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Mary Fallon Miller, a cruise line travel agent, calls a cruise director a “combination of manager, entertainer, cheerleader, and friend.” He or she plans all the activities and entertainment on the ship. There are all kinds of activities to plan: sports, movies, trips to shore, special dinners, and evening entertainment. The cruise director often hosts or introduces the shows each night. Maybe the most important job a cruise director has is making sure the passengers are happy.

Being a cruise director is a very demanding job. You often work from ten to fifteen hours per day for many days in a row. You need to get along well with all kinds of people and be polite even if a passenger is complaining. Even when you are not on duty, you have to be friendly to passengers.

Most people do not begin their cruise ship careers as a cruise director. It is a job that requires a lot of experience. Many people start as an assistant cruise director or have another job on the cruise director's staff. See the sidebar below for other jobs that are good places to get started on your cruise director career.

You're Not Alone

There are many people on the cruise director's staff. Working for a cruise director as a staff member is a great way to learn. Here are some jobs you could do to gain experience:

Assistant cruise director: helps the cruise director plan activities, makes up the daily schedule

Cruise staff: does a wide variety of jobs, helps out with activities and games

DJ: works with the cruise director to plan theme nights

Shore excursion manager: organizes trips off the ship

Social host/hostess: greets and socializes with guests

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCool Careers Without CollegeCRUISE DIRECTOR - Description, You're Not Alone, Education And Training, Outlook, For More Information - Salary