Worldwide recruiters for the cruise lines.

Direct links to cruise line hiring pages.

Shipboard businesses that contract to cruise lines.

Resume and Interview Tips

To be completely honest, the competition for cruise ship jobs is fierce. In this section, you will learn how to design a portfolio that will make your qualifications shine. 

It is important to understand why a cruise line would want to hire you. For example, you may have strong experience in customer service, or you may have received formal culinary training, or perhaps you have bartending experience. There is no use applying for a position that you have never done before. You will not be hired.

The less training the cruise line has to invest in you, the better for them. Since the job competition is fierce they can easily find someone with more experience. 

To convince the cruise line to hire you, your resume should not be about how great you are. Instead, it should be about what skills you have to offer the cruise line. Think about their advantages of hiring you. If you can fully understand what your prospective employer wants, you will know how to convincingly present yourself. 

Spend most of your efforts during this application process on making your resume into the one that stands out in the crowd. Your resume should be the most dynamic, professional and convincing application that has yet passed through their hands.

Again, ask yourself this question: what qualifications and experience do I have that will convince the cruise line to hire me? 

One more point … many onboard positions have been filled by total luck. It may just so happen that the cruise line needs to fill a position right away and your resume shows up at that exact moment. Don’t count on this being the way it will happen. However if this is the case, your résumé’s first impression may be their deciding factor.

Researching The Cruise Lines

It is important to research the cruise lines that you are applying to. By doing so you can tailor your cover letter and resume addressing specific areas of interest for that particular cruise line. In addition, anything you learn about the company and the industry will allow you be more confident during the interview.

There is a huge amount of information available about all the different cruise lines. Visit each cruise line’s website, read and print the important pages about their company history, the fleet, the ship’s home ports and ports of call. Ask travel agents about cruise line reputations and their track records. Attend industry conventions and trade shows. If you live near a cruise port, spend time at the cruise ship terminal. You may make some contacts or learn some valuable industry information.

If you are sending out a large number of applications, it can be easy to forget when and what you sent to each cruise line. Use a binder to organize your research.  Label each section with the cruise line that you have applied to. Include the following in each section: an information sheet listing the position you applied for, the name of the personnel director (if available) and the date you mailed, faxed or emailed the application; printouts or notes about the cruise line’s fleet; the company’s history; and a brochure on the cruise line.

Preparing Your Resume

In a cruise line, the human resource or personnel director receives more applications for a particular job than he or she has time to interview. The first task that the personnel director must accomplish is to choose which applicants are the best candidates for the position.  The decision can be made simply on the neatness and physical appearance of the application. Think of this rule: the best resume ever prepared may not get you every job you apply for, but a poorly prepared and unattractive resume can lose you a job in a second. 

Always provide a resume that was done using a computer. If you don’t have a computer, use one for free at your local employment or job search centre. There are also businesses that do professional resume writing. They often charge by the hour so if you bring in a neatly printed and organized copy you will save them time and save yourself money.

High impact resumes should: 

► Impress the reader to keep reading. 

► Be visually appealing and easy to read. 

► Be concise, no longer than three pages (including your cover letter). 

► Focus on your employer’s needs. 

► Convey your job-related abilities rather than your previous job duties. 

► Communicate that you are responsible, energetic and enthusiastic. 

► Make you appear hirable and ready to fit in with the other crew members.   

Resume Sections


The heading should consist of your full name, current address including country, phone number with area code and email address. Avoid nicknames. If you are not home very often, use a cellular phone number with voicemail. Have a neutral or business-like message. When including an email address, only use one that looks professional. 

There is no need to label your resume with ‘Resume’ or any other title. This is obvious to the employer and is a waste of valuable space.

An objective tells the potential employer what position you are applying for. If space turns out to be a problem on your resume, this is the first section you should cut. Since your cover letter will address what type of position you are looking for, there is no reason to repeat yourself.

Education & Training
List your education, beginning with the most advanced or current degree first and then continuing through to high school. Include your degree or diploma, college or university attended, where and in what country. If you did well in school, feel free to indicate your grade point average. 

This is the section to include any special courses, workshops, certificates or training you have taken if they relate to the type of work you are seeking. Also include any relevant awards and recognition you have received. 

If you are a new college or university graduate without a lot of work experience you should list this section first, before employment experience. On the contrary, if you lack in post-secondary education, put your employment experience first.

Employment Experience
Briefly give the employer an overview of your work experience that has taught you skills relevant to the position you are applying for. Begin with your present or most recent job, and work backwards to your first relevant job. If you are short on employment experience, you can list any volunteer work that you feel is pertinent. Include the following information: title of position, company name, location of work (city/province/country) and the dates of employment. Describe your work responsibilities with emphasis on specific skills and achievements. List your office and computer skills as part of the duties of the corresponding job. Do not list your previous salary or the reason for termination of a job.

If you speak more than one language, list the languages here. If you only speak English, do not include this section.

Personal Information
You should list the following if you think they are an asset or are important in your ability to do the job. If you feel that they are negatives, leave them out. 

  • Country of citizenship 
  • Mention if you have a current passport 
  • Birth date 
  • Health: one word description such as excellent, good or fair

Never list any confidential numbers (eg. passport number, etc) on your resume.

Some resume experts feel that you should not list your references on your resume. Instead they say to write that your references will be furnished upon request. 

In actual fact, you save the personnel director time if you simply list three or more good professional references. Be sure to have permission from your references before giving out their names. Ask them to contact you if they receive any calls regarding your resume. Be sure to include their full name, title, phone number and email address.

A unique, highly effective way to get your message across to prospective employers is to add a testimonial section to your resume. Similar to recommendation letters, testimonials add credibility to your presentation. Instead of including letters of recommendation in your application, extract and list approximately five quotes that previous employers have said about you. For example, 

“John’s dynamic and outgoing personality enabled him to interact well with our diverse customer base.”  Richard Finn, Shipley Hotel 

“John’s ability to work independently, as well as part of a team made him an exceptional asset to our company.”  Paul West, Windward Trading

Due to discrimination laws, it is illegal in many countries for employers to ask for an applicant’s photograph. However, it is not unlawful to voluntarily submit a photograph. Cruise lines often look for diversity in their crew members or they may want to have a photograph to simply associate a face to a name. 

The bottom line is that if you live too far away to have a face-to-face interview, then you should send a photograph with your application, regardless of whether or not they request one. Most personnel directors interview their applicants by phone and would like to see with whom they are speaking. 

The photograph should be either a regular 4×6 print. Send a casual yet conservative picture. Dress in something similar to what you would be expected to wear as a cruise line employee. Perhaps wear a blue blazer with white pants or a skirt. This helps the employer to envision you as one of their crew members.

Cover Letter

The purpose of the cover letter is to advertise your resume and convince the employer to take action. It should provide the initial sizzle to capture the employer’s attention. It is an invitation to read the resume in-depth. As well as emphasizing your qualifications in relation to the employer’s needs, it should give signals of your personality, style, energy and enthusiasm. 

► Print your cover letter on the same type of paper as the resume. 

► Use the same heading style as your resume, with all the same information. 

► It is more personal if you can address the cover letter by name to the personnel director. If you are unsure whom to address, use ‘Shipboard Personnel’ or ‘Crewing Department’, followed by ‘To Whom it May Concern’ or ‘Dear Sir or Madam.’ 

► Mention the position you are interested in obtaining and if you would consider another position. ” Mention that you are available for immediate employment. 

► You should use bulleted points to summarize your qualifications that make you hirable to the reader. Sell yourself! 

► Your writing style should be direct, powerful and error free. Eliminate extraneous words and check spelling, grammar and punctuation. 

► Keep the letter short and to the point. 

► Close the letter with “Sincerely,”

Your resume is meant to sell yourself to the employer. Your cover letter should be the sizzle that accompanies the sale.

Online Applications

Online applications for shipboard jobs began a number of years ago with simply submitting a resume electronically via the cruise line’s website. Now most cruise lines have adopted the use of online applications. These forms are made up of questions that you must answer by filling in limited-space boxes. Cruise lines prefer online applications. While they may receive more applications, they have a much easier time sorting the data. For example, it is easy for the cruise line to find out who selected Spanish as a second language if that is a skill they require for a position. Online applications also reduce paper waste and filing time for the company. 

For the applicant, online applications save you money, paper and postage. Another benefit is that the cruise line instantly receives your application. Disadvantages of online applications are that they limit your creativity and individuality. To counter this effect, it is especially important to analyze your phrasing, grammar, punctuation and spelling when applying online. It is important to condense your skills into key words and sharp action phrases. 

Preparing for the Interview

It is of utmost importance to prepare, practice and memorize the answers that you will give to the interviewer’s questions. When forming your answers, be aware that the interviewer is concerned with what you can and will do for the cruise line, not what the cruise line can do for you. The interviewer will be most interested in your friendliness, professionalism, dedication, teamwork and willingness to help the public.

When you are preparing answers for the interviewer’s questions, stress qualities related to the position you have applied for. Offer answers that will make the interviewer remember you, but most importantly, be honest. Here is a list of questions that you may be asked at the interview with hints to help prepare your answers: 

  • Why do you want to work on a cruise ship? 
    HINTS: It’s a challenging yet rewarding career. You enjoy being around people. You realize the ups and downs of cruise ship life, but you have the skills to do a great job. 
  • What makes you qualified for this position? 
    HINTS: Do you have a background in customer service? If so, mention your excellent customer service skills and that you are ambitious, motivated, committed, intelligent and a good team player.
  • What are some of your strengths? 
    HINTS: Are you a hardworking, enthusiastic, motivated and happy person? Do you have a positive outlook? 
  • Name one of your weaknesses? 
    HINTS: Always follow this answer with how you have overcome this weakness. 
  • How would you describe yourself using one word? 
    HINTS: Use words such as positive, motivated or friendly. 
  • What do you know about our cruise line? 
    HINTS: This is a good opportunity to show off your research and knowledge. Be prepared!  
  • Do you like to travel? 
    HINTS: Obviously your answer should be ‘yes’ to this question. 
  • Do you have any questions for me? 
    HINTS: Always have an intelligent question ready. For example, “Will this job prepare me for a higher-level position one day?” or “How will my performance be judged?”

Phone Interviews

Many of the cruise lines you apply to may be too far away to allow for a personal interview. The most important key is to speak with confidence, energy and enthusiasm. Convince the interviewer that you can do the job. Your self-confidence will demonstrate that you would be a valuable asset to their cruise line.

In-Person Interviews

An interview, whether in person or by phone, serves to show an employer that you have the social and speaking skills necessary for working with the public. The personal interview also gives you the extra opportunity to demonstrate that you know how to dress and act properly. It is a good idea to bring extra resumes for any others present at your interview. 

All cruise lines look for socially skilled employees. When you arrive at your interview, show patience and composure in waiting. If you are nervous, use a relaxation technique such as deep breathing. Avoid nervous habits like fidgeting, giggling or biting your nails. When you meet the employer, shake his or her hand, and smile. 

Tips for a Successful Interview

► Arrive early. 

► Dress conservatively, similar to the cruise line’s uniform. 

► Pay attention to detail. For example, polish your shoes. 

► Women should wear nylons if wearing a skirt. 

► Ensure that your make-up and grooming are impeccable. 

► Do not wear an excessive amount of jewelry. 

► Do not chew gum or smoke. 

► Avoid controversial subjects such as politics and religion. 

► If you must disagree do so calmly. 

► Do not speak negatively of past employers or colleagues. 

The interviewer is looking for creativity, sense of humor and your ability to think on your feet. When asked a question for which you have prepared an answer, pause before answering so you don’t sound rehearsed. If you are asked a question that you are unprepared for, sit back, think for a moment before answering and be confident.