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Terms and Conditions: Quarters, Food and Pay

If you are offered employment on a ship, it will be on a seasonal basis. Lines do operate throughout the year, but summer tends to be the busiest period. Expect to spend the entire season on the same vessel, though bear in mind that transfers are common. Always examine your contract thoroughly.

Sitting Pretty in the High Seas?
Sitting Pretty in the High Seas?
Your employers will have high standards and expectations. You will be bound by strict regulations. Particularly with ‘front-of-house’ jobs, your behaviour must be impeccable at all times. Technically, you are never ‘off-duty’, and you will be afforded very little privacy during your time on board. Everything gets back to the captain, and any misbehaviour is viewed dimly.

Your salary will entirely depend on what role you fulfil, as well as the general state of the company you work for. Smaller, lesser-known lines will obviously offer the least generous wages. Poorly paid staff jobs average at around $150 per week, tax free. Competitive, high paid positions might earn you as much as $1000. Those who are serving passengers directly can also expect to supplement their income with tips.

You will probably be sharing your quarters with at least one other colleague, unless you are a high-ranking manager. You may be fortunate enough to be placed in the relative luxury of a passenger cabin – expect all the comforts of a standard hotel room. Then again, you may not be so lucky. Staff quarters are often located in the bowels of the ship, subject to the incessant roar of machinery and persistent, acrid smells. At worst, your quarters could be cramped, dirty and miserable. Once again, your employer’s reputation and price range is a good indication of how you will be treated.

Every cruise ships has at least one restaurant. Larger vessels usually have a few, including some kind of fast-food outlet. You may or may not be permitted to dine with the passengers. The food itself is usually of a high standard, though it can be on the rich side. A buffet is normally laid on every day, from which you can take what you want. You will not have to pay for your meals. When the ship is in port, however, you’ll be expected to take care of yourself.