How to get a cruise ship gig.
A lot of people ask me how to get a cruise ship gig. I thought I would post this to answer these questions and hopefully help some people get hired!
There are basically 2 ways you can get hired by a cruise line. You can either contact the line directly or go through an agent/agency.
If you decide to contact the cruise line directly, you will need to find a contact in their entertainment department. This is easier said than done as these people don’t want to advertise their contact info to every person who has ever held an instrument and thus become inundated with audition requests. If you do make contact with one of these people they will want proof that you can actually do the job. This might take the form of a live audition, phone/skype audition, or a taped audition. The advantage to dealing directly with the company is that you wouldn’t have to pay a percentage to an agent in the future. (Most agents charge 5-10% monthly and require you to sign non-compete agreement for several years after you quit the job.)
The second way, and frankly the way I would recommend, is to go through an agent. There are many agents out there. I would recommend using a large one that deals with many cruise lines. This way you’ll have the most opportunities. I would recommend Landau or Proship. Contact the agent directly through their website or phone. They will probably want some info from you and then some sort of audition as well. The advantage to going through an agent is that you have someone to help book you so you’re not totally at the mercy of the company you are working for. Keep in mind that your agent will only get paid when you do so it’s in their interest to keep you working. The disadvantage is that you do have to pay them.
In addition to these requirements, you will be expected to pass a rather thorough medical examination and police background check as well as have a valid passport and be able to obtain the required visas.
That’s basically how it goes for the actual hiring process. I won’t put up a bunch of ability-type requirements for the job because they are well documented elsewhere and also, quite simply, if you don’t know what it takes to be a professional on your respective instrument, you’re probably not ready! A little harsh, but true. 🙂
Good luck and feel free to get in touch if you want some more personal advice.