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Cruise Ship Worker Job Description, Career as a Cruise Ship Worker, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: No specific academic qualifications required

Salary Median: $48,000 per year

Employment Outlook: Good

Cruise ships, also distinguished as floating hotels, are like cities with a number of employees in different roles. Some cruise ship workers are sailors. There are a number of workers performing duties in the hospitality department, as bellhops, housekeepers, front desk receptionists, and room stewards. Cruise ship workers might serve as activities directors. Since cruise ships usually have several bars and restaurants, there are positions for restaurant managers, chefs, servers, and bartenders.

Other service roles on cruise ships include hairstylists, aerobic instructors, florists, cosmetologists, and massage therapists. With appropriate certification, a cruise ship worker can become a fitness or aerobics instructor. Cruise ship workers having casino experience may become a manager, cashier, or dealer at onboard casinos. Many other categories, such as plumbers, doctors, accountants, administrative assistants, and electricians, are required too.

A good cruise ship worker must be fit and healthy, friendly, approachable, and adaptable. Someone working on a cruise must have the ability to work with colleagues and make decisions. It is also beneficial to know more than one language.

Education and Training Requirements

The majority of cruise ship jobs require outstanding customer service skills. Cruise ship workers with specialized education or experiences, strong service or hospitality backgrounds, and tour guide or other professional travel experiences are highly preferred for senior posts. Many cruise ship companies do not expect workers to have much previous experience, but they want to be guaranteed that they are recruiting and hiring friendly and courteous employees. Cruise ship companies often provide training programs to newly hired workers in order to teach them the necessary specialized skills.

Getting the Job

Those willing to start their career as cruise ship workers can find job listings in daily newspapers’ classified sections. Applicants can approach cruise shipping companies directly for jobs. Job Web sites and employment journals can also provide information regarding job openings on cruise ships.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Scope of advancement in this career is largely determined by the amount of experience a cruise ship worker has attained. Cruise ship workers can, over years, take on managerial roles. They can also advance by passing regular examinations. Those working in lower positions can apply for officer-level posts.

The cruise ship industry has been growing rapidly for the past seven years. According to the data published, all leading cruise lines have doubled their number of employees and fleets in the past four years. The emergence of new cruise ship organizations has increased the number of jobs worldwide. As a result, cruise companies are always looking for and hiring new personnel. Cruise lines, in comparison to other industries, have a much better employee turnover rate.

Working Conditions

The working conditions of cruise ship workers differ on the basis of the type of job they perform. They spend most of their time on ship and may have to face severe weather situations at times. They often work in stressful conditions and spend long hours in confined settings. Cruise ship workers generally work for 10 hours a day or 6 days a week.

While working conditions for cruise staff, officers, and those in casinos and shops are good, conditions of those in galleys, cleaning rooms, dining rooms, and below decks are comparatively different. Below-deck workers often do not enjoy the same benefits as their counterparts.

Where to Go for More Information

Cruise Lines International Association
910 SE 17th St., Suite 400
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Phone: 754-224-2200

Alaska Cruise Association
360 K St., Suite 300
Anchorage, AK 99501-2308
Phone: 907-743-4529

North West CruiseShip Association
100 – 1111 W. Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC V6E 2J3
Phone: 604-681-9515

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

Since there are a variety of job responsibilities on a vessel, salaries of cruise ship workers vary extensively. Differences in pay rates depend on demand for job, size of the organization, and type of work to be done. The average annual salary of a cruise ship worker in the United States is $48,000. The pay scale generally ranges between $1,400 and $4,000 per month. Highly experienced marine professionals can earn about $50,000 annually, whereas housekeeping staff members may earn significantly lesser amounts.

Apart from free travel, cruise ship workers enjoy other benefits, such as a free room and free meals. A cruise ship worker often needs to share a room with other workers. While on board, they may receive medical coverage. Some cruise lines provide discounted tour benefits for vacationing cruise ship workers and their family members.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHospitality and Recreation