Frequently Asked Questions

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Contracts

How long are contracts?
Contract lengths are usually 6 months, which means you are away from home for 6 months. After each contract you will have a work break that can range from 4-6 weeks. Work breaks are usually not paid, so be sure to put some money away for your holiday.

What happens when I have completed my contract?
If you are happy and your employer is happy then you would be offered another contract to start after your break of 4-6 weeks.

How often will I be working?
In most cases, you can expect to work 7 days per week and anywhere from 5 to 12 hours per day.

What’s included in your contract?
Your on board accommodation, which is en-suite, and meals are all included. A uniform is provided and is laundered for you. Medical cover whilst in contract is also included.

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Flights

Who pays for my flights?
On your first contract and in most cases unless otherwise stated, you pay for your own flight out to your destination port. This is a one way flight. Upon completion of your contract you are then flown home by your employer. Then for subsequent contracts you are flown both ways by your employer.

Who books the flight?
On your first contract you book your own flight, we have some contacts which offer very competitive rates but we advise that you shop around. Sometimes your assignment can change so your flight must be flexible.

What happens when I arrive?
You usually land the day before you are due to sail, so you are put up in a hotel. This is usually booked and paid for by your employer. The following day you will be collected from the hotel and taken to the port. The hotels are usually used by a number of cruise companies so you probably won’t be the only crew member there.

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Medicals

Do I have to have a medical?
Yes - prior to embarkation you must have a medical. These vary slightly depending upon the cruise line. The medicals are very extensive and all tests must be carried out as per instructions. Failure to disclose any medical information could mean instant dismissal.

Who pays for the medical?
This varies for each position some the applicant has to pay in full, some are part paid by the employer and some the employer pays for it all. The total cost can vary from £130 up to £220.

What type of tests are undertaken?
General medical tests like height, weight etc but also blood tests some of which are Hepatitis, HIV, Full Blood Count. In addition you will also have a chest x-ray.

Why do I need a medical?
To ensure that you are fit and well prior to embarking on the ship, so then whilst you are in contract you are covered medically – e.g. if you have a chest infection you go and visit the infirmary and you would be given appropriate treatment and medication without any cost. You must check your contract to see if there are areas where you may not be covered for medical expenses eg. Injuries following a moped accident in certain countries.

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Visa

Do I need a visa?
Yes you need a C1/D crew visa which you have to obtain from the
US Embassy. This can only be applied for once you have been offered a position.

How do I go about getting the visa?
Once you have been offered a position then you can usually start the application process, we have an information sheet but you can visit www.usembassy.org for more information. To apply you need apply
on-line, then phone the Embassy for an interview. You have to take a letter of employment with you for the interview. The interview usually takes about 20 minutes.

How long does it take to get a visa?
To get an interview it can take anywhere from 10 days upwards. During the summer period this can take up to 35/40 days. Once you have had the interview the visa is usually returned in your passport within 7 working days.

Where is the US Embassy?
There is one in London, Belfast and Dublin and in other countries around the world.

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Wages and cash flow

How often will I get paid?
You are usually paid 2-3 times per month in cash. This is TAX FREE unless you are a US citizen, you may have to check with your local tax office.

Is it really tax free?
Yes but you can clarify this at your local tax office.

Is there a bank on board?
On most ships there is a bank on board where you can open an account and deposit your cash. If not then you can open an account at one of the larger ports of call. If you do not want to open a bank account then there are safety deposit boxes.

Can I transfer money home?
Yes you can transfer money home. We suggest that you wait and transfer larger amounts as and when needed as you are usually charged a fee for this regardless of the amount.

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Additional questions

Do I share a cabin?
Yes, all the cabins are small and compact and are shared with one other person of the same sex. In some instances you may have to share with up to three people. Most cabins have a bathroom however some bathroom facilities can be shared by up to four people. The cabins are cleaned with linen changed daily by your cabin steward.

Can I do laundry on the ship?
Yes, you may have access to laundry facilities or a service will be offered for a nominal fee.

How much notice will I get if I am hired?
The amount of notice you may get can vary. Positions are always coming up, some sooner than others. Emergency positions do come up that might only leave you with a few days notice, so be prepared!!!
We will always try to give the crew member as much notice as possible.

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