If you’re interested in working on a cruise ship, there are a variety of positions you can pursue—even with no experience. Whether you want to work in human resources or as part of the crew, you can find a position that suits your skills. Knowing the jobs available on a cruise ship can help you refine your job search and prepare you for employment at sea.
In this article, we explain the benefits of working on a cruise ship, list the different jobs you can get and provide you with the steps for working on a cruise ship without experience.
What are the benefits of working on a cruise ship?
Working on a cruise ship provides you with a unique lifestyle and form of employment. Here are the benefits of working on a cruise ship:
Chance to travel the world: When you work on a cruise ship, you get to visit a variety of different locations around the globe. Not only does this improve your cultural awareness, but it also means you get to travel while getting paid.
Minimal expenses: When you work on a cruise ship, you’re not faced with many cost-of-living expenses. For example, you don’t have to pay for things like rent, food, gas or cable, making it easier to save your earnings.
Sense of community: Working on a cruise ship means you get to work and live with a variety of people from different nationalities. Not only does this provide you with a great support system, but it also means you get to go out in port with coworkers who’ve become friends.
Crew discounts: Many ports offer crew members a variety of discounts on services like taxis, restaurants and resorts. While you may only visit some locations once, you may return to others when the ship returns, so you can take advantage of these deals.
How to get a job on a cruise ship with no experience
To get a job on a cruise ship, it’s important to prepare, so you have a more efficient job search and application process. Even if you don’t have any experience, you can still pursue this type of employment. Use these steps to get a job on a cruise ship with no experience:
1. Research positions
If you’re interested in working on a cruise ship, research the various jobs you can pursue. Consider visiting online job boards or cruise line websites. If you know anyone who’s worked on a cruise ship, consider asking them about their experience and the jobs you can expect to find.
You can typically find cleaning or kitchen jobs with little to no experience. Though these jobs may not provide you with the highest salaries onboard, they can help you advance to more lucrative and exciting positions. Research each position fully to determine whether it’s one you really want to pursue.
2. Choose a cruise line
Once you know the type of job you’re interested in, consider various companies or cruise lines. Research each of these cruise lines to better understand their culture and to know more about their job openings. Researching various cruise lines can also help you determine whether the company you’re interested in is legitimate.
3. Obtain the necessary requirements
Cruise ships often have a variety of different requirements for you to meet, both general and role-specific. Make sure to meet these before you apply for a position. Here are some of the standard requirements you can expect, regardless of the position:
At least 18 or 21 years of age
Visa or work permit
Passing score on medical examination
Keep in mind that each cruise ship has its own set of requirements, so it’s helpful to research positions within specific cruise ship companies to discover any additional qualifications you might gain.
4. Apply for a cruise ship job
While some cruise lines require you to apply with their head office, others use an agency or hiring partner. Consider the cruise line you want to work for and review the careers section of their website. Once you find a job you’re interested in, follow the instructions to submit your application online. Typically, you’re required to submit a cover letter and resume.
5 entry-level jobs on a cruise ship
Cruise ships employ a variety of individuals, typically in three categories: officer, staff and crew. You can find a variety of jobs in each of these categories, ranging from entry- to senior-level roles. Here are some different entry-level jobs you can get on a cruise ship:
1. Cabin steward
National average salary: $34,883 per year
Primary duties: Cabin stewards clean a passenger’s stateroom. Also known as cabin attendants, they make the bed, clean the bathroom, vacuum floors and restock toiletries and the minibar. Cabin stewards also help guests to their rooms and take room-service orders.
National average salary: $35,233 per year
Primary duties: Deckhands perform general cleaning, tidying and various maintenance tasks in a cruise ship’s galley areas. They may sweep or scrub floors, remove trash and carry supplies to and from storage and work areas. Throughout all of their tasks, they abide by safety, sanitation and health procedures. Deckhands also operate the equipment on a vessel’s deck and help with docking. They stand lookout and load equipment and supplies as needed.
National average salary: $47,018 per year
Primary duties: Bartenders serve beverages and take orders for food from cruise ship patrons. They ensure bars are well-stocked with supplies, maintain the bar’s cleanliness, properly wash and sanitize glasses, utensils and equipment and clean and mop floors. Bartenders also ensure the bar has a steady supply of glassware and relocate trash to its designated container.
4. Activity coordinator
National average salary: $47,822 per year
Primary duties: Activity coordinators are individuals who plan events on a cruise ship. These individuals may focus their planning on a specific category of activity, such as couples events or youth activities. Activity coordinators may also help cruise patrons plan their days when the cruise ship makes port.
National average salary: $65,060 per year
Primary duties: Bell staff perform a variety of passenger-care-related duties. They help passengers carry their baggage and show them to their cabins. Bell staff may also demonstrate how to use certain amenities and help passengers carry their bags when disembarking. They may also help with room service duties and clean the ship’s reception area.