How to Apply for Employment With Carnival Cruise Lines

Tela Lewis
Carnival Fantasy Cruise Ship in Cozumel

If you desire to see the world while at work, a cruise ship career is an attractive alternative and Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) is a natural option to consider. After all, CCL is part of Carnival Corporation, the largest vacation corporation in the world. Applying for a job with the company is a process that takes some legwork. Fortunately, the company's large size means that people with diverse backgrounds from all over the world have a shot at scoring a job on a "Fun Ship."

Two Ways to Apply With CCL

CCL and its recruitment and specialty business partners hire year-round, staffing ships based on current need.

1. Directly With CCL

Searching for jobs with CCL on most of the popular U.S. job seeker sites will yield few (if any) results. Instead, a prospective employee should set up a free account online on the company's employment website, where job seekers can learn about employment opportunities. Job seekers can sign up online to get information about attending future hiring-related events, such as career fairs.

Land Based Jobs

The land based jobs are searchable by job type or geographic area. You can apply directly online for any available positions that interest you.

Shipboard Jobs

Working in ship cabin

Shipboard jobs are constantly changing and are staffed based on pre-qualified candidates, though Carnival does not hire directly for most of these jobs. These positions are typically filled through the company's recruitment partners and specialty business partners.

The one exception is the casino department. The international division of Carnival Corporation hires for the Casino division of all of the Carnival Cruise Line ships. An online application is available for casino positions. Gaming dealers are required to have one year of experience in a licensed casino, and slot technicians, at least six months electronic experience.

2. Through Recruitment Partners

People hired through recruitment partners make up the bulk of the employees seen by passengers. For hotel operations or deck & engine positions, these third-party manning agencies are used internationally to provide employees. These recruitment partners for Carnival Cruise Line are based in Peru, India, Romania, Thailand, Italy, Croatia, Indonesia, South Africa and the Philippines, but hire from many other countries as well.

Find the recruitment partner closest to your current residence, and contact them through their listed phone number or website. Ask for more information about the desired position, explain any related experience and ask for details on how to apply. The partners can walk job seekers through the hiring process, including information on travel document requirements and experience needed to apply.

Recruitment partners help advertise for employees and screen applicants to ensure new recruits have the proper attitude, physical capabilities and experience to perform the desired job. They walk new employees through the process of obtaining the requires travel visas and maritime documents needed for work aboard a ship.

3. Through Specialty Business Partners

Carnival employee working in spa

CCL contracts with outside companies to provide the services and employees needed for some specialty positions, such as spa services, gift shop staff and shopping/port advisors. These companies serve as outside vendors and their workers are not Carnival employees, even though they work on the ships. The partner company manages the employees from start to finish and even issues their paychecks.

  • The biggest of these partners is Steiner Leisure, which is based in Florida. This company contracts the beauty and spa service providers for Carnival.
  • For retail sales or management positions in the gift shops, Starboard Cruise Services helps fill positions. Qualifications are basic and no specific retail experience is required, but applicants must be over the age of 21. They have an online application and an updated list of open positions on land and at sea.
  • Shopping and Port Advisors are recruited by a company called Onboard Media. Requirements for these positions include public speaking skills, self-motivation and a sales background. Good computer skills and speaking another language - in addition to English - are also helpful.

Special Tips for CCL Job Seekers

  • CCL has social media coordinators on all the popular social media sites. Beyond the usual Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn social media options for Carnival, the company also has a news blog. Following these updates by using the live feed subscription button can be worthwhile. New job postings are often discussed there, as well as topics related to employee relations and general articles on ship life.
  • With jobs onboard, attitude is everything! CCL is well known for offering passengers a fun time on the high seas. Consequently, the company tends to hire energetic and enthusiastic individuals who are able to relate well with its youthful clientele.
  • Former workers have good things to say about the company. Indeed.com, a popular employer review website has 60+ employee reviews for CCL, most of which are very positive. The most popular word used to describe the employee experiences was "productive". One former sous chef from Miami had this to say: "Productive and fun workplace, if possibilities exists would return to this company, had great and helpful experiences during my time on the ship, really great experience."
  • A common belief is that hiring practices for positions aboard CCL ships are dictated largely by the geographic location of the prospective employee.
  • Employment applications are typical for employment with any large company. A separate application is recommended for each position. Carnival does ask for disclosure of any other family members who already work for the company.
  • In-person interviews for direct positions are conducted at CCL hiring events or via phone or Skype.
  • Every effort is made to ensure married couples who are hired to work for CCL are assigned to the same ship and cabin whenever possible.
  • A medical evaluation and pre-employment drug screening is often required.
  • Workers hired through staffing agencies as well as Carnival direct hires require a background check or, internationally, a police clearance.
  • It is a good idea to have a valid passport before applying, as one will be required for international shipboard employees.
  • Once hired, Carnival employment comes with extensive training, orientation and career center development while working for the company. Carnival's workers undergo shipboard safety training, department-specific training, and even cultural sensitivity and sexual harassment courses.

Beyond CCL: Carnival Corporation

Carnival Corporation is the largest employer in the cruise industry and operates several cruise lines in addition to CCL, such as Princess Cruises, Cunard and Holland America Line. If you are committed to working for a cruise line, you may want to expand your search beyond CCL to additional lines within Carnival Corporation, as well as other cruise ship employment options. Carnival Corporation employs 91,000 people. The entire fleet consists of over 100 ships, with 77,000 employees working aboard these ships.

How to Apply for Employment With Carnival Cruise Lines