Originally Posted by tennis4789
Just got off an NCL cruise.
The service was incredible. Almost all of the waiters/housekeeping staff were not from us. & i think the cruise lines make sure to not register their boats in the us so they probably can avoid us labor law & taxes. Neways...
Anyone have experience hiring crew from foreign countries? Is it significantly cheaper? If the boat was registered in the us would i have to follow all the us labor laws? Best/easiest/friendliest country to register?
The main reason, they register cruise ships in other countries is the Jones Act which requires the ship to be built in the USA and staffed by US workers (small cruising boats have different rules). This is also why they limit stops within the USA...they must include foreign stops or they run afoul of the Jones Act.
A side benefit (a substantial one) is they can employ staff from other countries and at substantially lower rates. They can get away with this as they are foreign vessels technically only making port and not operating within the USA.
This is oversimplification and the lawyers will likely take issue with my layman's description but that's the jist of it.
Now if as an individual on a private cruising boat try to do the same, a host of complications arise.
- Are you going to limit your stop in the USA to a single
port for a day or two? If you cruise for say a month in US waters, they are going to consider your staff to be working in the USA and then you need to get them proper work
visas and you are going to have to pay them at US rates (even if you don't need to get them work
visas, they still need regular visas to visit the USA). It's not easy to get an unskilled worker a work visa as you need to demonstrate you can't find staff in the USA with the skill set you need. Obviously, that's kind of hard to do for unskilled positions. Even if you get it, the visas aren't cheap
and you have to pay them at US rates, so much for the cost savings.
- If you go international, you are going to have to address the visa and work rules of each country you enter and meet them. Again, that can be expensive and complicated. For a lot of countries it's visa on arrival or are very easy to get an advance visa for US citizens...those from poor countries have a much more difficult time getting visas.
Keep in mind, cruise ships dock
at major ports
and have customs
& immigration on hand and they have customs
& immigration experts on staff to handle both the thousands of guests and the thousands of staff needing to enter and exit countries. In reality, it becomes pretty routine as they are doing it on a large scale. On the other hand small cruising boats tend to show up where ever and cruise away from these key ports
Now a possible solution: If you want to cruise in a single
overseas country, it may be much more viable. Say you get your boat to Thailand
. Average income
is around $400/month, so if you offered say $600/month plus free room and board as you wander about Thai waters, that is probably viable. You would still want to verify the specific country rules but it takes a lot of the variables away.