The idea of working on a cruise liner after graduation in hotel management seems very adventurous to students. In this article, Anupam Kumar, faculty at IHM – Hajipur, talks about the details of joining a cruise for hotel management students. Anupam has previously worked with Carnival Cruise Line, which the world’s largest cruise line company.
Kinds of Ships
Firstly, you need to learn what are the kinds of ships which caters the interest of hospitality industry.
- Cruise Ships – it basically caters the tourists.
- Cargo Ships – they are mainly for transportation of goods.
After doing hotel management, you can work on both the ships – cruise and cargo.
Crago ship needs chefs and hotel management professional to cater the need of persons working on it. But Cruise ships are like a floating hotel where you have facilities available similar to a five-star hotel.
There are some well-known names in the field of the cruise ship – Carnival, Piano, Costa, Donald, Royal, Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, Seven Seas, etc.
Types of Jobs
Basically, there are two types of jobs on Cruise Liners.
- Tipping personals – They are those who are in direct contact with the guests.
- Non-tipping personals – They are not in a direct contact with the guest.
Generally, the base salary of tipping personals is low because they get a lot of money in form of a tip from the guests. Tips generally amount to USD 500 to 1000 per week, which is equivalent to Rupees 32000 to 64000.
The non-tipping personals, like people working in the kitchen or laundry, get a salary around USD 200 to 500 per week, which is equivalent to Rupees 13,000 to 32,000. It depends on the position they hold.
The cruise company also provides you with a ticket to and fro from your home country.
Your salary is tax-free
Most importantly, the money is tax-free. You don’t have to pay taxes in the country where you are earning the money or in the country you are bringing it to.
Most of the cruise line has a manpower agency based in India, like Airborne Recruiting Private Limited, Indus Cruising & Shipping, etc. Some Cruise Liners also recruits directly but they are very few in number.
So, you would have to apply first to the recruitment agency. They may also charge you some money for it, 1000-1500.
After registration, they will interview you, and if they found you good enough, they will arrange your interview with the clients. Like, if you have applied for Carnival, people from Carnival Cruise will come to interview you.
If they find you suitable for the job, they will offer you a letter of employment which would contain all the details of the job.
This process takes around one to three months.
Seamen Training Course
In the window of these three months, you can do a seamen Training Course. It is also known as Seamen Safety Course. Every Cruise lines have a different safety standard.
While hiring they look for men power to work, relevant professional background, and good command over the English language. You need to sound professional in your particular area. There are various emergency drills which require a good command over English language and if you pass those drills, only then you will be recruited; otherwise, you will be sent back.
Most of the Hotel Management students think of working on cruise lines just after graduating. But I recommend that they should work for at least 1-2 years in a hotel before working on the cruise. A job in a hotel would make you aware of all the basics.
You should always remember that you are going on the cruise for a job and not on a holiday, most of the hotel management students think that they are going to cruise, they will enjoy but this is not the reality.
A job at cruise lines is very challenging, demanding and tiresome. It is also very painful sometimes.
For example- When you travel by bus, you feel a sort of vomiting and when you go to a high place, you fell altitude sickness. In the same way, there is sea sickness when you travel in Cruise lines in the sea.
Sometimes sea becomes rough due to bad weather and you get frequent seasickness and start vomiting. So at times, it becomes very difficult. That is why I recommend having some experience in a hotel before joining cruise lines.
A degree in Hotel management is the basic requirement to work on a cruise liner and you must have a good communication skill.
Apply For the Visa
Once you get the letter of employment, you have to apply for a Visa in whose water you would be working. Generally, most of the cruise lines operate in the USA water. So, in the case of USA, you would have to apply for a C1/D visa.
The C1/D Crew member/Transit Visa is a non-immigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States as a passenger to join a vessel or aircraft. D1 visa: For crewman serving aboard a vessel or aircraft in any capacity that will land in the U.S. to enter the U.S., except U.S. based fishing vessels.
So, you would apply for the visa in whose water you would be working. Suppose you are going to operate in Australia, you would need an Australian visa and if you’re going to operate in the Mediterranean, you need to require a visa from a certain Mediterranean country.
Once you get your visa then you have to go for a medical check-up and then you are ready to go.
First two weeks at Cruise
Basically, the contract is for six to ten months. Once you report there, you would spend first two weeks on a rigorous training.
They train you for all the eventualities. They test you for crowd management, your communication skill and for the emergency drills, and then if they find you suitable then you are ready to start your job.
As far as promotion goes, it basically depends on your performance. Suppose you have a contract of eight months and your perform very well, the company will give you a vacation of eight weeks, when you may go to your home country. When you come back to work, for another eight months, you might be promoted, depending on your previous performance.
Want to work on Cruise just after graduation?
There are a few colleges in Hyderabad and Mumbai which provides a diploma, which is also known as Seamen course. It is required if you want to work on a cruise line as a chef or in Food & Beverage department.
But my recommendation to students is to work in a hotel for at least a year before working on a cruise.
For example – I started my career as a chef at Intercontinental Hotel – Delhi. When I was in continental section, I learned to prepare sauces, soups and all the other dishes. But when I went to the cruise, I was put in the soup section for my first contract and in second, I was put to sauce section. So for three months, I was only making soups, and I didn’t get chance to learn any other things. So it’s better to have experienced other things before going to work on a cruise.
During my time, I had to work for 70 hours a week, i.e. 10 hours a day and we used to get half a day off in a week. We were not asked to work beyond 7 hours in a week, and when they asked, they paid extra for the overtime.
Of course, there are various problems. You have to live away from your family, and the worst thing is that you would not be able to reach your family at a time when they need you. So, there are difficulties also.