Frequently asked questions
- How long are the contracts for?
Contracts can vary between 7-9 months depending on which cruise line you will be working for. After each contract you will have a work break that can range from 4-8 weeks.
- How will I get paid?
Depending on the cruise line, you may be paid bi-weekly or monthly. You will be paid on OceanPay Card. You will need to take some cash, ATM card/and or credit cards with you to carry you through the first month. You’ll find you probably won’t use much, but better too much than too little. In most cases you will be paid in U.S. cash.
- What do I do about banking?
You have a few options, you can open an account in your homeport, or in one of the ports in your itinerary. We suggest making money orders and sending them home to either a family member, a friend or directly to your bank. It is probably the smartest and safest option.
- Who do I work for?
The cruise line or concession that hires you will be your employer. Please take notice that all cruise lines have different rules and regulations that need to be followed. Failure to do so can result in dismissal.
- How often will I be working?
In most cases, you can expect to work 7 days/week and anywhere from 8-12 hours/day. Steiner spa employees will work 5 1/2 days/week, and 10 hours/day.
- Can I make phone calls?
There are phones in all cabins onboard, you can purchase a crew calling card to make phone calls from your cabin. You will have access to crew calling centers at mostly every port.
- What am I responsible for as far as living expenses?
All your food and accommodations are provided. Cruise lines also provide medical insurance whilst under contract. You will be required to pay for any incidentals, souvenirs, as well as any alcoholic beverages.
- Do I share a cabin?
Yes, all the cabins are small and compact and are shared with one other person of the same sex. Most cabins have a bathroom, however some bathroom facilities can be shared by up to four people. The cabins are cleaned with linen changed daily by your cabin steward if you are a staff member.
- Can I do laundry on the ship?
Yes, you may have access to laundry facilities or a service will be offered for a nominal fee.
- Do I have to wear a uniform?
Yes, your uniform is supplied by the cruise line and will be given to you upon arrival to the ship. In some instances you may have to pay for your uniform in which case it will be deducted from your salary.
- Do I have to have a medical before I get on board?
Yes, you have to complete a medical prior to leaving for the ship. The medical is a thorough exam that involves taking blood tests, urinalysis, blood pressure, eye, hearing and lung function tests, as well as a chest x-ray. They are testing that you are physically fit to work on board. Please note that a drug test will also be conducted. Failure of the medical or drug test will result in the termination of your contract. In most cases, it is your responsibility to pay for your medical exam, however there are some cruise lines that will pay for it, or reimburse you the expense.
- Can I get off the ship while in port?
Of course you can! When you have free time during the day you can get off the ship and do what you please, providing that you are not scheduled to work and that you are back n board by the required time.
- Can we socialize with the passengers?
Depending on your position, it may be an integral part of your job, although it is important to note that fraternization with passengers is cause for immediate dismissal.
- Can we drink in the lounges/nightclub?
Some positions have “deck privileges” and some may not. If you don’t you are not permitted to be in passenger areas when you are off duty. Positions that usually have deck privileges, such as Spa staff, Photographers, cruise staff, youth staff, merchandise, pursers, entertainers, casino… are able to socialize with passengers in the lounges until your set curfew which will be given to you when you get onboard. Some ships do not allow staff to drink alcohol in passenger areas. Should you be found drunk while on duty or too drunk to perform emergency procedures, this will result in automatic dismissal.
- Can we smoke in passenger areas?
As a rule you cannot smoke whilst in any passenger areas. Your general manager will define this rule in more detail when you arrive on the ship. Is there a crew bar onboard? Yes, the crew bar serves drinks until their particular set time, which may vary, from ship to ship. It is where you can relax and socialize out of sight of the passengers.
- Can we use the gym?
Yes, as a rule you can use the gym, as long as you are not depriving any passengers of the facilities.
- Can we use the swimming pool?
As a rule aboard most ships you are not permitted to use the pool. Anytime that you would have to use the pool, you will probably also be able to get off the ship and sightsee, go to the beach or shop in port!!
- Where can the crew sunbathe?
There will be designated areas for the crew to sunbathe.
- Can my family or friends come to visit?
Of course they can! Every cruise line has their own policies about visitors. There are discounts and it is usually based on availability.
- Will I enjoy working for the cruise industry?
If you are a committed, hard working fun-loving team player, then you will have the time of your life! There is no other job that can give you so much experience and knowledge of the travel industry. The things you’ll see, do and learn along with the many new friends you’ll meet will stay with you forever. It is truly an unforgettable experience. Your confidence as a crewmember can only increase as each week goes by, and we at Harmony International College constantly encourage our students to develop their existing skills and learn new ones whilst onboard. You will need approximately one month to settle in and feel comfortable in your new surroundings. All we can say is “hang in there” it’s worth it!!!