10 Tips to Help You Prepare for a Cruise Ship Interview

Reviewed by Melina Theodorou

Cruise ship interview tips

So, you like to travel, you enjoy mingling with tourists, and you certainly don’t suffer from motion sickness. While these traits are superb for a cruise ship role, they’re not enough to impress a hiring manager.  

Cruise ship job interviews (or any interview for that matter) require adequate preparation for you to appear as the ideal candidate for the job. From choosing professional attire to brushing up on your cruise ship knowledge, there are several ways to get ready for the big day. 

If you are hoping to land a job on a cruise ship, we’ve gathered a list of 10 tips to help you prepare for the interview

1. Be ready for a virtual interview 

Cruise ship interviews are often carried out virtually over a Skype or Zoom call or over the phone. It’s essential to keep this in mind so you can handle it with ease and confidence. 

If your interview takes place over a video call, pick a tidy and well-lit room and ensure that there is a good internet connection there. 

Meanwhile, telephone interviews require a quiet environment with no distractions. Make sure to brush up on your phone etiquette, such as using the right tone and actively listening to the interviewer.  

2. Read through your CV 

As with any job interview, you must be familiar with the contents of your résumé. Reciting your professional skills and work history should come naturally to you, so you can quickly answer any questions about your professional background and abilities. 

This will allow you to make a good first impression on the hiring managers, especially if you can talk about it in detail and without hesitation. Ensure to elaborate on your skills and provide details about your accomplishments, strengths and career goals to demonstrate your credibility.

3. Brush up on your knowledge 

As an interviewee, you should demonstrate your knowledge about the job role during an interview. Hiring managers will want to see that you know the basics of working on a cruise ship. 

Firstly, make sure you understand the general rules and regulations of working on board, such as having no days off, avoiding inappropriate relationships with passengers, ensuring personal hygiene, and following ship curfews. 

You should also be well-versed in the industry vocabulary, such as the types of cruise lines (mainstream vessel, adventure vessel, mega-ship), directions (bow, stern, port) and crew member titles and duties (steward, purser, maitre d’). 

All of this knowledge will prove that you are well-acquainted with the fundamentals of working at sea. 

4. Do some self-reflection

Working on a cruise ship can sometimes require a lot of sacrifices in your personal life. It involves working away from home for substantial periods (months), long working hours, and minimal days off. 

Working at sea certainly makes it hard to strike a good work-life balance, as most of your time is spent on board and away from home. For this reason, make sure your personal life allows for this lifestyle and ensure that your family understands the demands of the role. 

Ask yourself if you could cope with living under these conditions. Ensuring that you would be dedicated to the position will help you confidently prepare for the job interview.  

5. Research the cruise line 

You should always research a company before an interview. In this case, looking into the cruise line, you’re interviewing with will give you insight into its operations and work environment. 

Knowing the company will also earn you some brownie points with the interviewer and possibly give you an edge over other candidates. 

Be sure to examine the cruise line’s website, social media accounts, customer reviews, and ratings to discover their mission and goals, company culture and competitors. It’s also wise to learn about the cruise’s work code. Every cruise line has a unique code of conduct that all staff adhere to. 

Most importantly, find out the company’s passenger demographic so you know who you might be serving and working with.  

6. Dress appropriately 

Dressing appropriately is a key requirement for an interview. No hiring manager wants to meet a candidate that is dressed too casually or inappropriately for the occasion. 

Cruise ship interviewees need to wear clothing that reflects on their professionalism. Formal business attire is always a safe bet and more likely to impress hiring managers. Minimal jewellery and discrete makeup are advised, while men should consider being clean-shaven, too. 

According to CruiseShipJobs, cruise ship staff should not have any visible tattoos and piercings, so ensure to conceal them, if you have any, during your interview.  

7. Demonstrate your enthusiasm and energy  

While working on a cruise ship involves travelling the world, it’s certainly not a holiday; things are bound to get tiring. 

Whether you want to work on board as an entertainer or as kitchen staff, cruise ship jobs require a lot of energy. There will be long working hours involved, with minimal days off, and you will need to maintain an upbeat attitude around passengers. 

To prove that you can handle this hospitality role, you need to show just how energetic you are during your interview. Now, I’m not saying you should jump up and down, but rather that you should demonstrate a sense of enthusiasm, a positive attitude and liveliness. Prepare for this by getting enough sleep the night before, doing some exercise and eating a healthy meal. These steps can help you boost your energy levels before you turn up at the interview. 

8. Prepare for common questions 

Before the big day, think about potential cruise ship interview questions and answers. This is surely the right way to go, as you want to have well-prepared answers that prove you are knowledgeable and experienced enough for the role.

 Common interview questions might include ‘Can you tell us a bit about yourself?’ or ‘Why do you want this job?’ 

Meanwhile, job-specific questions could include: ‘What skills can you bring to this cruise line?’ or ‘How would you handle a difficult situation with a passenger?’ Being prepared to answer these questions will calm any interview nerves and help you feel more confident. 

9. Have a clean record 

Cruise lines usually conduct a background check for potential employees – members of staff cannot pose a potential danger to passengers, after all.

If you want to truly impress hiring managers and increase your chances of getting the job, make sure that your background is clean (i.e. no criminal convictions). 

A pre-employment health screening also occurs once you have landed a job onboard, so ensure that your medical records are up to par and suitable for the role.  

10. Be ready to ask questions 

Asking the interviewer follow-up questions will show hiring managers that you are genuinely interested in the role. It also helps you determine if you’re the right fit for the position and whether this cruise line is for you. 

Before the interview, jot down some questions regarding the role. Be careful not to ask questions already detailed in the job description and ask ones to help you understand the cruise line’s values. 

You can ask questions about opportunities for growth or more specific ones about the cruise line’s objectives like its sales targets.

Whether it’s getting a good night’s rest or checking your record, there are many ways to prepare for a cruise ship job interview. 

While it’s difficult to predict what will happen on the day accurately, these tips will at least give you a running start on getting the most important parts of an interview right. 

Do you have any other interview tips? Share them with us in the comments section below!

This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 23 December 2016.