Here's my previous answer to this question:
I have not worked on a cruise ship but I have talked to many people who do as I have done more than 20 cruises. Your conception of the normal working experience is completely incorrect.
Normally persons who sign on to work on a cruise ship will sign a contract to work for 6 to 10 months continuously, depending on the position and cruise line. Then after that time you would get a month to 6 weeks off. Then you come back on ship for another long stint. The daily work schedules are not 8 hour days but more like 12 to 14 hour days with split shifts. Depending on your job you may go to work at 6:00 AM, work until about noon, have several hours off in the afternoon, and then go back to work at 4:00 PM and be on duty until 10 PM. Sometimes during your off hours from one job you have to do another.
Cruise ship are used 24 hr a day 7 days a week and there is no downtime between cruises except to clean the ship and prepare for the next group of passengers to board. The ship will be in the departure port about 12 hour to discharge passengers, then load new supplies and passengers and then set sail again.
When the ship docks in scheduled ports and at the departure port you may or may not be able to get off the ship, depending on your job and work schedule. But crew members do occasionally get to take a few hours off in port stops and shop, go to the beach or do whatever. Its just that they do not have a firm regular schedule.
Go to this Royal Caribbean web link and click on the various options to see what the employment process is like: https://jobs.rccl.com/jobs/rccl_jobs.nsf/shipboard
Here's an example for an entry level position on Royal Caribbean:
TO JOIN OUR TEAM: (for entry level or management positions)
• Applicants must be 18 years or older
• Be able to speak, read and write English, fluently
• Be able to obtain a valid passport and United States C1/D visa
• Be willing to commit to at least a 6 month or 4 months on 2 months off schedule
• Be able to work with a diverse international crew
• Have related experience for the job applied
• Be flexible with your work schedule, job duties and job locations
• Be willing to share a cabin
• Be willing to work 7 days and up to a possible 70 hour work week
• Appreciate diversity among guests and crew
If you want to apply for a job you need to go to the cruise line web sites. There you will find a link to jobs, employment, human resources or some such link that will give you information about their positions. Use these web sites as a lead to who and where to write or call for information about positions. Some sites have actual vacancies listed and they also will list in general terms the basic requirements for working on a cruise ship. Royal Caribbean is a great site for this type information. Many cruise lines use "hiring partners".
DO NOT use any other web sites that require you to pay a fee to register or get job information or referrals. Some cruise line sites may have current vacancies they are recruiting for. Several cruise lines have new ships coming out soon so opportunities will be there. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney and some others will have new ships launched this year and next.
Here are some links:
Carnival is the parent company for several cruise lines including Carnival, Cunard, Princess, and Holland America. So contacting Carnival will likely get you leads to the other cruise lines also.
Then Royal Caribbean cruise line is a partner with Celebrity and Azamara. So contacting RC will likely also get you leads to these others. Royal Caribbean has very good information about its positions. So if you go there first you will know what most ships have. Then if you have further questions you should write a letter to the cruise line and ask them; they will respond.
This is a link to how to apply for employment with Norwegian cruise line: http://www.ncl.com/nclweb/staticPage.htm...
There is a link to their hiring partners on the site.
The cruise lines also hire people to work on land at call in reservation and information centers around the country. Some are in Miami and others are in Seattle and other cities. In addition, they also hire part-time people to work at the port on the days when ships are departing. So when you contact the cruise lines you may want to ask about those type positions also.
These web sites will give you a starting place and you have to follow the leads and be open to about any type position to get your foot in the door. Then if/when you get a position you'll be able to get "insider" information about positions and opportunities. You'll learn to network and find leads to other positions that you may want more.
Answered By: TINKERTOY ..... the 1 & only - 6/2/2009