Blount Small Ship Adventures is family owned and operated, and offers unique, eco-conscious river cruises, harbor cruises and bay cruises around the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean for those who enjoy an adventurous, active lifestyle. Interviews are conducted in person after a short screening process.
Please describe your company. What is your role in the staffing process?
Blount Small Ship Adventures is a family owned and run business that advertises “we go where the big ships cannot” and this is what we offer. Unique cruises in shallow water, close to beaches, in small inlets and channels, in rivers and harbors. We offer people more personal vacations where they can get to know their fellow passengers and the crew, meet their chef etc. I am the President of Blount and handle employment requests.
How many vessels does your company operate?
Our fleet consists of three vessels that operate year round in various destinations including the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.
Describe a typical ‘cruise’ if there is such a thing. What would the shipboard experience be like for a typical employee?
Our cruises are relaxed and informal with a comfortable, chilled atmosphere. For employees, the experience on board a typical cruise would be fun, yet fast-paced with tons of hard work, being on your best form and always smiling.
What are some of the common job titles you advertise for?
We constantly advertise for captains, first mate, engineers, crew pursers, chefs and assistant chefs, stewards, as well as what we call destination specialists. These are people like historians, biologists, naturalists, and other experienced guides.
Are some types of jobs more difficult to fill than others? If yes, then why?
The specialists can be harder to fill as it is harder to find experience people in these industries that are looking to work on a cruise ship. Captains are also more difficult because they not only have to have the correct qualification, but must be good and public speaking as they will be required to speak over the PA as the ship travels through certain areas, and mingle with the passengers at functions. They are also responsible for training the rest of the crew.
What are some of the selling points you use to get people onboard to work with your company?
We are a small group with a close, family type of atmosphere. We offer adventure and a brilliant lifestyle far removed from the mundane 9 to 5.
You are a local operator. Do you only hire people from the immediate area or do you occasionally hire people from other areas or even other countries?
We only hire US citizens or those with a valid US work permit.
Do you have a ‘season’ or ‘seasons’ where you’re busiest? Describe the seasonality aspect of your business.
We do not have a particularly busy season, as we have different itineraries for summer and winter, so we are busy all year round. Winters are spent cruising the Caribbean and South America, while summer cruises are around the United States and Canada.
What positions do you typically hire seasonal staff for?
We have full time staff, seasonal part time staff and fill-in staff. We generally hire more stewards and deckhands for the seasonal work, as this is what most students and part time workers are generally qualified to do.
Do you have a lot of college kids working for you? If yes, then what attracts them to your jobs?
Yes, they love the flexibility of the work, the fact that they get to travel and have adventures out at sea.
During what times of the year are you recruiting the most?
Describe your perfect candidate. How can someone best make a great first impression with you?
The main thing that a candidate must bring to the table is a sense of adventure and passion. We offer eco-conscious cruises and many are tailored towards active, adventurous people, so you have to have a great physical nature, be willing to try anything and work really hard. We also look for presentation. Appearance in important, so make sure that you look the part, speak confidently, and be well groomed when you come to meet us.
What advice can you offer about resumes?
Your resume should be well thought out and laid out in a clear manner. It does not need to be overly long, but it must detail all your previous jobs and experience. The worst mistakes in a resume are those who leave out information, or do not update their resumes, and terrible spelling and grammar mistakes. This just shows carelessness which is something we don’t want carried over into our company.
Are there any common traits people should have in order to get hired, and then to succeed in the cruise industry?
The cruise industry is ever changing, so to succeed you must be ready to change with it. You need to have an energetic, outgoing personality, and be ready to take on new challenges. You will meet new people all the time, so being a people person and being dedicated to excellent customer service is important too.
What are the typical terms of employment offered?
All our employees must be at least 18 years old and have a valid US Passport. We require drug testing and pre-employment checks as per the US Coast Guard regulations. Work is done on shifts which are varied throughout your employment, but whilst on board you work every day for about 12 hours a day.
A lot of seasonal employers have trouble keeping staff for the whole ‘season.’ Do you encounter this, and do you give incentives to keep staff for the whole season?
We don’t have trouble keeping staff, and have many permanent employees, but seasonal workers come and go, although never in the middle of a season.