My wife and I (newly weds!) have been looking at getting jobs onboard a cruise ship. We don't have that much money saved up yet, dont have much money to spend, and love to travel, so we thought getting a job onboard would be an ideal job! We've taken a NCL cruise before and loved it, and have been leaning toward applying to NCLA (we're both american citizens). Just a few questions though...
What would the lowest pay rate be on NCLA? I'm assuming a dishwasher or other galley position would have the lowest pay? Any ideas what that is? I assume they are requried to atleast meet minimum wage?
Neither one of us speak any languages other than English. Will this be a problem for us in terms of landing a job?
From what I've read, the cruise line will accomodate married couples... do married couples get cabins together/alone? Can one of us accecpt a job offer based on if they extend an offer to the other person? (We'll take the jobs only if you hire both os us). Has this been done before? Does it seem unprofessional?
Applying for a job as a couple is not unheard of, but not the ideal position, either. However, my guess is that if you both express an interest in working hard NCLA would be happy to talk to you and if they like you might hire you. If they do, you would definitely be given a cabin for just the two of you.
You sound pretty young, but I wouldn't settle for the lowest paying position if I were you. I would suggest the two of you get some experience working as waiters for 6 months, and then apply for that job.
Or room steward is always an alternative.
I will go out on a limb, assuming you are not an entertainer or certified sailor, and say that bartending would probably be the ideal job in terms of pay and hours. But they want experienced bartenders, so you would need to get some training and experience first.
Here is my worry, that if you went to NCLA and said you would take a dishwashing job just because you want to travel that they would see you becoming one of the crewmembers they have the most problems with - the ones who come on board thinking it is going to be a "fun job" with "travel" and end up finding out doing the same itinerary for 4 months is not exactly "travel," it is more like "relocating to Hawaii." Those people become disillusioned with the job and often become the complainers.
What they want are people with realistic expectations of the job they are walking into, and are doing it to work and save money, not just for a chance to get on a cruise ship.
I'm very new, in fact I haven't sailed yet for a cruiseline yet but I can give you some advice as a merchant mariner working the lowest of low paying jobs and under the worst conditions. Don't worry about the rate of pay! There's overtime!
On another note(3rd party information), I have worked with MATSON, AMERICAN PRESIDENT LINES AND PATRIOT and I sincerely believe that most marriage between mariners work because they do not ship out together.
Good luck and don't worry so much! You will love it and you'll make a fair bit of coing no matter what the hourly/per diem is....
And, Paul, I'm a huge fan of your posts...been reading all week!
Why don't you work on a cruise ship, are you nuts?
Hi Paul Motter! Your post has been the most helpful and I hope to seek your guidance and advice regarding married couples having jobs onboard
I've been doing a lot of research myself about this topic in particular. I have a similar situation with my husband who comes from a family of seafarers and he has already taken the initial steps in applying to either a Food/Dining or Hotel staff position. I also have had my share of experience in hospitality, but career-wise,since my most recent job was in corporate training and dev't, I would like to apply for a position in either HR, Hotel administration or even guest relations. I can also say we definitely have a realistic expectation of the job - long hours, 0 days off, heavy lifting, you name it, we're definitely willing.
I would like to know our chances of getting hired as a couple... I've been reading that cabin assignments would greatly depend on the number of people in each department and to which departments my husband and I would belong to. (if that would be the case then we'd try our luck applying for positions in the same department) My hubby and I really don't mind bunking with 3 other people, just as long as we are together. It would really put our minds at ease not having to worry about getting separated as we can definitely assure our recruiters, and most importantly our employers, that counterproductivity would not be an issue for us as we are highly focused and dedicated to work (and in dire need of savings).
We have been going through great measures to expand our skillsets so as to be flexible in any available position that would allow us to stay together.
Would you happen to know which cruise lines would be able to accommodate our request and what are our chances?
I would greatly appreciate your response...Thanks!
I worked for NCLA for a year, on two different ships.
Yes, they DO hire married couples, but unless one or both of you have a higher position on the ship than the masses, you WILL NOT be housed together. Although they may try to accommodate you as a couple, the ship has a limited number of crew cabins, and even fewer with beds that fit more than one person. Most crew cabins are 2+ bunks to a room. The exception would be for those with higher positions; Restaurant Manager, Housekeeping Manager, etc.
PLEASE DO NOT mistake working on a cruise ship for being on a cruise!!! Most (young) Americans who get jobs on cruise ships think they are going to have a relaxing time and see all the sights, get a tan, have a social life...
Working on a cruise ship is working in hospitality. HOSPITALITY.
You are being paid to provide an "experience". It is NOT a vacation! And those who get on board ships and think of it as so just make more work for those of us who actually understand our jobs.
People are always getting sick, and if your roommate gets Code Brown (diarrhea) they and YOU will be quarantined in your room for 3 days.Together. Someone always has Code Brown.
Crew have their own Mess. It would be WAY too expensive to feed crew the same food as passengers. I'm being nice when I say, "Our food looked like they threw whatever they had in a bucket and stirred it with a big stick." Needless to say everyone loses weight; from the terrible food and all the walking from bow to stern. Sometimes in the evening, we would get leftovers from the passenger buffet like fish fillets or lamb chops, but rarely.
Thankfully, I worked in, and had many friends in, a Specialty Restaurant who would hook me up with decent grub.
Anytime we had off the ship, we ALWAYS went out to eat (and tipped really well).
What you can bring on board is also highly controlled. You CANNOT bring anything that is hot, fresh, alive, etc. Any food items must be "factory sealed". Some people get creative, but it's not really worth it.
Guests treat you like crap. But it is your job to smile, take it, and somehow fix it even though you have no real power.
You are essentially on a hotel, which is run like a small contained city. You will work 60+ hours a week (unless hired for a position above deck, like the few chosen who run the games and daily activities for guests). You will be LUCKY if you get one 1/2 day off a week.
Pay is not great. Though, the higher up you go, the more you get paid. The perk is that you really don't have any expenses, and so could potentially save money.
NCLA has a very high turn-over rate. You will get the opportunity to meet a lot of people. A lot of very different people. And a lot of young kids who have never left their parents' houses and play musical beds every night.
I still have a few good friends from the ship, but most of the other employees were not people I cared to keep in touch with. I was also fortunate to have great roommates.
The best times to get on a cruise ship are if they are moving a ship from one port to another really far away, or bringing out a new ship. I was very fortunate to have been able to bring out a new ship from Germany, to the US Eastern Starboard, through the Panama Canal, Central America, California, and back to Hawaii. I think that was the best part of the job. We even lived in Germany for one month.
Also, being on the fire team was super cool. The Medic and other emergency teams would have been good, too.
So, here's my two cents to people when I hear they want to work on a cruise ship:
It is NOT a vacation.
Have you ever worked in the hospitality field?
Are you willing to work and live with people you don't like for not much pay?
Some people are able to advance rather quickly, but most do not and the bad ones tend to pull the rest down. While on-board, I applied for a position I was overqualified for, which was also within my Degree, and got denied. They gave it to someone without any qualifications, background, experience, education... (but I am happy that he did a good job)
In order for me to move up from my position (I was training my new Manager on their job), I would have had to move down first and fight my way back up instead of being promoted to the title of the job I was already doing (without the pay). But I was exempt from Tips as I was considered "management".
It's a bureaucracy, which works for some.
You do NOT eat the same food as guests.
If you can, try to get a specialty job for fire drills/emergencies.
Most of the crew are kinda nuts, but I guess you have to be a special kind of person to be able to do that kind of work.
I am glad I did it, but I really don't recommend it to anyone unless you REALLY know and are prepared for what you're getting into. Or get an amazing position.
And, unless I had a pretty high position and knew I wouldn't have to mingle too much with the masses, I would NEVER put my marriage/husband through it. Ship life is crazy (like a college dorm on steroids and alcohol). Unlike anything else. If you are going to do it, put a time frame on it, like one contract and then re-evaluate. You don't want to risk your marriage for an experience you could have paid $600 for and walked away still happily married.
I have a lot of question about job in NCLA. I appreciate a lot if you can share with me your experience on NCLA.
1. Do you know the salary for Cabin Stewardess (Because i applied for this position, i had to apply this position because i only have experience with Star Cruises - Asian cruise company- and they paid monthly. But now i live in USA so they must pay hourly)
2. If NCLA count 40 hour/week so if i work 84 hour/week then the overtime pay should be 44 hour.
3. Can i transfer to NCL International and still get pay hourly (as i know most of the Cruise Line International paid the Asian crew monthly about $700/month for position Laundry Attendant). I if i work for NCL International then i also get pay monthly?
4.Can you tell me somthing about Housekeeping Crew on NCL ( i know they are American but are they white or Asian - Chinese or Spanish or Philipino?). And what kind of uniform are they wearing? Black shoes or white.
The reason i ask this question because i need to know their uniform so i can bring the right things when i sign on. I used to bring the wrong things on my first contract then i got a lot of trouble before.
5. I live in Seattle. Can you suggest me to buy cell phone and sim card in Seattle or i should get it in Hawaii for beter sinal.
Thanks a lot