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Old September 13th, 2008, 12:36 PM
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Default Financial Position or Purser Information?

Hi Everyone

I'm hoping that someone on this site will be able to help me out since nowhere else that I've looked has been able to provide me with much information. My apologies in advance if this is long but I wanted to try make sure I don't create any confusion or leave things out.

I’m extremely interested in working for a cruise line next year along the lines of something like Royal Caribbean or if possible Crystal Cruises.

In particular I am interested in a position as a Purser or any other position which would involve accounting or financial work.

I have managed to get hold of the only recruitment or manning agent in my country for one of the larger cruise lines in order to obtain a general idea of what positions might be available and the related processes. He told me that in order to work as a purser I need to have at least one other language and either a hotel school qualification or experience at a 5* hotel in the reception area otherwise the cruise line won’t even glance in my direction.

Unfortunately I don’t possess any of these pre-requisites and towards the end of the conversation he blatantly told me that I was actually overqualified and there is no chance that I would land up working on a cruise ship. It’s strange that, since I always thought that overqualified meant that a person could do the job quickly and more efficiently than someone else

My "over qualification" is that at the end of the year I will be a qualified Chartered Accountant which is the US equivalent of a CPA. According to the recruitment agent there are no financial positions aboard the ship where I would be able to work. Although most people seem to have the idea that accountants spend their days at the back of an office I have spent the past three years of my articles gaining invaluable accounting and financial knowledge. I also spend my days dealing with difficult clients' staff, their directors and managers where people skills are an absolute necessity.

I have also been involved in the security industry for the past 8 years from VIP work to running the security for large public events which once again involves problem solving and interacting with various people from the event co-coordinators to the guests.

Aside from the accounts and security I have also been extremely involved as a member of the Police Service for the past 5 years. This which has given me excellent experience in dealing with people, especially in very stressful and tense situations that need to be resolved quickly and efficiently with very little time to make potential life changing decisions. I believe I have excellent communication skills and as you can see I'm probably not what one would consider your "regular blue shirt accountant" and thoroughly enjoy interacting with other people on a regular basis.

I was wondering if anyone would be able to help me out with information about the financial positions or purser roles on board a ship. Am I overqualified for those positions as the agent pointed out or would I still be able to be employed by a cruise ship and in what position? I know I don’t have the "hotel industry" qualifications but I still think I have gained invaluable people skills and experience in other challenging environments. Working on a cruise ship is also something I’ve always wanted to do and something I’m pretty determined about.

I know there is a lot of hard work and long hours involved which isn’t something that worries me since working in accounts from 8am till 8pm then going straight onto police shift from 8pm till 3am is a regular occurrence for me.

The agents can’t provide much information and based on previous posts the members here appear very knowledgeable. If you could help me with any information, recommendations or suggestions I would really appreciate it.
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Old September 13th, 2008, 02:59 PM
sz sz is offline
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For RCCL, the positions are "Financial Controller" which was also recently called "Chief Purser", and then many of the "2nd" purser roles deal with financial matters, 2nd purser admin, 2nd purser guest, 2nd purser crew, crew payroll manager are the terms I know.

From what I've seen- the recruiter is fairly dead on with the requirements - all the new folks I've seen come in have worked at resorts or hotels, or have gone to school specifically for hotel management. Can't think of anyone who doesn't speak two or more languages either (Spanish, Portuguese, German are popular)

Have you tried applying directly to the cruise lines? You can just google each big line along with employment and it will lead you to a career site - many that you can apply online for and see job requirements.

http://www.hcareers.com is a good site to see what's available

also - go to facebook and type in "purser" - about 5 of the major lines have purser groups. Maybe someone can help you there?
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Old September 13th, 2008, 11:08 PM
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look; I'm about to go on my firt tour on Carnival as a purser; but I've been working in tourism for a while and the basics are languages... all the other tehnical stuff can be learned quite easy. otherwise there shouldn't be a problem. your "owerqualification" probablly means that with your level of education and knowlege; you woun't be satified by the work callenges and the pay(carnival is 1500 $ for 3rd purser and you must start at that and get promoted later on). if the money is not the problem; and you are going for the experience you should point that out on the interview. if the agent in your country will not take you - go to some of the neighbouring countries or aplly online.

but I have a sugestion for you; why not try in casino onboard? cashier maybe? check online for jobs and specks and aplly online at least . it takes a bit longer to get the inteview that way but you cut out the midlle man .

where are you from?
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Old September 18th, 2008, 11:19 AM
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Thanks for your replies so far.

With going straight to the cruise lines I was under the impression that you should rather go through the recruitment agent?
The sites do offer certain jobs although they tend to be for the bar or waitress or chef or engineering positions but im going to keep looking. If an application does come through thats been made online how easy is it to organise the rest such as the medical etc?

The pay isnt a problem and its one of the sacrifices im prepared to make for the experience and the other skills that will more than likely be gained.

I asked about a position in the casino. The requirement is that you need casino experience, especially if you going to be dealing. This is probably the first mimimum requirement that I actually agree with and understand. To work as a cashier in the casino you have to have banking experience, once again a requirement that I cant seem to come to terms with as it makes no sense.

Im from South Africa so not sure exactly which neighbouring countries would be recruiting, I dont think somewhere like Zimbabwe would have a large market.

Any other help or suggestions would really be appreciated
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Old September 20th, 2008, 08:02 PM
sz sz is offline
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Can only speak for my cruise line . . . . but when I've mentioned issues with recruiters - the shoreside office tells me to tell the potential employee to send their info directly to the HR/departments. If they're interested in you - they'll let you know. I applied directly, and even after an interview physically at the Miami office, still got bounced back to the hiring partner to logistically get me aboard the first ship assignment. If you get to point where you have to get a medical, you know you're close to being onboard. I live 4 hours away from Miami - so getting down there for all the paperwork was no big deal.

Be aware that casinos on many ships are a 'concession', i.e. an outside company. The spa/salon, photographers and shops onboard are also concessions. If you go to work with them, you'll most likely stay with them and can be transferred between cruise lines. You would get these jobs by applying to the concession, not the cruise line.

Recruiters and hiring partners get their money from the cruise lines for successful placement of a person on the ship.

If you've been reading the cruise news over the past few months, you'll know that many shoreside offices have suffered cutbacks. I know for my line, that included people who hire. You might just want to send out your resume/CV again, just in case things got lost in the shuffle.

When I first applied for ships - it was March 2001. The first weekend I had a response (from a now defunct line), but I was on a ship by June. And was still getting nibbles from at least 3 or other lines over the next 6 months. Don't be afraid to send out your info more than once, and follow up on any leads.
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