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Motivation and passion are the key to working on board. But there are a few more characteristics. Working on board a cruise ship is something extraordinary – a time in which you exceed yourself professionally and personally and which you will never forget. Here you can get a first impression of what working and living on board entails. You can find detailed information and individual requirements for the respective job in the corresponding job advertisement. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us for example via our Chat or via our free job hotline.
Vocational training / experience
The basis for a job on board is completed vocational training or, depending on the position, practical experience in the desired area.
There is a special exception for career changers: cooking training on board the Mein Schiff® fleet. There you will learn the profession of a cook “from scratch”. You can find more information in the respective job advertisements.
Availability / contract duration
In your first contract you will usually be on board for about 5 months (ocean-going cruise ships) or about 9 months (river ships). This differs from cruise line to cruise line and depends on your position on board. Depending on the department, for example in the Tourism Staff area (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) or in child and youth care, a shorter duration of 8 to 10 weeks is also possible.
Resilience and passion
Do you have a lot of passion for your work and perseverance and do you enjoy being around people? On board you not only spend a lot of time with your team at work, but also privately. As a crew member you have less privacy than on land. In return, the cohesion among the international crew members is incomparable. Your working day on board will average ten hours, seven days a week, which is not to be underestimated. Take an active part in shaping your work environment and show commitment and initiative. Are you ready for the best time of your life?
That's how you are
Your time to shine! Inspire the guests with your skills and personality. As part of our World. Class. Team. you prepare unique holiday experiences for guests every day. With a lot of commitment, friendliness and respect for your team and guests you contribute to what distinguishes us: excellent service, a great team spirit and numerous #WorldClassMoments!
1 crew - 15,000 colleagues. What makes a World. Class. Team: Good, collegial cooperation is essential. On board, crew members from over 50 nations work hand in hand. Tolerance and adaptability, but above all openness, are a basic requirement for this. We attach great importance to the fact that the cooperation not only works within individual departments, but is also lived across departments – because here everyone is literally in the same boat. Since you also spend a large part of your free time with your team, you can quickly make friends. Unique friendships develop from unique experiences around the globe. Discover the world with us and experience your #WorldClassMoments!
The minimum age to work on board is 18 years. Depending on the fleet and position, this can be 21 years or more (e.g. in supervisor and management positions). There is no maximum age. Before you go on board, however, you have to prove your fitness for sea service, which selected doctors can issue for you. As long as this is given, nothing stands in the way of your career as a seafarer. Further information on fitness for sea service can be found below.
The official onboard language of the crew is English. The crew members on board come from different countries around the world. Good English skills are essential for mutual understanding and for security reasons. No worries: We do not expect perfect Oxford English, but you should be able to communicate in English and, in an emergency, be able to implement instructions without further questions. This knowledge, like your specialist knowledge, will be checked by our recruiting team in an interview before you are hired. In order to be able to look after our guests in their mother tongue, German is the second official language on some ships.
A sense of responsibility and flexibility
As a crew member, you not only wear a uniform, but also have great responsibility. Changes to plans and unexpected tasks can occur on board at any time. Therefore, even under stress, you have to be aware that you are not only responsible for the well-being of the guests, but also for the safety of the ship. Since all departments work together, another department may also need your support – that is why we count on your flexibility.
You have the following characteristics: Motivation, perseverance, adaptability, discipline. Passion for your job, commitment, cosmopolitan attitude and expertise. Does that sound like you? Then maybe we will see you on board soon. We look forward to meeting you.
Was your interview successful? Wonderful – so that you are well prepared for embarking, sea chefs will provide you with guidelines that will guide you through all the formalities. Allow around 1 to 2 weeks for the embarking process – after all, you should be best equipped for the most exciting time of your life! A sea chefs contact will be at your side every step of the way.
Are you ready to fill the pages of your passport? To work on board a cruise ship, you need a valid passport (an identity card is not enough!). The passport must be valid for at least one year from the date you embark. It is also important that at least a few pages are free to allow space for any stamps and visas.
Every real seafarer needs a seaman’s book. In the welcome email you will receive after hiring, you will find all the information on the so-called Crew Check Portal and you will be asked to send us a digital passport photo. The Seaman’s Book costs a certain one-time charge, which is deducted from the first salary. We will apply for the Seaman’s Book for you and, depending on the cruise line, send it to you in advance by post or give it to you on board. For this we need your medical documents and the Basic Safety & Crowd Management certificate in advance, which are absolutely necessary for the issue. If you are already an experienced seafarer, scan it and send it to us in advance so we can check it. If you do not receive the Seaman’s Book in good time before embarking, it will be delivered to you or to the Crew Purser / Chief Purser on board. However, in some ports it is essential in order to embark.
Medical certificate / fitness for sea service
A medical certificate is mandatory in order to be hired. The health of our crew is our top priority. Therefore, you need proof of your fitness for sea service. If you live in or near Germany, you will find appropriately certified doctors all over Germany. You will receive a link to an up-to-date list of such doctors from us. You can get an initial overview here.
Please only have a certificate of fitness for service drawn up if you are already in the application process with a recruiter and a date for boarding has been set. The certificate must not be older than 2 months and should therefore only be issued immediately before boarding. If there are no licensed doctors in your area, please contact us so that we can alternatively explain the sea chefs medical process to you. After the successful examination you will receive your medical certificate, the original of which must be taken on board. You can find more information about medical fitness examinations here.
Since there are many ships sailing around the world and vaccination is mandatory in some countries, a yellow fever vaccination is necessary. Yellow fever vaccinations may only be carried out at specially designated yellow fever vaccination centres, usually also at tropical medicine institutes (the university clinics).
A measles, mumps, rubella chickenpox vaccination is required on some ships. This applies in particular to the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet.
You will of course need to pack your vaccination certificate for your time on board. All documents must always be taken on board as originals. You will receive more information about this from your Crewing officer before you embark and the following also applies here: You can ask us for advice at any time.
With your work on board, you are automatically insured for health and accidents. In the onboard hospital, our onboard doctors will be there for you for medical cases. Therefore, please check before you embark whether you can interrupt your existing health insurance. You can then claim this again between your contracts on board.
Safety Certificates / Basic Safety Training & Crowd Management
We count on you! Onboard a cruise ship, the personnel have a major responsibility for safety. Work on board differs in that you spend day and night on the seas and rivers of the world. Therefore, you will complete a safety training and take part in exercises and training again and again during your deployment.
The training is called Basic Safety Training & Crowd Management according to STCW 2010 (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) and is internationally prescribed. These safety training courses take place, depending on the Cruise Line, on ocean-going vessels either before embarking on land or directly on board. On river ships, your safety training takes place directly on board. You can get detailed information about this from your Crewing officer.
You can complete the training on land at the AFZ Rostock, among other places. Several dates are available for the approx. 6-day training. Here you will get to know other future seafarers and you can already exchange ideas. We would be happy to register you for an appointment. If your Medical Certificate and yellow fever vaccination are still pending, you can do everything together during the week. This saves a lot of time and can be specified when registering. You can find more information here.
Uniform / work clothing / appearance
All crew members are required to wear uniform when on duty. The work uniform is either provided by us or partially organised by you – this depends on the respective position and fleet. Your uniform needs to be clean, tidy and ironed at all times. This is usually done free of charge by the laundry on board – so you do not need any ironing skills. Always show your best side: Depending on the cruise line and position, there are individual guidelines regarding appearance. You can get more detailed information from the subpages of the respective cruise lines.
Having a credit card is mandatory on some ships. You will then receive a crew card or an onboard pass on board. This card is usually both your cabin key and your means of payment (e.g. in the crew bar and in the shops on board). A private credit card is recommended for your first shore leave at the latest.
C1/D visa (for USA routes only)
You need a US visa (C1/D visa) to work on board ocean-going cruise ships. C1/D visas are required for the crew on the cruise ships docking in the USA. When the time comes, we will tell you whether you need one and how you can get it.
Criminal record certificate (depending on position)
An extended police clearance certificate is required for some positions on board. We will explain whether this applies to you during your application interview.
The possibilities and conditions on board may vary depending on the shipping company or ship. Inquire in advance from the recruiters or on board in the Crew Office about the possibilities on your ship.