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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the minimum age requirement to work on a cruise ship?

R:/ The minimum age required to work may change from cruise line to cruise line. Although some of our cruise line partners hire crew as young as 18 years old, those joining a ship with duties where alcohol beverages are served or working in the Bar Department the minimum age is 21.

2. What type of job openings do you offer?

R:/ Job opening are based on the cruise ship needs; however, The Seven Seas Group and its subsidiary companies sources candidates for positions in the Galley (Chefs, cooks and Galley Stewards), Restaurant, Bar, Housekeeping, Guest Services, Shore Excursions and entry level positions in the Deck & Engine departments.

3. Do you offer summer/seasonal jobs?

R:/ All positions onboard are offered as permanent positions for a contract length ranging from 4 to 9 months depending of the cruise line and the position. Some of our cruise line partners may offer as a seasonal position the Youth Staff/Counselor position and the seasonal periods for these positions may go for as long as 2 months during different seasons of the year.

4. What sort of experience or Skills would I need to work onboard a cruise ship?

R:/ Your experience and skills must match the job description of the position you are applying for; however, all candidates must to have at least an intermediate level of fluency of the English language or the level required for the position you qualify and wish to apply for.  The level of English proficiency is tested via an English Marlins test (www.marlinstests.com) . This English test has a cost to the candidate. A second language may be require or beneficial to obtain employment with most cruise lines.

5. What studies or training qualifications would I need?

R:/ All Hospitality university or technical studies would be beneficial to all applicants to join a cruise lines; however, at least 1 year experience in the field you wish to apply for would be required. All Youth Staff/Counselor applicants are required to have a degree in Pedagogy or Psychology along with CPR training and experience working with children in Youth Camps or schools.

6. Do I need any maritime training certificates?

R:/ Some cruise lines may require you to have valid STCW-95 certificates (Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping. Created by the International Maritime Organization). You will be informed by your Recruitment Specialist whether these certificates are required or not. If you already hold any STCW-95 certificates you should mention it on your resume and once hired by a cruise line bring them onboard with you, as they will be very beneficial to your initial training during your first weeks onboard. Note that all candidates applying and approved for a position in the Deck and Engine departments will require STCW-95 certificates regardless of the cruise line you are joining.

7. How long does the process take from start to finish?

R:/ It is hard to determine the length of the recruitment process, but we could estimate that from the moment you register and submit your resume to The Seven Seas Group or its subsidiary companies, it can take from six to eight months and even longer if the position you are applying for is not available. Currently, Carnival Cruise Lines is assigning approved candidates immediately after approved by one of their recruiters.  The date of the ship assignment may not be soon after receiving the approval letter, but you will be informed and confirmed a joining date, allowing you to better plan your departure to the port where joining the ship.

8. How do I get hired?

R:/ The Seven Seas Group or its subsidiary companies has developed a section dedicated to this question. Please refer to the Recruitment Process section at our website for all details on how to get hired.

9. Are married couples accommodated on the same ship, if hired?

R:/ Although it can be requested, it is never guaranteed that you and your spouse will be scheduled to the same ship.

10. How would I learn about my job responsibilities onboard?

R:/ During the initial screening process, your Recruiting Specialist will provide you with a job description and contract conditions of the position you are preselected.

11. What visas would I need?

R:/ Unless you are a US Citizen/Resident or Canadian, you will require to have in your passport a C1/D Crewmember/transit visa, which is a non-immigrant visa issued to all persons wishing to enter the United States of America as a crewmember to join a cruise ship. Should you need a visa to enter other countries due to the itinerary of the ship, you will be informed by your Recruitment Specialist at the time the cruise line assigns you to a ship.

12. Do I need a medical test?

R:/ Yes, all cruise lines require a medical test. The Seven Seas Group will inform you where to go to for  Pre-Employment Medical Examination at one of the  cruise line’s approved doctor/medical facility, if available in your town or near by. Cruise Lines do have approved clinics/doctors in all regions they recruit crew from and it is imperative that one of these facilities is used to complete medical tests and you must show on all tests FIT-FOR-DUITY before joining the ship. The cost of this examination varies from country to country and is at the expense of the crewmember. Original medical test results must be on hand to present to the medical facility upon joining ship or crewmember will be denied boarding.

13. Would I get any training on board ?

R:/ If you do not hold STCW-95 certifications, you will be provided with all safety training required by International Maritime laws at no cost to you only if training is offered by the cruise line. This is in addition to training for your new job onboard and training in ethics, corporate culture, service, inter-cultural sensitivity and any training offered by your supervisor or a representative of the training & development department to optimize the efficiency of your job performance, customer service and company- standards.

14. How much money would I make?

R:/ The Seven Seas Group or the Cruise Line’s recruiter will inform you of your salary prior to joining the ship. The salary will be based on the position you have qualified and approved by the cruise line. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for any taxes due to your country of origin. Some companies may make tax deductions directly from your wages depending on the agreements with the government of the country collecting taxes on their behalf.

15. How would I get paid and in what currency?

R:/ Most cruise lines pay their employees twice a month in US Dollars, if being paid in a different currency you will be informed by your Recruitment Specialist. Wages are paid via direct deposit to a bank account opened by the cruise line on your name. You will be able to make transfers via the banks online website and make withdraws using a debit card provided to you once the bank account is opened.

16. Would I get paid for mandatory safety training?

R:/ All mandatory training offered onboard will be part of your duties and there will be no compensation or overtime payment added to your regular wages for this training.

17. Will I get paid overtime?

R:/ Your contract will specify the number of hours that you will be required to work per week, it will also specify if your position is entitled to receive compensation for overtime worked. The rate per hour paid for overtime worked may vary by position.

18. Would I be required to pay income tax to any of the countries the ship calls to?

R:/ No, unless you are legally linked to one of the countries the ship calls into and the law requires you filing for income tax. Some cruise lines may automatically deduct federal taxes from wages and other earnings posted thru payroll to employees who are US Citizens/Residents.

19. How can I send money home?

R:/ Sending money home or directly to your bank account is quick and easy. There are many options to send money home whilst onboard, but we recommend the following two: the crew office on most ships offer Crew Wire and money order services. To wire money, you must have all the details of the bank where you want to wire your money to. Both services are offered for a small fee. Inquire at the Crew Office or HR centers onboard for further details.

20. What would be the nationality of the contract that I will be signing upon joining the ship?

R:/ In most cases the contract issued by a cruise line is a contract written and issued to the crewmember in accordance to International Maritime Laws; however, there may be cases where the crewmember’s contract may be attached to the flag/ship’s registry or the country where the cruise line operates from.

21. Who pays for my flight to the ship and back home?

R/: All travel expenses to join the ship will be at the expense of the new hire (crewmember). On the contrary, your airline ticket to return home will be paid by the cruise line, but only when the contract length has been fulfilled. The Seven Seas Group may be able to suggest where to shop for the best fares to travel to the city where you will be joining the ship. There are exceptions in which the cruise line pays for both the joining and repatriation airline tickets of the employee, but this depends on your position and ranking as specified by the cruise line or concessionaire company. Also, there may be cases or companies with a different policy to what we have indicated, but your Recruitment Specialist will provide you with the travel policy of the company who have hired you.

22. Do I need to buy any uniforms?

R:/ Most positions onboard cruise ships will require you to wear a uniform and either the entire uniform or part it may be at your expense. If your position requires you to pay for the uniform or part of it, you will charged through your onboard account.  Each crewmember is responsible for their account you must ensure it is kept current by settling it at the end of each payroll period.

23. How would I clean my uniforms and personal clothing?

R:/ All cruise ships have a laundry facility onboard and uniforms are usually cleaned at no cost to the crewmember; however, you may be charged for personal clothing, including pieces of the uniform without a company logo.  Most ships today have a crew laundry with access to all crew to washing and drying machines available as a self-service (a small fee may apply).

24. What expenses would I incur whilst onboard?

R:/ During the time of  your contract onboard expenses will be minimum, but you should always keep in mind that you will have personal expenses (i.e. phone calls, e-mail, postage, laundry for personal clothing and any purchases at the crew bar/gift shop or if your position allows you in guest’s areas you may incur expenses at any of the revenue venues around the ship).

25. What happens if I get sick onboard?

R:/ You must inform your supervisor as soon as you feel sick or in case of an emergency, all cruise ships have a designated emergency number, which will put you in contact with the medical facility onboard. Once you have been examined by one of the shipboard doctors, you will either be given rest time or referred to a doctor in the next port of call. Most cruise lines cover medical illness whilst a crew member is under contract onboard; however we suggest that you check with your medical facility or Human Resources department onboard for medical coverage benefits.

26. Do I get dental coverage?

R:/ Dental coverage onboard usually only consists of emergencies and extractions, but we suggest that you check with the medical facility or Human Resources department onboard for more details on dental coverage benefits.

27. Is there a probation period?

R:/ Yes, cruise lines usually impose a 90 day-probation period, which may vary among the different cruise lines or depending on your contract. Your supervisor will utilize this period to review your abilities and performance in your new job. During the 90 day-probation period, your contract may be terminated without notice, if your performance has not been satisfactory and you will be charged for repatriation home expenses.

28. What type of accommodation would I get onboard?

R:/ The type of accommodation onboard a ship is assigned based on your position and/or ranking. Depending on the cruise line, accommodation could be shared with one more crewmember usually part of the same division to 5 more crewmembers and a single accommodation for Officers, Managers, and Supervisors. Cabins do not always have a window or porthole, meaning your accommodation could be an inside cabin.

29. How long is a working day on the ship?

R:/ You can expect to work at least 70 hours per week or as specified in your contract with the cruise line. You may also be asked to work overtime and if it applies to your position, you will be compensated for all hours worked beyond the required hours stipulated on your contract provided prior to traveling to your assigned ship.

30. Who would I work with?

R:/ You will be working with people from different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds; therefore, it will be very important that you treat all your co-workers with respect and courtesy, be fair and appreciate the diversity working on a cruise ship can offer.

31. Would I be able to spend any time off the ship?

R:/ Definitely yes! But this will depend on your work schedule. Your supervisor will provide you with a weekly or voyage schedule of your working hours and time off.  Schedules are usually prepared on a rotational basis to give all crew the opportunity to enjoy the ports of call.

32. Would I be allowed to visit Guest areas onboard the ship?

R:/ You may not be allowed in guest areas unless it is to perform a work-related duty. However, some positions may allow you to visit guest’s areas whilst off duty as long you are wearing a uniform or the attire required for the day/evening. Either way, keep in mind that guests will always have a first priority anywhere onboard the ship. Visiting guests in their stateroom is prohibited and this will be cause for immediate termination of contract, unless it has been previously approved by the Captain of the ship.

33. Who pays for my flight to the ship and back home?

R:/ Once you have been hired by the cruise line, a ship assignment will be offered to you with ship, port and joining date.  At this time  you will be required to have the following documents prior to departing from your country or origin:

  • The Seven Seas Group will issue you a Letter of Employment. (this letter may come to you scanned via email). This is the most important document, as you will need it to request a visa, if required, to show the airline when departing to join the assigned ship, to show the local authorities of your country the purpose of your travel, to present it to the local authorities of the country you are entering where you are joining the ship, to show to the Hotel upon arrival and to present to the Crew Purser at the time you board the ship.
  • Other important documents you must carry with you are a passport valid for a period of at least one year and a Seaman’s book, if you hold one. The Seven Seas Group will advise you if a Seaman’s book is a mandatory document required, and will provide assistance to obtain it with guidance from the cruise line.
  • You must ensure all visas required are obtained before departing your country and are valid for at least one year. The Seven Seas Group will advise you of the visas you are required to obtain and the process to follow.
  • Medical Certificates showing you are Fit-For-Duty, approved and signed by the cruise line’s approved doctor, all tests results and X-Ray results must be presented at the time of boarding the ship.
  • All Professional certificates or licenses.

34. Are there any prospects for career advancement onboard a cruise ship?

R:/ Cruise Lines often offer training courses you can take advantage and that will help you advance in your career at sea. Also, cross-training programs may also be available which will be a step forward to a promotion. Opportunities on cruise ships are extensive, but it all depends on you and what direction you would like to take you shipboard career.

35. How am I rewarded for service time with the same company?

R:/ This depends on the cruise ship company; however, cruise lines offer many benefits to their crew members, some may include rewards for service time, life insurance and retirement compensation.

36. How can I stay connected with family and friends whilst onboard?

R:/ Whilst onboard staying connected with family and friends is easy; most cruise ships have internet cafes and some ships even have internet access from your cabin or wireless internet in crew areas, should you have your own personal computer. Additionally, Crew have the option of purchasing phone cards to call either from the ship or from some of the ports of call. Keep in mind that when using either of these services a fee will apply.

37. How can I receive post mail from home?

R:/ All mail is sent to a centralized address provided by the cruise line and from there the mail is delivered to your ship. For faster delivery, it will be very important that you provide your family and friends with the following details to be part of the address: position name and ship’s name. Check with the crew office onboard for limits on receiving large parcels.

38. Once assigned to a ship, what should I pack?

R:/ It may not be an easy task when thinking about packing for a long time, especially when we would like to suggest that you pack lightly. You must start by taking into consideration that your cabin space is limited, saying this, only bring the most important personal items. For instance, toiletry items that will only last you for the first few weeks onboard, as you will have the opportunity to buy them from the crew shop onboard or whilst the ship is in port. Keep in mind that 85% of your time you will be wearing a uniform; therefore, clothing items to bring should be minimal and essential. Other items could include an alarm clock, prescription medication, camera, personal computer, tablet, cell phone, I-pod and hair dryer. All of these items should not take more than one piece of luggage and one carry-on.

39. What should I prepare before leaving home?

R:/

  • Once you have met all medical and visa requirements, your Recruitment Specialist will walk you through all the steps to ensure a flawless process when traveling to join the ship; although, we can suggest where you can to go get the best fares to travel to the port where you will be joining the ship, it is 100% your responsibility to ensure you arrive to the ship on the date and time stated on your Letter of Employment.
  • Ensure that your luggage is properly tagged with your name and address and contact the airline to find out what the weight requirements are and the acceptable items allowed on the flight. As we mentioned in point # 38, keep your luggage to one piece to check-in and one carry-on.
  • If you are arriving the night before you are scheduled to join the ship, ensure that you have a hotel room booked for that night, unless you have made your own arrangements for that night. In most cases we will liaise with the cruise line to ensure these arrangements are done for you. If your position does not entitle you to cover transportation, hotel and meals for the night before joining the ship, you will be notified of the fee allocated by the cruise line, which will be collected by your Recruitment Specialist prior to your departure.
  • Before your departure, your Recruitment Specialist will be able to provide you with exact details of the city and the port you are joining the ship and how to get either to your hotel or directly to the ship from the airport.
  • Keep in mind that you will have out-of-pocket expenses during your travel to the ship and until you receive your first pay,  we suggest that you carry at least $200-300 in cash or traveler’s checks U.S. dollars or the equivalent in the currency of the country where you are joining the ship and a major credit card if you have one.
  • If the cruise line is providing your joining ticket, this will not be issued until your medical has been approved, visa(s) required have been issued and Police Clearance is cleaned.

40. What happens if I do not like the life onboard and wish to return home before the end of my first contract?

R:/ We suggest that you make all efforts to discuss with your supervisor and/or the Human Resources Manager (if available on your ship) the reason why you wish to return home before drawing this decision to a conclusion. If after you have met with these individuals you still want to go home, then you will be asked to submit a resignation letter. You will also need to provide your return airline ticket home and pay for all repatriation costs before signing off the ship. We also encourage you to give the cruise line a notice of at least two weeks.

41. What does The Seven Seas Group offer me as my Hiring Partner?

R:/ Once you have registered and completed our online application, there will be numerous benefits we offer you as your Hiring Partner:
*Experienced and knowledgeable Recruitment Specialists will prepare and provide you with the best introduction to the cruise industry and the protocols you need to know before joining a ship.
*Resume/CV Building orientation to ensure your experience, qualifications and skills are well noted and presented to the cruise line’s recruiter.
*We will guide and introduce you on the standards of conduct of each cruise line.
*Your Recruitment Specialist will have one-on-one consultations with you to answer any questions about your future shipboard career to ensure you are making the right decision and that you are aware of all policies and procedures.
*Even after you have joined your assigned ship, we would like to continue communication with you to either answer any questions or to know about your progress and adapting to the life onboard the ship.

42. Do I need to pay a commission or any fees for submitting an application, processing or placement with any of the cruise line partners of The Seven Seas Group or its subsidiary companies?

No, we as the Hiring Partners for various cruise lines we represent do not require to collect any commission or fees for submitting an application, processing or placement with these cruise lines. We have attached for your information, the NO AGENCY FEES OR COMMISSION policy established by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and we followed the same policy for all brands.

Your feedback about our recruitment processes is very valuable to  The Seven Seas Group and it subsidiary companies; therefore, should you have any comments or additional specific questions, which we have not covered in this section, please e-mail your Recruitment Specialist and they will be happy to hear your comments or answer any questions.

43. What is the list of approved fees The Seven Seas Group is allowed to charged to its applicants/candidates or cruise line crewmembers?

Our list of approved fees is the following:
English Classes (Levels 1 – 8) PP Level COP$310.000 – ONLY in Bogota, Colombia
Bar training COP$500.000 (32 hours)– Includes training material – ONLY in Bogota, Colombia
Restaurant training COP$300.000 (20 hours) – Includes training material – ONLY in Bogota, Colombia
life onboard training COP$300.000 (20 hours) – ONLY in Bogota, Colombia

Document Translation Assistance USD$10.00 per page or equivalent in local currency
Visa Processing Assistance COP$100.000 – ONLY in Bogota, Colombia
Certifications COP$20.000 (we can only translate certificates issued by one of our cruise line partners)

English Marlins Test COP$ 60.000 or USD$20.00