CruiseJobFinder secured an exclusive interview with the owner of Skyline Princess Cruises. Skyline Princess is one of the largest and most renowned harbor cruise companies in the Tri-State area offering New York City dinner cruises, fireworks cruises, champagne sunset cruises, booze cruises, corporate cruises, wedding cruises, and more. Skyline Princess is a luxury yacht with 3 all around decks and claims to be “perfect for any occasion.”
Please describe what your company does? What is your role in the staffing process?
Skyline Princess Cruises aims to offer outstanding service for breakfast, lunch and dinner cruises as well as offering a variety of themed cruises and events planning to suit any function that clients may request, from weddings to club functions, to high school reunions, birthday parties, anniversaries and more.
I am the owner and help to oversee the hiring of staff.
How many vessels does your company operate?
We just have the Skyline Princess which has recently been renovated. It is 120 feet long, 31 feet wide, and features an enclosable third deck which makes this perfect for all year round cruises.
Describe a typical ‘cruise’ if there is such a thing. What would the shipboard experience be like for a typical employee?
Our cruises are fun and entertaining offering plenty of opportunities for crew to excel and succeed in the long term. We have over 65 staff and on board, they get to experience the best of New York and surrounding areas, enjoy making people happy, whether it is just for an afternoon or for a wedding celebration. It is hard work, but fun work!
What are some of the common job titles you advertise for?
We frequently need service staff and general staff who help out around the Skyline Princess from serving guests, to helping set up and plan the various functions. We pride ourselves on top cuisine, so we also look for a high caliber of kitchen staff to help prepare the meals.
What are some of the selling points you use to get people onboard to work with your company?
We have so much to offer and arrange exciting cruises, so I think that this in itself is a huge draw card.
Do you have a ‘season’ or ‘seasons’ where you’re busiest? Describe the seasonality aspect of your business.
Holiday season is the busiest in terms of public cruises, but the summer months are when we have our busiest season for weddings and other events.
How many seasonal staff do you typically hire, and for which positions?
We have about 65 staff total, so around half of those are seasonal, and usually work in the kitchen or on deck serving the meals or attending to the guests.
Regarding seasonal or temporary staff…What percentage of your staff are returning from the previous year vs. new hires?
We get a lot of new people all the time, local colleges and word of mouth from our previous staff, but there are a few who return to work with us each summer or winter season.
Do you have a lot of college kids/students working for you? If yes, then what attracts them to your jobs?
We do get quite a few. I think the main attraction is the type of lifestyle this job offers. You get to work outside on the water all day. This is like a dream job for most.
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?
Above all we look for dedication and commitment to the job. To make a great impression we like to see that you have followed through with any previous jobs you have had and not had a record of working a few months here and a few weeks there. Loyalty is very important to us. Other than that, a good sense of people and knowing how to work in a team are important traits, as well as being outgoing, well spoken and friendly.
What advice can you offer about resumes?
We get a lot of resumes, and the main thing that I notice about most of them, is that they are too long. We don’t need to see every detail about your previous jobs, just the main points like when you worked there, what your job title was and a brief description of your duties. Make sure that it is well laid out and easy to read.
Are there any common traits people should have in order to get hired, and then to succeed in the cruise industry?
Well, the main traits that will let you succeed in the cruise industry are to be good with people, have good management and organizational skills, have a strong personality, be team player, and have the ability to communicate well with staff, superiors, and guests.
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?
No, our staff tend to stay for the entire season.
What advice would you give people to help them prepare for interviews with your company?
One of the most important things to remember is that we are looking for the right fit for our company, so just come there being your natural self and chat to us casually. Look tidy and be well presented, but you shouldn’t prepare long speeches or anything like that. Know about the company, about your position and have a good overall understanding of what we offer and our goals. That is all you really need to do to prepare.
What is the interview and selection process like for your positions?
We check all the resumes and contact those who seem good for the positions available. We get together and chat face to face and after this, we will determine whether or not we would like you to work for us. Once you have received that call if you are selected, you will either be told about a position that is open right away, or you might have to wait for an opening, but this is not normally that long as well only hire as we need people.
Does your company provide any training? If yes, can you describe what it entails?
We only provide on board orientation training.
What are some common misconceptions people have about working on cruise ships?
People tend to think that this is not a job, but more like a vacation.
People don’t understand how hard and physically demanding it is.
People think that they will get to meet new people and have long chats, but you are on duty so you don’t get to socialize with the guests.
What type of person gravitates towards these jobs?
People who love the outdoors, who love working during different times of the day, who have a great personality and who enjoy service types of jobs will be attracted to cruise jobs like those we offer. Most people I know do this kind of work full time, or who are seriously thinking about working on cruises long term as a permanent career.