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Talk to me about Cruise Ship jobs (as a Non-performer)


Renfield

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So I'm weighing a ton of different options in my life right now and a few different people have suggested this as a possible short term option for me.

 

I'd likely go to work in the entertainment side, but Production/Stage management related, not as a performer. But I can also do some IT and even have taught internet and computers in the past.

 

Does anyone here have experience working on ships, either as a performer or not, that can offer some varied advice on the subject? Pros? cons?

 

What are some good websites to look into applying through? Is it normal to have to pay for the right to apply for jobs? The first site I checked out does, but it also seems to find workers for all fields on most major cruise lines, so it's a staffing agency and needs to get paid, which I understand. But is this the only way? Best way? Waste of time?

 

Talk to my HCBF, I'm listening.

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I've been a technical director, stage manager, set designer, and all around stage technician for the last four years. I've been looking for work, well, ANYWHERE. And I've gotta tell you, cruise ships are one of the harder places to break into in that regard. I'd suggest trying a few of the links at this site: http://cruises.about.com/od/cruisejobs/Cruise_Jobs_and_Cruise_Line_Employment.htm

 

I'm sure you're a very astute individual but there are a metric TON of scammers out there. Just beware. The best way to "break in" is by knowing someone who knows someone who...you get the picture.

 

Also, it doesn't hurt to send a letter to someone who is already working on a ship saying how much you admire what they do and how you believe you're qualified. Good Luck!

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On our cruise for our honeymoon, we got to talk a good bit with a 30-something art auctioneer and his girlfriend that just happened to work with him on the boat. This was in 2001, so some things may have changed.

 

He was able to break character (everyone on the boat is supposed to have a constant smile and always appear happy) and be candid about his job and what it was like. He had been working there for I think a year or two at the time and had a good feel for what it was like.

 

The biggest complaints that he had were lack of space when traveling, lack of entertainment options (there's no TV, Radio, etc.) and lack of communication back home. When you are out, there is no affordable way to be reached or call anyone back home. This meant a lot of lonely time for him and his girlfriend both.

 

He touched a bit on the drama of living on the boat... you have a lot of people from just about every country on earth, and there are conflicts behind the scenes. If relationships started on the boat, EVERYONE knew about it and would gossip.

 

Other than that, he said the first few months are great because you get paid to cruise around and you can take excursions on your downtime. But once you've done everything you want to do, you're really just stuck on a boat. You stop in paradise and just don't get off the boat. It's become a job to be in paradise.

 

His feelings in summary were that he was glad he did it to say he did, but he can't do it forever. Maybe a few years tops, and that would be even shorter of a time frame if he didn't have his girlfriend (who was quite a lovely brunette, might I add.) She echoed his sentiments and it seemed like the lack of telephone was what really dragged both of them down. Perhaps they have better international cellular options now, it was 2001 and international cellular was incredibly expensive.

 

Not first hand, but I hope that helps.

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To add to Phantasm's bit, I was on a cruise in fall of '06. I talked with musicians a few times, bassists in particular. Ditto on the stuff he said. (If you've ever been in the Navy, these are familiar issues and not nearly so harsh on a party boat.)

 

Also, it sounded like you had to apply or audition as an act, other than the ship's show orchestra, which might have openings. They said the pay was okay for performers, but, there are no real benefits, so you need to have your own major medical etc. In general, the guys seemed to think it was good for 1 to 3 years, either early in your career, or as early retirement.

 

I've considered it.

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I have a couple of friends who played in bands on ships. Boredom was their number one complaint. How do you handle boredom? Some handle it constructively, some don't.

 

It's one of those things where I think it's great for a few months, maybe longer, but then quickly settles into a routine, then maybe a rut. Not a long term career for most.

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I was told that Cruise ship workers don't get much pay. That said though, they would probably give meals and obviously accommodation, so it would work out just as good I thinkg.

 

 

Looking at one site thus far which gave salary ranges, It looks like I'd make around 1.5-1.75 times more on a boat than I do locally here. If I do it, I'd be giving up my apartment and everything to cut all costs humanly possible while gone.

 

It would be my intention to not spend money whenever humanly possible, it's a very short term cash influx I am looking at, till end of summer or year at most. I've lived in a tour bus for many months straight at a time already, over many years of my life. Life on the road is nothing new to me at all, I could deal with most of the boredom aspects, as well as the monetary discipline.

 

I'd imagine that boats these days have some form of satellite hookup for internet. And where there is internet, there is unlimited entertainment options, and Skype for telephone to keep costs down. This doesn't sound all bad so far. Hell, even taking a kitchen job sounds more appealing than things around here at this point, and would still be a comparable wage, to say nothing about the overall cost savings while out.

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My niece was the lead performer/singer on a cruise ship for 1.5 years. It's a hard life, doesn't pay much. BUT, all meals were covered, access to fitness equipment, etc. She saved a ton of money, visited LOTS of kewl places, AND made a bunch of contacts. Of course, she's now married to a resort owner, so...

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My question is this:

In off-hours at sea, do you have to stay "below decks" away from the passengers, or can you hang out on deck in the sun and the fun?

I would think below...

 

 

When my aunt worked on the qe2, all skilled positions (managers, professionals, etc.) were allowed above deck off hours, all the common folk below deck. If they were caught above deck off hours they got kicked off the boat at the next port.

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