In the June 1997 issue of K.L. Smith's CruiseLetter, we published a review of Carnival Cruise Line's Ecstasy by Jason DeLeo. If you read this review (You can find the review by clicking on CRUISE REVIEWS in the top navigation bar), you will find the following in our usual "bio" information section at the end of the review:
Jason DeLeo is 25, and has been on 4 cruises. He currently works for the Walt Disney Company in television. Based on his love of the sea, he is currently working with the Disney Cruise Lines to change careers and work on the new Disney Magic.
In May, Jason asked me if I had any advice to give him on how he could get a job on a cruise ship. (I wish I had a US dollar for every time I'm asked that question!) Although then employed by Disney Television in Burbank, California, and thus having a "foot in the door" to work on the new Disney Magic, Jason was a bit impatient and did not like the idea of having to wait for over a year before his chance to work for a cruise line.
My invaluable expert advice. . .ahem. . . to Jason was to direct him to the International Seafarers Exchange Cruise and Maritime Employment Source - a link you will also find in our SeaLetter Links department - and to tell him to "network", if he knew how. And, if he didn't know how to "network", then he should learn really fast!
Well, learn he did! True, it doesn't hurt to have "Walt Disney Television Studios" employment experience on one's resume, but you'll be amazed at Jason's timetable:
May 1997 - Surfed on over to International Seafarers Exchange for the first time
As luck would have it, I managed to find out IN PERSON just how Jason accomplished his goal in such a short period of time. . .
Jason picks up his email each Sunday when the Veendam docks in Ft. Lauderdale. On January 4th, he found an *Email SeaLetter* informing all our subscribers that I would be away for a week sailing on the Veendam. He then checked with the Front Office to find our stateroom and left a note for us under the door. I had no idea Jason was working for ANY cruise line, nor that he would be aboard the same ship I was sailing on! Of course, I still had no idea what he looked like, but armed with the information that he was one of the Cruise Staffers on board, I kept my eyes open and finally ran into him at one of the Team Trivia contests. As the week progressed, Jason and I talked often and we finally sat down for a formal interview on January 9, 1998.
Jason De Leo is 25 years old and hails from Burbank, CA. He is a graduate of the Film Group Institute in Hollywood, CA, where he studied film and television production. Two years ago, two things happened to change the course of Jason's young life:
Last year he talked to Disney about working on one of the new Disney ships, but ultimately decided that he couldn't wait until their ships were completed. He was also a bit unexcited by the "Bahamas...Bahamas...Bahamas..." itineraries. So, Jason decided to take the plunge. . .
May 1997 through July 1997
Local Book Stores: Jason found four books which discussed finding jobs on cruise ships. He learned an awful lot about networking, job titles, how to submit resumes, applications, and references. Unfortunately, he couldn't remember the names of these books during the interview, but then *YOU* should do at least some of the footwork on this. He did recall that he heard of one of the books at the International Seafarer's Exchange.
International Seafarer's Exchange - Jason logged on to the Exchange and read everything he could find. He started to correspond by email with a lot of crew members he found at the Exchange. These folks gave him lots of great advice, but what proved to be the most beneficial were the crew members' descriptions of the various job positions available on cruise ships. They made it clear to Jason that he needed to take this information and do two things with it:
If you don't personalize the cover letters and resumes, they won't get read.Armed with this information, Jason proceeded to
August 1997Jason sent out his "applications" consisting of:
September 1997Within 3 weeks of sending the first "applications", Jason began getting both rejections and telephone calls from interested parties. Three lines showed what might be called some "interest":
October 1997Jason accepts the offer from Holland America Line and, on October 18th joins the Cruise Staff of the Veendam. It is worthy to note here that Jason chose to accept HAL's offer and to look no further due to Holland America Line having a reputation for treating their employees well. And, even though Jason decided to apply for five different positions, he really, really, really wanted a Cruise Staff job. This offer was his dream come true!
The "Job"On Holland America ships, Cruise Staff are part of the Entertainment Division. The members report to both the Assistant Cruise Director and to the Cruise Director, who reports to the Hotel Manager. Cruise Staffers' "contracts" usually last 4 to 5 months and are "renewable" with the agreement of both the staffer and Holland America Line.
Currently on the Veendam, the Cruise Staff is composed of the Cruise Director, Assistant Cruise Director, Social Hostess, Youth Counselor, and 4 Cruise Staff members. The Cruise Staffers' duties vary - they each do just about everything at one time or another, filling in for each other as they rotate their "days off in port". On port days, one staffer stays on board to conduct all of the activities - trivia contests, galley tours, library desk, bingo, horse-racing - whatever. Jason alternates "weeks" with the other male staffer for "Disc Jockey" honors.
To Jason, his job is "100% fun!" He loves visiting the different ports (Staffers usually get 3 out of every 4 port days off), and "seeing the world". He loves learning the customs of other cultures - especially from the Indonesian crew on board Holland America ships - and the camaraderie and closeness of the crew and staff members. He also loves being "taken care of" - not unlike we passengers are pampered: he eats the same great food most days and he has a room steward who makes his bed and cleans his room daily and even does his laundry.
Of course, being at sea all the time does have its drawbacks. Jason is bothered at times by the constant motion and misses being away from his family, friends and "must see for some" TV. While the food is fantastic, it does get "repetitive at times" and there's too much of it and he has to watch the way he eats. (To Jason: Click Here to read our article "How NOT to Gain Weight on a Cruise!) And, for a guy who "loves to talk to people", even the conversations can get a little old.
As for Jason's future plans, he will be leaving the Veendam the end of February and, after a month's vacation, will be joining the Cruise Staff of the Maasdam in March. Long term, he would like to be a Cruise Director someday. When that day comes, and I have NO DOUBT that it will, we can all say "we knew him when. . ."
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please