I have a couple of questions.
I'm deeply considering a life change to go work on cruise ships but I need your opinion. This is not a sudden thought; I've had it for almost half of my life now but have never acted on it.
During my first cruise I thought to myself how great it would be to work on a cruise ship. But I was in college and my family told me to stay in college, being young I listened. Now six cruises later I'm older, I've been in my field for two years and I still want to work on a cruise ship, making sure people are having a wonderful time. One problem is I now have a four year degree in Engineering and a resume built towards that.
I'm always smiling, I love providing great customer service, I love getting people involved in activities, I've grown up on the water and I wakeboard and slalom ski (I've also been on the local and cruise ships "flowrider" many times), worked in the boating industry (customer service) for 5 years and I think I would love working on a ship waking up on the ocean everyday.
I think I would be a good fit for the activities department, getting people involved in rocking climbing, dodge ball, volleyball, flow rider, etc. and being apart of shows such as rccl quest and dancing. This would lead me to believe I'd fit in well on rccl ships.
After reading anything I can find from people who have worked on cruise ships (reading closely those that have worked for rccl), I find almost nothing but negativity towards the company. Is it really that bad? Has anyone worked for the activities department onboard a rccl ship? What do you think?
Past cruises I've been on, the people working on the ship told me I would be an excellent fit. My friends think I would too. How can I get my resume in front of the thousands of other people that apply to work for the cruise line?
I realize that the hours are long on board, but I've seen staff on the beach or going on tours before. Is this only available for people with higher positions? What should I expect if I worked for the act. dept.?
I have other questions, but I think this is a good start and I look forward to any reply's.
It takes a certain personality to enjoy working on cruise ships. From what I have read, be prepared to work! It sounds like 16 hour work days, no days off for 6-8 months, you share a cabin with at least 2 people, your space is very limited and confining.
That being said, yes it is only 6-8 months, if you play your cards right you can see the world, but sometimes you cannot get off the ship at certain ports because you may be required to work while the ship is in port. Many times I see staff while in port over looking the rail with the look on their faces 'how I wish I could get off this ship'. Communications with your family is limiting, you will probably miss holidays and celebrations, and the pay is really nothing to write home about.
I see people who are working on ships now on Facebook who seem like they can't wait to get off the ship and begrudgingly sign up for another contract, or the thrill in their comments that they will no longer be returning to their ship.
Like the other posts mentioned, why not give it a try. Go through the whole process, get your paperwork in, try to get the interviews, and you can always say no, or try it and it's only 6-8 months. Now is the time to try it. You can continue to do your homework. Try to find some folks who presently work on ships. See if there is one that docks near you and see if you can find some staff to talk to. I know on some ships, the staff have their own entrance/exit, you may not get near it, but maybe you can see it from a distance, see who is getting on/off and chat with them.
I say try it, but realize, it is anything but a glamorous life.
I have not worked on RCCL but recently got off a Princess ship and currently on vacation before I start my next contract. With that, I cannot say what the conditions for working on an RCCL or working with RCCL for that matter.
With Princess, being in the entertainment dept ie assistant cruise director or deputy assistant cruise director, you are considered an officer on board the ship. With this position, comes the perks and priviledges of being an officer. You work mostly 10-12 hour days most times but you have access to all the passenger areas. Not many crew members that work on board the ship have that access.
Your living quarters are shared with another crew member most times but on my last ship, all the ACD and JACD have their own cabin. It all depends on the ship and the number of staff within that department. The cabin is pretty big to my standard. It is like the size of an average bedroom at a single family home minimum.
There are cabin stewards that comes in every day and clean your room for you. So the thought of having someone clean your room for 6 months is very appealing. Lol
Depending on the activities for that day, you are able to go out and enjoy all the ports. Even go on the ships organised tours. Again, that comes as a perk for being an officer.
Being a member of the cruise staff, you are highly visible and need to be very sociable with the passengers. Reading from the post that you mentioned, it sounds like you have all the necessary skills required for the position. I advise that you really think about if that is what you want to do. Like the poster above mentioned, the pay is not that great but imagine the resume that you will have.
There are pros and cons of working on a cruise ship. Too many to detail. If you want to know more, just let me know and I will be more than happy to help you.
You say you have an engineering degree, what in can I ask??
Without knowing I cannot say but if if for example it was in electronics or electrical, then I would forget about activities and apply for an engineering position.
Engineering have by far the best conditions and benefits on any cruise line along with bridge officers. I can speak for RCCL, they have single cabins, cabin attendants, full access to all guest facilites, much better pay and superior contract durations of 10 weeks on 10 weeks off.
Benefits wise there is no comparison between activities staff and engineering. Pay whether you are on or off the ship.
Activities staff are pretty towards the lower end in terms of benefits onboard. However on the flip side you have job satisfaction, you might find the activities staff position more interesting or rewarding and prefer the environment, thats down to you. I dont think activities staff work in the position for a long time, unless they get promoted significantly, more of short term experience.
Certainly if I had the qualifications engineering position is something I would go for as it is something you could do as a career or at least fairly long term.
taoist has a great point. If your degree is in mechanical, ocean, electrical, or environmental engineering you should really thinking about an engineering position on ships instead. Much better accommodations, contract length, benefits, etc.