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Frequently Asked Questions


Before boarding / training / visa

When do I get my seaman's discharge book?

You will usually be sent the seaman’s discharge book we have applied for on your behalf by DHL Express or registered post to your home address before you join us, provided we have received your medical documents and your basic safety & crowd management certificate, both of which are essential for obtaining a seaman's discharge book, in good time.

How do I pay for the US visa?

To pay for the visa fees, you will be redirected to the Stanley Associates Inc. website. Simply follow the instructions provided there.

Which ship do I state on the forms I have to complete?

You won't usually be allocated to a specific ship until after all the documents have been prepared or rather, we will not agree an embarkation date with you before then. Would you therefore please leave the respective space blank when you complete your documents. You are welcome to enter MS EUROPA on your visa and seaman's discharge book application forms.

Which Salmonella test will be accepted?

We accept the following types of test: proof furnished through X-ray, the Mendel-Mantoux skin test and the Quantiferon Gold blood test. A TBC-test is usually not necessary to obtain a German medical certificate.

Which "preliminary" expenses will sea chefs pay?

sea chefs pays the US visa application fees (as well as any other potential visa fees), the fees for the medical examinations/the fitness for sea service examinations, and the cost of the mandatory yellow fever vaccination.

You will not be reimbursed for the cost of travelling to and from the US embassy, telephone calls, passport photographs, photocopies etc., the cost of obtaining a passport, and the travel expenses associated with attending the safety training course. We will inform you of any changes to these rules

How will I be reimbursed for the expenses incurred for my medical fitness for sea service examination, the visa and the yellow fever examination?

Please take the original receipts on board with you and hand them in to the crew purser/chief purser. The respective reimbursement will then be paid to you/transferred into your account along with your next salary payment.

In some areas, you may be asked to calculate these expenses yourself, and to reclaim them as per the standard expenses policy. You are expected to hand in the original receipts together with a list of your expenses (using the "Travel Expenses Report" form) to your crewing officer within three months.

What do I need to know with regard to the safety training?

The safety training course is usually held each week from Monday (arrival Sunday by 20:00 / 8:00 p.m.) to Friday (departure approx. 15:00 / 3:00 p.m.). sea chefs will register you for the course.

Please send us an email to let us know your preferred date by the Thursday (14:00 / 2:00 p.m.) before the start date of the course, at the latest. The training centre in Rostock will send you an email with detailed information regarding the safety training schedule, how to get there, accommodation etc.

Do I have to pay for the mandatory safety training myself?

sea chefs will initially pay for your safety training.The cost of the course will be deducted from your salary payment at the end of your first contract. At the end of your second contract the cost will be fully repaid to you. This applies only if you register for the training course through sea chefs. You will have to pay for the travel expenses you have incurred by taking part in the safety training course yourself.

Different rules regarding the costs we will pay and the reimbursement of expenses apply for some positions in the Cruise Staff/Tourism area. We will clarify this point before you start.

Is there somewhere I can stay when I attend the safety training course in Rostock?

When you register for the safety training in Rostock, we will automatically book accommodation (in a double cabin) on the dormitory ship "Severa 1" close to the training centre for you, including breakfast. The accommodation is included in the cost of the course, and you do not have to pay for it when you get there. Should you prefer different accommodation, you must book this yourself and also pay for it yourself.

Contract / salary / insurance

When do I get my employment contract?

Once your start date has been agreed (usually on the telephone), we will send you an email with the contact details of your Crewing Ofiicer in our sea chefs office in Cyprus, who will send your employment contract to you approx. seven days before the agreed start date. If you start with us at short notice, you may not receive your employment contract until the day before embarkation.

Is the salary stated in the contract correct and as agreed?

Your salary will be paid in Euro, and consists of various different elements:

  • Basic wage
  • Leave pay/vacation pay (= money paid in lieu of holidays not taken)
  • Day rate
  • Subsistence allowance
  • Bonus

Your basic wage, leave pay, day rate and the subsistence allowance add up to your CONSOLIDATED MONTHLY SALARY. Adding the BONUS to this amount will then result in the salary agreed. Please note that your monthly leave pay/vacation pay will be paid to you at the end of your contract.

Will I have health and social security insurance?

From the moment you leave home for your ship (direct route), for the term of your contract and up to your arrival at home (direct route), you will have health and accident insurance cover through sea chefs Cyprus. During your time aboard, your insurance company will be a UK-based marine underwriting company. If you fall ill on board, you will be looked after by a doctor and a nurse. Should you have to consult a doctor ashore or have to go into hospital, sea chefs will cover the respective expenses. Should you fall ill, sea chefs will continue to pay your salary in full up to a maximum of 112 days of illness, provided you present a doctor's certificate. We will also pay the cost of further treatment by your general practitioner/family doctor during that period. We will not pay for routine examinations.

sea chefs will not make any statutory pension insurance scheme or unemployment insurance payments. Please note that your health insurance cover will not apply when you are on leave.

How can I obtain health insurance for the times I am on leave?

You have two options.

You either sign on with the department for employment in your home country for the duration of your leave, in which case you will be covered by the respective national health insurance scheme again, or you re-join the health insurance company you were previously working with (in Germany).

You can take out "voluntary statutory health insurance" with them. To be able to do so, you will need a confirmation from your Crewing Officer in sea chefs office Cyprus that you were insured for the term of your contract.

Who is my contact person on Cyprus?

As soon as a posting to a particular ship has been agreed, one of our colleagues in sea chefs office Cyprus will be responsible for looking after you. We will send you an email with the name of your Crewing Officer.

Do I have to pay income tax?

Sea chefs does not pay any income tax on your behalf. If you have to pay income tax, you have to pay this yourself to the tax office in your home country. We would advise you to consult a tax consultant.

How will I receive my salary?

You can either collect your salary in an account on board until the end of your contract, or have it paid monthly into your bank account at home. On board, cash is available from the crew purser/chief purser. Please contact the crew purser aboard your ship for cash payments/transfers into your account.

Your salary consists of several elements (basic pay and vacation pay). Your vacation pay will be paid out at the end of a contract. Your crewing officer will be happy to tell you more about this.


How do I get to the ship?

sea chefs Cyprus will organise and pay for the journey to your port of embarkation. Please remember that depending on the country of embarkation, you may need to leave your home country 1-2 days before your agreed start date. You will be sent an email with your flight information, usually a week before your embarkation date.

Cruise Staff/Tourism department crew members are also responsible for accompanying the guests during embarkation/disembarkation in order to make their journey to and from the ship as pleasant as possible. You will be given detailed information before your first assignment.

Travel expenses to / from the home address stated to/from your place of employment will be paid up to the amount of the cheapest available transport link, either by public transport (however, only up to a maximum of a 2nd class train ticket) or in the form of a mileage rate per kilometre travelled (EUR 0.30 per kilometre). We reserve the right to decide which calculation method we apply to reimburse you. Please hand in the original receipts together with a list of your expenses (using the "Travel Expenses Report" form) to your crewing officer within three months.

How do I get to my embarkation point from the airport?

Our agent will collect you when you arrive at the airport closest to your point of embarkation. He or she will then take you to your hotel (if applicable), or directly to the ship.

When will I be in the USA?

The precise date on which you will enter the USA is not yet fixed when you apply for your visa, as we usually agree a start date only after you have forwarded all of the necessary documents to us. Would you therefore please state a random date approx. one month ahead as the date you intend to enter the USA.

How much luggage may I take?

We will send you a ticket for your flight, which is usually a so-called seafarers airline ticket. This ticket includes a 40kg checked luggage allowance (two pieces of luggage, each weighing a maximum of 20kg) and an 8kg carry-on luggage allowance. Please remember that you will only have limited space in your cabin (hard shell suitcases are therefore unsuitable), and that you are likely to make additional purchases in the various countries you will visit. Electric appliances such as an iron or a kettle, for instance, are not permitted on board. A hair dryer, an electric shaver and a laptop are permitted.

For crew members in the Cruise Staff/Tourism area: please note that if you are accompanying your guests on the outbound/inbound flight, you may not be sent a seafarers airline ticket but will in fact be travelling on a standard ticket with a lower luggage allowance. Please take this into account when packing.


How often, or rather where, can I do my laundry on board?

You can either have your personal laundry washed by the on board laundry service against a minimal charge, or you can use the on board "crew laundry", which is equipped with a washing machine, a dryer and ironing facilities, although this is usually very busy. Your uniform will be laundered for you free of charge.

Do I need to bring bedding and towels?

No, bedding and towels will be provided. However, if you want to use a beach towel, you will have to bring one along yourself.