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Everything You Need Before Working On A Cruise Ship

Working on a cruise ship is an opportunity of a lifetime. So you’ve been hired and signed your contracts, now what? Before you pack your bags and say your goodbyes, there are a few things you’re required to do before you start working on board.

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If your destination is international, you’re required to have a visa. A visa is an official document that allows people to enter certain countries. For Five Entertainment Management applicants, we will assist you all the way with the visa application, and other documents necessary. You’ll need a Schengen Visa, which allows you access to twenty-seven European countries, or a C1/D visa specifically for crew members aboard a ship going to the United States. The cost of a Schengen Visa varies between R1300 to R2200, and takes about fifteen days to process, and a C1/D visa costs $185 and can take one to two weeks to process.

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Even though cruise ships are one of the safest travel methods, completing a basic training certification ensures you keep yourself and others safe. This certification is known as Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW), and it provides crew members with basic safety training necessary for working on board. The course takes eleven days to complete and includes modules in first aid, firefighting, personal safety, security, and survival techniques. Five Entertainment Management works with several approved STCW centres, so we’ll assist with the STCW training.

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Medical Exam

With the long working hours and travel durations, all crew members are required to pass a Seafarers Medical. As per the Merchant Shipping Act, it is the responsibility of the crew to have it done. This examination can only be done by a SAMSA Approved Medical Practitioner and, depending on the practitioner, costs above R6000. The examination is thorough and it includes receiving vaccinations (such as Yellow Fever, MMR, Varicella, COVID-19), urine and blood tests, X-rays, and PPD. All these tests are necessary to confirm you are in tip-top shape to work on board a cruise ship. Five Entertainment Management will assist you with the medical.

Background Checks

Some cruise ship companies require you to provide an extensive background check or police clearance before you start working on board one of their liners. Many employers perform a background check to confirm and verify pieces of information that you have provided them- mainly your education and employment history. These checks can also include a police clearance to authenticate a person’s criminal record or lack thereof. A police clearance in South Africa can be done at any police station, South African embassy, and even at your local PostNet.

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Have Fun and Safe Travels

Once you’re hired, Five Entertainment Management will notify you of everything you need. We will also assist with your visa application, organizing your medical, employment documents, STCW course, travel insurance, etc. to ensure that everything goes smoothly. It can be a tedious process, especially waiting for your Visa application to be approved, but, in the end, it'll all be worth it. When you have everything in order, you can then embark on your new work opportunity with pride and excitement.


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