Shipboard Employment: Frequently Asked Questions
Come join Norwegian Cruise Line's onboard team and work with the best of the hospitality field worldwide.
What makes cruise ship employment so unique?
Working on a ship means you live and work onboard. This also means it is a 7-day work week with 10+ combined hours per day.
Is this a full time job?
Employment on a cruise ship is DEFINITELY a full time position. However, due to the intensity of shipboard work & life, it is on an assignment basis.
How long is the assignment?
Assignments vary depending on the position and brand. It can be anywhere between 4 months thru 10 months.
What about time off?
That's the best part. Although you work 7-days a week while on assignment, crew members get a BULK time off upon completion of the assignment period. It's like banking your days off and taking it all at once.
Which ship do I work for?
Crew members are assigned to a position, not necessarily a ship. Although our preference is to bring back returning assignments on the same vessel, there's a chance that you'll be moved to where the role is needed.
What if I have commitments during my assignment?
When you're interviewing, it's important that you share any pending commitment information. We can look into an assignment that works for both our new hire and the department.
How do I get to the ship?
For most assignments, NCL will provide full transportation from your home to the ship and back for the full assignment period. In some locations, we'll even have someone meet you!
Do I need travel documents?
Valid passports are needed for all our new crew members. New hires that are not US citizens, US Permanent Residents or Canadian will need to obtain a C1/D visa.
What is a C1/D visa?
It is a special visa for non US & Canadian nationals to work onboard a cruise ship. This can be obtained at the US Embassy in your respective countries.
Where do I sleep and what will it look like?
Living space can vary based on ship and the position. While the management level position will have a single room, non-management will be sharing with roommates. Although the room is small, you will have a comfy bed, a shared tv, personal closet space and full bathroom. You'll have clean sheets and fresh towels!
Is there a place to relax?
Yes. There is a common room where our employees can gather to play games, share experiences and even to watch a movie. In some ships, we even have an Internet Cafe just for our crew to check in with what's going on back at home.
Can you drink alcohol onboard?
Yes, when you're not scheduled to work and off duty. Just remember that we have a zero tolerance policy for certain positions and alcohol limitations. And no matter what, YOU are RESPONSIBLE for being on time for your shift and SOBER! Reporting to work under the influence or hung over is cause for immediate termination. That's definitely NOT what you want to happen!
Can I bring a friend, family, maybe a pet?
Space onboard is very limited. Any offer is for employee only.
What should I pack?
We recommend that you pack for a 1-week trip and consider bringing items that are on the suggested packing list. We'll set you up with the proper uniforms so you need off-duty clothes. There are times when you may be called on to participate in a formal event, so one dressy outfit is worth packing. There are shops onboard that our employees can shop from, at a discounted rate. And some of the best bargains can be found at some of the ports you'll visit.
What about medical care?
While you're onboard, the medical doctor onboard will provide you medical care.
Can I use the guest pool and the gym?
Guest facilities are for guests only. Employees are provided with employee only facilities. We have a well equipped gym onboard for you to keep in shape! However, we just don't have the space for an employee only pool. But, many itineraries offer a port of call with some of the most beautiful beaches and resorts that you can visit if you're off duty and headed a shore.
What's the chain of command?
The ultimate final word is the Captain, Master of the vessel. There is a clear chain of command that should be followed in seeking advice, assistance, resolutions, etc.
What happens at the end of my assignment?
Each assignment concludes with a perfomance review. Based on the evaluation, you will be asked to return. In some cases, we can even provide a return assignment before you even leave the ship.
Is there a difference between brands?
Yes, our U.S. Flagged ships and International Fleet have some differences in terms of employment conditions. Specifically we have three brands: NCL - International Fleet, NCLA - U.S. Flagged and Orient Lines. At the time of hire, you will be explained in detail the terms and conditions for the brand you are being assigned.
If you work on a U.S. Flagged ship, you will pay all applicable federal, state and local taxes. If you are assigned to an international ship, it will be your responsibility to report income earned when you return to your respective country.