Work on a Cruise Ship: Travel the World and Get Paid

– Work on a Cruise Ship –

Has it been your dream to work on a cruise ship and you’re out of an idea of how to go about it? You don’t need to worry anymore because, in this article, we’ve listed all the information you need to know about working on a cruise ship.

Work on a Cruise Ship

Work on a Cruise Ship

Cruise line businesses are continually striving to create improved ships. This means that the number of options for people who want to work at sea is growing.

You can find these opportunities in a variety of settings, including lodging, bartending, and fitness, as well as entertainment, daycare, and retail.

Why Work on a Cruise Ship?

The most obvious benefit of working on a cruise ship is the opportunity to travel the world.

As an on-board member of staff, you’ll see far-flung destinations such as the Caribbean. Also, like South America, the Mediterranean, Europe, and Asia.

Costs such as accommodation and food are taken care of. As you’re usually on board ship for at least six months of the year, it’s easier to save money without rent or other living costs to pay for.

And whatever you earn, you keep a disposable income.

Another advantage is the connections you make when working onboard. You’ll meet a variety of people from all backgrounds. You can forge new friendships and make international contacts that will come in useful during your career.

What Jobs are on Offer?

‣ Accommodation Staff: Laundry workers, cleaners, and stewards are among the positions available. These are for students and graduates interested in the hospitality industry.

‣ Bar, restaurant, and kitchen staff: The former is best for people who have worked in a bar before, especially if it entails preparing cocktails. Cruise companies also demand experienced wait personnel and expert chefs.

‣ Casino Staff: Working in the ship’s casino could be a terrific option if you’re an experienced croupier.

‣ Deck and engine room: These are in charge of the upkeep and, as a result, passenger safety. These occupations may benefit from language skills. Engineers with a degree or experience in the field will be well-suited for these positions.

‣ Entertainment Staff: These professions are suitable for graduates who can dance, sing, host, or are qualified swimming instructors. This is one of the most competitive pathways.

More Job Offer

As a holiday salesperson, tourist officer, or tour manager, they may entrust you with planning and guiding excursions.

‣ Beauty and fitness staff: Hairdressing, manicures, pedicures, massage, and personal training graduates with experience and qualifications are encouraged to apply.

‣ IT Staff: All shipboard information technology personnel oversaw and supported it on board. Those with a degree or experience in information technology are well-suited for these positions.

‣ Managers: Both on land and at sea, opportunities with cruise companies are available. These positions are appropriate for persons with business, management, leisure, travel, or tourism management experience or qualifications.

Learn how to respond to typical management interview questions.

‣ Medical Staff: Medical personnel is required since cruise lines handle the health and safety of all guests. On-board doctors, nurses, and paramedics are among the positions available.

‣ Nannies and children’s entertainment: In order to babysit in the evenings or give daytime amusement, qualified nannies and persons with experience leading kids’ groups are in high demand. If you’ve studied childcare, these positions may be suitable for you.

Which Cruise Companies Can I Work for?

Cruise ship jobs are available with a variety of cruise companies, including:

‣ Avalon Waterways

‣ Carnival Cruises

‣ Celebrity Cruises

‣ Costa Cruises

‣ Cruise and Maritime Cruises

‣ Crystal Cruises

‣ Cunard

‣ Disney Cruises

‣ Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

‣ Holland America Line

‣ Marella Cruises (formally Thomson Cruises)

‣ MSC Cruises

‣ Oceania Cruises

‣P&O Cruises

‣ Princess Cruises

‣ Royal Caribbean

‣ Saga Cruises

‣ Seabourn

‣ Silversea Cruises

‣ Titan River Cruises.

Requirements to Work on a Cruise Ship

While exact employment requirements vary depending on the profession, there are several basic standards that every crew must meet in order to work onboard:

‣ Be 21 years of age or older

‣ Be able to pass a criminal background check

‣ Hold a valid passport

‣ Have a US C1/D visa (if you are not a Canadian or US citizen/resident)

‣ Have a Princess-specific pre-employment medical exam certificate

‣ Meet the English fluency requirements relevant to your position

What Qualifications do I Need?

Because cruise ship jobs are so competitive, whatever relevant qualifications or work experience you can include on your CV will help you stand out to potential employers.

The type and amount of required qualifications vary depending on the position and the cruise line to which you are applying. The prerequisites for entry differ depending on the cruise line, so do your homework before applying.

Employers prefer degrees and professional credentials because they reflect a high level of expertise in an industry where exceptional customer service is critical.

To work in IT, administration, or medicine, you’ll almost certainly require at least a bachelor’s degree.

Qualification for the Chef, Beauty Therapist, Accommodation, Restaurant, and Bar Staff

If you want to work as a chef, beauty therapist, personal trainer, or nanny, you should have professional qualifications.

Staff in hotels, bars, and restaurants, as well as entertainers, are often required to have prior experience in a similar position.

It is possible to gain a job aboard a cruise ship with no qualifications or experience, but you must work your way up from the bottom.

It is possible to gain a job aboard a cruise ship with no qualifications or experience, but you must work your way up from the bottom.

Cruise Ship Jobs: Onboard Hierarchy

Officer Positions

Deck Officers, Technical Officers, and Hotel Managers are in this category. Hotel Directors, Cruise Directors, Human Resources Managers, and others are examples of hotel managers and related officers.

 In addition, several entry-level posts onboard promote officer status. Pursers (Hotel Front Desk), Cruise Activities Staff, and Entertainers are examples of these positions.

Staff Category 

Non-supervisory/non-managerial staff in the following divisions are in this category. Retail/Gift Shop, Photo/Video, Spa/Salon, Casino, Youth Activities Staff, Production Staff, Entertainment Staff, and occasionally Cruise Activities Staff.

Crew Category

Crews from the ship’s biggest departments frequently fall into this category. All Housekeeping personnel, food, and Beverage personnel, and Security Patrolmen, for example.

Cruise Ship Jobs Pay and Cost Of Living

One of the best aspects about working aboard a cruise ship is that the cruise operator pays for your hotel and board. As a result, your living expenses are almost non-existent.

Save for the cost of crew Internet and satellite phone cards ($10-$20 per 2-5 hours of time) and your crew bar tab. (Drinks in the crew bar range from $1 to $2 on average.)

Working on a cruise ship is one of the easiest ways I’ve found to save practically all of your money. You just do not have the same bills as most people who live on land.

 You don’t have to pay for rent, food, cable, petrol, a car, or anything else. When they return to land, many crew members who make working at sea their ‘career’ pay off MASSIVE amounts of college debt in a short period.

The Costs–Docs & Uniform

Prior to beginning the cruise line application process, I urge that you have your passport completed, up to date, and ready.

1. C1D1 Visa

 If you are not from the United States or Canada, you will need to apply for a C1D1 Visa. If you work for a cruise line with a headquarters in the United States.

You will schedule an appointment at your local US Consulate to get a C1D1 Visa once you have received an ‘Offer Of Hire Letter’ from your cruise line. The cost depends on your country of origin.

2. Pre-employment Medical Examination

 Again, you will not do this until they have offered you a position with a cruise company.

Because each line has its own set of medical needs, pricing and processing will change. Medical certificates from cruise lines are usually good for two years.

The medical check ensures that you will have FREE medical coverage while working onboard. When you’re on leave, it’s a good idea to maintain your personal medical coverage active for your own usage.

When you are on vacation between contracts, the employer will not cover your medical expenses.

3. Criminal Background Check for Pre-Employment

 This is something you will not undertake until you have received an official job offer from a cruise company.

Because each line has its own set of criminal check requirements, pricing and processes will change. Most companies issue criminal checks that are valid for one year.

4. Uniform

 Your cruise line administrator will tell you of any uniform requirements after they have offered you work.

Except for uniform shoes, the line will usually give you your uniform. It will be your responsibility to purchase uniform shoes, as well as matching socks, nylons, and other items.

How to Get Promoted on a Cruise Ship

How to get promoted on a cruise ship

One of the best aspects of working aboard a cruise ship is that advancement is not determined by seniority.

Mid-term and end-of-contract evaluations are used to make advancements. Taking part in Career Path Transfer Programs, professional development courses, and registered work shadowing can all help crew members advance in their careers?

Most new-hire personnel will begin at the crew or staff level before progressing to the supervisory/managerial or officer level.

Good news: based on your work success, promotions can happen soon! It may also occur because of the ever-increasing number of new ships introduced to cruise ship fleets each year.


Cruise Ship Jobs: Work Hours At Sea

You will work 7-10 hours a day with 1-2 half days off, or one full day off per week, in port. If you had a full day off on the ship, you would be scheduled to work that night when the ship set sail. Hence, it still was a 7-day workweek.

On some cruises, you will work with the 3-7-year-olds, other weeks the 8-12’s and finally sometimes the 13-17-year-olds.

There were also times when you will be assigned to supervise the pool areas or help the Cruise Staff with hosting activities for the adult passengers on board.

The Pros of Cruise Ship Work

1. New People, Cultures

The hotel crew, of which you will be a part, does not interact with the passengers on the ship. The hotel personnel and crew members have their own dining and amusement rooms on board.

These are the people you’ll be interacting with daily. Cruise ships are like floating international hotels, and the crew is often global, with only a few Europeans.

The crew of a ship is usually between 25 and 30 people. The hotel personnel will number between 800 and 1,000 people. That means you’ll get the chance to meet new individuals as well as learn about other cultures.

2. Cheap Adventure

You travel and get paid. Sometimes to tourist destinations to which everyone travels, sometimes to places off the beaten path.

Your living expenses are minimal. You won’t spend money on utilities. The ship has generators that provide virtually unlimited power. The cost of your cabin and groceries is less than it is onshore.

Working at sea also provides a unique job experience. If you work in the food and beverage industry, cruise line experience can prove invaluable in future employment.

3. Experience Brilliant Weather, Sunsets, and Views 

If you are from a country with chilly winters, working aboard a cruise ship may be a good way to experience the sun and mild temperatures of the Caribbean, Hawaii, Australia, French Polynesia, or Central America.

Many memories await those who work aboard cruise ships, including sunsets at sea, traveling past Alaska’s glaciers, and transiting the Panama Canal.

4. Fun and Friendships 

You will encounter a diverse group of people from all around the world, and these foreign colleagues will become lifelong friends.

Consider how much time you spend with the same folks at work and at home. Many deep relationships are created, and many unforgettable experiences. This includes many love connections that develop because of naval living.

5. Long Vacation 

Cruise ship crews enjoy long vacations despite not being paid. Depending on your employment, your work schedule or rotation will vary. But you should plan on taking at least a two-month vacation at the end of your contract.

While many crews return home to see their families and friends, others choose to travel frequently with companions they met onboard.

6. Accumulate Frequent Flier Airmiles 

Although the firm that you work for pays for your flights to and from the ship, crew members have the option to earn airmiles. They can exchange Airmiles from some airlines for gift cards.

7. Discounts and Free Stuff 

They give crew members the opportunity to go on shore excursions for free as “tour escorts.” Although they do not force you to pay, you must remain with an allocated group from the cruise.

Crew members can also take advantage of reduced crew-only shore excursions. Many local companies in port provide discounts to crews on food, shopping, and shuttles to town or the beach.

8. No Commute to Work

Forget about being stuck in traffic, paying for gas and parking, and having to get up early to get to work. Working on a cruise liner entails getting dressed and traveling the elevator to your destination.

 Consider the fact that you won’t need to drive home after a few beers at the crew bar.

9. Strict Code of Conduct 

Although some may consider a rigid code of conduct to be a disadvantage of working on cruise ships, it may also be one benefit.

Inappropriate behavior won’t be allowed, and only the most dedicated and hardworking crew members will survive aboard cruise ships.

10. Resume Boost 

On a resume, cruise ship employment appears fantastic. Not only will prospective employers be interested in cruise ship jobs and want to learn more about what it’s like onboard.  

But you’ll find that the skills you get onboard are transferable to land-based professions.

“Hardworking,” “experience working with an international workforce,” and “excellent customer service abilities” will all be highlighted on your resume.

Cons of Working on Cruise Ships

1. Long Hours and no Days off

Crew members are often required to work an 11-hour day for three to nine months daily.

Although crew members rarely have full days off, they frequently use their free time to watch movies. Also to hang out with friends, sunbathe on deck, or go ashore.

2. On-Call 24/7

They assigned every member of the crew an emergency task, which they must complete in the event of an emergency.

The crew must report to their “crew alert station” in the event of a fire or other issue onboard.

Day or night, this may happen. There are also necessary crew drills and continuing training that may take place during your free time.

3. Lack of Privacy 

Most will expect crew members to share a small cabin and bathroom with another crew member, except for some cruise ship jobs.

Your cabin mate may or may not be a coworker, and they may or may not be a person of a different nationality than you.

4. Possibility of Seasickness 

The cruise ship may face terrible weather and powerful waves at any point during your contract, making you seasick. Some members of the team are more prone to it, while others have learned to manage it.

5. They do not Onboard Cover Some Beverage Expenses 

Although the crewmember receives free meals onboard, refreshments such as canned soft drinks, bottled water, and alcohol are not. Water, fountain drinks, and soda are free, and alcoholic beverages are cheap at the crew bar.

6. No Choice of Where to Travel 

Officers and crew (including the Captain) have no say in the route or cruise ship they will work on during their contract period. Managers in the cruise line’s corporate headquarters make these decisions.

7. Expensive Cell Phone Charges 

Cell phone companies charge their customers international roaming prices while a ship is at sea. Crew members leave their phones in airplane mode to avoid using data or paying roaming costs.

In addition, many crew members get SIM cards for the countries they would visit the most frequently and then exchange them for the cheapest phone prices. Most ships make WhatsApp use free.

8. Restrictions to go Ashore

Prior to COVID-19, staff had to wait until most passengers had disembarked before being allowed to walk ashore.

Currently, most ports do not allow crew members to leave the ship while it is docked (the cruise companies’ private islands appear to be the major exception).

It’s unknown when these restrictions will be lifted and crew members may disembark at the port.

9. Restrictions for Crew

Crew members may not be in guest areas when they are not on duty unless they have officer rank.

As a result, not every member of the staff may use the guest fitness facility. Also, eat in the guest facilities, or sunbathe in the passenger areas.

 The crew has its own restaurant (crew mess) and recreational facilities (some ships have a crew pool).

10. Guests can be Rude and Demanding 

Some cruise ship passengers will always be nasty and demanding, as with any job in customer service. They expect crew members to deliver outstanding service with a smile at all times.

Although, in some situations, they will ask visitors to exit from a ship because of poor behavior.

How do I Get a Cruise Ship Job?

How do I get a cruise ship job?

To begin with, you must be 21 years old or older. You’ll also need a valid passport, a clean criminal background, and English language skills besides the required qualifications.

Most large cruise companies hire through recruiting agencies. So research and understand the agency’s application procedures before applying.

They made most applications using a CV and cover letter, or by filling out a form. You must personalize your application to the unique role, just as you would for any other job.

As there may be hundreds of people applying for each post, attempt to stand out and be sure to include any relevant expertise.

In most cases, you’ll be expected to submit a photograph with your application for opportunities in the entertainment industry.


1. What is it Like to Work on a Cruise Ship?

The life of a cruise ship staff member can demand. Long hours, no days off for months, a slew of rules, obnoxious passengers, cramped rooms, and little to no privacy.

Working aboard ships allows you to visit places that most people only dream about.  Also, developing incredible connections with fellow seafarers from all over the world.

2. What is it Like to Work as an IT Guy on a Cruise Ship?

IT has an office where all the servers and such are located. Most of your time is spent there or servicing POS systems in the guest areas. You are also responsible for any tech support the crew needs regarding their computer systems/intranet. 

3. Do Cruise Ship Employees get Days Off?

Crew members on ships are required to take a minimum of six weeks off. While this period is unpaid, it does give you enough time to travel for longer than a week.

4. How Much Money can You Make Working on a Cruise Ship?

The average annual compensation for a Cruise Ship Worker in the United States is $48,404 per year as of March 22, 2022. Just in case you need a quick pay calculation, $23.27 per hour comes out to be about right.

This works out to $931 each week or $4,034 per month.

How do I Get a Job as an Officer on a Cruise Ship?

A diploma from a marine training institution or facility that has been accredited is one important requirement. Minimum of 6 months’ experience onboard ships in a similar or subordinate capacity.

As well as current knowledge of all navigational electronics and computerized equipment.

Working on a cruise ship can be tough and stressful, but it can also be one of the most gratifying jobs you will ever have. Many crew members joke that “this will be my last contract,”.

But once you have a taste of life on board, it’s difficult not to return contract after contract with possibilities and experiences, unlike any other work.

We hope you find this article useful. Please share with family and friends.

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