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  • Hello!

    Hello all,

    Aspiring engine cadet from Liverpool here, have applied to every company under the sun and have several interviews upcoming.
    Received an offer from Viking on behalf of HAL cruises for September intake at Warsash.

    I have dredged through the search function to find pros and cons of cruise/cargo and can't seem to find much on the subject, and also on HAL.

    Anyone have any views?
    A few friends are of the notion that once you get into cruise ships, you stay there.


    Thanks,

    Chris.

  • #2
    Welcome!

    I know a guy who is an ETO cadet on HAL ships and he seems to have a pretty good time of things. As someone who has done their cadetship deep sea cargo then I would probably say go for it. Someone might correct me on some of this but I would say if you go with Viking and end up on HAL then you will be on a ship were the officers are mostly European and will perhaps have a much better understanding of the UK training system than some of the people you encounter on the cargo lines. On top of that you will get to go nice places, the facilities on board will be good and I would imagine that there would be quite a good chance of a permenant job at the end of it (unlike a lot of the cargo companies). I guess there is also a lot of stuff that needs tending to by engineers on cruise ship compared to cargo but someone with more knowledge than me will be able to confim that. On the downside you may have to share a cabin but I don't think that would be so bad.

    On the subject of getting stuck on cruise, I don't think that would be a massive issue, end of the day once you get some experience once qualified I'm sure you will be able to move into other sectors of the industry without a huge amount of trouble.

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    • #3
      the cruise/cargo debate has rumbled on and on and on on here since our inception

      Honestly there is little to chose, the main thing get qualified, then you can have a think about things, however IF you fancy tankers and the likes then do it as a junior rather than senior, mainly because with no tanker experience ever and being senior they (almost certainly) wont touch you as they want experience but as a junior it's not so important. I know this cos not one of the tanker companies will touch me now even though I can run their shiny new type engines that they have trouble finding engineers for.

      As for HAL know a few people over there, they dont seem any happier or grumpier than the rest of us seafarers

      Oh and welcome aboard
      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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      • #4
        As Chiefy says the pros/cons of cruise vs cargo have been a theme since we started, but apart from the friendly insults thrown at each other about poncing about in shiny uniforms and the like, (Like oil vs water, the cruise vs cargo debate is mostly case of thumbing your nose at the other side and saying neh ner neh ner neh, we're better than you are, we all do it from time to time, and it's always done with a smile) there isn't that much to say, as the differences aren't that significant really, especially on the engine side. Big engine rooms are all full of shiny toys that get taken apart and put back together on a regular basis... sometimes because it's their time, and at other times at 3 am because something went ping! The *fahbulous locations* that you get to see as a cruise ship bod are quite lovely. And mostly seen from the deck you're walking along or your porthole. Runs ashore do happen, but are generally limited to 3 or 4 hours max. You won't be in port as much on a cargo ship, but you might get a proper run ashore when you are.

        I did most of my cadetship on cruise, and I learnt a lot, saw many lovely things and generally had a good time. I also got fed up to the back teeth with the internal politics, the constantly having to be nice to the passengers and having to wear the poncy uniform all the time. I did my first qualified trip on a cruise ship, because when you're newly qualified, you take what you can get, but I'm now looking forward to go back to my second trip on my nice little non cruise ship in the freezer. I like cargo that doesn't answer back!

        Size4riggerboots

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        • #5
          Welcome to the forum.
          I agree with all of those sentiments above, I have friends who trained on cruise ships working on dredgers, cargo ships and tugs. Then I did my cadetship on cargo ships and then moved to HAL when I qualified and spent a few years there and found it a great company to work for.

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          • #6
            Welcome to the forum.

            I'm afraid that I am going to have to be the dissenting voice amongst my leaned colleagues above.

            Having sailed as a cadet and 4th engineer on cruise ships, left in disgust, spent 15 years on cargo ships before going back to cruise ships as staff chief and then chief, I would say avoid them like the plague as an engineering cadet (Different as a deck or electrical cadet).

            There are too many people in the engine room of a cruise ship so your watchkeeping time is likely to be spent following a 4th engineer around topping up chlorine drums for swimming pools and pumping bilges, likewise with your daywork time you will be working with fitters who have done the jobs a thousand times, are all used to working together and will see you as a pain in the ass who will hold them back, rather than engineers who (hopefully) know what you need to be taught and have been there themselves.

            There are also far too many distractions to get you into trouble and far too many people only too willing to stick one to the deck / engine department by dropping the poor cadet in the pooh for being spotted in passenger areas 3 minutes after their curfew or some such nonsense.

            For me you will get a much better technical training with a reputable cargo ship company and you can always go to cruise ships afterwards.

            That said, I have known cruise ship engine cadets who were bloody good engineers so it is possible to do your cadetship on cruise ships and come out unscathed at the end.

            Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
            Go out, do stuff

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            • #7
              Originally posted by size4riggerboots View Post
              I also got fed up to the back teeth with the internal politics, the constantly having to be nice to the passengers and having to wear the poncy uniform all the time.
              As a cadet though the internal politics should be reasonably well hidden from you - I was completely oblivious to how bad it was until I qualified... Having said that, it does mean your negotiation skills are second to none - nothing compares to the challenge of trying to get permission to close off 5m of sunny promenade deck in the middle of the afternoon so you can lower a lifeboat.

              On a serious note, I will reiterate what the above posters have said; there are pro's and con's of each - I have done my cadetship on passenger ships and have only ever worked on passenger ships - and probably only will as I just don't fancy cargo. I know I am certainly not in the minority with this attitude so perhaps the reason so many passenger ship cadets stay with them is that they enjoy working for that particular company or on passenger ships and don't actually fancy going elsewhere... A lot of the big cruise lines do have quite good employee loyalty!

              Again, as said above, what types of ship you do your cadetship on may act in your favour at an interview, but as a junior officer having only experience on cruise ships will not be an immediate barrier to you getting work on other types of ship - many people do it (especially from an engineering perspective where you wouldn't normally be involved with cargo)!

              I'm not an engineer but given the responsibilities of our engineering officers there's probably a wider range and a lot more equipment to maintain on the cruise ships than on a cargo ship which can only work in your favour from an experience point of view.

              Whatever you do - do not pick a cruise ship for the ports of call - you will get opportunities to go ashore, but the engineers tend to do a lot of their maintenance in port as it's the only time a lot of the equipment isn't in use! The same applies to potential deckies reading this thread - just because the ship is in port every day doesn't mean you get a lot of time ashore - you're lucky if you can get a few hours each week!

              Cruise ships do have an excellent "social life" but again, like everyone else you are there to work (& study) so don't make this the end all of your decision! The food is also probably a lot better on cargo ships - from what I have heard - but again I have no specific experience of this.
              ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

              ? Mark Twain
              myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by alistairuk View Post
                I'm not an engineer but given the responsibilities of our engineering officers there's probably a wider range and a lot more equipment to maintain on the cruise ships than on a cargo ship which can only work in your favour from an experience point of view.
                Surprisingly enough, that is not generally the case, most cargo ships have air-conditioning, refrigeration plant, hot and cold running water, engines, generators, boilers, fresh water generators etc. The big difference is the scale of the equipment and how hands on the engineers are with maintaining it.

                Cruise ships will have elctricians and refrigeration engineers and while as a cadet you will get to spend a little time with them, that is not the same as working within a technical department of 7 who look after the whole lot. (the last cruise ship that I was on had a technical department of 52 people).
                Go out, do stuff

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by alistairuk View Post
                  I'm not an engineer but given the responsibilities of our engineering officers there's probably a wider range and a lot more equipment to maintain on the cruise ships than on a cargo ship which can only work in your favour from an experience point of view.
                  Surprisingly, that is not the case, most cargo ships will have main engines, generators, a boiler, air conditioning, refrigeration plant, hot and cold running water, a fresh water generator and pretty much everything else that cruise ships have. The big difference is in the scale of the equipment and how hands on the engineers are in maintaining (and in some cases) even operating it.

                  A cruise ship will have electricians, refrigeration engineers, an IT officer an electronics engineer, 6 watchkeepeing engineers, at least one daywork engineer, fitters, motormen, wipers, et al. Most cargo ships will have a chief, second, third fourth, maybe a lecky and a couple of wipers so you will be much more involved with the running and maintenace of the equipment.

                  For me I would always recommend that engine cadets go on ro-ro's, you have all of the equipment onboard, you have a relatively small team, you are starting and stopping the plant regularly and you stand a good chance of getting a little bit of hydraulic knowledge thrown in as well.

                  But like I said above the odd good one does scrape through on passenger ships, so if you do decide that that is the way for you just make sure you keep your head down and get on with your TRB.

                  For any engine cadets who do go on passenger ships, many of the engineers onboard may not understand the UK cadet system or the TRB, they may be used to systems where cadets come onboard to learn the junior watchkeepers job so you will need to manage your activities yourself to some extent, if you need to get boiler jobs signed off then go and see whoever is in charge of deciding which watch you are on and ask to be on the 12-4 (they usually look after the boilers), if you need to get a purifier overhaul signed off and you know one is coming up, then go and ask to be involved with it, otherwise you could get to the end of your trip and be really good at doing the log, pumping bilges, and sounding tanks, but have very little signed off in your TRB.
                  Go out, do stuff

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                  • #10
                    I've found the idea of that much more daunting than any exotic machinery. How are you meant to get your TRB done when there are so many people rattling about the engine room? I mean, the ships I've been on I never felt like a burden for whoever I was shadowing (though I'm sure I was!) whether it was the 4th, 3rd, 2nd or Chief. Ken it's watches so maybe that's better experience if that's the craic your going for, but for the ol' record book it seemed like less people has made me do more things.

                    Caveat being I've never been on a passenger ship so may be talking out my arse.

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                    • #11
                      Cheers for the replies folks!
                      Viking have kindly let me hold the offer till i have my other interviews.

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