This is Part II of our interview with a South African senior sous chef who has worked for several cruise lines. See Part I of our interview about working in a cruise ship kitchen.
Read this excerpt to see how you can launch your own cruise industry job search.
What was the interview process like for this position?
It was telephonic and lasted about 20 minutes.
What kinds of answers do you think the interviewers are looking to hear from a successful candidate?
They want to hear that you are dedicated, and can adapt to any environment. You must be able to work under pressure and be able to deal with stress. You must also be independent and have respect for authority.
How long did it take from first applying for the position to getting your first contact from the cruise line company?
All in all it took about 3 weeks from when I sent in my application to joining the ship, but those were in the days before email when I still had to use real post.
Describe the living arrangements and how you deal with living in a small accommodation.
If you have a junior position you will share your cabin with someone else. You also get to share a bathroom with a shower, washbasin and toilet. As long as you respect each other's property and living space all will be good.
What are your colleagues like, both in your department and in general?
Everybody goes out of their way to be nice to one another, and problems do happen but you deal with them. You have to get on with each other, because if you don't, the service goes down and you can't allow that to happen.
How did you spend your leisure time off duty?
I usually go to the officer's bar after dinner service and have a few cold Corona's, but people go to gym play pool, darts, foosball and watch TV.
Would you recommend this line of work to others?
Yes, do it while you are young. You work hard, get paid a lot of money, and you can see the world for free.
What did you dislike about working on a cruise ship?
Nothing - I love it! That's why I have being doing this for 12 years. The day I don't like something anymore is the day that I will quit the high seas and go back to land.
What is Crystal Cruises like to work for?
It is great working for the best in the business, but it is very demanding because of the high standard of the product that we put out. To maintain that standard is difficult.
What do they do to keep the crew happy?
There are themed parties and other facilities to keep the crew busy when off duty. For most people it is that most of the cabins are 2 berth only, as other companies have up to 4 berth cabins.
What is your favorite ship and why?
M/S Paul Gauguin because of its itinerary in French Polynesia and if you are a diver then you can dive just about every day.
Do you think working on cruise ships has or will help your career on land, and has it developed you as a person?
Yes, I have international experience and have worked with world-class standards and very experienced chefs / mentors. It will definitely open doors on land. I have grown in a personal capacity as working in this environment gives you a new perspective on the world.