The editors of CruiseJobFinder got an exclusive interview with a senior manager at Variety Cruises. The company is based out of Athens, Greece, and refers to itself as the largest small ship cruise company worldwide. They provide cruises to various countries including Italy, Malta, West Africa, Greece, Turkey, France, the Adriatic and the and have different sized vessels such as the yacht charters with 4 cabins up to the small ships with 36 cabins.
About the company.
Variety Cruises is the largest small ship cruise company in the world, and we have a fleet of 11 ships that operate around the Mediterranean and Europe to Africa, offering wonderful vacations to families, couples and like-minded travelers who prefer a quieter, less crowded ship.
How many vessels does your company operate?
We have a fleet of 11 vessels. Our small ships include the MY Harmony V, the MY Harmony G, the SC Panorama, SC Panorama II, MS Galileo, MY Pegasus, and MY Variety Voyager. Our yachts comprise of the MY Obsession, MY Monte Carlo, MY Absolute King, and the SY Christiana VIII.
Describe a typical ‘cruise’ if there is such a thing. What would the shipboard experience be like for a typical employee?
Well this differs depending on the ship you work on. For the yacht crews, where you are one of only a handful of staff, you must have great attention to detail and be willing to help with anything you can on board. You will get more one on one time with guests. On the small ships you will need to possibly work harder as you have more to attend to and you will not necessarily get to speak to guests, but you can expect more team work.
What are some of the common job titles you advertise for?
We need wait staff and servers frequently, as these don’t really require much in the way of qualifications or experience, but we also advertise for deckhands and other hospitality staff quite often.
Are some types of jobs more difficult to fill than others? If yes, then why?
Yes, the jobs that require degrees or more experience are harder to find people for that fit the qualifications.
What are some of the selling points you use to get people onboard to work with your company?
We offer a small, private cruise experience, so working with us is like being part of a family. Our cruises also offer a lot in the way of history and learning about different cultures, which is something that our employees can benefit from.
Do you only hire people from the immediate area or do you occasionally hire people from other areas or even other countries?
We look at people from all the areas we are located, and preferably we need people who speak the local language(s).
Do you have a ‘season’ or ‘seasons’ where you’re busiest?
The spring and summer seasons are popular.
Do you have a lot of college students working for you? If yes, then what attracts them to your jobs?
Yes, we sometimes get students who are looking for vacation work, or in between courses to make extra money. I think they like the fact that they can get away, be outdoors, and visit new places while making money that attracts them the most, and the fact that they can just do it temporarily.
During what times of the year are you recruiting the most?
We recruit all year round.
Describe your perfect candidate. How can someone best make a great first impression with you?
We look for commitment and someone who is serious about their work, but also someone who knows how to be friendly and fun. We want to make our passengers feel most welcome and comfortable, so this is what we need our employees to do – be welcoming and offer excellent customer service. Being punctual is also something important that we look for in candidates, whether it is for your interview or showing up for your first day on the job.
What advice can you offer about resumes? What are the qualities of a great CV? And what are the most common mistakes you see in CVs?
People’s CVs tend to be very complicated and full of information that is not really necessary or pertains to the jobs they are applying for. Don’t just send a general CV that you would also send out for your interview with a law firm! Make sure that you include all the important jobs you have done that relate to cruising, and rather list details in point form or something that is easy to read. Also, don’t make your CV too long.
Are there any common traits people should have in order to get hired, and then to succeed in the cruise industry?
Well, obviously you must be good with people, but aside from that, you must have a good grasp of life at sea and be willing to get stuck in and work, no matter what the task, even if it is not technically part of your job description. Being on a vessel no matter how big or small requires team work and everyone needs to pull together and work well together, to make sure that everyone on board is safe and feels secure. You need that willingness to work and the ability to multitask whilst working as a team, to be able to succeed.
What are the typical terms of employment offered?
Employment is offered either seasonally, on a temporary, casual basis, or full time. Free accommodation and meals are offered as part of your employment.
A lot of seasonal employers have trouble keeping staff for the whole ‘season.’ Do you encounter this?
No, we generally keep our staff for a whole season, but if we do have a problem, we always have backup employees on our books to contact.