So you want to work on a cruise ship. You have arrived at the right place to learn how to apply and prepare yourself for an exciting adventure on the high seas. There are excellent benefits to having a life/job at sea. Rent free, most of your meals included, fun crew activities, shore excursions, and opportunities to advance your career prospects.

Maybe you’ve cruised before and thought that you ought to try a job at sea. Perhaps you already know someone who works on a ship and you think that seeing the world while working is the best option for you. In the past three years of working on luxury liners I have sailed across the Pacific, Atlantic, all around Asia, Europe, Oceania and the Caribbean. I have saved a lot of money and have experienced once in a lifetime travels. Applying for a job on cruise ships what not at all difficult for me. There was nothing confusing, sketchy or undefined to me that made the process overwhelming.

Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska
Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Let’s start out with the basics

Have your documents ready and in order

Once you begin applying  one of the first things that will come up is being asked for your CV (resume). This is one of the most critical documents that you will need immediately to get the application process moving.  If you are in a rush to apply and you don’t have a CV then it will take you a little longer to get the process moving along. Be sure to have a recent CV, cover letter, and also a letter of recommendation from a previous employer. If you can get all of these in order you will be way ahead of yourself in the long run. Also have copies of your most current CV, cover letter, and recommendation letters saved on a USB in the case that you are asked again to resubmit them.

Start applying

I applied through The Seven Seas Group and it was a very easy step by step process. When I began applying I didn’t know which company I would be placed with but I submitted my CV along with the application form followed by many references for the company to contact on behalf of me. Many of my friends were contacted from call centers asking how they know me, what kind of person I am, and so on. This is just a reference check that the company needs. Make sure that you have a list of all your references with their contact details and current addresses because you will be asked to submit them.

Make sure you have a passport

This is crucial! You aren’t going anywhere without a passport! Make sure your passport isn’t expiring soon either. Also scan your passport photo and save it to submit to your recruiter. I spent my time in the local library scanning all of my documents and then sending them to my recruiter. Many seafarers have a seamens cook however for US citizens this is not a requirement. I was never asked to prepare a seamens book but in the case that I were to go to India on a ship and want to get off in port I would need one. All of the places that I have been to have never required me to have a seamens book. Many crew from Indonesia, Philippines, India, and many eastern European countries are required to have one.

Be Patient

Getting a job on a cruise ship is not going to happen in a week. Keep all your ducks in a row having all the required information and documents to keep the process moving. Once I emailed my application I heard back from a recruiter within a few days to guide me along the process who I would email my documents to (passport, ID, medical documents). It took no more than a month to have my live skype interview. After applying and being interviewed my last step was to have a physical (which most of the time you have to pay for out of pocket). Having all the correct paperwork for your medical is crucial in getting on the ship.

Working with Amanda @Getalifeatsea

Amanda who is a recruiter for prospective seafarers on Get A Life At Sea has had more than ten years of on board experience various cruise lines also including multiple job titles in her career. With an abundance of resources and advice to offer, Amanda is extremely knowledgeable about the application process and writing CV’s. She has written  How the Heck to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship Guide to inform and guide those interested in applying to jobs on board. She has written legitimate articles and up to date information and knows her stuff. If you are thinking about finding a career at sea Amanda is the one to follow.


I have been working on cruise ships for the past three years now. It has been a challenging and rewarding journey. I work with people who I care for very much. I have learned so much about friendship, how I want to live my life, and survival mechanisms being away from home on a floating vessel. I work for CARE team for disembarking guests in port for medical reasons which I am deeply proud to be part of. For more information about working on ships check out my Youtube playlist about everything you ever wanted to know about #shiplife.