How to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship

The first part of this story probably isn’t recommended action, but it’s a part of the story of how I became Destination Lecturer on 30 cruises on Norwegian Cruise Line. On an earlier trip to England, Northern Europe, and Russia, I went in to hear the D.L. since I’d forgotten some history lessons about Norway and Sweden.  I was calm. (That’s a clue.)  His talk was terrible; he had one slide but it was so black all one could see was a red line that ran through it. He said it was a river.  I began to simmer, then stew, then got mad. (That’s the part I don’t advise that you copy . . . unless you want to.)

His talk got worse; I became more angry. Finally, he was finished and I headed for the ship’s lobby where I bounced up to the desk, and demanded: I need to talk to the Cruise Director. (No one should ever ask to talk to the C.D. I must have looked “desperate.”)   The young woman behind the counter waved me around a corner.  I knocked on the door. “Enter,” a voice said. I was still “steamed.”  Poor fellow.

“How do I get a gig like that one I just saw in the lounge?  I could do better than he did with my arm behind my back.” (I never said I was original.)

He calmly (they practice that on cruises) told me to contact “To Sea With Z” out of Florida. (She, Z, has now retired.)  When I got home, I did just that. She evidently checked me out and decided I wasn’t a threat to any life, so we began a several year relationship. (Recently, I wrote to NCL, gave them my background with them, and asked about being the D.L. on a ship in 2016.)

Alaskan cruise ship

Alaskan cruise ship

When I first started “talking” it wasn’t required that I use an overhead, but by my last talk on NCL, they wanted the speaker to use overhead displays along with the talk.  (Btw: on a 10-day trip, I usually had a 45-minute talk for maybe four days of the cruise. That’s pretty good “pay” per hour . . . do the math.)

Oh . . . pay.  My trips for myself and one other person of my choosing were “complimented,” so we stayed for free in a room that was usually (I checked) $4,000 for each guest . . . roomy, windows, etc.  So, I took friends, my daughter, some grandchildren.  Visits to the shops and spas, and bars (if one went there) etc. were charged to us, but our meals, of course, were not, since that’s included in the room cost.  You foot your own bill for transportation to the dock and back home.

Besides being D.L., there are other similar “employees” on the ships, in case you are interested.  For example: how to fold linens (once, the “folder” became flustered, and Sally, my roommate that trip, took over); a class in genealogy by a Mormon retired FBI agent; a writing workshop; holding card games; supervising dancing and exercise programs—whatever your talent/interest, it might be of interest to a cruise line . . . not just NCL. There are many other lines.  I was lucky; no one demanded that I have outstanding expertise; some lines do.  I had a wonderful time.  People kept chasing us around the ship, to ask questions, etc. Sally said, “Even if we hide in a lifeboat, they will find us!” We (whoever was with me) went to Germany, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, England, Argentina, Alaska, Central American countries, and other South American countries, and Mexico.

I tried to make this short, but failed. If you are interested in sharing your skill or background or ?, write a professional-looking inquiry to the ship line, ask them who their agent is for that type of employment, then contact the agent, and then . . . have a great cruise.