Things to Ask Before You Take a Cruise Ship Job
You’ve been offered a job on a cruise line. Congratulations. Perhaps you’ve dreamed of the flexibility and adventure of a crew position aboard a cruise ship for years. Whether you are an engineer, navigation crew, or hospitality staff, cruise jobs can be fun. Of course, the industry has its share of dangers too. So, here are some common sense questions you should ask when deciding whether a cruise line is right for you.
What Ship(s) Would I Be On?
Seems like a no-brainer, right? A cruise line should be able to tell you, based on your application, your skills, and where you live, which ship you would be assigned to. You can look up public information about most cruise ships to see their safety record and specifications. This might give you a better idea of what you are signing up for.
What’s My Schedule?
It will change frequently. Most cruise lines ask their crew to work long and varied hours. Still, you should be able to get some information about work routines, shifts, and how many hours you’ll be awake at a time without rest or breaks.
What Medical Services Are Available for Crew Members?
Obviously, most cruise lines are going to give you a standard response, based on the legal guidelines. The American College of Emergency Physicians lists recommended levels of care for cruise ships, but federal law sets forth broad guidelines for the level and adequacy of care that must be available to passengers and crew.
The U.S. Coast Guard promulgates rules that interpret and enforce federal regulations designed to protect the public. Some of these rules specify the adequacy of the following:
- Medical equipment
- Medical personnel
- Sexual assault responses
- Access to lawyers, investigators, and victim advocates
While you do not need to be an expert on these rules, if the answers you get make you feel uneasy or lead you to suspect the cruise line may not have sufficient resources on board to handle serious injuries, assaults, and other problems that could arise, you may want to have an attorney review your employment contract before you agree to set sail.
Have an Attorney Review Your Contract
Some contracts are probably okay to sign without a lawyer. If you stop working out, the worst thing that happens in a gym contract is you get stuck paying for something you don’t use. The worst thing that happens with a bad car purchase is you owe too much for the car. But once you sign a cruise line employment contract and step foot on board, you are a member of a seafaring crew. Your access to help, assistance, medical care, and basic services are all dependent on the cruise line. It is an insular and disconnected setting, much like a military deployment. You cannot just quit and leave the ship whenever you wish. There are a lot of contingencies to consider.
What Happens if You get Hurt?
This may not be something you feel comfortable asking an employer, but an experienced maritime lawyer can offer suggestions and help you prepare for the worst case scenarios. Visit our site online to read up on the latest in cruise ship injury law. If you are injured on a ship, call Michael F. Guilford, P.A. to get help right away.