No longer the domain of the rich and famous, cruise ship holidays are increasingly popular with everyone from young singles to retirees. To cater to their growing popularity, cruise lines are hiring thousands of new staff every year. That’s great news if you’ve ever dreamed of a job at sea. So if your visa’s up, or you’re just not ready to return home, there’s plenty of work available in an industry that pays you to cruise the world. And with a standard minimum contract of just six months and a monthly wage of between US$1000 and US$1500, it’s a perfect solution for the roving traveller with time to burn. Recruitment expert Tory Best is one of Australia’s few recruitment specialists dealing exclusively in recruitment for cruise ships. Her company, Staff@Sea International, places hundreds of staff each year, of which she says just two per cent leave before the end of the initial six-month contract. ‘Most workers love the experience and the usual stay is between 12 months and two years, but you will meet people who have been in the job for 30 years,’ says Best. Having previously worked at some of Australia’s largest recruitment firms, Best is not only a recruitment industry expert, but has also worked on board herself as casino staff for one of the world’s largest cruise lines. ‘You do get paid to see the world, but potential candidates need to understand that you work very hard. Sometimes you can work seven days a week and the hours can be exhausting, but you will have the opportunity to make lifelong friends with people of all nationalities, and there’s the travel. I visited more than 38 countries and saved a great deal of money,’ she says of her four years at sea. Jobs available include entertainment roles such as DJs and activities staff to co-ordinate poolside games and theme nights, photographers, videographers, security staff, casino staff, front desk personnel, retail staff, chefs, bar tenders, youth staff and production staff or stage crew. Candidates should have some experience in the area for which they are applying, especially in the areas of casino work, security and chefing. Staff quarters on board usually comprise of a twin share cabin with shared showers and toilet facilities. All meals are provided and there are no utility expenses. It is up to the individual to manage their own tax. For those who would rather spend than save there’s plenty of opportunity when in port. A ship will be in port every two to three days and staff are given rostered port time off. Staff leisure activities on board depend on the rules of the particular ship and the rank of the employee. Drinks at the crew bar are always cheap, usually around $1 per drink. So how do you get a job? Firstly, do your research, says Best. Know the players and research their websites and all other free online information so you can make an informed choice. Also, beware the deluge of incorrect information available for sale. ‘Don’t purchase anything without checking it out first – a lot of the books and pamphlets for sale are out of date.’ Staff@Sea is looking to hear from team- oriented people, 21 years or older from all types of hospitality-related backgrounds. It doesn’t matter what nationality you are since visas can be arranged. The only important consideration is that you speak fluent English. ‘And you must not be afraid of hard work,’ says Best.