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  • To all those Cruise Ship wannabes...

    To all those Cruise Ship wannabes... before you are fixed onto the idea and become oblivious to every other option I strongly recommend that you have a little read and consider your options.

    Before I get lots of 'attacking replies' I just want to state that this is my opinion on what I know so far...

    Why am I posting this? Well, a good few people who have just heard about the exciting prospects of joining The Merchant Navy get hooked on Cruise Ships and forget to explore the other options.

    Now I don't want to discourage anything as I haven't yet started my course, however so far things sound a lot better on other types of ships such as Cargo or Oil Tankers.

    Ok yes, Cruise ships do look nice and most likely would be fun to work on, however you are not on a holiday. It will be work.

    A little comparison between the two types of ship - Cargo and Cruise.

    The only difference is what this ships contents are, so in this case this will be people and containers. Now, Containers don't need attention, don't complain and don't need you to say hello or goodbye when picking up/dropping off. They just do what they are told, more under control I think.

    Pay can vary quite drastically as well, I think there is a difference of about ?3000 between someone who works on a Cruise ship and someone who works on Cargo at the same rank. But don't quote me on that.

    When going through the application stage I was blinded by fancy cruise ships, then someone pointed me in the correct direction (or what I see to be the correct direction). You will be lucky to get a position on a Cruise ship, especially as a Deck Cadet.

    This is just my opinion and I welcome people to say otherwise, however I think a good majority of people on this site will advise you not to stick with Cruise ships. Either way, we are all in the same industry.
    "Knowledge is gained through experience and experience is just another name for our mistakes" - Albert Einstein/Oscar Wilde
    "Choose a career that you really enjoy and you will never have to work a single day in life."

    Experience with Container, General Cargo and Cruise vessels.

  • #2
    People should look at all options and should think about where they would "fit" best and what is the best offer for them (I don't just mean money before anyone says!)

    However if somone wants to give a cruise ship application a bash as they think they would enjoy it then they should go for it. Same goes if on qualification if somone wants to try any ship job then they should go for it and hopefully find out for themselves what they like/enjoy.

    You found the "right direction" for you, this will be different for everyone.

    I would say first hand experiences are the best way to judge for oneself - its great and helpful to get info from others, but that is the individuals circumstances and experiences which will be unique to them.

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    • #3
      This topic has been done to death a bit and I think my opinions are well known.

      I agree wholeheartedly that one shouldn't be affected by tunnel vision - there's so many different ship types out there and you will essentially get the same training wherever you go. Personally, I applied to a number of companies and chose the cruise offer for the simple reason that I knew it's where I'd be happiest. I would love to try other ship types at some stage, if only for the experience.

      The advantages, as I see them:
      - Primarily British officers, training is extremely well supported and organised. I have got a lot more signed off than some of my cargo colleagues.
      - Decent ports with tourist infrastructure - no getting stuck at anchor with no shoreleave or being in a port in the middle of nowhere with no way to get to the local city.
      - The social life is fantastic and there's plenty of "normal" things to do outside of working hours.

      Passengers are looked after by the hotel staff, not the deck/technical officers. Yes, you need to be polite when you're around them but you don't, as a matter of course, deal with their complaints or wait on them. If you choose to do so, you can socialise with passengers either at formal events or by using the passenger bars instead of the wardroom/crew bar. If you prefer not to, you can get away with seeing passengers very rarely. I choose to attend passenger events because you meet some really very interesting people and because passengers like seeing officers (or at least someone in officer's uniform with a wonky stripe!). If passengers get what they like, they book again and keep my job secure.

      The pay issue is again, personal choice. As I've said before, I'd rather be a happy pauper than an unhappy millionaire. And no, money does not buy happiness. It's also important to remember that it isn't just a cargo vs cruise matter - different cargo types attract different pay. Different companies pay different rates. And there's more than just cargo and passenger ships - there are specialised ships that do all sorts of jobs and sometimes pay much more than any cargo ship will.

      Bottom line? Do your research. Consider all the options available and go for what you will enjoy. Money isn't everything. Cargo ships aren't for everyone. Cruise ship's aren't for everyone. Respect other people's choices. As Lewis' signature says: "Choose a career that you really enjoy and you will never have to work a single day in life."
      Last edited by CharlieDelta; 24 August 2011, 10:50 PM.
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      Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

      Need books, Flip Cards or chartwork instruments? Visit SailorShop.co.uk!

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      • #4
        As Charlie said it's all about what you prefer, I personally can't see myself ever working on cruise ships but that's how I am and feel that the other ships would be more interesting.

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        • #5
          If people want to work on cruise ships, let them apply and work on cruise ships without criticism...

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          • #6
            Some people might just prefer to work on cruise ships, I think one benefit would be that you would never feel lonely on a ship full of holidaymakers, whereas I've heard from loads of cadets that they've joined ships with small crews, and it was too quiet for them. Personally though, I'd like to work on reefers or chemical tankers...
            "Did I tell you about my theory about sailors? Sailors are the finest people in the world."

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            • #7
              I would add that training quality seems to vary between the cruise-ship companies, it really depends on how many British officers they have on-board. As an ETO cadet on the new scheme, I've heard good things about the support offered to cadets by P&O and Cunard whereas as a 'guest cadet paid by TH' working on Holland America it was a bit more hit and miss, although there are bound to be a few issues with the new scheme. However I'm really pleased to be a Trinity House cadet as its a good chance to experience a variety of ships before deciding which type you want to work on.

              A pay difference of 3k a year between cruise and cargo, thats only 57 pounds a week difference - not much.
              Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

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              • #8
                When is an extra ?57 a week not much? lol

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                • #9
                  well for the better food, social life, weather, on-board gym, chance of shore leave - 57 a week seems pretty good value - though there is always the responsibility for passenger safety to worry about - fighting fires in the hotel area or crowd control duties during a general emergency etc.

                  I would say the pay gap between say north sea vessels and cruise ships in a lot greater than 3k though. you see jobs advertised for 250/day or more DPing although as chiefy pointed out there could be some hours / days when you dont get paid etc
                  Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

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                  • #10
                    DP certification is over and above your basic ticket, so it attracts more. But quite right, working offshore can be very lucrative. And it depends on locale too - those working offshore down under are apparently on silly money.
                    sigpic
                    Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

                    Need books, Flip Cards or chartwork instruments? Visit SailorShop.co.uk!

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                    • #11
                      I think my opinions on those that come along with the sole intention of cruise ships is quite clear, but please allow me to offer my opinion on them:-

                      I tend to get a bit fed up and is a personal peeve if a cadet comes along and wants to work solely on cruise ships because they've either been on a cruise or watched a tv show like "Cruise Ship Diaries" and think that they can do it and it's all a bit of fun, people without any real idea of how this industry works and other types of vessels. As far as I am concerned those type of folks need a good hard dose of reality.

                      Now when it comes to the nationality of the crew, I personally believe it makes no difference whatsoever. The level of support and assistance you will receive depends upon the individual training you, not the colour of their passport. If you feel that learning from a fellow Brit is the best, then I'm quite sorry, but I disagree. I have worked and learned from Russians, Romanians, Indian, Pakistani's, etc and the vast majority of them have been damn good Officers and teachers. I have recently had the assistance of several Indian and Indonesian Captain's and Chief Engineer's help me develop our own in-house Cadet training program and, with a fair dose of modesty, it is a tough but fair program but will eventually churn out some well rounded and educated Officers (both Engineering and Deck).

                      I also believe that the class of vessel you work on also makes no difference as to how much you get signed off in your TRB. I have worked on all different types of vessels and I practically flew through my TRB. I completed it well before I completed my sea time and, according to the lecturers who examined it, was an excellent piece of work. Several pieces of my work are now being used as manuals. If you believe that you will get the best education from a cruise ship, then you are sadly mistaken. How well you learn, and how well you do depends primarily upon the cadet, not the ship your working on.

                      I also disagree with the point EffieStephy made about feeling lonely on a cargo ship. I spent all of my time on cargo and I have never felt lonely once. I firmly believe it is down to how you integrate with your crew and how well you get along with them. When I worked with Philipino's I spent quite a few nights relaxing in the crew smoking room with the Bosun, Messman and Electrician drinking tea and playing cards, watching movies or just having a plain old chinwag.

                      When it comes to Shore leave, I will admit that cruise ships go to places with a bit of a tourist infrastructure, but that sort of thing never held any interest for me. I'd rather go somewhere different and explore a city or town for myself. Going somewhere completely away from the tourists and seeing a piece of the "real" country in a sense. I've been to Spanish cities with no British tourists, I've been to places in India, China and Pakistan where I got to go ashore and explore a city where few tourists ever go. I have been to some true ****-holes as well, but thats par the course. That one falls down to the individual I suppose.

                      DP Vessels are also difficult to get on. Generally they want only the best for those types of ship as there is literally, zero room for error. That is why they pay so well...

                      Now I do sometimes think that a lot of people look at the Merchant Navy as the cruise ship industry, and it is a hell of a lot bigger than that. There are lots of vessel types out there and I will always believe that coming in with the sole intention of Cruise Ships or Superyachts (dont even get me started on that) and nothing else is wrong and will limit you from a career perspective.
                      I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                      All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
                        Now when it comes to the nationality of the crew, I personally believe it makes no difference whatsoever. The level of support and assistance you will receive depends upon the individual training you, not the colour of their passport. If you feel that learning from a fellow Brit is the best, then I'm quite sorry, but I disagree. I have worked and learned from Russians, Romanians, Indian, Pakistani's, etc and the vast majority of them have been damn good Officers and teachers. I have recently had the assistance of several Indian and Indonesian Captain's and Chief Engineer's help me develop our own in-house Cadet training program and, with a fair dose of modesty, it is a tough but fair program but will eventually churn out some well rounded and educated Officers (both Engineering and Deck).
                        I agree to an extent, however the 2010 Nautilus cadet survey and recent research from Cardiff University (see September Telegraph) note a large number of cadets experiencing language difficulties and working with officers who are not familiar with the UK system. This isn't a purely cruise vs. everyone else issue, as it depends very much on the company. If the company has an established training program then such issues are less likely to arise. It just happens that cruise companies (well, mine at least) are generally very organised when it comes to training.

                        Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
                        I also believe that the class of vessel you work on also makes no difference as to how much you get signed off in your TRB. I have worked on all different types of vessels and I practically flew through my TRB. I completed it well before I completed my sea time and, according to the lecturers who examined it, was an excellent piece of work. Several pieces of my work are now being used as manuals. If you believe that you will get the best education from a cruise ship, then you are sadly mistaken. How well you learn, and how well you do depends primarily upon the cadet, not the ship your working on.
                        The company's attitude towards training will also play a part, as will the officers' understanding of the TRB. If the company does not create the opportunities for cadets to gain experience and does not allow the cadet to create those opportunities for himself, then personal motivation and aptitude makes little difference.

                        My main point is that cruise companies generally have a good reputation for providing structured, disciplined and comprehensive training. I do not claim that cruise ships are better than other types as a training venue, simply that a good standard of training can usually be expected.

                        As I've mentioned before, it would be foolish to be too narrow minded and one must consider all of the options and pick what suits best. For some, that will be cruise ships. The industry is the same, the tickets are the same and the job is essentially the same.
                        sigpic
                        Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

                        Need books, Flip Cards or chartwork instruments? Visit SailorShop.co.uk!

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                        • #13
                          All this quoting stuff was driving me up the wall, so I will just reply to each this way.


                          Squareleg28 - I do totally agree that if someone wants to have a bash at the Cruise Ship Application they should., I did, but there were offers on the table and there was only interviews confirmed for the cruise ships.

                          The thing is though, once you sign up for a certain type of ship, it can become difficult to change to another after training. Not the applicants fault. This is what I find annoying because there is little way of actually physically and mentally finding out what suits you. Trinity House really has a good set up that allows you to experience most types of ship.



                          CharlieDelta - Yes, I do apologise. The reason why I decided to start this up was because I just seen a few posts. Wannabes saying "I want to work on cruise ships" and then experienced Cadets/Officers replying "Not another Cruise wannabe". Wannabes perhaps just overlook what is said. You said at some stage you would like to try other ship types. Do you really think you will?

                          There are a lot of perks, I don't see money as a problem as far as I am concerned in this industry. My goal for creating this post is that I hope someone comes across it whilst scanning and reads it. You are totally correct everyone can do what they want and how they want to do it is up to them.



                          agibba98 - Like I said in my first post, I am not criticising the position, I would just recommend that everyone explores all options. It's like going out and buying something. Say it was a TV. There is one advertised all over the place for ?300 and you go for the first one you see, where as if you do your research, you will find there is one for ?200 and is better for you.

                          Most people who have jobs on Cruise ships on this site will have most likely done all the research and Cruise ships will have come out on top. It's the people who go for cruise ships, fail first time and go off the whole idea of joining The Merchant Navy that I want to aim this towards.



                          chris - I must say I was extremely tempted to go to the interview with Trinity House, I do think they would give you the best possible experience to help you decide what you wanted to work on.


                          GuinnessMan - I did see your post and I did think to myself and I knew exactly what you meant, more to the point - I was one of them not so long ago. So I can understand how you get fed up about it. As far as I am concerned that 'documentary' was only focused on the highlights of the career - well at least the part of the episode I was watching before I switched it off.

                          Again totally agree that the Cadet is in control of how well he or she does.

                          The language and culture barrier is really a shot in the dark. So many variables come into consideration. I really can't comment on this until I have tried it out for myself.

                          I suppose I will have to wait and find out what lies in store...
                          "Knowledge is gained through experience and experience is just another name for our mistakes" - Albert Einstein/Oscar Wilde
                          "Choose a career that you really enjoy and you will never have to work a single day in life."

                          Experience with Container, General Cargo and Cruise vessels.

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                          • #14
                            I can see how language can be a barrier. Culture not so much as it doesn't vary much at all. However I do think that you should do your best to integrate with that culture and try to learn some of the language (not just the sodding swear words...). Also, if your on Tankers then the Officer's have to speak English. It is a part of the SIRE inspection. Sure the company could lie and say they do, but when they have a vetting inspection (and most oil majors want one every few months) and it's found that the Officer's grasp of English is poor and it's been reported as good, then a Observation would be reported and it would affect them as a business.

                            The major pet peeve I have with this, is that a lot of people believe that the best people to learn from are the British Officers and that is, quite frankly, bull****. The whole "they don't understand our system" doesn't wash with me as the TRB explains it in simple writing and you, as a cadet, should be able to explain it to them. These people didn't get into their positions by being idiots. Like I said, it just pisses me off.

                            I also think that as a cadet, you should be mature enough to develop your own training program for whilst you are on board. If the company has one, then great, but you know what you need to learn. You know what you need to have done and signed off and it's your job to develop a plan to do it within the time frame that you have. The idea of the MNTB training course is to train you to be an Officer and I feel this is an important part of it. If you are not capable of doing so, then I do believe that there is something wrong with the individual, not the system or the Company.

                            I also disagree about the Company not giving the cadet's any opportunities. No company is going to deny a cadet a training opportunity, the crew maybe, but not the company as a whole. Small point I know, but an important one. I do think this is what Anti-Janner has gone on about in his blog, how willing a cadet is to work. If the cadet is not willing to work, then stuff 'em. If they are willing to work, get their hands dirty, get on with the job, then they are more likely to be involved in the interesting jobs. Why should an Officer waste their time trying to teach someone who isn't willing to work?

                            No matter what ship type you are on, how respected or good your training institution is, how well known your company is as a training provider or how willing your company/crew are to train you, your sea-phase will be what YOU make of it. The onus of learning and scheduling your learning is on you, not the crew or the company. They have an obligation to provide you with the training and the education, it is down to you how much you learn or what you do on board.
                            I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

                            All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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                            • #15
                              Companies may not be prepared for cadets, there are a few who only have cadets because they come with tax breaks and they do not prepare the ships orthier staff for the cadets.

                              As I tell my cadets when they join....It's your TRB, it's your future, I will NOT chase you for work, I will NOT chase you to sign your TRB, DO NOT turn up on my pay off day and expect any help with your TRB, I have my tickets and you want yours...I WILL however help you with anything you want, I WILL try to teach you stuff, above and beyond yout TRB BUT you have to show willing and pick your time....during a black out is not a good time for a lesson in generator parralleling and load sharing

                              Language can be an issue, all officers should have passed Marlins tests prior to emplyment but like many tests they are just that and are no real indication of proficiancy. However like everything it requires time and effort from both parties.

                              We recently lost a cadet after just 2 weeks as he decided it was like living in Big Brother, he hadnt realised how small a community a ship is and that we wouls actually be at sea and that a port call is not a guaranteed run ashore.

                              The type of ship people chose is a personal choice.

                              That said I sat my Chief's with people who had been on cruise ships all the time in charge of swimming pools and water tight doors....they struggled cos they hadnt seen inside an engine room for a long time and certainly had no idea about slow speed engines, cross heads and all that malarky, in once case he had never even seen one as he had done nothing but cruise ships.

                              Remember you are being trained for ANY type of ship and equipment, so enjoy your selves, and learn BUT you must take it upon your self to learn.

                              This is one of the bonuses of the raise dage profile of cadets now....many of you have been around the block prior to starting the course and much of what I say here isnt needed cos you know this stuff But to those younger ones...it is not an extension of school.....It is a vocation, a way of life as much as it is a "job".

                              23 years and still learning everyday and (for the most part) enjoying everyday
                              Trust me I'm a Chief.

                              Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
                              Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
                              No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.


                              Twitter:- @DeeChief

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