top of page


  • How much time will it take from my application to me boarding the ship?
    The process can vary from four weeks to one year, depending on many variables: ​ A recruiter will only contact you if the position you applied for is open at the time of the application. If the position you qualify for is closed, you will only be contacted once the cruise line asks for more people. A recruiter will only contact you if you qualify for any open position. You may only be notified if you meet the requirements of any position onboard. You will only be contacted if you meet the client's criteria for each position. If you have significant experience in a field but are willing to change departments, you may not qualify for the new position you want to start. It's simply because there is very little time for training onboard, it's fast-paced, and all crew members must have some recent experience related to the job they are applying for. Some positions may also require specific certifications. You may or may not be given time to obtain them. HIRING PROCESS DIAGRAM
  • 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 may 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 and liaise with you as much as possible. If you have a commitment already scheduled, we highly recommend that you mention that very early in the process, so we can ensure to have it in writing and be able to negotiate for you to start at a later date after your commitment. Examples: weddings, court dates, family members' surgery, pre-paid family vacation, and resignation notice at work based on your country's labor laws. For most employers, there is a maximum amount of time from your job offer for you to board. ONCE you get the news that you got the job, get ready as soon as possible. Your recruiter will guide you through the process. Ensure to check your emails and phone daily.
  • What is the maximum age accepted for first-time crew members?
    There is no age limit in place. However, as an applicant, it's essential to be aware of the employment terms, whether you can cope with the demanding workload, if you agree to share a cabin with another crew member, and most importantly, if you can obtain a Medical Fit For Duty certificate (regardless of your age). Depending on your position, contracts may last from 4 to 9 months at sea, without any days off, and entail a 12-hour daily workload with breaks after 6 hours of work.
  • Do I have to have a medical before I board?
    Yes. You have to complete a medical before leaving for the ship. It is an IMO requirement in your best interest; you must be healthy as per their guidelines and for your safety as you will be in an environment that may impose extra stress and be far away most of the time from the coast. The employer does everything it can to keep you safe and healthy. However, you must still pass the Medical certification and obtain the FIT FOR DUTY certificate from a PRE-APPROVED FACILITY. ​ As per IMO, you may not be able to obtain a job onboard a ship if: ​ You suffer from certain heart diseases or have suffered a stroke, epilepsy, heart attacks, severe diabetes depending on insulin, or have been hospitalized in the past year for any severe health issues that could be life-threatening. You are pregnant You had a or required a hip replacement, have had back issues or joined surgeries recently, are under physiotherapy, cannot carry weight or walk/stand for long hours ​​ All those conditions will need to be analyzed by approved physicians who base their decisions on many variables. If you have a condition that worries you, please ask your recruiter for the closest approved facility information so you can confirm with them if that concern may restrict you from this job onboard. The medical is a thorough exam that involves taking blood tests, urinalysis, blood pressure, eye, hearing, and lung function tests, as well as a chest x-ray. They are testing that you are physically fit to work on board. Please note that a drug test will also be conducted as ships are 100 % drug-free environments: no exceptions apply. Failure of the medical or drug test will result in a "non-fit for duty" certificate or the termination of your contract (if you are already onboard). In most cases, it is your responsibility to pay for your medical exam, and the cost may vary from U$140 to U$900 depending on your country and if you need extra exams from the usual list. Some clinics may also charge for necessary vaccines if you did not take them or if you cannot prove you took them.
  • Do I need a Visa to work on ships?
    Yes, and there are many types of visas, depending on the ship you get assigned and its itinerary. Unless you are American or Canadian, you will need a C1D Visa (crew member/transit visa) if your home port is in the USA. It will cost U$160 or U$320, depending on your citizenship. Keep the receipt, as your employer will reimburse this once you get onboard. You will only be reimbursed if you have the original receipt. You will fill out an online application, pay the fee and schedule your appointment only once you get the job offer, meet the conditions of the job offer (Police Background Check and Medical Fit for Duty), and receive your LOE (letter of employment). The availability may vary from country to country, so we will advise you when to go ahead and book your interview. Once approved, it may take 3 to 10 business days, depending on your country. Exceptions may occur because they need additional time to process investigations, which may be delayed, but those cases are rare. If your ship stops in Canada, you might need a transit, tourist, or eTA to enter Canada – it may have a cost. If your ship departs from or stops in Australia, you may need an MCV and transit visa to Australia (online, free of cost). For some countries, you may also be required a SWENGEN visa (for some European countries) or other country visas, depending once again on your ship's itinerary. We will guide you through it once it's time! If you already have a visa, it must be valid for at least the entire contract duration + 3 months. The same applies to your passport.
  • Can I choose my ship and itinerary?
    Usually, you cannot for your first contract. It would be best if you accepted the position offered based on your employer's demands and operational needs. Some companies will offer you options from your 2nd contract and on.
  • Will I need to take STCW?
    SCTW - The Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping for Seafarers Some Cruise Lines will require you to take it on land before joining your ship. For some countries, it must be stamped by your Marine Coast Guard, and you must carry the originals. You will pay for your course, valid for years, and will not be reimbursed for it. Some exceptions apply for companies that will offer the training onboard and free of cost. Not all employers will be able to accept online training. Ask your recruiter before you invest in the wrong program. It should be discussed during your interview, depending on the position/cruise line or concession you will be referred to after your testing, interview, and reference check. If you want to get a STCW Certificate (Maritime Security Awareness Online Course), please click here. Important: we do not recommend that you take this course before knowing where you will be working, as each company has its own specific hiring requirements. However, If you still want to invest in your professional development, go ahead.
  • Can I get off the ship while in port?
    Of course, you can! When you have free time during the day, you can get off the ship and do what you please, providing that you are not scheduled to work and are back on board by the required time. Usually, at the beginning of the contract, there will be much training (on-the-job or mandatory security training and drills), so you might have short windows of time to leave the ship. Later in your contract, you may be able to get a "full day" out and start your shift after 3 pm or 4 pm. Of course, that will also depend on your department, your manager, how many people work in your department, and if you are keeping up with your duties on time!
  • Can my family or friends come to visit?
    Of course, they can! Every cruise line has its policies about visitors. There are discounts, and it is usually based on availability.
  • Will I enjoy working in the cruise industry?
    If you are a committed, hard-working fun-loving team player, you will have the time of your life! It is the only job that can give you so much experience and knowledge of the travel industry. The things you'll see, do and learn, along with the many new friends you'll meet from all over the world, will stay with you forever. It is truly an unforgettable experience. Your confidence as a crew member can only increase as each week goes by, and we at Cast-A-Way constantly encourage our crew to develop their existing skills and learn new ones while onboard. Most people need approximately 4-8 weeks to settle in and feel comfortable in their new surroundings. All we can say is, "hang in there" - it's worth it. After the first two months, you will indeed start to enjoy, and when you least expect it, you will be through half of your contract. Then you will blink, and the contract has finished! Certainly, SHIP LIFE is only for those ready for a committed and adventurous job. If you like routine, have never been far from home and usually miss family, and prefer to do things your way and on your own time, there may be better jobs for you. On the other hand, if you are very resilient, flexible and have plenty of energy, enjoy working in a team, are pro-active, resourceful, and coachable, and you are the type of person that can never be bored, then you will have a BLAST ONBOARD! There is not one day that is the same as the other, and primarily when you are not working, you will have fun with your new friends!
  • For whom do I work?
    The cruise line or concession that hires you will be your employer, with whom you will sign your "Seafarer's Agreement" or Independent Agreement (if with a concession). Please note that all cruise lines have different rules and regulations that must be followed. Failure to do so can result in dismissal. The Cast-A-Way agency is just an intermediary to assist candidates throughout the hiring process. The cruise line pays it for its selection and administrative pre-boarding support. As in any land-based job, there is a 90-day probation period for which the company may decide to terminate your contract with no cause if they deem you not a good fit for the job or your performance is not as expected. If you get terminated (at cause or no cause), you will get very few hours of notice to pack and go to the airport. It's mandatory by immigration rules that an official escorts any crew member who has been terminated to the boarding gate. No exceptions apply. You will be notified by your manager and HR Director of the reasons for your termination, and you should ask any questions at this time. The cruise line or concession will pay for your ticket back home at this time and pay you any outstanding salary.
  • How often will I be working?
    Except for singers, dancers, musicians, and the doctors onboard, you can expect to work seven days/week (with no days off) and anywhere from 8-12 hours/per day. Spa employees may work 5 1/2 days/week and 10 hours/day. As per IMO (International Maritime Organization) and MLC (Maritime Labor Convention), you are entitled to a break for every six (6) hours of work, and you must get at least 10 hours of rest for every 24 hours, which can be in two (2) shifts or straight with a small break. For some positions, some rotations may include night shifts, as for nurses, doctors, GSAs, and security. For some positions, you will be given a "radio phone" and will be "on call." If needed, you will be contacted and must report immediately to resolve the "issue." You will be required to clock in and clock out. If you need to remember, you must see your manager adjust your working hours report.
  • Are there any fees to apply through Cast-A-Way?
    No. Cast-A-Way does not charge any application, recruitment, or placement fees in compliance with (MLC) International Maritime Law. Some optional services may be offered occasionally with a small fee that will be advised to you before you decide to use that service.
  • Can I make phone calls from the ship?
    There are phones on board. However, we recommend using them for emergencies only. They are usually much more expensive than a landline phone as they operate on satellite. Some vessels will have crew phones set up at a reduced rate. You will have access to crew calling centers at mainly every port. Some companies will also offer calling cards are reduced rates. Some veteran crew members will also share other options for your itinerary, such as getting a local chip/sin card.
  • How long are the contracts?
    Contracts can vary between four to eight months depending on which cruise line you will be working for and the position. After each contract, you will have a work break from 4-8 weeks. Work breaks are usually unpaid, so put some money away for your "time off." You may request to shorten your break or extend it, but it needs to be confirmed by the Human Resources department, your manager, and the schedulers in advance. Breaks can be up to months on exception cases, but if you pass months, you will be considered a new employee upon return and required to re-apply. You may lose benefits such as "time counted towards retirement packages" that some companies offer.
  • Can I do laundry on the ship?
    es. You may have access to laundry facilities (most ships have a crew laundry-free facility open 24 hours per day), or service will be offered for a nominal fee. Depending on position and company, uniform-free laundry may be offered for staff and officers.
  • What about my flight to the ship?
    The cruise line may or may not provide your flight to the ship. Depending on the company policy, you may have to pay your way there, and upon completion of your contract, they will fly you home at no cost. In some "rare" cases, cruise lines require you to pay for your flight there, and upon completion of your contract, you will be reimbursed for your flight and flown home. For Management positions and Entertainment positions, some cruise lines and concessions will pay your flight to and from the ship.
  • Do I have to wear a uniform?
    Yes. Your uniform is supplied by the cruise line and will be given to you upon arrival on the ship. Upon a job offer, you will be asked to provide sizes promptly, so it's ready for you once you get onboard. You may be required to purchase or bring shoes to match the uniform given by the company.
  • Can I get mail?
    Every ship has an address, and you can get this address upon your arrival at the ship at the MSA or Crew Services Office. If you still need to, you will receive the information onboard. Remember that it may take longer than when you are on land.
  • What am I responsible for as far as living expenses?
    All your food and accommodations are provided free of cost. Cruise lines also provide medical insurance while under contract (onboard) but not while you are on vacation off of the ship. You will be required to pay for any incidentals, souvenirs, alcoholic beverages, personal internet usage, and phone calls. Discounted rates for Shore Excursions, Duty-Free, and Spa Services are provided for crew members.
  • Do I share a cabin?
    Except for managers, directors, captains, doctors, and engineers/officers, all the cabins are small and compact and are shared with one other person of the same gender. Sometimes, 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 the linen changed weekly by your cabin steward, except on embarkation days. While it's not mandatory, it's common practice for all staff positions to tip the cabin stewards who clean your cabin, make your bed daily, and wash your uniform. Those services are not offered for "crew positions." Tips of U$20 or more are recommended for every pay cheque you receive.
  • Can we drink in the lounges/nightclub?
    Some positions have "guests' privileges," and some may not. If you don't, you are not permitted to be in passenger areas when you are off duty. Positions usually have deck privileges, such as cruise staff, youth staff, merchandise, pursers, GSAs, Shorex, entertainers, casino, and more; you can socialize with passengers in the lounges until your set curfew, which will be given to you when you get onboard. Some ships do not allow staff to drink alcohol in passenger areas. If you are drunk while on duty or too drunk to perform emergency procedures, this will result in automatic dismissal.
  • Can we socialize with the passengers?
    Socializing depends on your position. It may be an integral part of your job, although it is essential to note that fraternization with passengers is cause for immediate dismissal. Passengers are prohibited in crew areas, and crewmembers are prohibited in guest cabins.
  • Can we smoke in passenger areas?
    As a rule, you cannot smoke in any passenger areas. Your general manager will define this rule in more detail when you arrive on the ship. There are crew smoking areas.
  • Is there a crew bar onboard?
    Yes. The crew bar serves drinks until a set time, which may vary from ship to ship. It is where you can relax and socialize out of sight with the passengers. However, some cruise lines will have more strict drinking policies and may have very low to zero alcohol tolerance.
  • Can we use the gym?
    Yes, as a rule, you can use the gym, as long as you are not depriving any passengers of the facilities. There is a crew-only gym open 24 hours per day.
  • Can we use the swimming pool?
    As a rule, you are not permitted to use the pool aboard most ships. You can get off the ship and sightsee, go to the beach, or shop in port.
  • Where can the crew sunbathe?
    There will be designated areas for the crew to sunbathe, usually in the back of the ship. You will be informed during orientation.
  • How will I get paid?
    Depending on the cruise line, you may be paid bi-weekly or monthly. You will need to take emergency cash (recommended at least U$300) if you get any travel disruptions when heading to the ship. The employer will not cover those costs with meals, transportation, or missed flights. In most cases, you will be paid in U.S. cash or through a debit card provided by the company named "ocean pay."
  • What about taxes?
    Income taxes are only withheld for American Citizens. As every country has different tax laws, we suggest you consult an accountant to determine your tax obligations. For most countries, income made on international waters may not be taxable. If that's the case for you, that's an additional benefit! Please check with your revenue agency.
  • What do I do about banking?
    You have a few options: you can open an account in your homeport (some companies allow it). We suggest making money orders and sending them home to a family member, friend, or bank. Some crew members opt for Western Union or similar services. It is the most innovative and safest option. Many cruise lines have their bank accounts, and you can quickly transfer between your cruise account and your bank account back home. Or you can keep your salary in your "Ocean Pay" and withdraw before going home.
  • How can I expect my salary?
    Let's use an example here. You were informed that your salary would be U$1600 monthly while on probation. You will divide U$1600 by 30 days >>>> U.S. $53.33 per day. Most companies make payments every two weeks, so you will multiply this daily rate X 14 >>> U.S. $746.66. US $746.66 X 2 = US $ 1,493.33 Note that you got paid 28 days, and the next two days to complete the U$100 will come on the next pay / next month. Eventually, at least once during your contract, you will get paid 3 X that month, compensating for those "days." Example: You will get paid on Day 1 / again on Day 15 / again on Day 29.
bottom of page