Posted by:  Tim Chen, OSU Student and Career Services Career Assistant

Are you interested in finding a job that gives you a chance to explore the world?  If so, consider looking into job opportunities with various cruise lines.  The top cruise lines in the United States are based in Miami, Florida.  With various routes used all year long, Cruise ship companies are always looking for people to employ.  There are many different job opportunities available on board each cruise ship depending on the skills and/or abilities you would like to bring with you.

I had a chance to attend an Alaskan Cruise last summer.  During their last trip, the cruise director of the Serenade of the Seas had talked about the employment process for working on a cruise ship.  Although not all companies follow this process, this particular company seeks interested applicants and will place them in a short seasonal contract (3 months), to try out the position.  If the employee enjoys their job, then they are generally offered a contract that lasts for about 8-10 months.

The advantage for working as a crew member on a cruise ship is the ability to travel to many attractive destinations.  Although most of the time is spent on the cruise ship, crew members often have a chance to visit and shop the various destinations.  Also, because the crew members live on the cruise ship, they don’t have to worry about paying rent for a place to live, and they also have access to free meals, free laundry, free medical insurance (required by maritime law), and a free shared room on the ship.  All in all, this can save the crew member expenses when working on board the ship.

The potential disadvantage is the amount of hours worked in a week.  Although each position has specific details, most crew members work roughly 12-14 hours 7 days a week.  Crew members are guaranteed breaks throughout the day to compensate for the long hours.  Another fact is that crew members generally share a bunked bed in the lower cabins of the ship, which do not contain any windows.  The living areas may not be appealing for those who are picky about where they sleep at night.  Finally, this position is NOT recommended for those with sea sickness.

All in all, working on a cruise line is definitely an experience!  It provides an opportunity to gain many skills such as work safety, first aid, and customer service skills.  Best of all, you have the ability to meet people from all over the world.  Cruise ship lines always hire crew members from various parts of the world, so there is a high level of diversity on board the ship.  I remember that my cruise director made the joke saying that if the cruise ship was a country recognized by the United Nations, it would be one of the most peaceful places in the world.  That statement reflects the amazing diversity experience people can gain from traveling and working with the crew members in a cruise ship.