You are probably here to find all the things you need to do before embarking on the cruise ship. In this post, I will cover everything you need to do before embarking to make sure everything will be fine and you will not have to worry about anything while on board. I am including things cruise ships require as well as useful things that I wish I would have done. Please be aware that I only worked for one company, so everything will be related to my limited experience, which might vary by company.
Before getting accepted to work on board, you have to have completed your STWC course. This is a safety course for seafarers to know how to behave in case of an emergency. Depending on where you take them, they can take up to one week and be quite costly. Everyone has to have the basic course that includes General information, first aid, firefighting, and liferaft survival. Be sure to check if you also need one of the extra courses such as crowd management. I will tell you about my experience at the STCW course soon, so stay tuned for that.
Every company requires a medical check. These are normally very thorough including blood tests, hearing and sight checks, and maybe more depending on the company. This medical check has to be completed on a specific paper and in English. This medical certificate will be valid for two years so you don't have to redo it every time you embark. Be aware that this certificate can cost about 300€ which will not be covered by the most medical insurances and the candidate will have to pay yourself.
Get your Visa
Depending on where you are going, you might need a visa to be able to go there. Your company or agent will let you know. Do this in advance because it will take the stress off you as the embarkation date comes closer. Also, it is easier to make adjustments in case there are problems.
Automatize everything back home
If you are still paying bills while you are on board, automatize these through online banking if possible, so you do not have to worry about them while you are working and might not have a reliable internet connection. If these are paying automatically you will be more relaxed while on board. I did this with my phone bill while working on board and it made my life so much easier.
Get your paperwork in order
While you are preparing to embark make sure you organize all the paperwork they want. For me, they wanted the contract printed, the original STCW course certificate, and the original medical certificate. If you did not have one of these, there was a small issue. The company will tell you what these are in advance so make sure you read all the emails. In the end, it is always better to have one document too many instead of one to few.
Pack your bags
So you will need to pack your luggage for the duration of your contract. You will not have a lot of space to store things on board, so many sure to not bring too much. Personally, I would stalk my ship online for the itinerary. You need different clothes for the Carribean season than for Nothern Europe. If you know your itinerary more or less in advance you can pack what you actually need. Also, do not bring too many everyday things. You will get the chance to go to shore somewhere and buy things you are missing. So if you do not need it every day, don't bring it with you.
Those are my tips to prepare for your contract. It will make embarking easier knowing you have prepared everything and do not have to worry about things happening at home. If this is your first contract, check out all my other tips and stories here to make you feel more prepared. If you have any other tips, feel free to share your own tips in the comments below or on social media.