Interviewing for a Cruise Ship Job

I have always wanted to work on a cruise ship however, previously I did not have an official qualification for working with children so it was difficult to find anyone who would hire me. Now I am a qualified Nursery Nurse and finish my first year of uni in mid-June, so I’ll have over 2 months of summer holidays before my second year starts. I decided that I would look into applying for a childcare position on a cruise ship. Hopefully, my notes about the process help you out.


This is the easy part. I just googled ‘childcare cruise ship jobs’ and I applied for several jobs with different recruitment agencies. The majority of the job descriptions were very similar but I applied anyway. I then received two emails from two different recruitment agencies who wanted to arrange a phone call to go through the job role in more detail. These phone calls were easily arranged, both recruitment agencies were able to offer a range of times.

You can also find lots of jobs for CarnivalUK on Kings Recruitment. CarnivalUK is the operating company for P&O Cruises and Cunard Cruise Line. Kings Recruitment recruits for several cruise line companies. It’s not just childcare they hire for, they hire for lots of different positions, so make sure you check it out.

Initial Phonecall

The first recruitment agency which rung me said they were only hiring for Easter at the time (it was late November) so I was put on their list to be contacted again in the New Year.
The second recruitment agency I spoke to was Kings Recruitment. They were very thorough, they went through everything the job would involve: the working hours, the time off, salary, the rotas, maritime health certificate, uniform and if you have any tattoos or piercings. This allows you to ask any questions you have might if you are still interested they offer you a telephone interview. I decided not to have mine until the New Year because of exams and Christmas. Before you have your telephone they go through the types of things you may be asked in your interview. You need to have a variety of safeguarding scenarios you have dealt with ready to talk about, have a good understand of safeguarding and have read up on the companies as well.

Telephone Interview

The telephone interview was really easy because I was talked through it beforehand. It started with you explaining what you know about Carnival UK, I made lots of notes and referred to them while on the phone. Then I was asked about the different types of abuse and how to identify these – again, I made notes and used them. Carnival UK cruises are obsessed with safeguarding. So I recommend having lots of safeguarding examples ready to use. The phone call itself lasted almost exactly half an hour. I was also asked about my previous experience and roles. The interview itself is quite easy, not stressful at all. When they have finished they hang up and then ring you back with whether or not you can progress to the next level. They rang me back in less than 10 minutes and invited me to a face-to-face interview in Southampton.

Face-to-Face Interview

I drove to Southampton – which took about 3 hours and 15 minutes each way – for the interview. The building is really easy to find and it is huge! There is parking in a shopping centre very close by. I went for the interview, I was let in by security and given a visitors pass. In the interview, I was asked about my experience, social media/internet security and again more safeguarding. I gave the best examples I could as you cannot re-use the ones in your phone interview. The last part of the interview is role play. I had to introduce a pirate party as I would to a group of children, these were probably the worst part of the interview as I had to do it directly to the two people interviewing me. That is pretty much the interview!

Hearing Back

This was definitely the most negative part of the experience. Carnival Cruises did not contact me to tell me that I was unsuccessful, instead, the recruitment agency got in contact. This was definitely disappointing as I was told in the interview that Carnival would be in touch in the next few days. The feedback I received was that the interview went well, however, the example I used for one of the safeguarding questions was a ‘group’ example and not one where I had directly made a decision, which left Carnival to doubt that I would be able to make that decision in the future. This was very disappointing, especially as I had driven so far for the interview and the job was well within my abilities, experience and qualifications.

If you are planning to apply for a cruise ship job, go for it! Hopefully, you will have better success than me.

Here is a quick summary of some top tips:

  1. Have an amazing CV – really pump yourself up, don’t be modest.
  2. Make sure you have lots of examples of when you have dealt with safeguarding incidents or concerns.
  3. Keep your calm and do your best.
  4. Good luck!

Love Bet x

Published by Betony

- Speech and Language Therapy Student - Vegan - Wannabe blogger - Urban Decay Addict - Harry Potter Obsessed - Disney Fan - (very) amateur dressmaker -

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