The Pros & Cons of Working on Large & Small Cruise Ships

Published: 03rd March 2009
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Usually when people envision having a cruise ship job, they think of a huge liner a dozen stories high, full of thousands of holidaymakers enjoying their voyage aboard a floating resort, which is well equipped with just about every facility and service you could ever need.

Indeed the number of cruise liners such as this is ever increasing and it seems the superliners are getting bigger and bigger every year, all vying for the title of The World's Largest Cruise Ship! Improved amenities, more passengers, and best of all more job vacancies, which is excellent news for anyone seeking cruise line employment.

Royal Caribbean is due to launch the first of its Oasis Class ships in 2009. This superliner can hold a whopping 6,400 guests, which is about 4,000 more than the present biggest ship on the planet can carry.

Opportunities for work on cruise ships are going to increase dramatically as these new liners take to the seas, meaning many more chances will be available to earn a living while travelling the world!

Cruise ship employment on these superliners can prove to be much more than just a job and the work can actually be great fun. There are lots of fellow crew members onboard, modern amenities, extra services and creature comforts, and usually the cabins are bigger and better equipped. There are a much higher number of passengers on board too, and both these and the crew will be from a greater range of countries and nationalities.

However, one downside to the larger ships many crew experience, is the fact life onboard is much more hectic. Staff are a lot busier dealing with the extra passengers and the atmosphere is less intimate. Getting to know people is more difficult and it's entirely possible to go weeks or even months without meeting a particular person again. Although in certain circumstances, this may be regarded as a good thing!

If it's an intimate experience you're after, it may be worthwhile exploring other avenues. Jobs on cruise ships are not only restricted to superliners with thousands of guests and hundreds of crewmembers.

Some of the slightly lesser known companies offer cruises aboard much smaller ships. This usually brings about a more laid-back and more friendly, intimate environment for both guests and crewmembers.

There is a wide range of opportunities available on smaller types of vessels in the cruise industry, including jobs on small yachts, large yachts, ferries, motorized sailboats, sternwheelers, river barges, exploration ships, and windjammers. These types of craft are often the venue for cruises with a more specialized theme such as river tours, environmental cruises, diving expeditions, naturalist cruises, or even simply for sailing adventures.

Those crew who have worked on both large and small ships usually prefer the intimacy and enjoy the more personal environment of working on smaller cruise ships. That's not to say they don't like the larger liners, just choose to share a more relaxed and friendly experience with their fellow crew members and guests.

A distinct advantage of the smaller ships is their ability to navigate where the larger liners can't. This means visits to destinations that are much more unique and exclusive - not to mention exciting!

For instance, imagine a cruise in Alaska - the smaller ship is able to venture closer to the glaciers and along straits that would be impossible for the larger liner to navigate.

Even the cruise ship jobs available may vary on a smaller craft. Vacancies for jobs such as Naturalists or Dive Masters are often to be found with smaller companies, whereas you won't find these offered by the larger liners.


Neil Maxwell-Keys has hired thousands of crew for the biggest cruise lines in the world. He has written a popular *free* step-by-step e-book which shows you how to get cruise ship jobs, quickly and easily. Get your copy from =>

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