The exclusive and ever expanding Superyacht industry is an area for candidates of the highest calibre.
The superyacht industry requires exemplary service to guests, a fault-free operation and pristine conditions throughout. This demanding environment is not suitable for all but for those who adapt well, the opportunities are limitless.
Q1 - I have completed the online database/ sent my CV and expressed an interest in yachts, but I have had no response as yet. Why is this?
We are receiving applications and talking to candidates throughout the day as we receive an overwhelming and ever-increasing number of applications per month. All applications are viewed on arrival but as much as we would like to, we simply cannot reply to all enquires straight away. Sometimes your background and experience may not match current positions
Q2 - If my cv is suitable, when may I be given details of a job to consider?
This varies of course on a number of factors, such as, how closely your expertise matches a Client's unique requirements, the number of other candidates similarly qualified, your availability, etc. So you may hear in days, weeks or even months. However, we are always happy to speak on the phone, should you decide to keep in regular contact to inform us of your career and certification progress, wishes and availability.
Q3 - What happens to my cv?
It is retained on our online candidate database allowing you at the candidate to modify and update as required. This also then enables us to filter candidates against Clients criteria, such as type of vessel experience, certification etc. We will not send your CV to any Client without first seeking your approval and establishing your interest in the position available.
Q4 - Will I need previous yacht experience?
It certainly an advantage; but is not essential. Sometimes, usually in the bigger yachts (around 75 to 100+ metres), passenger experience is valued. If you have neither, it is not impossible as the need for professionally trained crew is always on demand.
Q5 - How much can I expect to be paid?
There is no standard rate. It depends on an Owner or Manager's willingness to pay. It would normally be paid in Euros or US Dollars per month over 12 months. It can range from a Deckhand on average 2,000 Euros per month to a Captain on around 12,000 Euros per month. Sometimes bonuses are paid for long service and a share of charter gratuities from guests.
Q6 - How long are the 'contracts' on yachts?
This varies considerably as it can depend on the schedule of the yacht. Smaller busier charter yachts can work continually through the seasons, so you may work for 9-10 months with 2/3 months leave taken in chunks usually when the vessel is doing a crossing. Larger yachts that are privately owned may have a worldwide itinerary but more and more offer rotation. Also there are privately owned yachts that have a berth in Europe and spend 8-10 months along side with only a couple of months sailing when owner requires. These can offer shore side accommodation, 9-5 work days and weekends off.
Q7 - Will I be sponsored and get time off for my next certificate?
More and more yachts are assisting with Study Leave for certification. But like any job, training depends on cost effectiveness, length of service and your commitment to the yacht.
Q8 - Are there prospects for promotion?
Yes. If you are seen to be good and have the right attitude, certification, experience and flexibility if the opportunity arises, you can be considered.
Q9 - What will my living quarters be like?
Very often they will be smaller than you have been used to in the commercial industry, and even relatively senior officers in large yachts will need to share. This is accepted practice in the industy, and single cabins can be considered the exception rather than the norm. If alternate space becomes available, or watchkeeping hours conflict, you may occasionally have the opportunity for short-term improvement. This does vary yacht to yacht.
Q10 - Will my partner be able to join me?
All yachts and their Owner/Manager requirements are different. Occasionally working partnerships are sought. If you insist on having your partner join you, this must be in a working capacity, in different departments and you are seriously limiting your job opportunities. By far the best way, is to establish a long term relationship with one particular yacht over a number of years and in proving your commitment, credibility and responsibility, have your partner welcomed into the team, by the Owner/Manager. Many yachts are based in the same vicinity - for example the South of France, and opportunities often arise in such cases for partners to visit the area whereby time, can to be spent together ashore and to a limited degree onboard
Q11 - Will I be able to go ashore and get away from the yacht during my long contracts onboard?
The lifestyle is very different on yachts. Apart from sailing and maintenance above and below deck, which is time consuming, there will be quieter times when, subject to circumstances, you will be able to spend periods ashore more readily than in the commercial world. This may represent leisure time or mean involvement in yacht related business. It is also quite likely that you may be involved in the testing of various accessories - small boats, jet skis, scuba diving equipment, etc., etc., - commonly known as 'toys'.
Q12 - Where will the vessel sail?
Yet again, it differs so much between yachts. Exploration vessels will go to remote, relatively inaccessible places and often have ice class hulls to enable penetration of these waters. Equally those same vessels may go to idyllic areas of natural beauty. Some yachts may be based and stay for some months in say, Southern France or the Caribbean. This does not mean boredom necessarily, because very often there is a tremendous amount of activity in and around the vessel.
Q13 - Will I be provided with uniform?
Yes. Whilst the yacht must look immaculate, so must you.
Q14 - Are there only long term positions, or are some temporary?
Occasionally, an officer - usually a senior officer - needs to take a couple of months leave and it is possible that external officers with the right credentials can be considered to fill in. This is a very good way to initially experience the industry.
Q15 - I have other questions, not covered here. Can you help me with them?
By all means, please telephone us. We will certainly try to assist you.
Our responses should be regarded as informed opinion rather than definitive facts.
Q1 - My current experience is not in the cruise or yacht industry, in which Viking specialise, and I realise it is difficult to break in, despite my capabilities. Should I still send my cv?
Please still forward your CV as we are very open to candidates from different sectors of the maritime industry. There is always a demand for experienced, qualified Officers and your skills can be transferable to these industries if you have the right attitude.
Q2 - How do salaries compare shoreside to seagoing?
They vary ashore, much as they do at sea. This does really depends on experience, qualifications and what type of role you are going into. One thing to remember is that with a shore side job, you will be taxed on your wages.
The cruise industry represents an area of strong potential for career growth.
This industry continues to expand rapidly and there are a wealth of opportunities available.
The cruise industry has experience in a climate of healthy growth, and the product is becoming more and more innovative and sophisticated. As such, this represents continued employment opportunities for interested and committed candidates of the right quality.
Q1 - What is the role of Viking Recruitment Limited?
We assess, interview, recommend and often subsequently administer qualified and experienced Officers and staff for the industry. The shipping company or its appointed managing agents, which could be Viking, employ successful candidates.
Q2 - I have not had my application acknowledged. What happens to it?
Our involvement with the premier end of the cruise and superyacht industry means that we receive a tremendous amount of applications for positions within this market sector, and regret fully we are simply unable to respond to all of these straight away. However, they are all retained on the Viking online database. As vacancies occur, we search our database for the most suitable candidates whom we can consider and therefore may contact you almost immediately after you apply or many months later. We also realise that your circumstances may have changed so it is always useful to hear from you from time to time.
Q3 - What sort of candidate experience do you look for?
Previous cruise experience is beneficial, however this is certainly not essential. We like to study applications and judge each on its merits including many elements such as rank attained (relative to age and experience), presentation of paperwork, quality of companies length of service within them and vessel size and type. If we are in discussions with officers we consider their apparent interest, expectations, and general manner.
Q4 - What type of personal qualities are required?
Professional competence and safety consciousness are paramount in the passenger vessels. Our Clients look for a positive attitude, flexibility, teamwork and a real interest in talking and being with people. Enthusiasm, a polite manner and smart, tidy appearance, at all times is also critical.
Q5 - How can I improve my chances of selection?
There are a number of ways. Quite often, efforts are made to contact good candidates but their personal details have changed and they cannot be traced. So please update your online profile with changes in telephone numbers, e-mail etc. The same applies to certification and experience. Client companies may have a minimum or preferred requirement and as you progress through your certificates and career please let us know what you have attained. STCW 95 certificates are ever more sought by Clients. Apply with all of the various documents/certification valid and in place. Send appraisals with your application or subsequently as you receive them as this gives clients the encouragement of anticipating that you are a good candidate. Generally, we would urge you to keep in contact. It is our philosophy that we are here to provide a service to the Client and the applicant. So definitely, you will not be bothering us - we want to talk to you, and help where we can. Hospitality and Guest Services candidates can improve their chances of selection by expanding their C.V. to include a more detailed personal and experience profile. This will enable us to assess the match between your current expertise and the various cruise industry functions.
Q6 - What ranks are your client companies seeking?
In Deck and Technical, Cruise vessels, more junior than senior Officers. In contrast, within the hotel services area, both senior and more junior positions are required. These include Hotel Managers/Directors, Food and Beverage Managers, Chief Pursers and Executive Chefs and Sous Chefs. Also Maitre D's, Bar Managers, Concierge, Reception, Waiter/ess, Shore Excursion, Provision s and many others. Promotion from within, still very often applies.
Q7 - I am a Master, Chief Engineer or Senior Officer at present and have reasonable passenger ship experience; can I be assigned to the premier end of the cruise industry in these ranks. If not, what are the promotion prospects like?
Regretfully not all the time.. The policies, governing regulations, methods of working, size and type of vessels, environmental and safety exposure, and sheer extent of this company makes experience in their fleet absolutely essential, in their view. The Master is considered the General Manager overseeing all aspects and departments and the Chief Officer being responsible for the deck department and its operations in entirety. On the engine room side there are often a number of Second Engineers per vessel, many of whom have aspirations for promotion. However, there are still good opportunities for advancement. Promotion is very much on merit with our Clients, and there remains a national shortage of high calibre individuals.
Q8 - I have just attained my first (OOW/EOOW) certificate and have no, or limited, officer experience as yet. Can I be considered?
Some cruise companies, require experience so that they are comfortable with your watchkeeping capabilities. If considering Holland America Line, you are an ideal candidate for their rank of 4th Officer or 4th Engineer where you will quickly learn your trade and look forward to early promotion.
Q9 - What are the tour lengths?
All cruise companies offer rotation contracts varying from 2 or 3 months time for time to 3 months on, 2 months off and 4 months on, 2 months off systems. It is sometimes required to extend contracts but this is rare. Ordinarily you should expect to receive less salary to compensate for the enhanced leave ratio.
Q10 - What are the salary levels?
Salaries in the cruise industry vary but please feel free to contact us and we can advise. It is common for international companies to pay in US Dollars or Euros. In more senior roles bonuses can be attained.
Q11 - What degree of passenger involvement is required?
In addition to the prime responsibilities of the Hospitality/ Guest Services Officers, the deck and engine officers are expected to entertain and be available for passengers. This includes conversation in the bars, public rooms and at function evenings. It can very often involve hosting a table at dinner and will extend to junior officers and, exceptionally, to cadets.
Q12 - Who supplies and pays for the extensive uniforms?
Policies vary, but the majority of companies will have this is tailor-made for you onboard the vessel and is at Company cost.
Q13 - Can I take my spouse or partner?
Again, policies vary, but most companies do allow spouse or partners to join you. You may have to complete your trial period before this happens though. Then they can stay up to 6 months onboard with you.