Travel Arrangements – Getting Aboard
sea chefs will organise your journey to and from the ship for you and will also pay your respective travel expenses there and back, provided you have fulfilled your contract.
If you need to catch a plane to reach your ship, we will book a ticket for you from the airport that is nearest to your home address to the airport that is closest to your port of embarkation. If you embark/disembark at a port in Germany, we will book the respective train journey for you. Your Crewing Officer in sea chefs office Cyprus will send you an email with all your travel details approx. 1-2 weeks before your scheduled embarkation date.
Should you have to pay for the transfer from/to your home address yourself if we are prevented from doing so for technical reasons, we will of course repay you as soon as possible, provided this has been agreed in advance.
For some positions in the Cruise staff team / touristic there are deviations concerning the procedure of arrival and departure. You will be informed in detail separately.
You have probably never worked aboard a ship before. Even if you have, you may find the first few days on board difficult. Your new colleagues will be understanding, as they have all been in the same situation at one point or another. The officers and your colleagues will help you to settle into your new environment. Never be too shy or too proud to ask questions - that is what we are here for, to support each other and to work as a team.
If this environment is totally new to you, you will find the first few days pretty hectic and maybe strange. However, if you keep an open mind, you'll soon find your way around and make new friends. You will find almost everything you need on board; see "Crew Facilities" for more details.
Leisure Time On Board
On smaller ships, the crew mess also serves as the crew lounge and party room. On larger ships, there is a separate crew bar in the crew's quarters in addition to the crew mess. It allows the crew members to get to know each other after work; to meet up, to celebrate, to relax and to have a good time.
The crew has their own sunbathing area equipped with sun loungers, away from the eyes of the passengers. It's the perfect place for morning exercises in the fresh air, to enjoy the sunset or for watching the ship sail out of the port.
Some ships have a separate gym and fitness room for the crew members. Alternatively, it may sometimes be possible to use the passenger gym at certain times. These facilities may of course be used free of charge.
Hairdresser / Spa
During your time off, you can go to the hair salon or enjoy a relaxing spa treatment such as a massage at a discounted price in your leisure time. Please note that appointments must be booked in advance!
As a crew member, you are permitted to visit the on-board shops at certain times to make personal purchases, and you will also be given a discount.
You can buy drinks, snacks and tobacco in the crew shop and pay for them using your on-board account.
We will of course launder and iron your uniform free of charge.
You can wash your personal laundry either in the washing machines on board or have it laundered for you for a minimal charge.
On board, you will belong to an international team. We employ professionals from all over the world; people from different religions and cultures who all speak different languages and all have their own traditions and values.
This diversity is very important to us and may be an exciting new experience for you. We believe that these differences greatly enrich your day-to-day work, and we expect you to embrace them and to be willing to respect and accept your international colleagues.
Crew Card / Crew ID
As soon as you join the ship, you will be issued with a crew card. This card also serves as your ID card and confirms that you work on board. Whenever you go ashore or return aboard, you must show this card to the security staff. This system allows us to monitor at all times who is on board and who may be missing before the ship leaves a port. This card usually also serves as your cabin key and also as your "charge card" for making cashless purchases in the crew bar and in the shops on board.
On Board Visitors
Should you wish to invite visitors aboard when the ship docks at a port, you must complete a respective application form and hand it to the crew purser/chief purser at least 72 hours before the ship arrives at that port.
The forms are available from the crew purser/chief purser. Visitors must carry ID, which they are required to show to the security staff at the gangway. You will be responsible for your visitors whilst they are on board. Your visitors must be suitably dressed. You may only receive visitors during your time off; please wear your uniform when you receive visitors. However, your visitors will not be permitted to move around the ship unaccompanied.
The cruises are marketed as "all inclusive", and guests are not expected to tip as tips are included in the cruise price. All crew members are paid competitive salaries that are not affected by lower passenger numbers. A guest may sometimes feel they would like to tip you – in which case you are permitted to accept a tip.
Tips may also be shared with your colleagues.
Food Handling / Hygiene
Hygiene on board/United States Public Health (USPH)
Everyone on board lives and works in a confined space. If strict hygiene rules are not adhered to, there is a risk that an epidemic may spread quickly. Non-compliant food handling may lead to potentially fatal food poisoning. If you strictly adhere to the regulations, you protect your own health and safety as well as the health and safety of our guests.
On our ships, we comply with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) standards. You will receive the respective training on board to familiarise you with the USPHS standards.
Leisure Time On Shore
Shore leave depends on the respective department and your work schedule.
Although your time will be quite limited, planning ahead will allow you to get an impression of our European and exotic destinations, to go on a sightseeing tour, or to visit a cosy café and simply enjoy the local atmosphere.
You are also bound to visit many destinations that can only be approached by ship.
Before leaving the ship, always check the time of the end of the shore leave.
On some routes, the purser or the "Crew Committee" arrange excursions for the crew to allow them to also enjoy many exciting experiences together.
Some souvenirs from foreign countries may come from listed endangered species. Please obtain information about any such restrictions before each shore leave – as the consequences of disregarding them can be extremely serious (a substantial fine or even a prison sentence), and the damage done to nature is irreversible.
Breakfast, midmorning coffee (at 10:00 / 10:00 a.m.), lunch, afternoon coffee and dinner are served daily in the crew and officer's mess; all meals are always freshly prepared by the crew cooks and free of charge.
Internet, Social Media
Computers are available on board. On some ships, you may also access the internet using your own mobile device (e.g. laptop) – albeit subject to a charge. However, at many ports, free Wi-Fi is available in the terminal building or in cafés.
On board, you can drop your stamped letters and postcards at the crew purser’s office. They will then be mailed at the earliest opportunity. Please note that this only applies to standard letters. You can mail parcels and packages yourself on your next shore leave.
To make sure you can receive mail from home, we cooperate with port agents in various ports around the world; during the cruise, the respective addresses will be posted on the crew noticeboard in good time to allow you to inform your family and friends ashore about where they can send mail for you. An important point to note is that the contents of any mail you receive must not breach the import regulations of the respective countries. Please be aware, that for any parcels or packages, specified rules of the destinations are valid and have to be followed.
You may of course make phone calls whilst on board. However, please note that all phone calls will be transmitted via satellite and will therefore be very expensive. In emergencies, you can of course receive phone calls at all times and anywhere via this connection (against a charge).
Please remember that phone calls you make abroad using your personal mobile phone can also be quite expensive. The same also applies to sending and receiving text messages. You should therefore check the charges that apply along your cruise route with your provider before you leave.
For regular phone calls, there are phone boxes in most ports.
On some ships, there is a "Crew Committee". This is a group of crew members that looks after the interests of the entire crew. They might, for example, organise parties and barbecues, game evenings or movie nights, offer sport and dance classes or plan joint excursions.
On Board Training
Whilst you are settling in on board, you will also attend a number of mandatory training courses.
You will receive safety, environmental awareness and hygiene training (HACCP/USPH), learn more about the regulations and guidelines to be adhered to aboard ship, and you will also be given general information about the company. In the course of your safety training, you will also be allocated your role in the safety plan.
The crew members generally communicate with each other in English; this is also the language in which all safety instructions will be given. It is therefore important that you are able to speak English fluently, and that you understand the language well.
The accommodation on board varies from ship to ship. In general, the following conditions apply:
Depending on your position, you will share a cabin with a colleague. A bathroom is shared by a maximum of two cabins, although on some ships, each cabin has its own en suite bathroom. Bedding and towels are provided. You will be responsible for cleaning your own crew cabin.
Many cabins are equipped with a telephone, a television and a refrigerator. Always remember that you will be living in a small cabin with limited storage space; you should therefore not to bring too much with you and avoid bulky luggage if you can (e.g. hard shell suitcases).