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Old May 20th, 2014, 06:15 PM
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Default My experience about working for Costa Cruise as an international host / hostess

Hi everybody,
I just would like to share with you my experience as an international hostess working for Costa Cruise. Indeed, my feedback will probably be useful to other people considering this job. When I applied, I looked online for review but I didn't find many things.. so here is experience.
After sending my resume, I've been invited to a group interview. There, the interviewer told us all kind of wonderful things about Costa and the job of international hostess, he told us that the job will be really easy and relax, working 8 hours per days maximum, enjoying ourselves with passengers of our nationality, just doing some translation work and going with them on excursions. He also told us that the salary will be 1800 euros + 200euros bonus which is really easy to get.
It looked great and the recruiters were really nice so when they told me that I have been selected and they would like to "invite" me to the training session, I accepted.
But here is the thing.. when they "invite" you to the 3 weeks training session in Genova, you have to pay for everything yourself : Your accommodation, your flight to get there, your transportation, your food... I ended up spending over 1000 euros for this 3 weeks training.
The training itself wasn't too bad as we were a nice group but it was all about theoretical stuff and brainwash, from 9 am to 6 pm, every day. And days after days, we all started to disenchant about working as an international host/hostess for them as we learned the truth about the job.. The trainers told us that we were going to work an average of 12-13hours per day as we have to be around all day long to serve the guest of our nationality. And it's really about "serving" we are talking about, they tell you that being an international hostess is much more that being an hostess, but it is actually what you are : an host/hostess, nothing more. You start working at around 8am until 11pm- midnight, every single day ( as you need to be there during the cocktail parties and night events to ensure the happiness of your guests). But once at the cocktail party, don't thing you will enjoy yourself with passengers, the trainers clearly told us that we will just stand there and wait, talking to people and making sure they are having a great time. The new Costa legislation is a 0 alcool policy for all members of staff! So you won't be able to have a drink with your guests while at the cocktail party. They also told us that we will have to buy our mandatory uniform, that we will not get ANY day off during our 6 month contract and that after our contact, we won't get any paid holiday at all. (so we'll need to save part of our salary to cover our living expenses when we will be on "holiday"). So at the end, the salary is not that good anymore if you consider that you will work an average of 12 hours per day, no day off, and no paid holidays. About the 200 euros bonus that was suppose to be esay to get, it actually depends on how much paid services you sell onborad to passengers. (how many excursions, drink package...) because beside being an host/hostess, you also are a sell person and a big part of the training is about how to sell all kind of stuff to the "guests". The training duration is 3 weeks and you have an exam at the end of each week. At the end of the training, you have a personal interview with the trainers and they give you feedbacks about how you did. Turned out that beside the exams we took, they have been observing us during the 3 weeks, how we interacted with each other, either or not we were smiley and happy all the time (Costa image..) and so on.. and they have been doing so for a reason...Indeed we thought that as we have been invited to the training it meant that we will all get the job... wrong! Turned out that out of around 15 people who did the training, 5 did not get accepted!! These people did great at the written exam it is just that after observation, they were not good enough for the job. Some of these people got completely dismissed and did not received any compensation for all the traiinng expenses as they didn't match the "Costa image" and some other were offered lower qualification jobs. Then at the end of the training, for the few lucky ones who has been approved started a long wait. They tell you they will get in touch soon after you get back home to tell you when does you contract begin. The reality is that you can wait for months and months until they do so..if they do!
Some people who has been accepted NEVER got called and Costa stop answering their emails for no reasons! So it is basically 1000 euros thrown our the windows...This is so not professional for a huge company like Costa! We are actually there at their disposal, and they call us whenever they need us. They have no respect for the person that we are, all they want is to have people available when they need to fulfil a position that have been left by somebody else. Indeed, most of the international host and hostess only do one contact when they discover the reality of the job, lots of them even quit before the end of their contract. This is why they constantly need to have trained people waiting, at the disposal.
I personally only did one 5 months contract with them and it was really had to stay until the end. You have no free time at all and they can call can any time, day and night if someone need you, you always need to be ready..
Beside that, they are also so disrespectful to other "third countries" nationalities crew onboard. They are are sooo exploited, underpaid and Costa have no respect for them at all. It was really sad to witness that..
Well, I also had a few good moments as I made god friends there among the crew and I got to see nice places ( also don't think that you will go in the Caribbean, Australia or other cool places for your first contract! Almost all first contracts are in Europe, so you do mainly France, Spain and Italy..), but I don't think I will ever work for them again, there other cruise line which are far more respectful of their crew so I think I will apply somewhere else for the futur.
And please don't get me wrong, my goal is not to denigrate Costa Cruise or the job of international host/ hostess here, each company has it's own ways of operating and each person think differently. I just wanted to share with you my experience to help you understand the reality of the job, as I wish I had known that before I applied.
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