Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

General Questions:

What it's the deal about working at sea?

Well, most of us do it because of the money. But there are also other benefits like: Not paying rent, not wasting money on bills, unlimited amount of food, water and juices, opportunity to travel the world (or at least it’s more popular destinations), learn or improve a foreign language and of course grow your skills and/or learn a new profession on board. It’s a lifestyle!

What are the basic requirements to work on board?

Check out our Requirements page! But shortened, you must be over the age of 18 up until the age of 55, will require to pass an English proficiency test and score a minimum of 75%, in good health conditions and clean of drugs, and willing to work at least ten hours a day, every single day for at least six months.

Can I bring my family to cruise?

Most cruise companies have crew discounts or family programs so your family can cruise at a discounted rate, but these never apply on your first contract and you will still be charged for all Tax expenses and handling fees. Also, it’s up to the cruise company to allow family members to visit crew areas or not.

Why the hashtag?

For outsiders it might sound dumb, but that’s the international expression to use when you’re working on board ships in general. There are a few things that don’t happen anywhere else in the world, except inside a vessel. Also, on the era of social media, we can easily find content by using the hashtag, like this website.

Who makes the #SHIPLIFE ?

Well, first of all check out our about page! But just let me tell you right now that everyone on our team was or still is a crew member working for different Cruise lines and some of us even on River Cruises or Yachts.

How much do you charge to ... ?

We don’t charge for anything because we don’t review resumes, nor accept money to tutor you or whatever. Everything you need to know about the life and work on board cruise ships is already displayed on this website, for free (and it will always be)!

How do you make money then?

By working hard every single day on board and earning our own money, enough to pay for hosting fees and maintenance. We are just like a non-profit organization! That’s the reason you don’t see ads on this website, and probably never will.

Can I apply to work for the website?

Sure you can! We post some jobs from time to time on our Facebook page and also by clicking here. Just keep in mind that those are non-paid jobs.

Selection Process:

How fast can I join a cruise ship?

The hiring process takes some time, so please don’t quit your current job until you get a confirmation of embarkation date or a Letter of Employment. The whole process last from 2 months up to twelve before you step on board since the first interview.

What makes the selection process go faster?

Well, there are a few requirements that the candidate can do by his/her own before even landing a interview: Taking the required Vaccines, scoring a high performance on the Marlin’s English Test and acquiring a valid passport are the top three options. We do not recommend taking part of any safety course (BST, STCW, Firefighting, Crowd Control) before getting the job because most cruise companies provide those on board for free.

What makes a good CV/Resume?

Take some time to read our tutorial on how to build a good CV/Resume and even download some samples. But there are a few key points that cruise liners keep an eye for: Most of all, your resume must be in English, it should contain a clear and good profile picture of yourself and it should contain all your work related experiences. If you’re applying for a Bartending job, the recruiter doesn’t really have to know that you worked with scraping car parts at a junkyard.

How are the accommodations on board?

Every single crew member will share a cabin with at least one more person (up to five people can live in a cabin), but most cruise liners have double rooms with bunk beds. Also, some cruise ships offer single accommodations for selected positions like Officers, Managers and high end staff positions.

What kind of medical issues can eliminate a candidate?

Check out our Medical Exams page! But in short, these are the most common health issues that eliminate a candidate right away: Drugs, Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Infections Transmitted in Body Fluids (AIDS/HIV), Cancer, Diabetes, Obesity, Mental Disorders, Loss of Consciousness, Epilepsy and Sleep Disorders, High Blood Pressure, Cardiac Events, Severe Asthma, Poor Dental care, Hearing, Ear Disease, Disorders of Speech and Communication, Vision and Eye Diseases, Controlled Medication, Diabetes and Severe Allergies.

Where can I get the ENG1 Medical?

The ENG1 Medical Certificate is very specific for some small luxury cruise lines and yachts, so if you’re applying for a major cruise line you will probably not need to get one. There’s a very strict list of authorized centers around the world, so we suggest you checking out this link.

What I will get reimbursed for?

By international maritime law, cruise liners have to reimburse seafarers if you had to pay for a VISA in order to join a cruise ship and have to repatriate you after the end of every contract. Every single other expense is not reimbursed. Although, some selected major cruise companies also pay for travel expenses, medical examinations and safety courses.

Do I get paid vacations?

Of course… not. Your contract with a cruise company is nothing more than a predetermined contract for your position on board, so you will only receive wages while on the ship. Although, some high end positions receive a percentage of the actual base salary during vacations.

What happens if I get a medical emergency while on board?

If you get sick during your contract the Medical Center on board will provide you care with all the treatments possible for your situation. If you have a predetermined condition, it is most likely that the company will not hire you in first place, but if you acquire something while working, the company will pay for all your medical expenses during the treatment. The only service that isn’t available on board is dental care, so if you have any issues the medical staff will appoint you with a local dentist on the ports of call.

What happens if I get denied on my VISA application?

If you have an immediate family member living illegally in United States or if anyone in your family got deported in the past, you will not be able to acquire a work in transit VISA permit and it’s most likely that the company will terminate your selection process. The same applies for other countries that will require you to take a VISA, like Australia, Canada and for the Schengen region.

Should I apply for agencies or straight with the companies?

We always recommend to apply straight to the companies instead of doing the selection process with agencies. But straightforward, if you are looking forward to join a specific company? Apply straight to it first, then look for which agencies hire for that specific one. If you don’t have a specific cruise company in your mind, you call apply to them all and also to with your local agencies as they will set you into the right path.

Didn’t found what you were looking for? Submit your question!