Career Tips

Cruise Ship Jobs: How to apply and get hired real quick


Who would not love to travel beautiful places around the globe?

Who would not be interested to travel while onboard a fantastic cruise ship, you make a mint?

Hey, hey, we do and we think of you, and your ultimate dream in life too!

Like what many of our readers shared us, perhaps the promising salary, adventure, and career growth have been your top reasons why you want to work in a cruise ship.

Oh well, read-on to know how you can jumpstart your seafaring career anytime soon!

I. No backer? No problem!

You might hear from other people that you have to have a ‘backer’ or a ‘padulas’ in one recruitment agency.

We will be honest. If you knew one recruiter whom at the same time, a close friend, relative or a colleague of yours. He can be the wind beneath your wings – he can be your ‘backer’.

Meanwhile, if you are rich and you think like a corrupt politician, you can bribe the recruiter.

A strong backer or bribe money can shorten your agony of waiting to be shortlisted. Heaven sweet, right?

However, we would like to remind you that if you want to be successful, you must be willing to walk alone. If you want to be strong, you must learn how to fight alone.

In addition, did you know that legit recruiters collect no agency fees from their applicants? Yes, they do.

Unfortunately, corrupt manning agencies exist in our country. The more you feed their desire to milk money from job seekers like you; they tend to be more abusive. In fact, when someone asks money from you in exchange of a promising job, it is the first sign to investigate him for he might be an illegal recruiter.

These kind of people do not deserve our support, and our hard-earned moneys. Not to mention that they must be reported to the proper authorities.

On this point, we hope to clear your doubts that you cannot work in a cruise ship unless you have a ‘backer’ and/or ‘padulas’ to the agency. You do not need one. You just have to set a goal and work hard to fulfil it.

II. Secure your spot

Since there are many Filipinos seeking for cruise ship jobs, the competition to be hired is likely stiff.

Recruiters hire the cream of the crop. Are you competitive enough to win their trust?

If you are not sure of your answer, let us motivate you to improve yourself.

a. Be your own hero

On why they did not change for the better, some people were afraid to go out of their comfort zones while others kept on blaming the unfair treatment of their surroundings. They live in a world they own but they cannot even control its turn. If you are one of them, it is not yet too late to unleash the superhero in you.

The world is a battlefield and your greatest competitor here is none other than but yourself. Every day is a struggle to grow for our life, as one good friend has reminded us, is always under construction.

The common traits successful people possess are confidence, character and charisma. We highly encourage you to fly high with these men of values.

b. Be confident

As an applicant, you have to show confidence at all levels. Remember, you will be a crew of an international cruise ship. You will later on face rich foreign people, and have to serve them confidently with a humble heart.

One way to be confident at work is by becoming competent. Have you gained enough work experience yet?

Local recruiters for big cruise companies Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines, among others, require at least one or more years of work or sometimes any related experience gained from high-end hotels, restaurants, casinos & resorts, etc.

We talked with one recruitment specialist friend working at UPL, the local recruiter for Carnival and NCL. He shared us that the applicant’s On-the-job training (OJT) and/or short training courses attended could not replace the mega value of an experience passionately earned at work for years. Mind as well that the work or related experience you write in your resume should not be more than 2 years ago.

If you do not have any commendable work experience yet, we encourage you to earn it for a while before moving on the second step.

c. Get set to sail

A recruiter may accept applicants without travel documents and training certificates yet. This is a special case, for example, of those applicants who have gained outstanding work experience and that the agency highly needs them. The agency agrees that the ‘follow-up’ of the applicants’ missing requirements ensue upon initial recruitment.

Commonly, recruiters prefer applicants who are travel ready, and have earned maritime training certificates applicable for cruise ship workers. This means that you have to own a valid passport, seaman’s book and be registered as a seafarer in POEA. Several recruiters point out that  your passport and seaman’s book when you apply should be 1 to 1.5 years before it expires.

Here’s a list of requirements and how to get/renew a passport , seaman’s book and seafarer’s registration number.

Speaking of becoming a sea-based worker, these maritime courses are required if you want to work in a passenger ship.
a. Basic Training (BT)
b. Seafarer’s with Designated Security Duties
c. Crowd Management
d. Crisis Management (For supervisory position)

For the duration, purpose and other details of these trainings, read this blogpost.

We commonly observe that applicants without work experience yet have taken the trainings above. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with it but the training certificates they get expire in five years time.

If you were not hired because you still lack work experience close to or five years since you were trained, you have to retake such training. That’s what we mean above that before you take this step, we suggest that you comply with the required work experience first.

d. Licensed recruiters


There’s a lot of manning agencies around the Philippines where you can submit your CV. In response to your application, expect that they will conduct a thorough bio-data screening, interviews, and character checking. This is the normal process of recruitment in our country.

To prevent future problems, we urge you to apply only in a Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA)-licensed recruitment agency. You can check here if the agency you’re dealing with has been permitted by the POEA to operate.

As far as our knowledge is concerned, below agencies are reputable and likely worth mentioning in The Republic. If you have work experience, are travel ready and certified, you may now apply ‘walk-in’ or online to whichever agency you like!

Legit recruiters based in Manila

Check our list of recruitment agencies.

If your resume fits with the position you have applied for, the recruiter will then schedule you for a job interview. On this next stage, get ready to show off your charisma.

We will give more tips on how to write, and prepare for the interview in our next blog posts. So make sure you follow us.

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III. Don’t give-up

You may have come a long way in your quest to secure a cruise job but the tides of bad luck swept you away from your port of success. No agency has scheduled you for an interview yet or you weren’t able to pass the screening process. For these reasons, you feel hopeless and about to quit.

Okay, take a break but keep your head above the water.

As a line in one favorite poem of ours says, “Rest if you must, but don’t you quit!”

We knew a lot of people who failed at their first attempts but they never gave-up. One of our friends told us that it took him ten years before he was finally accepted as a photographer. In ten years time, he annually submits his resume on the same agency which hired him. He did it while gaining work experience here and abroad. See what a goal-driven applicant is willing to do?

If any storm delays your trip, patiently wait until it’s over. You can always sail again to reach your ultimate destination in life. Renew your hope, and learn how to bounce back every time you fall.

How do you find our suggestions?

Share us your experience applying for a cruise ship job.

We would love to hear from you!


71 replies »

  1. Hi po.. I just wanna ask if pasado ba ako or hinde? Nag apply kasi ako sa UPL this year as assistant waitress, mga 3rd week of January po then after a month (February), naka received ako ng email sa kanila for principal interview. Pagkadating dun nag IQ test/assessment , interview, then waiting for result, tapos tinawag po ako then binigyan nila ako ng small paper na may nakalagay kung anong barko ako assigned which is HOLLAND AMERICA LINE then isang mahabang papel na may nakalagay na URL for take home exam po raw which is talent plus (online exam) tawag dun. Antayin ko nlng po raw text nila. Yun lang po yung mga naganap sa UPL. Nasagutan ko narin yung Talent plus/online exam. Ano po kaya status ko nun? April na po ngayon wala prin akong natatanggap na update galing sa kanila.. Thanks po in advance sa sagot po.. Gusto ko lang maliwanagan po.. First time ko po kasi mag apply sa cruise line agency..


  2. I strongly agreed the details dont give up and never quit. I have tremendous passion with my job as assistant maitre d for 16 years .


  3. Hi sir/mam gusto ko din mag apply sa barko dream ko talaga yan.pero dito ako na punta sa saudi.ok na naman dito masaya hindi ganon kahirap ang trabaho.pero plan ko talaga magapply paguwi ko.naiingit kasi ako sa mga kasabayan ko na nakasakay na.pero happy naman ako kung san ako ngayun.sana palarin din ako makasakay nextyear pag tapos ng contract ko dito.


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