Working on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean and North Sea is one of the most exciting adventures in my life. However, there are some things I wish I knew back then, that would have made my life so much easier. After signing my job offer in January I had to leave in the beginning of March. It turned out that one or two months of time are not enough to complete your documentation and training before boarding the ship. I hope my advice finds you well and you consider necessary action long enough before your departure.
1. Check the validity of your passport
You have to make sure that your passport will not expire in the upcoming months when you would be onboard – if it does, then make sure you change it even before applying for a job on a cruise ship. If your passport hasn’t expired yet, you can still apply to change it in advance by explaining why you need a new one. Passport applications take different time in different countries, but in order to save money from express delivery, make sure you have enough time to do that in the regular way.
2. Go for Basic Safety Training & run a full medical checkup
Although you may work in the hotel part of the ship, you still need an excellent knowledge on safety and evacuation. All cruise staff members must complete a list of trainings in order to secure their participation in the onboard drills and prepare them for any kind of emergency situations.
Basic Safety trainings are to be taken before boarding on the vessel and are most likely done in marine towns and cities. So hurry up and check the dates of availability – sometimes those trainings may not be taking place in months.
You will need to consider doing a full medical checkup as well. Usually, the company you are going to work for will send a list of the exact examinations you need to run. However, don’t forget that you may have to translate your medical report into the language your employer would ask for (most likely English).
3. Set up your bank account and cards
You will be probably paid via a bank transfer so make sure to create an account that suits you best for any upcoming international transfers. Many banks charge you when receiving abroad payments so choose your plan wisely.
Also, keep in mind that you might need to withdraw money from ATMs worldwide so check if your card works on an international level.
4. Pack supplies for months ahead
Modern cruise ships have enough supplies onboard not only for the passengers but for their crew as well. However, you might want to pack the things you need the most in big amounts. It is very likely that you do not leave the ship in the first days (even weeks) after boarding. Should you have any specific needs – like medicine, cosmetics or even your favorite snack, pack plenty!
5. Exchange currency
We may live in the era of technology and electronic payments but still you are going to need cash to purchase certain items, especially from markets. If the ship you will work on is cruising mainly around Europe, you might want to have some Euros in cash for all those amazing small shops, markets and street food. Same applies for dollars in the USA or any currency you might find useful having, based on where the ship is mostly stopping.
Well done, now you are fully ready to cruise on an adventure!