I'm writing to let you know that so far Iíve travelled from Malta down the Suez canal, across the Red Sea to East Africa, down the coast through Mombassa, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti and now in the Seychelles. Iím working on a private yacht for four months as a stewardess and having an unforgettable time, thanks to your help."
... Kate Rigby
Kate preferred the more intimate atmosphere of working on a small luxury yacht , but with the phenomenal growth in all kinds of cruise holidays thereís a wide choice of working environment waiting for you:
Luxury yachts often operate as private clubs at sea for those wanting to celebrate special events and for VIPs. Some are involved in small corporate charters and for high-roller gamblers.
Small ships, up to 500 passengers, for intimate, and often Ďexclusiveí cruising, with access to ports unable to cater for larger ships.
Mid size ships, 500-1,000 passengers, can also operate for overnight gambling jamborees, with lots of noise and fast paced action. Casinos can be extensive where the action is constant and noisy. Several of these operate round-the-world cruises and to exotic destinations.
The new breeds of super liners are more like floating resorts than ships. Larger than the QEII (some twice as big), they accommodate 1,000-3,000 passengers with a crew of up to a 1,000 or more.
Casual no-frills cruising on huge sailing ships such as those operated by Windjammer Barefoot Cruises.
Offbeat liners, such as the Hanseatic (84 passengers, 122 crew) built specifically to provide worldwide exploration-style cruises in luxurious contemporary surroundings. It carries a fleet of 14 Zodiak inflatable craft used for shore landings and viewing wildlife in their natural habitats, especially on the Antarctic sailings. Choose to work on one of these if you are interested in the natural world.
'Club' Ships, which are totally different from any traditional cruise ship.
Theme Cruises, generally on smaller vessels, provide an ever richer variety including: adventure, archaeological, astronomy, Country & Western, educational, exploration, gay/lesbian, murder mystery, naturist/nude, October fest, ornithology, dancing, singles, etc. Enjoy your forte while getting paid for it - a job made in heaven perhaps!
Working a Passage: If you just want to get to the Canaries, Tahiti, the USA, or anywhere else in the world, with a bit of adventure thrown in, then consider Working a Passage. Itís an exciting way to travel cheaply.
And last, but by no means least, is the great choice of locations for cruise ship work.
"My job was varied and interesting and I was lucky to meet and work with some fascinating people of all nationalities. There is a certain bond that grows between the crew of a ship when you spend such a length of time so close together. Some bonds I am still keeping a year later, and hope to keep long into the future. I have never felt as happy, exhausted, and part of a huge team before."
"On board there were some 200 staff of different nationalities to a maximum of 750 passengers. The British were treated especially well (not always well deserved) and itís a great chance to learn about other peopleís cultures and lifestyles."
"I had no special qualifications for the hostess type of work, just enthusiasm and the ability to smile constantly and be friendly and helpful. Languages do help but are not essential as English is widely spoken and the international shipping language. I managed to pick up some Swedish and Greek while on the ship."
"The second night of a cruise is always much more fun. The passengers are more relaxed and know their way around the ship. Itís surprising how well you get to know people when they are only on board for a short time. People open up more on holiday!"
"Each port is a tour base. Although officially off-duty during the day, the passengers still think of you as the Ďface of the shipí and you still tend to act as hostess and answer questions. Itís a great feeling."
"For the evening I had to change out of my uniform into cocktail/evening wear for dinner followed by socialising in the lounges, strolling from table to table and answering questions, making sure everyone is happy and chatting about the next dayís tour. During the evening there were two cabaret shows during which I was able to relax and have a drink before the next round of chatting. Itís hard on the voice!"
"We sailed from the home port of Limassol, Cyprus, to Egypt, Israel, the Greek Islands and Piraeus. The whole job was a great chance to travel a part of the world Iíd never seen before and get paid for it."
Buenos Aires to Bhavnagar, India, aboard a 100,000 ton scrap tanker began with just a telephone call. Club member Gavin is shown here lighting the furnace in the massive boilers for the steam turbine ...
"With just 16-men to operate the hulk of steel it is a hard job to reactivate the engine, yet there is still time to sample the exotic nightlife of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Working a passage is a unique experience. It can be extremely lucrative although I have always found the pleasure of 'working the ship' to be of more value. More importantly it's great fun.
"The trip took two and a half months and we visited a variety of places including Cape Town, Durban, Bombay and the Seychelles"
Cruise Ships - Major Vessels - What jobs are available?
Purser's Office: Secretaries with typing and basic computer skills, accounts, bookkeeping, clerks (qualifications not essential), receptionists, personal assistants (to officers). Pay around £300 ($600 week).
Restaurants: Waiters, busboys, wine stewards.
Galley: Butchers, bakers, buffet chefs, pastry chefs, sauce chefs, galley assistants.
Bars: Bar stewards, bar waiters, cocktail waiters, bar managers (can expect to earn £20,000 ($40,000) a year)
Cruise staff: Hostesses - the job of social hostess is possibly the most enviable on the ship, being in the forefront of the social scene, introducing passengers to the captain at welcoming and social receptions and generally being the 'life of the party' - earnings can be £500 ($1000) week.
Sports and fitness instructors, child carers, entertainers, musicians, singers (all categories from Country and Western to Calypso), dance hosts, escorts, DJs, animators, specialty acts (tarot, palmistry, golf instruction), shore excursion assistants (shore managers can earn £500 ($1,000) a week), technical assistants (lighting and sound engineers, stage technicians), broadcasters (large ships only, for onboard TV stations). Good technicians can earn £400 ($800) a week).
Security officers, maintenance (general handymen to mend a bookcase or put up a notice board), concierges (larger ships), stores managers, baggage masters, laundry masters, bankers (large ships only), journalists (to prepare daily news sheets), computer technicians - can earn in excess of £400 ($800) a week
Staff always needed for retail shops, hair/beauty salons, health spas/fitness centres, casinos, photography, etc.
The above is a partial list only, and there are also more singular jobs such as gardeners (for onboard plant displays), butlers for prestige suites, etc.
N.B. Rather than relate each job to gender - male and female - all openings are available to both and the above is written for easy, i.e. handymen can also be handywomen, etc.
For ease, we have used the figure of £1 (British pound) = US$2.00
Picture above: Meeting Mercury in port at Skagway Alaska on Club 11,000 mile round-trip expedition from our Club base in New York to Dawson City, Yukon