I've been working on cruise ships for three years and I can say that getting a job on a cruise ship is not that hard. First of all let me tell you more on what is it to work on a cruise ship.
If you want to be able to get off the ship while you are in port you have to consider one of the following positions:
- casino dealer/slot attendant/casino cashier (casino is not working until the ship sails and is 3 miles within the sea, so you'll be able to go on shore and see everything)
- duty free sales personnel (same as the casino, although the money is not as good)
- photographer (nice job, but most of the time you have to work while in port and will not have enough time)
- entertainment staff (one of the good positions, lots of fun, but hard to get as you'll need to be a good dances or singer)
- shore excursions (probably the best for you, as you will be in charge with organizing the excursions on the best sight-seeings and travel locations, thus you will go for free, but keep in mind that you will be responsible for all the passengers in you group and you will not have the freedom to do whatever you want)
- Internet manager (you mentioned that you are IT qualified, so it will be easy for you to get the job. It is a good position, as it is a manager position. You get your own cabin and enough free time to go on shore, but will not be able to go for long on every port, as usually you are the only person in your department).
- other positions (here are some positions as Fitness instructor, child care jobs, beauty and SPA jobs, Audio-Visual Operator, golf instructor, sommelier, auctioneer, etc.)
All of the positions mentioned are STAFF positions. Remember that this is what you want to be working on the cruise ships. Apart from the CREW positions, STAFF positions have more free time, better cabins, some privileges, they are allowed to go everywhere on the ship, while off duty and so on. CREW positions are most of the positions in the restaurants, cabin stewards, food and beverage department, etc. They work hard, make less money (with some exceptions) and don't get go on shore most of the time.
Keep in mind that working on cruise ships is not easy, as usually you work 10-12 hours a day with 2-3 days off per month. You share a small cabin with another person you never met before and the money is not that good. On the other side you don't pay for accommodation, food, utility bills and taxes. Also most of the ships are cruising in the Caribbean, some are going to Alaska and Hawaii and the rest are in Europe (Baltic and Mediterranean) and Asia. So if you get a ship in say Caribbean you'll most probably stay there for the rest of the contract (usually 6 months) and will be seeing 10 or 15 same ports (except if you get lucky and they send you to Europe).
Now getting a job is different for each position and each company you are applying for. It depends also which country you live in, but all of the information you need is on the cruise companies web sites. I suggest you start with the biggest: Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Celebrity, Costa, MSC. For some of the positions like the ones in the SPA and duty free shops you will have to apply in a different site as those are usually concessionaires owned. Also bear in mind that you should not pay any fees for getting a job except for medical exams, visa and most probably your first ticket to the ship.
I hope that helps you, but if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.