Once you’ve received confirmation that you’ve been hired, you will have a lot of questions and want to know more details about travel documents, airline tickets, traveling to the ship, joining the ship, and getting home at the end of your contract. We will make every effort to answer all your questions in detail prior to joining however, we have featured a few of our most Frequently Asked Questions for prospective candidates.Click on the category below to answer your questions.
LIFE ON BOARD
Before I Board
What is the age limit?
The minimum age to work on a ship is 21 years.
What are CIM’s auditions like?
Our auditions are designed to make you feel comfortable doing what you love. We need to ensure that you can play all types of music, have a set list of 150 songs or more and be able to perform live and provide the highest level of talent in the industry which is what we guarantee our clients.
Will I be met at the Airport upon arrival?
A company representative (usually the Port Agent) meet and greet you at the Airport, takes you the transfer to your hotel (if you are not joining the vessel the same day). Upon check in at the hotel you are required to show your passport, you might have to pay a deposit which is refundable upon check out once the room is left without any damages, you will be given a meal allowance and informed when is the pick up time the next day to join the ship.
What sort of trainings are required to work on a cruise line?
The cruise line may require you to obtain an STCW10 and/or Security Awareness Certification at your own expense prior to signing on or they will conduct the training onboard and issue a certificate at the end of your contract.
How long is a contract?
Contracts vary depending on the position and brand. On average, contract lengths for musicians are usually 4-6 months however it can be shorter with little notice depending on the business needs. Normally you will have four to eight weeks notice to prepare for your voyage.
Should I bring cash with me?
We suggest you bring at least $200-$300 cash in U.S. dollars and/or a major credit card, to cover out-of-pocket expenses during travel and before receiving your first salary.
What should I pack?
Since cabin space is very limited, it is recommended that employees bring only what is needed. If you are flying, you may want to check the luggage allowance with the airline. Some suggestions would be: Clothing: jeans and/or long pants, sweater, shirts, belt(s), shorts and t-shirts, appropriate shoes, tennis and/or beach shoes, and swimsuit, Toiletry: deodorant, razors, brush/comb, toothbrush/paste, shampoo, shaving cream, sunblock. Other: travel alarm clock, medication, beach towel, camera, laptop, MP3 player, and hair dryer.
Are any items prohibited?
Objects that may represent a hazard are prohibited. Examples include weapons, clothing irons, hot plates, candles, incense, and any other items that may create a fire hazard, or are deemed unsafe by shipboard security. (Curling irons, flat irons, and hair dryers are allowed.)
Do I have to bring my own instrument/s and will the company pay for extra luggage?
Yes, it is suggested to bring your own instruments, usually there are microphones, drum set and keyboard and sometimes guitars on board depending on the cruise line and or ship. Generally two pieces of luggage at 20 kgs each are included in your flight arrangements and some cruise lines reimburse for the instruments and/or luggage if you have to pay for them, so keep your receipts.
Do I need a passport?
Yes, All musicians are required to have a valid passport for the duration of there contract and one month after.
Do I need a visa?
In some circumstances depending on your citizenship, a visa and or an entrance visa is required. New hires that are not US Citizens, US Permanent Residents or Canadian citizens will need to obtain a C1/D visa if sailing in US waters. Once hired, you will receive a Letter of Employment from the cruise line for you to take to the nearest Embassy to obtain the necessary visa. We recommend that you keep your receipts as some companies reimburse you. We will assist you in obtaining the necessary documents to start your voyage.
What is a C1/D Visa?
A C1/D visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by US embassies around the world. This visa allows crewmembers to transit through US ports. This visa is not required for US citizens or residents or Canadians. We will assist you securing all your required joining information.
What is a Schengen visa?
Some nationalities are required to obtain this visa in order to enter countries that are part of the Schengen territory, in Europe.
Do I have to buy my own flight ticket?
This varies a bit as you may or may not be provided with a ticket by the cruise line. Upon successful completion of your first contract the cruise line covers the cost for your tickets to join or return for additional contracts as long as you are rejoining within a year.
What is a Transit Visa?
A Transit Visa is a temporary short period visa during your journey. Some countries require that you have a stop over of minimum 24 hours to grant you a transit visa.
Do I need to pass a drug test/physical exam?
Yes, All musicians will have to complete and pass a pre-employment physical exam prior to joining the vessel at his or her own expense. This includes a drug test, blood test, vision and hearing test, chest x-ray & vaccination where applicable. In some cases immunizations are required however sometimes it is offered onboard the vessel. Medical Certificates are valid for two years from the original date. Some companies reimburse the cost of the medical exams with valid receipts.
Is there medical coverage while onboard?
Yes. All cruise lines have a medical facility on board with Doctors and Nurses, if you fall ill while working on board and require medical treatment weather onboard or have to be sent ashore via a referral to see one of the cruise line contracted medical facilities it will be covered. There are some exceptions to the rule as in the case of dental issues which are usual at your own expense.
Will I be fully insured when I am on board the ship?
Yes, you will have full medical coverage while on board and on land (while the ship is in port). Cruise ship employees are advised not to participate in dangerous activities such as bungee jumping, sky diving, rental of risky mopeds, etc, as these activities may affect insurance coverage.
Do Cruise Lines have a drug policy?
Cruise lines are drug-free companies, and have a zero tolerance policy for consumption or possession of illegal substances. Crewmembers who breached this policy will be terminated, disembarked and handed over to local authorizes immediately with no exceptions, regardless of ship’s location. There are also frequent random drug tests on board.
Are employees allowed to smoke?
When off duty, employees are allowed to smoke in the designated smoking areas. Smoking in crew cabins is prohibited.
Are there places to exercise?
Yes, Modern ships are equipped with a crew gym. We encourage you to take advantage of it and work out at your leisure.
Is there Internet on board?
Yes, You will need to purchase an internet card or package to log onto the ship’s Wi-Fi either using the ship’s crew internet café or your own device. However while the ship is in port many crew members opt to visit internet cafes | restaurants to access Wi-Fi.
What happens if I have a family emergency?
In the case of family emergencies, the cruise line will make every effort to accommodate the crewmember's requests.
How do I call home?
It is very expensive to place or receive calls while at sea. You can purchase minutes to use for long-distance calls from the ship or make calls while in port at calling stations or with phone cards. Emergency numbers are provided to employees in order to be reached on board the vessel. Cell phone service is available onboard; however many crew obtain International SIM cards to utilize on their cell phones, international roaming rates do apply. Check the rates with your cell phone provider before using your cell phone.
Is it possible to receive mail while onboard?
Yes, There is a central location where all mail is received and then distributed to the ships. Your shipboard Crew Office team will be able to provide more details. Outgoing mail may be posted in any port.
What if I have difficulties throughout my voyage?
We here at CIM understand that sometime things happen that are out of your control when travelling that disrupt your plans and as such we are available by phone or email 24/7 to assist in resolving any issues that may arise.
What work schedule can I expect on a ship?
Depending on the business need your work schedule varies from day to day however expect to work seven days a week and depending on the cruise line you will have to play 3-6 sets.
The first 90 days of employment are probationary.
What language is required for all major cruise lines?
English is the official language onboard all major cruise lines, therefore, all employees must be able to read, write and speak English. Some positions have specific language requirements, but in general English is sufficient; however, it is helpful if you speak additional languages, such as Italian, German, French or Spanish. Additional language skills are always a plus.
Will I have to share a cabin?
This varies depending on the cruise line you’re hired for. You will be assigned to a crew cabin once onboard the ship. Musician usually share a cabin with another member of the entertainment department. Living space can vary based on the ship and the position. Although the room is small, you will have a comfortable bed, a shared TV, personal closet space and full bathroom as well as clean sheets and fresh towels. Cabins are subject to inspection by ship senior officers on a routine basis to ensure safety compliance.
Will I always work on the same ship?
Assignments are based on many factors, and priority is given to business need. Generally, there are periods where an individual is assigned to a particular ship, however, as with every aspect of shipboard life, flexibility is key. You might be transferred to another ship as necessary.
Will I be expected to perform any duties other than performing music?
Yes. All crewmembers must attend mandatory safety training and crew drills, which are conducted weekly. All employees must comply with company Safety and Quality Management Policies. As of January 2017, you may be required to obtain an online STCW Security Awareness certificate.
Will I be able to get off the ship in the ports of call?
Yes. Every time the ship is in port and once you are not on duty you will have free time to go enjoy the ports attractions and sights. Usually a third of the ship’s crew must remain on board for emergency purposes. This is called in-port manning and is rotated among the crew. Always remember to check the All Aboard Time and don’t be Late.
Can I sell my CD's on board?
On some cruise lines you are allowed to sell CD’s on board however you will need to get prior approval from the Cruise Line’s corporate office.
Are your instruments going to be insured?
Our clients do not insure your musical instruments and equipment. However, we strongly encourage you to obtain insurance in case any damage occurs.
Does the cruise line have a dress code?
The dress code varies for each cruise line. However, we suggest for ladies during formal night an evening dress is recommended where non-formal nights you can wear a cocktail dress, skirt and blouse or pant suit. Gentlemen on formal nights are expected to wear a Tuxedo with a white pleated shirt, a black bow tie, black cummerbund, black shoes and black socks for formal night and on non-formal night a suit or pants and shirt is suggested. Remember you are not only representing yourself but the cruise line and CIM as well. Some lines will provide daytime uniform and a nametag that you should wear at all times while on board especially in guest areas.
Where can I dine on board the ship?
While on board you will have a variety of dishes from different parts of the world during Breakfast, lunch and dinner. The company provides these meals at designated hours and in designated crew areas. A dress code to observe may apply depending on the rank of your position. Some cruise lines allow you to dine in the guest restaurants for special occasions upon request.
Do you have laundry facilities for employees?
Yes, there are free to use laundry facilities available for the crew and usually you can purchase the laundry soap on board.
Are there places to socialize with my teammates?
Yes, there are different types of areas where you can socialize with your colleagues, including the crew bar, and other lounges and common crew areas.
Can I socialize in Guest Areas?
Access to guest areas will depend on your position. Please check with your supervisor. If you are allowed to visit guest areas, please keep in mind that guests always come first! Casinos, guest swimming pools, and whirlpools are usually for guest use only.
Can I invite friends or family on board the ship?
Depending on the cruise line’s policy, you may have the privilege to invite friends or family to visit for the day or cruise at discounted rates after a certain period of employment.
Is there a difference between Cruise Lines?
Yes, the cruise lines that we represent have some differences in terms of employment conditions. Once hired, you will be explained in detail the terms and conditions for the brand you are being assigned to.
Master Rules and Regulations
All employees are subject to the Masters Rules and Regulations. You will receive a copy from the cruise line and there are also available from the Crew Office on board and posted on designated crew notice boards.
Manage your Money
Will I have to pay a commission to CIM?
Yes, we take an industry low commission of 10% of your monthly salary on board.
How do I get paid onboard?
Employees are paid in USD | EUR | GBP depending on the cruise line, either in cash or direct deposit. You might even be allowed to get a cash advance, but it depends on the cruise line and its policies. On major cruise lines the Crew Office on board offers many options for sending money home or abroad for a nominal fee.
Will I have to pay taxes?
Federal taxes are automatically deducted from your pay if you are a US Citizen or resident. However, it is the responsibility of all other employees to declare their income made on board.
What expenses will I incur on board?
Your expenses on board are very few as your airfare, hotel, accommodation, food, work laundry are free of charge. You will have to pay for phone cards, Internet, snacks and drinks, which are usually offered at discounted rates.