How much does it really cost to take up employment on a Cruise Ship?
A question I am asked very regularly is “why do I have to pay to take up employment on a cruise ship”? This is a valid question and it has a great impact on whether or not cruise ships are a good career choice for you.
The first point to note is that there is NO COST to apply for a position with a cruise line. Many websites have an option to purchase material that will assist you in your application but the actual application does not come at a cost. Often what you are purchasing is available free elsewhere too!
Once you have applied and have been successful in your application you can expect all or some of the following costs:
Police clearance- This is a certificate from the local authorities that states you have no criminal background or convictions. The cost of this varies from country to country. If this in Australia is usually around $55.00. In New Zealand it is free. Singapore and Japan is complicated and in some instances the authorities will not issue a background check to applicants applying for a position on a cruise ship. In this instance you would be asked to sign a declaration stating that you have no Criminal history but not all companies will accept a declaration so it can be complicated.
Pre employment medical- Every cruise line has its own pre employment medical process and some can be quite extensive. As an average cost it is usually around AUD$500 but is much cheaper in places like Sri Lanka and Fiji.
Visas– All applicants must have the correct visas to travel. You will need a US C1/D visa which is a crew travel visa issued by the united States to all air and sea crew. The cost of this is currently USD$160. Because you are also required to have a face to face interview with the embassy the cost of travel needs to be mentioned as this could add a significant cost to you.
You may also need a Schengen visa if you are joining a ship in Europe. This is dependent upon the passport you use to travel. Holders of passports issued in Australia, New Zealand and several other countries do not need a Schengen Visa. The cost of a Schengen visa is USD$65
Seaman's Book and STCW training - dependant upon your nationality and the flag state of the vessel you are joining you may need to complete Seaman's book training as well as some additional safety certification. The costs of this vary greatly from country to country. We can let you know when you apply if this is a requirement as it can also change based upon the position you are applying for.
One way ticket to your port of Embarkation– the cost of this will vary according to a couple of areas.
In some instances the Cruise line will pay for your joining airfare at no cost to the crew member..
In many instances though, you will be required to pay for your joining airfare. This is a one way ticket to your joining port and can cost up to AUD$1500 or the equivalent.
Should you not complete your contract you are also liable to pay for your return airfare.
Uniforms – Most of the cruise lines provide you with your uniforms and these are also laundered free of charge. However, in some position you may find that you are required to provide some items yourself. I would allow AUD$200 for this
Administration fee– No Agency is legally entitled to charge an administration fee.
As you can see this is a significant investment. However, I would like to add that this is the worst case scenario. In many instances the company will pay for your flights.
I hope this helps you in your decision to embark upon a cruise ship career.