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From: Sheila Nagig
Subject: Some Questions
Date: November 12, 2012
I have a couple of questions. My husband and I want to relocate from the US to Australia. We had an idea that working on a cruise ship to get over there would be a viable option for us. The things that I got caught up on were getting hired onto the same ship, or whether we'd be able to bunk in the same berth as a married couple. Would we be able to leave the ship once we got to Australia? Do the ships hold on to your passport and cash? Would we have to just stay during shore leave and not return to the ship, or would there be a legitimate and honest way to tell them once we got there or even before that that we would be parting ways with them in Sydney?
We're prepared, naturally, to work for our passage. I'm just wondering if it would take working on more than one ship to get to work on a ship going our way, and what the chances were of both of us getting hired on the same ones due to not wanting to be separated. I'd think that it would work in our favor to be a married couple in some senses, because it speaks of stability and reliability. He has experience with IT and some retail experience, I have experience in a lot of things, including a lot of in-depth childcare experience as well as plenty of retail experience. I'm in my mid-thirties, he's in his early forties.
What advice can you give us? You seem to know what you're talking about, so I thought that you'd be the person to ask.
First off, I think you really have a few questions, so I'll break it down starting with the cruise ship employment question.
Yes, you can get a job onboard a cruise ship together. The only way that you will get on the same ship (generally) is if you are married, as you are. For this to work out, you also then have to apply together, stating on your respective cover letters that you are applying as a couple. Thus, each of you will supply your resume separately, and state that you're applying together on the cover letter. The rest is in their hands.
As for the job you apply for onboard, that is another matter. Keep in mind a lot of cruise lines use concessions for various departments, contracted to other companies. These include photographers, spa, IT, and the gift shop. If you are both applying to different companies and asking to work on the same ship, do you honestly think they care?
What if one of you gets hired by one company and the other does not? Will you turn it down, or go onboard and hope the other eventually gets placed? If you turn it down then they've wasted that time on someone who didn't work out. Remember that the HR people for the various concessions won't be contacting each other to make sure they've hired the partner.
Thus, your best bet is to make sure you're both applying for the same actual company together as a pair. Apply as a couple to the gift shops, or the entertainment staff.
Next consider that working onboard cruise ships is an actual job to most of the people onboard. People work on ships as a career, they are not working for passage to another country. This is a livelihood, not a working vacation. You can't really work a passage to Australia, then jump off and say, see you later, I'm living in Australia. In addition to that, I had to work onboard for 3 years and never went to Australia. In fact, I was on for 2 years before I even did an itinerary outside of North America.
What I'm saying is, odds are, you won't get on that Australia run until you've worked a few contracts. As well, none of this matters if you just want to do a run and leave in a certain country. This is a career for many. There are lots of safety and other training necessary for all crew members, so you can't plan on jumping on and off at your leisure.
What will you do in Australia? Do you have a job lined up? Have you done all the immigration paperwork? If so, than ignore this next part.
It is very hard to move to Australia unless you're seeking political asylum, which, I don't think you qualify. Or if you have a career in demand and fit their criteria for immigration you can apply through the various methods via the Australian government website.
You are too old now to do the Working Holiday Visa.
Just out of curiosity, have you ever been to Australia? Do you know you will like it? I found a lot of places in Australia to be just like the US. Why leave one western country for another that is so very similar? That is, however, your personal business, and I don't need to know that.
Consider getting a job as crew onboard sailboats. They take people of most any age. You have to get yourself into a city or region that has a big sailboat culture. Florida, Western Mexico, SoCal, Central America or the Caribbean are all great places to do this in North America. While there you can find many ways to get in touch with the local salty dog sailor types and offer your hands as crew members.
Sailboats are much more informal about taking people on and they go to more places. I personally don't think a cruise ship is the place for you right now as that is an actual job which is not what you appear to be after. As well, since you only want one particular run and you plan on getting off when you arrive.
Hope that helps!
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