Working at sea is more than just a job. It’s a way of life. It’s an opportunity to discover new avenues, visit different places and explore new worlds. An opportunity to make friends and gain experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Whether you’re based on shore or on board one of our cruise ships, it’s hard work but very rewarding. But where else do you get the chance to progress your career and discover different cultures at the same time?

So join our diverse team, take your career to a whole new level, and you might even get the chance to visit some of the most exotic locations in the world. This really is a life less ordinary.

How long are the contracts?

Most contracts are 5-6 months long with 6-8 week vacations. Employment contracts are offered as permanent positions, with re-newable contracts based on performance appraisals. Senior Management position contracts are variable.

What are the working hours like?

The ship is constantly cruising, and there are almost always guests onboard, so hours are long.

Expect to work every day of your contract, about 70 hours per week. Shore-leave is limited to a few hours a day, if and when the ship is in port.

How much can I earn?

This is depending on position and the cruise client. Some vessels offer a small basic salary with the majority of your wages earned from gratuities, from $1500 up to $2500 per month (on average). Premier vessels offer full salaries with a no tipping policy, from approximately Euro 1500.00 per month. Full salaries and packages will be discussed on a one-to-one bases.

Where do you stay onboard?
All crew are accommodated in shared 2 or 3 berth cabins with integrated bathroom facilities. Positions of seniority have single cabins.

What facilities are available for crew onboard?
Most vessels have a number of facilities for crew to enjoy in their off time, such as the crew restaurant, crew bar, crew deck (some vessels have a pool), gym, computer centre, crew shop, spa (during certain hours)

Can couples apply?
Each applicant is considered on his/her individual merits. Generally this is not suited for couples unless both applicants have very similar qualifications and can therefore be grouped in the same department.


  • The Internet Café is available for all crewmembers at posted hours. Internet access is available at reasonable prices.
  • Phone cards will be available onboard. Also, keep in mind that your phone might work at the different ports. Be careful at sea because international roaming will apply and can be very expensive.
  • Wifi is readily available throughout the vessel. You can bring your own electronic devices to use. You will need to purchase internet access/minutes and configure accordingly.
  • Mail arrives once a week to the ship. The mail will be sorted by department and distributed. Please remember, mail is processed through a central location, therefore, you will experience a small delay. Also, the ship’s itinerary may determine the regularity of the delivery.


  • Your boss will be the head or supervisor of the department. The Captain of the ship is the commander of all and the final decision maker.
  • Career growth is offered through internal promotions. You can apply to the positions onboard as they become available.
  • Numerous trainings will be available onboard to enrich you knowledge in different aspects of the business.


  • You will have curfew onboard.
  • We have a Zero tolerance drug policy with random testing. Drug possession, transportation and usage are causes for immediate termination.
  • We also have a zero tolerance for harassment of any nature. Every crew member is responsible for keeping a safe, harmonious environment onboard.

What is the age limit to apply?
You have to be 21 years old to work onboard any International Cruise Line. The application cut off age is around 35 – 40 years of age but depending on your experience.

What are the visa requirements?
Crew visas (American C1/D) can only be arranged once a job offer has been made, and a “Letter of Employment” has been issued.
Additional Schengen or entry visa are required for South Africa passport holders. A clear criminal record is required for all visas.

Where do the vessels travel to?
The vessels travel all over the world and have year-round itineraries to some of the world’s most exotic destinations.

How long does it take to get hired?

If you meet the job requirements & depending on the time of the year, it can take between 2 months & 6 months to get hired.

 Are there any costs involved?

No agency or admin fees are charged at any stage of the recruitment and placement for GRI

Only once you have been successfully hired by a Cruise Client will you need to process the following documentation:

  • Seaman’s medical examination (R2500 – R4500) Depending on your position and Cruise Client this is re-reimbursed to you onboard.
  • US C1/D visa (USD 168.00)
  • Additional Entry Visa – if required (Euros 60.)
    Seaman’s Book – dependant of cruise company (Cur. R380.00)
  • STCW Certificate – Most cruise companies will supply this onboard, but there are certain positions that this will be a pre-requisite.

Cost covered in your employment contract?
All flight and travel costs to join the vessel anywhere in the world are built into your first contract for most of our Cruise Clients. These costs will be discusses with you in your preliminary interview with one of our Recruitment Agents.

All uniforms (except chefs), accommodation and meals onboard, Medical Insurance whilst onboard the vessel.

About Us:

Gourmet Recruitment International (GRI) is a specialist hospitality cruise ship recruitment agency based in South Africa, since November 1999. We have agency resources in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

Contact Us:

Samantha Hurley – Owner / Recruitment Manager
Michelle Haigh – Group Administrator