When they first start thinking about a cruise ship jobs, many people see a unique but somewhat short-term opportunity to travel while getting paid for a few months or a few years.
For many others, however, working on a cruise ship offers a rewarding long-term career opportunity. The cruise industry mainly promotes from within for cruise ship careers. If you’re considering building a great future for yourself in the cruise industry, it’s helpful to understand your potential career path.
Cruise Ship Career Paths
A career path with a cruise line or the hierarchy on a cruise ship is similar to many land-based companies. For example, the amount of experience and formal qualifications a person has will determine his or her initial hiring level. These factors will also affect how high they can be promoted.
Most cruise lines offer four graduated levels through which your career path may progress:
- Entry Level,
- Management, and
These levels are also identified by their “Rank” or “Stripes”.
Each onboard department uses these levels of hierarchy with no set amount of time a person needs in one level before they are promoted to the next level. Some people rise quickly and other crew or officers may never move ahead with their career. The career path really depends on a person’s experience, education, skills, personality, and other abilities for any promotion.
Another factor that can affect promotions is company growth. If you’re interested in a long-term career path in the cruise industry, you may find it helpful to focus on cruise lines that are adding more ships and bigger ships to their fleets. Fortunately the cruise industry, is growing extremely quickly and will add 12 new ocean going cruise ships in 2017.
For those that progress with their career in the cruise industry, with each level or rank come salary increases, benefits, privileges, but also an increase in responsibilities. Although each cruise line may vary, here are some basic details of each level.
Entry Level Cruise Ship Jobs
These are the lowest ranking positions within a particular department. These crewmembers typically share a cabin with at least one other crew member and will receive standard employment benefits but few perks.
Supervisory Cruise Ship Jobs – These types of positions may include one-striped officers that have supervisory duties in their own department and they report to their departmental manager. They most likely have their own cabin and bathroom. Typically they have completed a certain minimum number of contracts/years onboard which entitles them to additional benefits that may include relatives’ travel.
Management Cruise Ship Jobs – Managers on cruise ships will have supervisors within their own department who report to them as they report to their head of department. Although shipboard managers have their own cabin, it may or may not be larger than some supervisors’ cabins. Based on the officers’ rank and number of years with their company will determine their additional benefits.
Executive Cruise Ship Jobs – Executive level cruise ship jobs are the heads of their own department. These positions include Chief Engineer, Staff Captain, and Hotel General Manager/Chief Purser. Some cruise lines may also include Cruise Director as an executive position.
These high ranking officers have the largest officer cabins onboard, some with a large bathroom, dining table, two TVs, and lots of extra space. These positions typically have first class joining arrangements as well.
Each department on a cruise ship has a progression of jobs from entry level, through supervisory, and onto management and executive positions. The remainder of this articles explains the typical career paths available in various cruise ship departments.
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