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Old August 11th, 2015, 05:03 AM
taoist taoist is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Exclamation Please read before posting! - Awaiting ship offer - Awaiting start date - Gap pool

Hi All,

As we get a lot of repeat questions from new starters asking how long it will take from getting a job offer to actually starting work on a cruise ship, I thought it would be useful to make a thread explaining how the process works:

Most crew are usually recruited through a hiring partner, but depending on the cruise line and the type of position, you may be hired directly via the cruise line. In either case, if you pass the interview, you will usually recieve a confirmation that you have been accepted for the role, and they will keep you on their records for when a position becomes available.

Its unlikely, at this stage, that you will recieve an actual letter of employment, or job contract, unless they have an urgent requirement for you to start immediately. What they will normally do is put you into the gap pool.

The gap pool, or talent pool, is a concept most cruise lines use to manage their new starters.

The gap pool exists as a means to transition new starters into the cruise line as and when they have a need for them.
Due to the fact that most crew are working on a contract basis, when one crew members contract finishes and they go home, the cruise line needs to arrange for another staff member to join the ship the day the other member of crew leaves.
Some departments are large with hundreds of crew, and others are very small with possibly only one or two staff. If you get a job offer working in a small department and the staff on board the ship are only halfway through a six month contract, then you will have a 3 month wait before a position may become available, as it will be 3 months until they sign off.
Large departments like housekeeping and food & beverage have hundreds of crew on each ship. Turnover is high so its very likely you will get a job offer soon.

The big cruise lines have a massive workforce across the fleet totalling tens of thousands, the majority of which are all on contracts of varying lengths so staffing requirements constantly change on a daily basis.
There are many factors at play, people "no showing" for new contracts, people quitting at short notice, people taking emergency leave for family issues, schedule changes, new ships being launched, departments being expanded or reduced. Because of this Cruise lines do not hire staff when they need them....they hire staff BEFORE they need them. With such a massive workforce they need to cover all possible situations.
As all of these factors change continuously, its pretty much impossible for a cruise line or hiring partner to predict when you will start. That is why they have the gap pool, to keep a wide selection of new starters, effectively on standby until a space becomes available. As soon as one becomes available, you can be sure the cruise line will contact you!


Here are the the key things you need to know:

  • There is no set time period from being offered a job - it could be days, weeks or months.
  • You should keep in contact with your hiring partner regularly just to make sure they know you are still available and interested.
  • You will probably not recieve any kind of letter of employment (LOE) or job contract, until a position becomes available. This might make you feel a little nervious, not having anything in your hand other than an email from the hiring partner, but this is generally how it works. A cruise line will not give you a job contract until they actually need you.

For me personally, it was 5 months between getting confirmation of being accepted and actually starting my contract.

If you have any further questions on this subject, please post them here rather than start a new thread. Thanks!
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