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  • You have the right to decent working terms and conditions. The ITF and its affiliated trade unions around the world reach agreements with cruise ship employers that lay down standards for working terms and conditions on board. The details vary between the agreements, but here are some typical standards:

• You are entitled to work and live in an environment free from harassment and bullying, whether sexually, racially or otherwise motivated

• Normal hours of duty are eight hours a day, Monday to Friday

• Overtime should be paid

• You should have 10 hours rest in any 24-hour period; and 77 hours in any seven-day period

• You should get seven days’ (minimum three) paid leave for each month of service

• At the end of your service, the company should cover the costs for you to get home

• If you are discharged owing to sickness or injury, you are entitled to medical treatment (including hospitalisation) at the company’s expense for as long as necessary

• If you are injured as a result of an accident on board you are entitled to sick pay and compensation

• If you get pregnant, you are entitled to at least 14 weeks’ maternity pay

• You have the right to join a trade union

There are many more details in the actual union agreements. To find out more about the minimum terms and conditions that cruise ship crews should have, please see the model ITF agreements using the links on the right of this page. If your working rights are being violated – say, you haven’t received your wages or have been unfairly dismissed – you can contact an ITF inspector or local maritime trade union, using the link on the right of this page. To find out if there is a union agreement covering the cruise ship on which you work or hope to join, you can contact the ITF.
  • Resolving Problems
  • If an ITF agreement is in place, a crew member should expect the employer to abide by it. If a problem arises, the affected person should contact an ITF inspector or a representative of a local maritime trade union. Many ports have inspectors or representatives on hand. Before embarking as a member of the crew on a cruise ship, a seafarer should check to see if a union agreement is in place. The ITF has details of all its agreements and the ships they cover.
  • Other Organisations
  • Groups such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) are also involved with cruise ship working rights. The ITF represents crew members at meetings of both groups.

    Have you worked on a cruise ship? Do you have a story to share? Email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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