Carnival Cruise Line has begun offering a unique and immersive opportunity for college students – the Internship at Sea program. The program first set sail in 2016 but was paused when the industry-wide shutdown began in 2020.
Internships are now available once more to give students real-life experience in an amazing environment to build their resumes and careers.
Internship at Sea Returns
Carnival’s Internship at Sea is a paid program through the cruise line’s entertainment department and runs for 12 weeks through the summer months. The 2023 program is involving 24 students from 24 different US universities.
“We’re elated to bring back this unique entertainment internship program that’s an incredible learning experience for both college students and our shipboard team members,” said Chris Nelson, vice president of entertainment.
“It’s important for us to create these special opportunities to inspire the next generation and invest in the fun and memorable cruise vacations of the future,” Nelson added.
The interns work in a variety of onboard capacities, including serving as Youth Staff members to develop and supervise Circle C and Camp Ocean programs; assist the Fun Squad with trivia contests, dance lessons, karaoke, and games; work with Sports Staff members to organize team competitions and tournaments; and even work with Technicians on lighting, sound systems, and more.
During their time in the program, interns not only receive hands-on experience in their fields, but also develop new skills with teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and leadership. All students are mentored by shipboard team members as well.
A total of 65 students have participated in the program from 2016 through 2019, serving aboard 20 ships in the Carnival fleet. After graduating, many of those students have used this valuable opportunity to start careers in the cruise industry, both onboard ships as well as in shoreside positions.
In 2019, Carnival’s Internship at Sea program was recognized by WayUp, a US-based job site for college students, as one of the top 100 internship programs in the country.
“Our innovative entertainment internship program has been an amazing experience both for the students and our employees. To be recognized by an esteemed organization such as WayUp is a wonderful validation of these efforts,” said Nelson.
Qualifying for the Program
Any university student age 21 years or older who is at least a second-semester junior or senior in their program can apply for the Internship at Sea. Students must have a 3.0 or higher cumulative grade point average (GPA), and either already have or be able to obtain a valid US passport.
If accepted, students must commit to the full dates of the internship program – no late starts or early releases are possible. Participants should be physically capable of fulfilling all onboard duties, including standing for long periods of time and working 8-10 hours a day, including occasional late night shifts.
All interns will also participate in all shipboard safety procedures, including trainings and drills, and will be expected to conduct themselves appropriately at all times.
Students interested in applying to the program should visit Carnival Entertainment’s internship website.
Who Can Benefit From an Internship at Sea
Carnival Cruise Line’s entertainment internships aren’t just for students in the hospitality, entertainment, or travel fields, and in fact, can be a valuable experience for all sorts of majors.
Education or child care majors, for example, could gain valuable insights from working with cruise ship youth programs, while psychology majors could benefit from the teamwork and group dynamic aspects of oceangoing internships.
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International relations, public relations, or foreign language students can get unique perspectives while working with cruise ship team members from around the globe, and organizational behavior or sociology students could also see their studies in real-life applications onboard.
If the program continues to be successful, it is possible it may one day be expanded to include other fields of study and aspects of cruise ship operations, such as culinary programs, environmental science, engineering, architecture, meteorology, medicine, and much more.