Before you apply for a cruise line job, you need to think about what kind of job you would like to have and what the real chances of getting it are. The chances of getting hired depend a lot upon when you apply, your qualifications and current openings.
Apply for specific jobs. Don't just send an application for "any position available". See the descriptions of various job positions.
Do your research and try to find out as much information about the cruise lines as possible. Search the Internet and have a look in the library. Perhaps you will be asked about the cruise company at the interview.
Write a resume (curriculum vitae). See our instructions about how to write a good resume/CV. Send your resume with a cover letter to a recruitment agent or a cruise line company. Highlight the most important points in the covering letter, briefly stating what makes you a great candidate for the position.
You will be given/sent application forms if the recruitment agent or personnel department of the cruise line company assess your resume positively. Read the forms carefully. Fill them in, express yourself concisely and clearly. Attach the resume and the covering letter with the form, even if you have sent the resume earlier.
If the cruise lines are looking for a person with your qualities, education and experience, you will be invited for interview. The interviewer will try to find out about your experience, abilities, education and motivation for the job.
If you are successful, you will get a "Letter of Employment" a few weeks after the interview. The letter of employment includes information about the cruise ship, the date and place of embarkation, your job position and other instructions.
You will need to go for a medical examination and get the internationally recognised medical certificate.
If your cruise ship is calling at a US port/ports and you are a non-US citizen, you will have to apply for the US visa type C1 (transit visa) and D (for the seamen), since most cruise ships depart from the USA. If you have been hired through the recruitment agent, they will apply for the US visas on your behalf. Read more about the visas and work permits.
You will sign a contract, usually for 6 months, which you may prolong for up to 10 months upon agreement with your cruise line. A compulsory break (from 6 to 8 weeks) follows upon completion of your duties. If your work has been satisfactory, you will be offered another contract after the break.