Help Wanted: New Cruise Ships Mean New – and Exciting – Career Opportunities for Thousands of People
Designers green-lighted their creations. Shipbuilders put the steel in place. Now those who operate the world’s newest ships – true floating cities populated by thousands – are busy behind the scenes hiring folks to run the show.
It’s not an easy task, staffing a new, state-of-the-art city at sea, such as the 3,954-passenger Carnival Vista from Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line’s 2,650-passenger Koningsdam or German line AIDA’s new flagship, the 3,300-passenger AIDAprima. Consider that jobs range from entry-level positions such as assistant room service waiter and wiper (the person who wipes clean the ship engines) to the captain, chief engineers, senior officers and everyone in between.
There really is a butcher and a baker (among dozens of kitchen crew) as well as waiters, sommeliers, hotel staff, doctors, bookkeepers, the team on the bridge, electricians, plumbers, garbage men and a huge entertainment team, among jobs that need to be filled before a ship takes on guests.
Experienced crew will come onboard from existing ships in the fleets – not all crew are new hires – but a new ship means many positions open, some unique to specific ships.
For the Carnival Vista, officials need to fill some 1,450 slots including the role of Carnival Multiplex Operator, to run the first IMAX Theatre at sea.
Chris Nelson, whose job responsibilities include entertainment hiring as Carnival Cruise Line’s director of entertainment operations, said ideally to run the theater he’d like to find a movie buff with cinema experience. The same person will be responsible for the ship’s multisensory Thrill Theater, where the chairs shake, air blows and water squirts, making you feel part of the on-screen action.
Nelson is looking for an adventure-seeking fitness buff to run the Carnival Vista’s massive SportSquare ropes course, which includes the first-in-the-cruise-industry aerial cycling attraction, SkyRide. “This job is great as you get to meet all sorts of people and be outside enjoying the beautiful ocean views. It’s an athletic position for someone who loves the outdoors, loves to be fit and has a propensity for athletic activities,” Nelson said.
Love beer? Eddie Allen, Carnival Cruise Line’s vice president of beverage operations, is filling slots for brewmasters at Carnival Vista’s RedFrog Pub & Brewery, the first real brewery on a North American ship. Job qualifications include being “a passionate beer expert,” Allen said.
On the 600-passenger Seabourn Encore, which debuts in December as the world’s most luxurious ship, the call is going out particularly for waiters, sommeliers, bartenders and suite stewardesses with experience at top luxury hotels in Europe. The ultra-luxury line is launching a new peer-to-peer Ambassador Program, unique within Carnival Corporation, where existing crew can sign on to assist in recruiting in their native countries.
About 75 percent of the crew on Seabourn Encore will have experience already working with the line, with 25 percent new hires who will be trained through the Seabourn College training program. The top selling point? “You see the world and get paid for it,” said Stijn Creupelandt, human resources business partner for Seabourn. “Plus with Seabourn, it’s the best of the best, which looks great on your resume.”
Among unusual slots to be filled on the ship is a tailor, who will not only mend crew uniforms but also be on hand should the zipper snag on, say, a guest’s designer cocktail dress. There’s also a call out for experienced baristas.
With the new Pinnacle-class Konginsdam, debuting in April, Holland America Line is launching new culinary venues, such as the new French seafood brasserie Sel de Mer, and energetic entertainment. The Music Walk features classically trained musicians at Lincoln Center Stage, piano-playing songsters at Billboard Onboard and blues bands at B.B. King’s Blues Club, all of which have changed the way the line sources musicians, according to Bill Prince, Holland America Line’s director of entertainment.
“Each of these three unique, world-class venues has a unique recruiting team scouring the country, or the globe in the case of Lincoln Center Stage, for talent that previously hadn’t considered going to sea,” Prince said.
Recruiting talented performers for shows in AIDAprima’s expanded Theatrium – with its aerial performance equipment, LED technology and circular stage, AIDA Cruises also went worldwide, including sending a team to Broadway to hold auditions. New staff positions on the innovative ship also include childcare workers for the first AIDA Mini Club, providing care for babies and toddlers (age six months and up).
Carnival Cruise Line’s Nelson said the line gets more than 200 applications for each entertainment/recreation opening including from singers/dancers (you need to do both) for Playlist productions, comedians and musicians to join rock bands (which the cruise line organizes), as well as DJs, who undergo training with celebrity Miami Heat DJ Irie. With 100 positions on the Carnival Vista, and openings as well on the other 24 Carnival Cruise Line ships, the line holds auditions and interviews in cities includingSan Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and London, as well as on select college campuses. Applicants can also apply online at carnivalentertainment.com.
For Carnival Vista, Nelson is also looking at resumes for the new position of Family Concierge, responsible for making sure kids and adults alike have fun on their cruise vacation including in the first-of-its-kind Family Harbor complex (with family staterooms and lounge). He said applicants should be “passionate about travel and have some experience working with children.”