Royal Caribbean CruisesNewspapers in Serbia are reporting that several cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, are allegedly refusing to hire crew members from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. You can read one article from the Telegraf newspaper here.

The newspapers are suggesting that the cruise lines took this action to blacklist young people from this part of East Europe because the prospective employees intended to fake injuries and bring lawsuits for compensation soon after joining the cruise companies.

The Sef Foruma Facebook page says that even candidates who are just waiting to join cruise ships receive rejection letters (see blow) after the crew members have already gone though pre-employment medical examinations. 

These allegations surprise us. We have represented many crew members from these countries (as well as Croatia). Many of these cases involve serious accidents and injuries resulting in surgeries as well as substandard medical care by cruise ship doctors. One of our last cases involved the refusal of the cruise line to provide medical treatment to a young Serbian woman suffering from cancer.

I suspect that if cruises line are refusing to hire employees from Serbia or Bosnia-Herzegovina, it’s because the companies can hire crew members cheaper from Indonesia, India and the Philippines.

There is nothing that can be done even if the cruise lines are openly discriminating against citizens from these countries. Cruise lines are free to hire and fire (or not re-hire) ship employees with impunity. There is a saying in Miami amongst maritime lawyers that cruise lines can fire crew members for good reason, bad reason or no reason. Unfortunately, its the crew members who are trying to support their families who suffer the most.  

If you have a comment, please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page

Serbia Crew Members

 Photo Credit: Wikepedia / Baldwin040 Creative Commons 3.0; Image Credit: Sef Foruma.

Update: I received this comment from a reader from Serbia saying that the hiring agency had its contract with the cruise line canceled because it was charging recruits for a job:  

"AGENCY Service published false news in TELEGRAF newspapers , In order to hide behind their bad deeds The point is that the agency -Kouzon lost license , they have lost their license because they charge recruits for trainings , which the company ( Royal ) already paid to them ,,,,,,Also, they charge recruits for services 350Eur + training 120 Eur it is at least 450 Eur per recruit ,,, as well This is against the law to do in the Republic of Serbia ,,,, to make long story short ,,, they took money for too many recruits, and now they lost license ,, and they are not able anymore to send recruits to work for Royal,,, that is a problem,,, so they make false story and they are hiding behind ….Crew members from every country sue the company if they got injured, From Brasil, Agentila, USA, China and nobody got banned for that …….That is a false news, a thousand peoples from Balkan are waiting for a job because they paid to the agency for that, but they will not go because agency lost license ,,that ia all truth ,,,,,and And these are the bills that confirm that the agency collect money for services and training."

  • pitts desler

    For crewmember, making a Comment is dangerous too.

  • yes mastah

    I am sorry for all the people that have families to support,
    but I am really glad they will stop exploiting people from the region.

    They will never allow workers union, fair wages, health insurance etc. simply because they can get away with that.

    That is ridiculous and no one should agree to work on those terms. And for those who think we live in a 3rd world jungle, please look at the prices of real estate in my country (Croatia)

    Carnival, thank you so much for your $1200 for 350 hours/month! And no, I will not humiliate myself anymore to get the “promotion”.

  • cesar

    Cruise lines absolutely find affordable to hire people from some specific countries like philipines indonesia etc. But they certainly prefer diversity in its crew, the agent in peru cancel recruiting agreement with a concession or cruise line that treats crew members unfairly, if u want to know the real problem fairly contact not only the newspaper but also their agent, they surely have the numbers to support any statement, on the other hand, base on my experience, crew members coming from serbia and similar usually trick their medicals and hide serious health problem, not to mention they usually have a lower physical condition to work many hours or physically work hard, that is not the way they grow up, some of them adjust very well, some of them not, i may say that some crew get onboard, get ill, learn about sue a company and work based on that, or trying to be fair cruise companies just cant find a balance to keep diversity with some nationalities that tend to be weak in their demanding business, in my case (peru) my agent decided to cancel contract with a concession and stop sending crew because they found out crew were having financial and physical abuse, but asian can do it well, what i mean is that not every one is or adapt same way and the one who take action are not only lawyers (i may say balcans can do that very well) instead their agents are the ones who should provide better information, pleas… this is my personal point of view based on my experiences and if comment please be kind and respectful.

  • Crew

    This just happened to me, 4 days ago I was getting ready to go back to the company Celebrity and literally 24 hours before the flight, I received a mail that my contract is canceled and that the company does not employ people in my region.
    I’ve got a contract two months ago and I prepared all necessary documents, which are required for boarding the ship. I could understand if I had been informed earlier, thus I declined other job offers because I already had a contract, now I have to start from the beginning.

  • Natasa

    I was working on the Crown Princess for six months,and that was very bad experience.

    They treat people like animals,even worse,no respect, no care for your health, your live. It is worse than slave holding society.

    They treated as like a waste.I never so that lack of humanity.

    First month I was shocked, inquired about lawyers, to save myself, I was about to talk the first policeman on the land,to tell how they treat us, and look for help.

    But I was thinking, i will survive, and i did 6 months.

    People in charge, they think the ship is life, and world, its like they dont now about land, its there empire,but they live in the fantasy ,and there is no one to wake them up. Generally ship life is not that bad, but people on the top,make it hard. Everybody are hard working people regardless from which country are encouraged.
    Serbian people are not bad people, we are just like every normal human, wish to be treated like people, not like garbage.

    Authorities in America, as well as Worldwide should investigate in detail the ships business, because people who works there, end up mentally, and physically threatened.

    Working on the ship could be incredibly beautiful experience.

    This is an appeal for someone to make it possible.


  • WA od RCI

    Interesting news. I dont think that KouOn lost their licence, you might need to check that with them or the company even better. I was on interview in Tivat through Kouzon last week and passed 🙂 wohoo 🙂 anyways, i was not required to pay anything, not me nor the others on the interview. My lady went on Msc with them, she paid only about 15 eur for app fee and that is it. Well, maybe it is different in every country. I am from MNE.
    Cheers 🙂

  • Brandon

    Hi everyone

    I am actually working as a HW on Royal Caribbean International and this one has nothing to do with most of what was written. Obviously, the admin was not checking facts but rumors which is dangerous.
    I am aware that this is true and YES, crew from Serbia and Bosnia we don’t like. Not anymore. Not that they don’t do their job, most of them do. But the other part is a very dangerous part. The one that are coming just to take some $ from the company.
    “Lets take everything from this f…ing company. Help me find others and just help me with injury reports”
    Of course, as good as it sounded, it is wrong. I’ve spend 3 contracts to become a HW and i like what I achieved.
    I am not aware exactly what is the company they are coming from but we are going to continue to take crew from that region. I have some Macedonians and a guy from Montenegro coming on Vision this month.

    If you need any info, feel free to ask me, I can share whatever I know.

  • Radomir Toskovic

    Dear Madam / Sir,
    This is not anything new, I have several times found that the Agency provide an answer; You can not apply for this job from your country (Serbia)!
    What is it diskrimination.It`s real racism, discrimination, etc, etc …..It is disquestingue.What a business spirit ?!

  • candido Santos

    I have been a pastry chef for 25 years and I’m very good at my job, I did work for a cruise company for 3 years and I have to say that I never worked in a discriminative environment like on cruises, everything in cruises in base on status and how many strips you have and where you from, how white or black you are etc. I broke my foot on ship in a accident I did ask compensation and today 4 years since I left the company I still have problems with my foot, should I have asked for compensation?? yes because my accident was due wet floor and it was in very risky( entrance door of the ship where all crew and guest get access.

    having problem’s with my foot and if this would come up on my medical they most likely wouldn’t give me a job, but they are responsible because in a ship safety is everything. so if there’s discrimination in the industry is not new. never before and never after seen so much of it like in the ship…

  • Divna

    Why then did he current employees on Celebrity get the same email just a few days before they were supposed to be embarked again? This does not concern only new hires. As I know Kouzon is the biggest and the most professional employment agency in Balkan and this is obviously the attack by the ones whose job is to get people to sue the company

  • Enna

    Dear Brandon (and others that think like him),

    F*** you! First, how can you work on the ship ans say things like not liking the other nation. If that company of yours knew how racist you are do you think they will rehire you?
    Secondly, I’m from Bosnia working for CCL. I don’t have any problems regarding where I’m from. But, as I can see here, other people really do. Let me say this. Cruise companies should be satisfied with people from Balkanas considering the fact that we (people from Balkans) are intelligent, mostly highly educated, (unfortunately) cheap work force who survived shit most of you can only dream about (imagine your worst nightmare) and developed this strange sence of humor most of the world doesn’t understand have attitude of a person who never gave up on their dreams, and if you think that we will be slaves to your middle age system… Well, you are mistaken.
    Ask any of the guests on any cruise company about their experience about crew members… Trust me, most of the names they will mention (positive) are from Balkans…

    I love my job, I enjoy my ships and any kind of discimination in the 21st century is pure idiotism.

    Have a magical day 😉

  • Miodrag Petrovic

    Hose keeper, Assistant of Bar waiter or waiter, assistant of cook, lot of some concessionaires position’s , agency was offerd
    only jobs for 1000$ = 800e per month and crew still need to pay 400 e for training ??
    Isn’t problem with People , it only a fact they seeking of some positions witch is like Sport stuff, some Animators…
    jobs for 2000$
    I have vary nice experience’s from ship life but isn’t place where you can work and earn money, cos only good jobs offer US, EU ( west side ). The news is going fast and hire we are

  • Former RCCL WA from Macedonia

    I applied for a job on RCCL through Kouzon in 2011th, and I got the job few months later. I did 3 contracts, all of them on Allure of the Seas.
    As it was the largest and the newest at the time, the spotlight was there.
    I’m pleased of the greater part of the management. Racism, nationalism, sexism and other -ism issues were positively and quietly resolved. I cannot really complain, as they were correct with the crew members.
    Which I cannot say about the medical personnel.
    Once, I went in the medical room with 38.5c body temperature, I literally couldn’t stand on my feet, let alone working, and the doctor, Manuela from Nicaragua said I was OK to work, no need for rest. Is it that how a doctor should treat a patient? A doctor is a doctor, regardless whether is at sea, or in a personal GP office, ethics should be first.
    During my last contract, I was complaining on kidney pain, I did urine tests and all were good, and that was it. No doctor, especially aforementioned “doctor” ever checked upon me, and that who even accused me of lying to get some time off, so I sucked it up and finished the contract.
    After I quit working for RCCL, I had the same “kidney” problem, and it was then when I realized (after many examination in my homeland) that I actually suffer from Sciatica. If I did the examination properly, with the help of my employer, and found out about Sciatica earlier I would totally sue RCCL’s ass, and a personal lawsuit for Manuela.

    I have a friend who worked the same in the same period of time, and she really hurt her back. It is not a joke, those trays and trolleys are effin’ heavy. It’s the same way how I got Sciatica. Not everyone can manage it, but it’s the way it is.
    She sued, and was compensated poorly, with the money she got, she couldn’t even pay for the medical expenses home. Now, she’s unable to find a job that requires moderate physical tasks. who’s gonna compensate that?

    Regarding the discrimination of Balkan people, it’s stupid and a nonsense. You have cheaters all over the place, from all different 65+ nationalities working on cruise ships.

    I speak three languages, I have great communication skills and I love working with people. I was a great WA and was aiming for a waiter position. Unfortunately, I never got it, partly because of Filipino crew members, partly because I was disappointed of waiting so long and then I quit and found about my medical condition.
    I totally agree with Emma, we Balkans are great with learning languages, we are presentable looking, we have high level of personal hygiene (which I cannot say about people from India, but I don’t want to generalize), we are hardworking people, we have common sense. And it’s a shame that the cruise companies won’t hire us anymore due to some individuals that tried to cheat and suck out $$$$ from the company, but hey, they register their ships in “tax-Oasis” countries to hide some $$$$$$$$$$ from the IRS and so on. But that’s just me.
    Sorry for the long post, I let myself go on this one.