There are many adventurous means to circumnavigate the world without stepping foot off the earth. Some do it on bicycles, some do it on foot. But more and more people are finding out that it’s not that risky to do it on water as it used to be. Kind of like how the scores of climbers on Mt. Everest have formed a sort of path along the slope such that it’s not quite “off the beaten path anymore”, it is now possible to sail the world without incurring too much or any risk at all to life or limb.
Get a job on a ship
Nothing comes for free of course, so if you want to sail the world but don’t have the money for it, then you’ll have to pay by other means, most likely your labour. Now there are always many positions that you can apply to at a cruise ship, but you have to see if some of the jobs are even worth taking on. For example, kitchen staff, maids, waiters, spa service etc. have the longest hours, the least pay and little to no opportunity to get off the ship and enjoy the ports. But there are some positions that are a great trade-off, and these mostly have to do with languages.
The best jobs on a cruise ship
Performers such as dancers and musicians usually get the best deals, but competition for these jobs is very fierce, so don’t even bother applying unless you’re a professional. The next best are jobs that have to do with languages, such as an interpreter. If you are multilingual, then definitely try and leverage that in your applications to cruise ships. Employing multi lingual staff is a zero-cost way for cruise ships to enhance the experience of their guests and earn points with them. Another set of great jobs is a youth staff. You are basically required to watch kids on board while the parents sunbathe or whatever. If you have a doctoral degree and some teaching experience, you can even get a really awesome pay to teach onboard! There are many programs out there, the most famous being Semester At Sea.
The advantage of all these jobs is that you don’t work when the ship is at port, leaving you effectively free to disembark and enjoy the sights. Many awesome cruise ships offer free tours where the staff can also join in.
Sail the world as a deck hand
While cruise ships are the comfiest mode of maritime travel, they are also the most difficult to get a job in. A less tried and tested method is to try and hitch a ride on a cargo ship as a volunteering deck hand. You can even go to places like Antarctica, where ships have to make periodic trips to deliver supplies to the scientists and other staff based there. Of course, once you reach Antarctica you are on your own, and there are no guided tours to show you around.
How to apply for these jobs
The best way is to directly contact the shipping company via their website, where they will have employment listings featured for upcoming cruises. Some great cruises to start looking at are the Princess Line Cruise, and the Royal Elizabeth Cruise. There are many online forums for feedback on what it was like to work for a particular cruise line, which can help you decide which one would be the best to apply for.
Leave us a comment below if you have any other ideas on how you can sail the world for free!