Thursday, November 27, 2014

On How I Managed To Get Hired To Work On A Cruise Ship

Secret's out! I'm goin' on a Cruise! 
The inspiration came when a friend of mine sent me the Yahoo News article, How I saved $24,000 While Traveling The World. He said the article made him think of me. 

This is Wandering Earl

This guy, Derek, from the website, Wandering Earl, describes how he earned that much money while working for a Cruise Line. When I read it, it just hit me. BAM! That's it! That's what I'm supposed to do after Brazil! I could work for a Cruise Ship for 6 months, save some money while traveling, and then use the money to travel again! DUH! So simple! How hard could it be to get a job working on a ship? It should be really easy, right? Right?


Boy, was I so wrong on so many levels.


I started applying to all the Cruise Ships at the beginning of August - right around the time the article was sent to me. I even bought Wandering Earl's E-book about how to work for a cruise ship, to help make sure I had all the bases covered.

I went all Type A on it, I swear. I could not have been more anal about what I did. I basically made about 10 different versions of my resume. One resume for each position I applied for... with a Cover Letter to accompany each application. There were openings for Guest Relations Officers, Group Coordinator, Program Coordinator, Receptionist, Hostess, Shore Excursion Staff, Training Specialist, etc. These were the positions I had the experience for -- but not necessarily qualified for.

Most of these positions I mentioned required experience working for a cruise ship, OR a 5 star restaurant or resort. PLUS... almost all of them needed the applicants to speak several languages FLUENTLY. English PLUS Italian OR Spanish OR Portuguese OR German OR French.

Sure, I could get by in Brazil with the little Portuguese I knew... And I have a little French tattoo on my wrist... My Spanish was pretty decent in Peru - but it all dissolved when I started learning Portuguese. English was all I really had --- and even THAT was deterioration... Deteriorates... Deterior?

Screw that. I applied anyway. I applied to ALL the Cruise Ships with job openings... Carnival, Disney, Norwegian, Royal... 18 of them to be exact. All with a tailor fit Resume AND Cover Letter. I rocked it. I OWNED the applications!


After NOT hearing from any one of them for a month, apart from ONE rejection letter... Well, my confidence just sank. It didn't help that when my friend, Eduardo, applied, he practically got job offers a week after. He didn't take the job though, but still... It just reinforced the fact that my lack of languages and experience in the hospitality industry made me unqualified to work for the ship.

In my head, I just quit. I got a little depressed after that. 
Just a little. 
No, I lied. I reached my lowest point, I turned bipolar. 

I just thought I had everything figured out. I thought I had a new path and a new journey ahead of me that will allow me to keep traveling... but the plans crashed and burned.

I needed a new plan.


What I really needed AND WANTED was just to earn money. I needed to work and save some money for a few months so that I can travel again. So I decided I would go back to The Philippines. I could go home, get a job, and live at home with my parents, who will let me live and eat there, free of charge... they'd even lend me a car! And I could get a corporate job... A temporary one, just for a few months so I could save up... Then pack my backpack and travel again!

YES! It was a GREAT plan! I spoke to my friends, they've started looking for job openings for me... and just like that, I had potential jobs lined up for me in Manila! Beautiful! My friends are awesome!

Because it was going to cost me a few hundred dollars more to fly straight from Brazil to Manila, AND because I wanted to meet my brand new nephew (who was born in September)... I booked my ticket to LA first. The plan was to stay there for a couple weeks, and THEN fly to Manila. It was cheaper that way. Besides, I REALLY wanted to see my brother's baby.


I booked my ticket from Sao Paulo to Los Angeles... but I didn't book my ticket from LA to Manila. I stalled. I figured I'd book it later. For some weird reason I didn't feel like it just yet.

Well, a couple days later, I figured out why.

Norwegian Cruise Lines had responded to my online application, and they wanted to move forward with it. After almost 2 months of not hearing from anyone (apart from one rejection)...SURPRISE!!! All of a sudden, I was back in the game!

The best part about it was that --- out of all the jobs I applied for, out of all the Cruise Lines... This was the job I really wanted. It was for a Trainer position. A job I've known and loved almost my entire corporate life. In fact, on my little note pad where I wrote down a list of all the cruise ships I applied for, and what position, Norwegian Cruise Line had 2 stars next to it, with a little scribble that said, I want this job!!!
I kid you not.

Holy shit. I know, right?

As soon as I saw the email, I had a feeling. A gut feeling. A really good one. :)


5 weeks, 3 Skype Interviews and a Teaching Demo later, I was offered the position of On-board Training Specialist for Norwegian Cruise Lines.

On-board, meaning I train the staff and crew members (on Customer Service, Rules and Regulation, Safety, etc) on the ship! I get to join different ships as well... Ships that travel to different destinations.

My first assignment was supposed to be on a ship headed to Bermuda. But since I had a few delays due to my medical clearance,  my due date was moved a week later --- and so was my destination!

I am now leaving from Los Angeles to New Orleans to board a ship that is headed to The Caribbean, on Sunday, November 30th. 

I'm on a "26 Weeks On, 10 Weeks Off"contract that starts on the day I board.

I'm a little freaked out but also excited. I'm leaving in a few days but everything is still a big question mark. I haven't met anyone in the flesh, I don't know what my schedule is, I have no idea whether I'm going to like working there or not, I have really BAD motion sickness so I'm a little nervous, too... So yeah. I'm a hot mess... but all in a good way.


...when life doesn't turn out the way you planned, I have learned, that you should get down on your knees and thank the Universe... because most of the time... and in my case, ALL THE TIME... things turn out better than what you've ever even imagined.

I don't know what's going to happen once I board the ship on Sunday. I don't know if I'll like the job, or if the long working hours will drive me crazy, or if my 7 day work week will kill me... I have NO idea what to expect... But I know I'll make the best of it like I always do. I know I'll work my butt off and TRY... And I know I'll do my best in trying to keep this blog running while I'm on-board, if only to keep my sanity in tact. :)

So wish me luck, you guys! The next time you hear from me, I'll be bitchin' in the Caribbean... as my awesome friends put it. :)


Brilliant Image courtesy of Eduardo and Maria :)