What you need to know.
When applying for a cruise ship job, cruise employers consider the age, English skills, and background of the applicant. Although age can be an arbitrary number, having a past background with the law can prevent an applicant from getting hired.
Minimum Age to Work on Cruise Ships
Although the most cruise lines and agencies will tell their applicants that the minimum age to work on board ships is 21, there are crew members that have been able to get hired at the age of 18, 19, and 20. For the most part it depends on which department that you will work for. But, for positions within the food and beverage department and within the casino department, the minimum age is definitely 21. This is mainly due to the minimum age to serve alcoholic drinks and to gamble. It has been know that cruise lines make exceptions for some applicants in select departments based on maturity. For example, the Princess Cruises employment website states that applicants that apply to be production cast members (dancers/singers): “…We do sometimes accept 18 year olds if they show maturity and responsibility.”
Maximum Age for Cruise Employment
Good news for the young at heart, there is no maximum age to work on cruise ships. Unfortunately, the truth is that there are some jobs on board for which applicants over the age of 35 would not be considered. The main concern for the employer is that the job-seeker is fit, both physically and medically. The other concern is would the applicant fit into a team of mostly younger crew members. Applicants need to consider that the days can be long (11+ hours) and there are no days off. Some jobs you are on your feet all day. On the other hand, there are some cruise jobs that are actually better suited to a mature crew member. Additionally age can mean experience for some positions. Cruise ship jobs suited to mature candidates include Future Cruise Manager, Youth Staff, Port and Shopping Guide, Event Planner and Guest Entertainer.
English and Other Languages as a Cruise Employment Requirement
All major cruise lines require that applicants can both speak and understand English fluently. English is the language spoken on board by crew and most passengers. Safety training and drills are conducted in English. Furthermore, employees are encouraged to speak English whenever there are other passengers present. Your level of English comprehension will be evident by the way you have written your resume and cover letter. It will also present itself in how well you converse during an interview. Depending on the job you are hired to do will also determine how well your English language skills need to be. Positions that deal directly with passengers such as entertainers, guest service, stewards and youth staff need above average English skills. Crew that can speak and understand additional languages may be a requisite of some cruise lines or some positions on board. For example, some river cruise lines expect their crew to be fluent in both English and German. Most of the major cruise lines expect that their guest service staff members are fluent in one additional language to English.
Police Clearance for Cruise Ship Jobs
Many cruise employers expect the applicant to produce a police clearance that proves that they don’t have a criminal record. This clearance is an official document that is issued by the police or government agency of the country that the applicant resides. The cruise employer wants to confirm that the applicant has had no previous arrests, convictions or criminal proceedings. Even a DUI could prevent an applicant from getting hired. Other names of this clearance may be called police certificate, criminal history check, good citizen certificate and judicial record extracts. Applicants provide personal information and may also have to submit fingerprints in order to request this criminal record check. In many cases there is a fee involved which must be covered by the applicant. A job-seeker may have all the right skills and experience, but if they don’t meet some of the basic cruise employment requirements, they may not get hired. Candidates with poor English skills need to improve their fluency in order to have a better chance at landing their dream job. Yet, regardless of age or background, if you have the maturity and can sell yourself, you just may get hired.