Cruise Line Jobs for North Americans
Until changes come from the U.S. government, what does this mean for you as a job seeker when North Americans are somewhat excluded from the low wage housekeeping, maintenance, and kitchen support staff positions?
Fortunately, a majority of cruise ship passengers are North Americans, so cruise lines are eager to hire Americans and Canadians for customer service positions involving interaction with English-speaking tourists. This includes shore excursion directors, retail clerks, bartenders, cruise staff, casino staff, and hosts, just to name a few. Not only do these positions pay far better than most other shipboard jobs, they’re more interesting, carry more privileges and freedom to roam all areas of the ship and mingle with passengers, and often afford better living quarters than lower-wages.
Of course, the drawback to this arrangement is that many low-skill jobs that would normally be entry-level on land simply won’t be available to you. This means that you must work hard to convince cruise lines that you already have the skills necessary to work on board in more specialized positions, such as casino work, retail sales, or aerobics instruction. Also, you must sell yourself as having the ability to interact well with passengers, one of a personnel manager’s primary concerns.
Not all cruise lines use foreign-registered vessels, and several use crews which are almost entirely American. If you end up looking at Norwegian Cruise Line employment opportunities, consider that they have an offshoot called NCL America. This division cruises in Hawaiian waters.
These cruise lines are often more specialized and hire a much smaller staff than the large cruise lines, but they do hire Americans for entry-level work as room stewards and kitchen and maintenance staff. Since the staff is much smaller than on a large ship, you might find yourself with a greater combination of duties. For instance, you might clean rooms all morning, assist with meal preparation in the afternoon, and help with ship maintenance in the evening. These smaller companies often cruise exclusively along North America’s coasts and rivers. Check the cruise listings carefully.