Home YOU ASK - WE ANSWER Retiring USN Sea Dog Can't Stay Away from the Sea
Retiring USN Sea Dog Can't Stay Away from the Sea PDF Print E-mail

Q: I’m about to retire after more than 35 years with the Navy. Because I enlisted when I was young, I still feel hale and healthy enough to take on a new career as I’m about to hit age 55. My kids are grown and on their own, and I’ve been widowed for more than a decade. I enjoyed my years of sea duty, and am interested in joining the crew of a cruise ship.

My rate at retirement is Senior Chief Mass Communications Specialist (E9), and I’ve had considerable experience in managing office personnel, correspondence, event planning, graphics, video production, the internet, security, training recruits and other skills. I’ll have good retirement income with no dependents, so salary isn’t that much of an issue. What do you suggest?

CPO on ship


A: Chief, there are many ship company websites that list online or snailmail contacts for employment queries. With your admirable service and qualifications, you may find a suitable job with one of them. However, since your experience doesn’t involve a Navy rating that relates to the actual mechanics of cruise ships, such as engines, supplies, communications and electronics, your chances of getting a job are limited to administrative, such as purser, passenger relations, security, event planner and other office duties.

Another question is your age. Although you feel “hale and healthy” at 55, some cruise lines require that crew member age limits must be below that. It may seem unfair to you, but that’s the way it is. Before you make your inquiries abut jobs, take a short cruise or two on your own, and check out all the possibilities, including talking with crew members. Learn all about job opportunities, the culture of the cruise line and other research that can help in your job search. Then make up your mind as to whether you really want to spend another ten years or so working on civilian cruise ships, or would rather be basking in the sun at a FL, AZ or CA retirement community. 

If you’re determined to find a job in the cruise industry, write up a killer resume, emphasizing experiences and skills that could apply to specific jobs aboard cruise ships. Email it to the lines you’re interesting joining, and be sure to include a recent photo of youthful-looking, hale and healthy you.

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