Are you a musician, singer, dancer, or show production specialist? If so, and you want to work on a cruise ship, then read on.
CruiseJobFinder caught up Mollie D. of the PEEL Talent, which provides live entertainment for a fleet of cruise ships. The company is the largest cruise production company in Europe and exclusive provider of entertainment across Thomson Cruises' fleet of four ships - Dream, Celebration, Destiny, and Spirit.
What is your role in the staffing process?
I am the Casting and Creative Director. I am present at every audition and have the final say on who gets cast into our teams.
How does it differ from what the cruise lines are doing?
We see ourselves as an ambassador of Thomson's entertainment product and are very much part of the Thomson team. Having over 18 years experience in the entertainment business we have brought West End standard live entertainment to Thomson which is why we are continually voted as the best in the business by the likes of Cruise Critic. In 2011 we won the following awards:
"Cruise Critic Cruiser's Choice Awards 2011" (based on 2010 cruise reviews)
Best Entertainment at Sea - OVERALL:
1. Thomson Spirit
2. Celebrity Century
3. Splendour of the Seas
4. Thomson Destiny
Best Entertainment at Sea - MID SIZED SHIPS:
1. Thomson Spirit
2. Thomson Destiny
4. Thomson Dream
5. Thomson Celebration
What types of jobs do you recruit for?
We recruit for the performer/entertainment roles. All current roles and auditions can be seen at our website www.peeltalent.com. We look for:
Are some types of jobs more difficult to fill than others?
Currently, there seems to be a lack of suitable male dancers. There is huge demand in general across the entertainment industry for good male dancers hence competition is high.
Do you only work with candidates who are of a certain nationality or living in certain geographic areas?
No, we are happy to consider any candidate as long as they have the qualities we need in an entertainer.
What services do you offer the people who apply through your company?
Contracts with PEEL and Thomson offer entertainers the greatest level of career development in the business. An entertainer in a show team could progress to a senior management position in a matter of years. A standard production cast will have to learn up to 10 shows and will perform 6 nights a week, meaning our entertainer's skills are honed to the very highest level.
Entertainers also have the opportunity to perform across a large variety of styles including musical theatre, theatrical play and cabaret. We arrange and help with gaining all relevant documentation for those undertaking cruise ship work.
Do you give them training?
Once an entertainer has been engaged by PEEL they are asked to attend an intensive 13 week rehearsal period in our West Yorkshire studios. We offer them a weekly salary and also provide accommodation. It's a great time for the new team to bond as a unit.
Technicians and crew are invited to attend an induction period at our Head Offices before they are sent out to start their contracts on the ships.
Describe your perfect candidate.
Someone who comes across as professional, polite, friendly, punctual, hard-working, ambitious, dedicated but above all talented will make a pretty good first impression!
What advice can you offer about resumes / CVs?
For entertainers sending a CV is just the first step. We audition all dancers, singers and general entertainers before engaging them.
However CVs should be clearly laid out detailing all previous experience in the performing arena, and any qualifications or previous training that they might have.
Are there any common traits people should have in order to get hired?
You need to be an excellent performer in the field that you audition for. You also need to be dedicated and ready to work like you have never worked before. In the entertainment industry, you need to have the stamina and talent to perform almost every day for 6 months without fail.
What are the best pieces of advice you would give someone who's starting to look for their first job on a cruise ship?
Think carefully about whether it is the right job for you - you will be away from home for long periods of time. Will you get homesick and miss your friends and family? Can you cope with working every day?
What are the typical terms of employment offered?
Standard cruise ship contracts tend to be for approximately 6 months. You will work 6 nights a week.
What is the interview and selection process like for your positions?
For entertainers - our "interviews" are essentially the auditions, which are famed throughout the industry for being for being friendly, fun and rewarding. We don"t do open auditions and we don"t ask people to queue around corners! All our auditions are personal and rehearsal based using top choreographers, casting directors and vocal coaches.
What advice would you give people to help them prepare for these auditions?
Make sure that you come prepared to impress us! Be warmed up and ready to follow new choreography to show off your skills. As the age old saying goes, "practice makes perfect" so practice plenty before your audition.
How long does it take to get a job?
We move quickly - sometimes we have vacancies with an immediate start where people are required to be instantly available to join a rehearsal team or head out to a ship. Flexibility is key.
What contact do you have with your candidates after they accept work with a cruise line?
Our recruitment teams are in constant contact with everybody who has worked with us - on finishing a contract all employees have a full personal review. We have a high level of returners - those who have really enjoyed working with us and want to do repeat contracts.
What are some common misperceptions people have about working on cruise ships?
People wanting to work on cruise ships should not underestimate how hard they are going to be working. It is tiring, physically demanding work and it takes a lot out of you.
One other thing that people don't account for is the movement of the ship, and when you first perform on board, it can be a bit disorientating, specifically for dancers. This is something that performers will need to get used to, although many performers report that it does not take too long to get your sea legs.