2018 Cruise Ship Hiring and Growth Numbers
According to the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), the cruise line Carnival Corp. has 200,000 employees working across their fleet of more than 300 ships. Carnival Corp. is the world’s largest cruise ship company. The CLIA estimates that they carry 95% of the world’s passengers. The company is continuing to grow as time goes on. This year they are expecting to add 20 new ships to their fleet. With the addition of new ships comes a need for more seafaring crew members. In 2018, Royal Caribbean Cruises added four ships to their fleet. This added over 10,000 new crew members to the company. Although there is high demand for new workers, companies are rarely short on applications. Company spokesperson Owen Torres said they had more than 100,000 applicants for these positions. Carnival Corp. is planning to hire 25,000 new employees over the next few years as they expand their many brands such as Holland America, Cunard, Seabourn and Carnival.
Where do Cruise Ships Hires Come From?
In order to find so many new hires, cruise line companies are taking applicants from beyond their typical source markets in Eastern Asia. .
A majority of the cruise line’s onboard staff are from places with low wages, even for those that have advanced university degrees. Pay on the cruise lines is higher than average pay back home. According to interviews with many of the onboard staff, this is the primary incentive for working onboard the ships. The staff on cruise ships work 11 hours per day for seven days during each trip. Collective bargaining from unions has ensured that staff are supplied with room and board at no cost to them. This helps workers to stockpile their earnings to support families and plan for the future. For servers, tips are now included or automatically posted to bills on some ships. This means that the tips are more standardized, dependable, and can be deposited straight into an employee’s bank account.
Although hours are long, not every hard worker is a good fit. Bar staff, Cabin stewards and medical crew are constantly interacting with guests. They are an integral part of a cruises experience. They add a lot of opportunity for making memories for guests aboard the ship. Holland America’s president Orlando Ashford commented that “we don’t just grab [new hires] off the street. Holland America has a strong reputation for customer service.” Before working at Holland America, Ashford was a human resources executive at Motorola and Coca-Cola. While they may not be grabbing these new hires “off the street”, the question of whether these new hires are affecting the safety and experience of the guests of cruise ships has to be asked.
How do New Hires Affect Safety?
The cruise ship industry is doing well with 20 million people going on cruises annually. This has meant these cruise lines are hiring aggressively which leads to some inherent risks:
- Faster hiring could lead to expedited or lesser background checks for crew staff, leaving passengers at risk for cruise ship assault.
- An abundance of inexperienced staff working onboard leaves the crew unable to spot potential hazards before they become an issue. This in turn creates an environment that leads to more injury potential while on board.
- As companies expand their hiring, they will need to reach into a pool of candidates that might not have the experience or qualifications they were looking for initially. As hiring expands, the quality of candidates typically falls off. On a cruise ship this leads to devastating consequences, as the staff is responsible for your safety. Less experienced kitchen staff could lead to a food poisoning outbreak. Inexperienced lifeguards and safety staff could lead to fatal consequences in an emergency situations.
Vucci Law believes it is important that these cruise ship lines are not jeopardizing the safety of their guests for the sake of turning over a greater profit.
For more information regarding employee life on a cruise ship, read through this article from the Miami Herald.