, and do you have any work experience? Then comes factors that you can't control such as: timing - what positions are open that they need to fill immediatly, how many new ships are getting ready to be launched that they to staff, what time of year is it and how crowded are the ships, and has anyone recently quit and opened up a position for you?
There are alot of factors that you can't control. The cruise lines employ so many people, and they do so on a contract basis. Meaning you work on the ship for six months or so, then go home for six to eight weeks, and then out to another ship. They're hoping their trained staff will continue to work one contract after another. However, there are so many crew members that do one contract for the experience and then decide that it's not the life they want, and so they don't return for another. In that case the cruise line has to suddenly find someone to fill that void. That's how it works. Fortunately for you this happens all the time, and therefore cruise lines are constantly hiring, but for what position may vary.
Right now I would say that Youth staff is a position that is being heavily recruited. It is the summer and there are lots of kids on board. The youth staffs are heavily overstaffed this time of year. Although with summer coming to end this will change. However, realize that many of the people filling these jobs are doing so for only the summer and then they'll head back to school. It also is one of the easiers jobs to get. You don't need to have a tremendous amount of experience.
If you just want to get your foot in the door, then do some research on all the position on board and decide which one you are most suited for. Then start sending out those application packets. If you haven't done so already, take some time and read the previous messages in this thread. There's a lot of info provided in them and it should help. If you have any other questions just ask, but do yourself a favor and do some homework on what they have to offer and what it is really like to work and live on a ship. You don't want to just start sending out resumes asking for any job on board. They'll never hire you. They'll think you just want to go on permanent vacation. You also don't want to get hired and suddenly be in for a rude awakening when you find out what it's really like out there. Gook luck.