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How Much Do Cruise Ship Workers Make? (23 Jobs and Salaries) -AppIy N0W

Working on a cruise ship provides an opportunity to travel the world, meet diverse populations and gain a unique working experience. Cruise ships employ many types of employees to staff their operations, including deck crews, engineers, chefs and medical personnel. If you want to work on a cruise ship, learning about the duties and average salaries of different positions can help you plan your career path.

In this article, we discuss how much cruise ship workers make, including the average salaries for 23 cruise ship jobs.

How much do cruise ship workers make?

Due to the wide variety of jobs available on a cruise ship, there’s no specific salary a cruise ship worker can expect to make. For example, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for all captains, mates and pilots of water vessels is $104,190 per year, but the salary for specific roles within that category can vary. Your salary as a cruise ship employee may depend on several factors, including:

  • Tips and gratuities: Many service workers onboard cruise ships earn tips and gratuities in addition to their salaries.

  • Type of position: Those in leadership roles, such as cruise director and chief engineer, usually earn more than entry-level positions.

  • Experience: Cruise ship employees with more experience often make more and may be eligible for promotions to increase their earning potential.

  • Skills: Highly skilled technical positions, like electrical engineers, often earn a higher salary than employees in less skilled roles.

  • Ship: Larger ships that transport more passengers require employees to handle additional responsibilities and typically provide higher wages than smaller ships.

  • Cruise liner: Each cruise liner has a different set of standard wages for employees.

Cruise ship workers may receive additional benefits, including room and board, medical care and meals. This may reduce living expenses while you’re working on board a scheduled cruise.

Note that figures from Glassdoor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) help supplement data from Indeed.

Types of cruise ship workers

Cruise ship workers include all staff members aboard a cruise ship. Depending on the cruise line and type of ship, cruises may employ hundreds of people in different departments, such as:

  • Deck: The deck staff ensures the overall safety of cruise ships and their passengers.

  • Engine: The engine department is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the ship’s propulsion, mechanical and technical systems.

  • Hotel: These staff members are responsible for guest accommodations, including entertainment, recreation and meal and beverage services.

  • Medical: This staff provides health care to passengers and crew members and responds to medical emergencies on a cruise ship.

  • Wellness: These team members include those who provide wellness services to guests, such as salon or massage services.

Cruise ship worker salaries by position

Here’s a list of 23 cruise ship jobs and their national average annual salaries. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, visit

1. Food service worker

National average salary: $34,624 per year

Primary duties: Food service workers are responsible for food and beverage preparation, storage and service. They may help with other duties in the kitchen, including inventory management and food disposal.

2. Deckhand

National average salary: $35,876 per year

Primary duties: Deckhands assist with preparing and maintaining a ship, operating equipment and repairing machinery. Their job may involve intense manual labor, such as loading and unloading cargo.

3. Cleaning manager

National average salary: $36,916 per year

Primary duties: A cleaning manager oversees a cleaning staff to ensure the team meets cleanliness and quality standards. They may create work schedules, perform quality checks and assist with cleaning services, such as preparing guest rooms and cleaning public spaces.

4. Entertainer

National average salary: $39,320 per year

Primary duties: Entertainers perform for guests on cruise ships. They rehearse, perform and interact with guests. Types of entertainers on cruise ships may include musicians, singers, magicians and comedians.

5. Paramedic

National average salary: $45,759 per year

Primary duties: Paramedics provide medical care and treatment to guests, crew and staff on cruise ships. They’re usually responsible for responding to medical emergencies and may perform lifesaving care, such as CPR.

6. Boatswain’s mate

National average salary: $47,321 per year

Primary duties: Boatswain’s mates train and supervise crew members to inspect, repair and maintain deck equipment and machinery. They may also complete these tasks themselves. They maintain a thorough knowledgeable of all non-engine ship maintenance operations, including cargo, lines and anchors.

7. Receptionist

National average salary: $47,633 per year

Primary duties: Receptionists greet passengers, perform check-in and check-out procedures and collect payments. They may also serve as an informational resource and resolve issues for guests throughout the duration of a cruise.

8. HVAC technician

National average salary: $53,117 per year

Primary duties: A heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technician repairs and maintains the ship’s climate control systems. They determine the cause of heating or cooling issues and identify solutions to resolve problems. They may also work to find ways to increase the efficiency of HVAC systems.

9. Fitter

National average salary: $54,105 per year

Primary duties: Fitters work to repair and maintain the metal components of cruise ships and related machinery. They’re skilled workers who can grind, shape and mill metal to make the necessary parts for ships.

10. Plumber

National average salary: $56,699 per year

Primary duties: A plumber repairs and maintains the plumbing system on a cruise ship. They may install pipes and equipment, perform routine inspections and respond to plumbing problems or emergencies.

11. Security officer

National average salary: $58,676 per year

Primary duties: Security officers oversee ship safety and respond to security issues. They may patrol the ship, manage crowds and assist with ship emergencies. Once the boat docks, they may coordinate with other law enforcement agencies.

12. Hotel manager

National average salary: $60,371 per year

Primary duties: Hotel managers supervise hotel department employees and implement policies to ensure positive guest experiences. They may create staff schedules and coordinate hotel services, such as room service.

13. Entertainment manager

National average salary: $61,801 per year

Primary duties: Entertainment managers recruit and schedule performances for cruise ships. They also oversee the lighting, production and sound crews.

14. Food service director

National average salary: $64,145 per year

Primary duties: Food service directors, also known as food service managers, oversee food and beverage ordering, storage, preparation and service. They manage waitstaff and bartenders, create staff schedules and address any guest concerns.

15. Captain

National average salary: $71,476 per year

Primary duties: The captain is the highest-ranking officer on the ship. They control the ship and make executive decisions concerning navigation and operations. They also lead a team of other crew members.

16. Chief engineer

National average salary: $73,525 per year

Primary duties: Chief engineers are responsible for maintaining the ship’s systems, including engines, hydraulics and controls. They maintain inventory and work closely with the ship’s captain.

17. Executive chef

National average salary: $75,724 per year

Primary duties: Executive chefs plan and prepare meals for cruise ship passengers. They order supplies, take inventory and manage kitchen staff.

18. Recreation coordinator

National average salary: $79,616 per year

Primary duties: Recreation coordinators plan, direct and oversee the ship’s recreational activities, such as exercise classes, dance instruction and children’s activity programs. They may also plan special events, such as theme parties.

19. Director of operations

National average salary: $86,242 per year

Primary duties: A director of operations, also known as a cruise director, plans and oversees all activities and events onboard a cruise ship. They coordinate communication between departments, serve as the cruise’s representative and respond to passenger concerns.

20. Maintenance manager

National average salary: $86,839 per year

Primary duties: A maintenance manager oversees the maintenance, repair and cleaning of a cruise ship’s primary guest and staff areas. They also inspect and repair mechanical components in these areas, such as elevators.

21. Electrical engineer

National average salary: $94,162 per year

Primary duties: Electrical engineers oversee the maintenance of electrical systems on a cruise ship. They inspect, test and repair electrical equipment, wiring or motors to make sure systems operate smoothly.

22. Environmental health and safety officer

National average salary: $98,010 per year

Primary duties: Environmental health and safety officers create safety plans, implement safety protocols and analyze health and safety reports for cruise ships. They conduct safety audits and record their evaluations. They may also coordinate the handling and disposal of hazardous materials on a ship.

23. Nurse

National average salary: $103,989 per year

Primary duties: Nurses on cruise ships provide medical care and treatment to passengers, staff and crew members. They treat patients for illnesses, injuries and any medical emergencies, such as heart attacks or heatstroke.


Cruise Ship Workers
Cruise Ship Workers

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