Royal Caribbean goes on a hiring spree as demand for cruises hits record high in 2023

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on May 8, 2024
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  • Royal Caribbean is engaging with tourism boards & port operators worldwide to fill the growing need for labor.
  • The push for more workers coincides with Royal Caribbean's plans to introduce three new ships to its fleet.
  • The FCCA highlights the need for tens of thousands of workers from the Caribbean and Latin America.

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Royal Caribbean Group is embarking on a massive recruitment drive, planning to hire around 10,000 workers in 2024 to staff its ships and private destinations amid record-breaking demand for cruises.

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Royal Caribbean’s global search for employees

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With cruise bookings reaching all-time highs, Royal Caribbean is engaging with tourism boards and port operators worldwide to fill the growing need for labor.

This global recruitment effort spans from the Caribbean to places as far afield as The Gambia, highlighting the company’s expansive approach to sourcing talent.

The cruise operator currently employs about 700 workers from The Gambia and is looking to significantly increase this number.

Royal Caribbean’s expanding fleet

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The push for more workers coincides with Royal Caribbean’s plans to introduce three new ships to its fleet.

This expansion is part of why the cruise line’s sea-based workforce is set to grow, despite being 6% lower at the end of 2023 compared to the previous year.

Education and training key to meeting recruitment goals

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Efforts to meet labor demands are not without challenges.

Royal Caribbean and its industry rival Carnival have urged the Caribbean Maritime University in Jamaica to enhance short-term skills and certification courses to prepare more workers for careers at sea.

Similarly, in St. Maarten, a recruitment drive aimed to hire 1,000 workers did not attract as many applicants as expected, indicating potential gaps in awareness or interest in maritime careers.

Regional responses to recruitment efforts

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In the British Virgin Islands, a new request for recruitment support from Royal Caribbean marks a first for the region.

The BVI Port Authority expressed its intention to follow up on the cruise line’s request to see how best to facilitate this large-scale employment opportunity.

Meanwhile, discussions are ongoing in St. Maarten about how to improve recruitment outcomes after less than a third of the targeted number applied during last year’s drive.

How is the cruise industry doing?

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The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association notes that tens of thousands of workers are needed from the Caribbean and Latin America as new ships are deployed across the industry.

One of the major challenges cited by tourism boards and ports is educating potential candidates about the opportunities and realities of a career at sea.

As Royal Caribbean gears up for another record year in revenue and fleet expansion, its global hiring initiative is a critical component of sustaining growth and capitalizing on the booming interest in cruise vacations.

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