A Ship is a Ship is a Ship

Cruise-liners sail everywhere, criss-crossing the oceans relentlessly. From the Nile to the Far East, South America to the Med, no part of the world remains untouched. Many lines, such as Royal Caribbean, specialise in distinct regions. Others, like P&O, control a vast fleet that serves just about everywhere. Their cruises reach destinations as far-flung as the Arctic and the Ukraine. You can be certain that wherever there lies a notable port, stretch of coast or group of islands, there will be a cruise-liner in the vicinity.

Come Sail Away
Come Sail Away
Given the enormous scope of the industry, ships themselves tend to differ widely. Exclusive vessels do exist, with fares of up to around $100,000 per person, they tend to be the reserve of the wealthy and famous. The QE2 and the Queen Mary 2 are notable examples, both owned by Cunard. To an extent, these kinds of ships hark back to the glory days of the ocean-liner. Elegance, glamour and grandeur are their most defining features. Evenings on these vessels often involve formal dress codes, and much guzzling of champagne and caviar.

Most ships, however, tend to serve a more ‘everyday’ sort of passenger. Standards are still high, but tuxes and ball-gowns are not compulsory. You can expect an array of facilities on all but the most basic of these vessels. They include gyms, swimming pools, restaurants, bars, lounges, duty-free shops and casinos. The better cruise-ships might also contain discos, health spas, saunas, games-rooms or cinemas. The worst cruise-ships, often dubbed ‘budget’ liners, are little more than glorified ferries. Facilities are minimal, and if you are unfortunate to find yourself on one of these, it could be a long, dull season.

Bear in mind that cruise ships tend to belong to a fleet. When you accept a job with a line, you will not necessarily have the choice of which vessel are you are assigned to. You could end up on the best or the worst of them. You should also consider that ships are like trains or buses: they follow time-tables. Some of them trawl up and down the same section of ocean, over and over, calling at the same ports throughout the season. Others vary their itinerary. Once again, you may have no choice in the matter, though if your ship really doesn’t suit you, there is every chance you could be transferred.

Thorough research is the key to landing a job on the right ship. Find out which lines serve the part of the world that interests you. Approach only the reputable ones. If you’re offered a job through an agency, always investigate it before accepting. There are some atrocious ships out there that can make a holiday seem like a prison sentence. Remember: A ship is a ship is a ship.