Paul Emery Baya worked for Norwegian Cruise Line in a variety of positions, including that of assistant purser. Here he shares his experiences and offers these tips for others looking to break into the cruise industry.
It took about five months after I started using your resources to be hired by Norwegian. I applied to twenty different cruise lines and received an invitation to come down to Miami for a personal interview with Norwegian. I had just graduated from college, and made it down four days later. I ended up starting two weeks after my interview.
Once on board I performed many duties, including working reception, handling complaints, exchanging currency, and solving problems. I also sold maps and cards. Since the Norway was my first ship ever, I was in shock due to its overwhelming size. I felt lost in certain areas. I lived in a single cabin for around two months, but was then moved from week to week until they found a permanent place for me. Although I only worked six to seven hours a day, (thirteen or more on Saturdays) the job was quite demanding. The Norway’s capacity is around 2,500, which makes for some major diversity within the passengers. Complaints take a lot out of you, especially if you hear them week after week. I found that taking one problem at a time helps out.
Also, adjusting to ship life was a little more difficult than usual. I noticed that a majority of the crew eventually made their way to the ship’s crew bar at the end of each day. Since I have never been much of a partier, I tried finding other things to do like go to shows, write letters, or watch TV, but found myself eventually going to the crew bar as well. It’s a nice place to unwind and talk about this or that.