Adam Pilon works for the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) on the Pride of America ship in Hawaii. Adam just finished his first tour. If you step back a ways, to the very beginning you will see that to get a job on NCL America is a long process. The first thing that Adam had to do was to get an interview with the recruiters for NCL America. (Or you can apply online if the position you want is open.) He had to fill out a bunch of forms and get them back to NCL with in a day. Then he had to make an appointment to get his Transportation Workers Identity Card, pass a physical, and get his Coast Guard approved Merchant Mariners Card. Once all of that was done Adam had to wait for his ship date. Adam was flown to Piney Point Maryland for a two week training on how to fight fires, cook, evacuate, rescue cruise line guests from the water, and pull guests into life boats. Adam had to pass a written test and then fly to Hawaii to start to work as a line cook.
I asked Adam where he was assigned for his line cook position. Adam said he was sent to the Production Kitchen. His Sous Chef said to go cut lettuce! So Adam cut lettuce for the entire ship for most of his tour. Not a glamorous job for sure, but a necessary one. He said that his living arrangements were a lot like Job Corps. Adam plans to return for another tour in late October. He has asked to work as a Baker next tour. He also has a chance to become an Officer because when he wasn’t cutting lettuce he was helping with ordering inventory and processing all of the food on board the ship. For all of our Advanced Culinary Trainees, there is a point to the Purchasing Certification. Study Hard! He hasn’t gotten the job yet but when the position becomes available he is one of the people upper management will look at. This would be a salaried positon. Adam will automatically get paid vacations and medical benefits right away and not after a year at sea.
If you want to work on a cruise ship, be prepared for hard work and know that you are getting great training and that you can progress up the ranks if you are willing to do the job assigned to you.