9 Best Jobs on a Cruise Ship – Get Paid to Travel

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There are many options if you’re interested in working aboard a cruise ship. Each job has its own set of advantages and disadvantages to consider. We’ve compiled a list of the best jobs on a cruise ship to help you decide.

We considered 3 factors in order to make the list: the work involved, income, and job satisfaction. Some jobs, of course, will be better than others in some ways, but they are all worth considering. Continue reading to know more about the best jobs on a cruise ship and which one is suitable for you.

Departments on Cruise Ships

Before we go into the different cruise ship jobs, let’s look at the many departments on a cruise ship to help you narrow down your options. Employment can be found in the four main departments of a cruise ship.

1. Personal Care Staff Department

The well-being of cruise passengers is the top focus for employees working in the personal care staff department. Their jobs are similar to those found in cities, with the exception that they work on a ship.

Under this category includes fitness instructors, beauty therapists, manicurists, hairstylists, massage therapists, physicians, and nurses. If you are interested in becoming a cruise ship nurse, see our article on cruise ship nurse salary.

2. Activity & Shipboard Entertainment Department

This job category involves coordinating the daily events, activities, and shows onboard. Employees under this category ensure that all passengers partake and enjoy the offered recreational activities.

This category includes cruise directors, social hosts/hostesses, gentleman hosts, and entertainers.

3. Service & Hospitality Management Department

Positions in this department, also known as “hotel management roles” in the cruise industry, provide direct services to passengers. Housekeeping, providing meals and beverages, laundry, and other related assistance are examples of these services.

This department also includes cooks, cabin stewards, receptionists, and bartenders.

4. Deck & Engineering Department

Employees in this department mainly work behind the scenes in the cruise industry. They’re in charge of keeping the ship in good working order. These are the members of the crew who work alongside the captain.

Their area of expertise is maritime safety laws and regulations. The captain, engineer, chief officer, and electrician are all part of this department.

Keep in mind that there are lots of cruise ship job options. The ideal career for you usually depends on your background, interests, and personality.

Next, I’ll list the top 9 best jobs on a cruise ship and describe each one so you can decide which is ideal for you.

What Are the 9 Best Jobs on a Cruise Ship?

best jobs on a cruise ship

1. Cruise Ship Captain

The cruise’s overall leader is the cruise ship captain. Being the captain is a difficult job, especially when thousands of people’s lives are on the line. Being a captain, on the other hand, has numerous advantages. During special events, the captain is usually recognized and introduced to prominent people or guests aboard. Everyone views the captain in great regard as a symbol of respect and authority.

Because the captain is in charge of the ship’s navigation, cruise companies make sure that all of the basic needs, such as accommodations, food, and drinks, are met.

Every word that the captain utters can also be instant power on a cruise ship. If the captain needs a break or wants to attend one of the cruise ship’s main events, they can delegate their responsibilities to the Chief Officer. A captain is also well compensated, earning at least $10,000 every month.

However, as the saying goes, great power comes with great responsibility. Keep in mind that whenever something goes wrong on a cruise ship, the captain is the first to be questioned. But if you work diligently, there’s nothing to be concerned about. You’ll even enjoy the benefits of your job.

2. Entertainer

One of the cruise ship’s attractions is the entertaining shows. Many passengers choose which cruise ship to board based on the cruise’s shows and entertainment. Dancing, singing, acrobats, and other acts can be included in these performances.

This job could be ideal for you if you enjoy entertaining other people and have excellent interpersonal skills. If you have a background in music or live theater, this job is ideal for you.

People who work in the entertainment industry must put in a lot of practice time before performing. They are also being watched by hundreds, if not thousands, of people. A single blunder can derail the entire presentation.

However, the experience and friendships gained as a cruise ship performer exceed these disadvantages. Every moment the curtains close at the end of the show, the feeling of success and pride is priceless.

Following each performance, the squad is congratulated on a job well done. Even though it’s exhausting, you’ll undoubtedly reflect on these experiences once the cruise has ended.

3. Gentleman Host

For guys who enjoy dancing, being a gentleman host is one of the best jobs on a cruise ship. Gentlemen hosts interact with passengers directly. They frequently work late at night at social gatherings. Because most cruises have more female passengers than male passengers, gentlemen hosts were introduced.

This position necessitates a thorough understanding of all types of dances, particularly formal ones, such as the waltz, foxtrot, swing, waltz, and ballroom. It’s as simple as dancing with solitary female travelers who don’t have anyone to dance with.

Given that you work mainly at night, you have plenty of time during the day to do your thing. You can also join travelers in port destinations or unwind in your cabin before a night of dancing.

4. Shore Excursions Manager

For adventurous individuals, a job as a shore excursions manager is the greatest fit. You’ll get the opportunity to try out shore excursions packages that you’re offering. As a trial service, you’ll get to see them firsthand before the clients. In exchange, you must ensure that these tour packages are carried out in accordance with the sales package.

Because you must deliver these numerous products onboard before reaching port, you must persuade the clients that you are knowledgeable about what you are selling. Consider this: people pay hundreds of dollars for these tour packages, and you get to experience them for free. You’re getting paid while also participating in thrilling tour activities, which is one of the employment criteria.

Of course, you must make certain that you are offering something that will sell. When it comes to budget and value, you must choose shore excursion trips and events that the cruise guests will love and appreciate.

This is, in my opinion, one of the best jobs on a cruise ship. You’ll be able to have fun while earning money in the many cities you visit.

5. Social Hosts & Hostess

People with strong people skills will enjoy this career because they are constantly in the spotlight. You’ll interact with passengers on a regular basis and act as the ship’s spokesperson. Greeting guests as they board and disembark, acting as masters of ceremonies, conducting shore excursions, and providing port speeches are all part of the job description.

But I’ll tell you upfront that this is a difficult job. You must be available at all times when passengers require your assistance. Working long hours during the day or even at night is a requirement. You can, however, meet different people, even celebrities, on occasion. You might even be able to make friends with them.

You’ll have a great time reuniting with old friends on the same cruise line as well. Not only that, but you’ll be able to attend special events exclusive to few selected passengers.

But if you’re thinking twice about pursuing this job due to limited rest time, there’s good news! You’ll have a day off while in port because passengers will be going ashore. This is your opportunity to grab some rest and relaxation before the guests reboard the ship.

6. Youth Counselor

Are you good with children and can keep them amused with a variety of activities? If yes, then this is the career for you. This employment, which is similar to babysitting and childcare, needs you to accompany children aged 3 to 17. You’ll need to create games and programs to keep children occupied while their parents engage in more mature activities.

You may be required to clean up after the children or serve them food, comparable to a nanny or babysitter. Because children can only join cruises during their summer or winter vacations, this is an excellent opportunity for college students with childcare experience.

It will undoubtedly be your lucky day if the parents decide to accompany their children on shore excursions. Because there are no children to look after, you can relax or take a stroll around the cruise ship.

You can explore the trip packages with them for free if their parents give you permission to accompany them on onshore excursions. While onshore, you will have to look after the children, which can be even more work. However, it will be an adventure to explore different sites.

Crew members do not have access to all areas. If you’re traveling with passengers, though, this restriction does not apply to you. Because you’re with the kids, you have the opportunity to go try things out. If they go swimming, eating, dancing, or going to the movies, you might be able to join them as well.

7. Cruise Director

You’re one of the most visible crew members as a cruise director. The majority of the work is administrative, with some management and supervision of the rest of the cruise staff department.

Although this work comes with a lot of pressure, it also comes with a lot of satisfaction if done correctly. In order to coordinate people and events, you must have strong organizational skills. It entails being occupied all day long prior to, during, and following events. You must ensure that deadlines are met and that everything is in order prior to events.

Being a cruise director can be a nerve-wracking experience, but I’m confident that with the right people on your team, you’ll find it rewarding in the end. You will set the tone for the entire department as a leader. As you work with your team every single day, you’ll have the opportunity to form friendships.

People often ask about the crew director’s name after each grueling practice and successful show. As a representative of the entire department, you’ll be the one who’ll meet with interested, well-known individuals. If you want to advance in the entertainment industry, this is your time to create a strong portfolio.

8. Fitness Instructor 

A fitness instructor is next on our list of the best jobs on a cruise ship. Working as a fitness instructor on a cruise ship may be the answer if you want to travel to other destinations but can’t afford to pay for cruises.

You can see other destinations while helping, motivating, and mentoring people to stay fit, as most cruise companies locate gyms on decks with panoramic views.

The process of getting in shape should not be tedious. And it is also your responsibility to create various fitness regimens. To keep your clients coming back, you must be innovative and keep up with the current fitness trends.

More cruise ship guests want to maintain their fitness while on board. This is why a growing number of cruise companies are hiring a large number of fitness instructors. Unlike other cruise ship occupations, this cruise ship employment is open to persons between the ages of 18 and 40, or even into their golden years, as long as they remain active and healthy.

9. Bartender

What makes bartending on a cruise ship so enjoyable? You get to listen to your customers aside from making drinks. You’ll need social skills to talk with your customers while covering all parts of the cruise line’s beverage service.

This cruise ship job will teach you how to multitask and manage your time. To assist your clients, you may be required to work long hours on a regular basis. Nevertheless, you’ll meet hundreds of people from other cultures and countries. As you meet people from many walks of life, you will get a view of the world. As a result, this job might help you make many friends as you attempt to make their day worthwhile.

It also allows you to travel ashore and visit magnificent sights during your free time. Not only that, the cruise line will pay the daily expenses for your basic needs, allowing you to earn tips and save money.

Keep in mind that each job provides a unique experience for each individual. Use this list of the best cruise ship jobs to help you decide which position is perfect for you.