Shipboard Employment: Frequently Asked Questions

Shipboard Employment
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What makes cruise ship employment so unique?

Working on a ship means you live and work onboard. This also means it is a 7-day work week with 10+ combined hours per day.

Is this a full time job?

Employment on a cruise ship is DEFINITELY a full time position. However, due to the intensity of shipboard work & life, it is on an assignment rotation basis.

How long is the assignment?

Assignments vary depending on the position and brand. For most of our fleet, it can be anywhere between 4 months thru 9 months depending on the position.

On the Pride of America only, entry level positions work up to five months with a scheduled, unpaid vacation. Management level positions work four months onboard followed by a scheduled, paid vacation

What about time off?

That's the best part. Although you work 7-days a week while on assignment, crew members get a BULK time off upon completion of the assignment period. It's like banking your days off and taking it all at once.

Which ship do I work for?

U.S. Federal regulations require U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Resident status for employment onboard the Pride of America. If you’re hired for the Pride of America, you will be deployed to that ship specifically.

For the rest of our fleet of vessels, all crew members are assigned to a position, not necessarily a ship. Although our preference is to bring back returning assignments on the same vessel, there's a chance that you'll be moved to where the role is needed.

What if I have commitments during my assignment?

When you're interviewing, it's important that you share any pending commitment information. We can look into an assignment that works for both our new hire and the department.

How do I get to the ship?

For most assignments, Norwegian Cruise Line will provide full transportation from your home to the ship and back for the full assignment period. In some locations, we'll even have someone meet you!

Do I need travel documents?

Employment onboard the Pride of America does not require a passport but recommended.

Overall, valid passports are needed for all our new crew members. New hires that are not US citizens, US Permanent Residents or Canadian will need to obtain a C1/D visa.

What is a C1/D visa?

It is a special visa for non US & Canadian nationals to work onboard a cruise ship. This can be obtained at the US Embassy in your respective countries.

What documents do I need to work onboard a US-Flagged vessel, Pride of America?

All crewmembers aboard the Pride of America are Merchant Mariners. In order to become a Merchant Mariner one must be in possession of a Merchant Mariner Card (MMC) and a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card. The MMC is issued through the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the TWIC is issued through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You cannot work onboard our US-flagged vessel without these documents! NCL will assist you with obtaining all necessary credentials to work onboard the Pride of America.

What sort of training do I need to complete in order to be a US Merchant Mariner?

All of our crewmembers must successfully complete Standards for Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) training. This training is implemented and conducted by the USCG. The STCW training is a one week course held onboard the Pride of America. NCL will coordinate your STCW Training prior to your first shipboard assignment.

Where can I learn more about MMC’s, STCW courses and other US Merchant Mariner related- material?

You can learn more about becoming a Merchant Mariner by visiting the United States Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) website at: or calling 1-888-IASKNMC

Where can I learn more about the TWIC card?

You can learn more about the TWIC card by visiting

Where do I sleep and what will it look like?

Living space can vary based on ship and the position. While the management level position will have a single room, non-management will be sharing with roommates. Although the room is small, you will have a comfy bed, a shared tv, personal closet space and full bathroom. You'll have clean sheets and fresh towels!

Is there a place to relax?

Yes. There is a common room where our employees can gather to play games, share experiences and even to watch a movie. In some ships, we even have an Internet Cafe just for our crew to check in with what's going on back at home.

Can you drink alcohol onboard?

Yes, when you're not scheduled to work and off duty. Just remember that we have a zero tolerance policy for certain positions and alcohol limitations. And no matter what, YOU are RESPONSIBLE for being on time for your shift and SOBER! Reporting to work under the influence or hung over is cause for immediate termination. That's definitely NOT what you want to happen!

Can I bring a friend, family, maybe a pet?

Space onboard is very limited. Any offer is for employee only.

What should I pack?

We recommend that you pack for a 1-week trip and consider bringing items that are on the suggested packing list. We'll set you up with the proper uniforms so you need off-duty clothes. There are times when you may be called on to participate in a formal event, so one dressy outfit is worth packing. There are shops onboard that our employees can shop from, at a discounted rate. And some of the best bargains can be found at some of the ports you'll visit.

What about medical care?

While you're onboard, the medical doctor onboard will provide you medical care.

Can I use the guest pool and the gym?

Guest facilities are for guests only. Employees are provided with employee only facilities. We have a well equipped gym onboard for you to keep in shape! However, we just don't have the space for an employee only pool. But, many itineraries offer a port of call with some of the most beautiful beaches and resorts that you can visit if you're off duty and headed a shore.

What's the chain of command?

The ultimate final word is the Captain, Master of the vessel. There is a clear chain of command that should be followed in seeking advice, assistance, resolutions, etc.

What happens at the end of my assignment?

Each assignment concludes with a performance review. Based on the evaluation, you will be asked to return. In some cases, we can even provide a return assignment before you even leave the ship.

Is there a difference between brands?

Yes, our U.S. Flagged ships and International Fleet have some differences in terms of employment conditions. At the time of hire, you will be explained in detail the terms and conditions for the brand you are being assigned.

Uncle Sam?

If you work on a U.S. Flagged ship, Pride of America, you will pay all applicable federal, State/Hawaiian and local taxes.

U.S. crew members assigned to an international ship will have federal taxes withheld.

If you are assigned to an international ship, it will be your responsibility to report income earned when you return to your respective country.

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