How to cope with life at sea, as a dancer on cruise ships

Life at sea - sounds pretty good and it is but before you subject yourself to quite a lengthy contract it is a good idea to approach other dancers who have worked in this area for advice.

Look on Dancers Pro at the various large companies and see if dancers return to work with them for a second season. This is always an indication that the company is reputable and are good employers. If you have never been on a ship book yourself on a day visit on one of the ships that dock in Southampton - these are run by travel agents on P&O and MSC and will give you some idea of the accommodation on board and theatres and general conditions. Bear in mind if you are a person who likes solitude and privacy you are not going to get it when sharing a cabin with a stranger and possibly in bunks in a very small area.

Companies vary with what they expect entertainment staff to do - some you are purely in a dance role but others expect additional duties like embarkation and animation.

Be clear in your contract the number of shows you will do and other jobs.

Ensure you are covered by insurance in the event of accident.

Rehearsals are normally on land and then you transfer to the ship. Most days you will be expected to do 2 shows per eve and these are varied. You will have to pay for a STWC licence which is your own responsibility. Do not pay for any flights out yourself - respectable companies will arrange thus for you and your return flight as well. American companies like staff to be 21 because of the drinking age in USA. You do get time off in the day but you have to appreciate that at all times you are a member of staff and act appropriately - it is not a holiday.

Don't be frightened to ask people questions this work is not for everyone