How to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship – 10 Pro Tips

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Many people are fascinated with the idea of working on a cruise ship. After all, you get to travel the world, meet amazing people, and live at sea, all while earning money!

How to get a job on a cruise ship isn’t widely known. The process isn’t as simple as going on a job board and emailing your resume. You need to know certain things about getting a job on a cruise ship, especially if you have no experience. 

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to learn precisely how to get a job on a cruise ship. Keep reading to discover ten tips for securing your dream job on your favorite cruise line!

1. Be Sure It’s What You Want

While working on a cruise ship seems like fun and games, crew members work very hard to ensure the enjoyment and safety of guests and all passengers onboard. 

Cruise ship workers tend to work long hours. What’s more, some workers work seven days a week, with few days off, if any. The pay on a cruise ship varies greatly. It can range from a few hundred dollars a month for a cleaner to over $100,000 yearly salary for a director. 

If you have little to no experience, chances are that you won’t be clearing $100,000 your first year. However, many positions are flexible, with room to advance as you gain seniority onboard. 

Finally, you need to understand what to expect from living conditions on a cruise ship, from what the crew quarters look like to your food, laundry, and leisure options. 

2. Figure Out the Job You Want

What’s exciting about cruise ships is the large number of positions available onboard. That’s why an important consideration when figuring out how to get a job on a cruise ship is to figure out precisely what job you want.

When considering cruise ship jobs, many people only consider the positions that guests regularly interact with, such as wait staff and performers. However, there are more jobs on a cruise ship than you can imagine.

Crew Member on Cruise Ship
Crew Member on Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Pierre Jean Durieu / Shutterstock)

For example, did you know that every cruise ship has at least one doctor? There’s also a firefighter on board, although fires on cruises are extremely rare.

While the two examples above require extensive experience, there are a variety of other cruise jobs that require little to no experience and can get you working on a cruise ship much sooner. Some of these cruise ship jobs include:

  • Galley (kitchen) cleaner
  • Bell staff
  • Line cook

Other positions to consider, depending on your experience and interest, include:

  • Bartender
  • Youth Staff
  • Activity coordinator 
  • Lifeguard
  • Entertainer

3. Know the Basic Requirements

Once you know what you’d like to do on a cruise ship, you should look into the requirements to fill that position successfully.

However, there are a few basic requirements that you need to fulfill no matter what position you apply for before you can even consider working on a cruise ship. Here are some of those requirements:

Royal Caribbean Crew Members
Photo Credit: Benjamin Clapp / Shutterstock
  • You must be 18 or 21 years old to work on a cruise ship, depending on your country of residence
  • You must meet the language requirements and be fluent
  • Have a valid passport and proper visa/work permit
  • Pass a medical exam and criminal background check

Depending on the job and cruise company you apply to, there may be additional requirements that you must fulfill. 

4. Get the Proper Qualifications

If you’re interested in a particular cruise job but need additional qualifications, make sure to fulfill those qualifications before you apply. This could be as simple as improving your fluency in a specific language or receiving a diploma in a particular field. 

Crew Member Prepping Food
Photo Credit: Solarisys / Shutterstock)

Whether that be further education or work experience, fulfilling those requirements ensures that you’re prepared for the job.

5. Research Cruise Companies

No two cruise companies are the same, so the same position at two different cruise lines may differ significantly. 

When learning how to get a job on a cruise ship, it’s essential to research the cruise ships themselves to determine which one is the perfect fit for you. Some popular cruise lines you may want to consider include:

While conducting your research for each cruise line, make sure to take note of these factors:

  • Job descriptions
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Salary
  • Food
  • Any additional worker policies

6. Talk to Current Crew Members

You must understand how vital company culture is when choosing a new workplace. The same goes for cruise ships.

Another important point when choosing a cruise line to apply to is the staff culture. Every cruise ship has a different culture, and considering that you will be living on the ship, it’s crucial to ensure that that culture aligns with your values.

Cruise Ship Crew Members

The best way to verify a cruise ship’s company culture is by reaching out to current and past crew members and hearing about their experiences. 

You can look up crew members to learn about what it’s like to work for a specific cruise line and contact them by email or set up a phone call or video chat. This will give you the best insight into whether a cruise line is right for you.

7. Prepare Your Resume

You’ve researched, gathered your information, and know you’re qualified for the job. Now it’s time to prepare your application.

Start by updating your resume to cater to the specific job and cruise line you’re applying to. If you’re applying to more than one line, you’ll want to cater your documents to each company. 

You’ll also need a cover letter that explains why you want to work for that specific cruise line and why you’re the best person for the job. Make sure to prepare any additional documents that your cruise line may require. Have someone review your documents to proofread for errors before submitting them.

Read Also: How Much Does a Cruise Director Make?

8. Apply for an Open Position

Once your application is prepared, you can apply for your dream job! For some cruise lines, you can apply directly to their head office online. Others use an agency to recruit talent. Beware, however, as some fraudulent companies pretend to be cruise lines.

Make sure you understand the application instructions for the specific company you’re applying to and know the deadlines.

9. Prepare for the Interview

If all goes well with your application, the cruise line will contact you for an interview. You may be subject to a screening session before an official interview to verify that you meet all the job requirements.

Carnival Cruise Ship Crew
Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

Interviews are held in person or online, although online interviews have become more and more common. The key is to be prepared for the interview. Show up on time and as if you researched the cruise company and the job itself. Prepare for the most general interview question, as well as to ask any questions you may have yourself. 

Don’t forget to show enthusiasm and explain why you’re excited to work on that specific cruise line. 

10. Celebrate and Prepare to Embark!

By this point, celebrations are hopefully in order as you’ve landed your dream cruise ship job!

Now all that’s left is to pack your bags and prepare for the start of your contract date as a crew member. Be sure to fulfill any final requirements that your new employer may ask of you, such as up-to-date vaccination.

Conclusion: Getting a Job on a Cruise Ship Is No Vacation

If you’re ready to get paid to visit ports around the world, then what are you waiting for? Now that you know how to get a job on a cruise ship, nothing is stopping you from landing that dream position and traveling the world. There’s a position onboard a cruise ship for everyone, no matter your profession, experience level, or passion. If you want a further look into what working on a cruise ship is really like, check out this article.

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