Fancy travelling the world for free this summer? One cruise line is offering to pay an “apprentice” to do just that – and applications open today.
Those tempted to fill the “Shore Explorer” role will need to share their best travel story with Royal Caribbean using Instagram. The successful candidate will then be tasked with documenting their trip on the photo-sharing app, through images, Instagram Stories and videos.
The purpose of the position is to test out the cruise line’s shore excursions for three weeks this summer, for which the successful candidate will be paid ?2,000 per week – the equivalent of a ?104,000 annual salary – for their efforts.
Royal Caribbean said it is looking for “an adrenaline junkie” who “has a unique ability to capture a moment and tell a story in a simple social media post”.
Ben Bouldin, managing director of Royal Caribbean International UK and Ireland, said: “With Instagram it’s not just a content platform anymore, but an area of inspiration and influence, especially for the next generation of travellers. This is a once in a lifetime role.”
Walking Alaska’s glaciers, touring Osaka in Japan, white water rafting in the Norwegian Fjords and riding the world’s longest zipline in Dubai are among the many experiences the successful applicant will try.
They will also be the first to set foot on board Royal Caribbean’s new private island in the Caribbean, which is due to open in May.
The entries will be judged by Bouldin; James McVey, writer and guitarist from the band The Vamps, who recently took part in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!; travel writer Nadia El Ferdaoussi and Russ Francis, the line’s ‘Instagrammer in Chief’, who took on a long-term role at Royal Caribbean following a similar process and subsequent hree-week placement in 2018.
He said his role was “life-changing”, adding: “I went from working a night shift for seven years to travelling the world.”
Instagram is one way for cruise companies to attract younger and first-time cruisers. In a survey of 2,000 people aged 18-37, commissioned by Royal Caribbean and carried out by OnePoll, almost a third said they had booked a holiday or experience after seeing someone post about it on Instagram.
As part of the survey, people were asked to rate the experiences they’d most want to capture on Instagram. Topping a list of 50 was seeing the Northern Lights, with going on a cruise at number 20 – although many of the experiences listed are accessible by cruise, from the Aurora Borealis to attending the Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
While this is an enviable opportunity, Instagram has been implicated in a tick-list approach to travel where tourists flock to the same spots for the perfect shot for their feed. Last year a report showed a third of millennials considered posting on social media as important as the holiday itself.
Meanwhile, cruise ships have been criticised for exacerbating the problems of overcrowding in popular ports. They are seen as contributing to daytripper “hit-and-run” tourism with most ships only staying in each city for a day at most.
But shore excursions are one way for cruise passengers to get a better taste for a destination, whether an appreciation natural wonders or a cultural tour with a local guide – and perhaps return for a longer trip.
Those applying for the Royal Caribbean role must be 21 or over, hold a valid passport and be able to travel this year. They’ll be flying between destinations and travelling solo, although they can pay for a plus one to join them. A longer-term position with Royal Caribbean is not guaranteed at the end of the trip.
The application for the three-week position is open until March 1.
Royal Caribbean has 25 ships, including the biggest at sea – Symphony of the Seas, which has capacity for over 5,000 guests. The line’s first Quantum Class ship, Spectrum of the Seas, is due to launch this April.