Last year 2.2 million people in Germany set sail on a cruise – an almost 9 percent increase over the previous year. This growing demand is good news for the labour market because it creates new jobs at the shipyards, their suppliers and on board the ships themselves. As a result of its investments in new, clean and efficient ships, TUI Cruises now has the most modern and lowest-emission fleets in the world. Protecting the environment is one of the company’s priority objectives. Another is ensuring that the crews are happy in their jobs.
Cruise ships create jobs
A quarter of a million of people currently work on cruise ships around the world. According to forecasts, they will be joined by another 100,000 or so during the next decade as a result of new jobs on new ships. People in a wide range of occupations work on cruise ships, both skilled and unskilled, from officer and medical officer to jazz singer, chef, plumber and window cleaner. But what are the working conditions on board like?
ILO guarantees basic rights for ship crews
Maritime shipping is the only industry with global social security standards. The working and living conditions for crews are defined in the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention. Seamen and women have the right to a safe and secure workplace on board the ship, appropriate employment and living conditions and medical care. The convention entered into force in 2013 and guarantees both social standards for crews and fair competition between the shipping companies. Trade unions such as ver.di were instrumentally involved in the drafting of the convention.
Good working conditions on the ships in the Mein Schiff fleet
TUI Cruises has around 6,000 crew from 45 different nations working for different employers on board its ships. They represent a real cross section of nationalities, cultures and religious values. Ensuring that they feel happy and secure in their jobs is one of TUI Cruises’ top priorities because if the crew is happy, the guests are happy. The crew is absolutely essential to the smooth running of the ships and to the positive atmosphere on board. The employers often go out of their way to offer their crews excellent deals that far surpass statutory requirements:
- Above-average pay. Crew salaries are much higher than the sector average. This means that people from emerging markets and developing nations can earn far more on board the cruise ship than they ever could in their home country.
- Career opportunities. The aim is to train and recruit management personnel from the ships’ own ranks. Many of the employees in management positions started out in lower-level jobs. With the right development opportunities it’s easy to move up the career ladder. That’s why German courses and other training opportunities are provided and count as work time.
- Leisure activities. Leisure activities are a very important aspect of life on board for members of the crew, who often spend several months at sea. They have their own sun decks, free use of the gym and bars, as well as a book and DVD library. They can also disembark at the destinations.
- Fringe benefits. Crew members get their travel expenses to and from the ship, and their board and accommodation paid. Free medical services are also provided. Most crew members live in double or single cabins.
TUI cruise companies’ investments
TUI Cruises has ordered another new ship from the Meyer Turku shipyard for the sixth year in succession. Construction will commence in 2019. This next addition to the growing fleet, Mein Schiff 7, will go into operation in 2023. Two LNG cruise ships have also been ordered from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri – for delivery in 2024 and 2026. TUI’s Hapag-Lloyd Cruises subsidiary is also modernising its fleet with wo new 5-star expedition ships that will celebrate their naming ceremonies next year.
A wealth of job opportunities
There are people doing all kinds of jobs on cruise ships, from head chef Aboubacar Alhabbo and his crew on Mein Schiff 1 to captain of the entire Mein Schiff fleet, Kjell Holm.