The Benefits of Working On Cruise Ships

By Michelle - December 30, 2009 

There are more than 300 cruise ships sailing the seas today and they employ thousands of professionals from around the world. These individuals love to travel and they love working with the public, but they also love the stability and perks that come with working on cruise ships. Cruise ship employees enjoy free travel to exciting destinations, a handsome salary, health insurance benefits, free accommodations, free meals, free laundry services, free airfare to and from the ship of employment, and discounts on services. They might also receive a discount on retail items.

Depending on the department, cruise ship employees may earn anywhere from $1,800 per month up to $4,500 per month or more. If you consider the “overhead’ when it comes to working on cruise ships, most cruise ship employees only end up spending a small percentage of their salaries each week. And yes, cruise ship employees receive payments every week via an account through the Bursar’s office onboard the ship. Some employees skip the weekly payout and allow their money to accumulate in their accounts. When employees go on leave, they can choose to withdraw the money from their account or leave it for when they return. And yes, cruise ship employees do receive paid vacation.

If the benefits of working on cruise ships sound good to you and you ever wanted to become a cruise ship employee, continue reading to find out what it takes.

Jobs on Cruise Ships

Jobs on cruise ships in the engineering department or jobs such as master chef will require an extensive amount of education and experience. Engineering departments typically hire individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher form an accredited maritime program. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy as well as a number of traditional universities offer accredited degree programs in this area. In addition, licensure and certification may be required. Chefs must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in culinary art, and positions such as restaurant manager should have an associate degree or higher in hospitality management.

While many positions on cruise ships require a degree, some do not. A few examples include retail salesperson, bartender, crewmember, and housekeeping. Aerobics instructors, gaming managers, massage therapists, and spa personnel are not required to have a bachelor’s degree or higher, but these positions do require training and certification. That said, fitness personnel typically have a degree in nutrition, physical fitness, or other related area and gaming managers usually hold an associate’s degree or higher in hospitality management or related field.

Jobs on cruise ships will fall under several categories: Activity/Entertainment Department, Deck & Engineering Department, Service & Hospitality Department, Personal Care Department and Office Positions.
Jobs on cruise ships in the Activity/Entertainment department are considered some of the most glamorous jobs aboard the ship. These positions deal with anything relating to passenger entertainment. This department includes: DJs, Production Managers, Photographers, Managers, Casino Staff, Host/Hostess and Cruise Consultant, to name a few. Those best suited for jobs in this department are typically enthusiastic and extroverted.

The Deck & Engineering Department is one of the most important departments on the vessel –without it the ship would never set sail. This department is responsible for maintaining and running the vessel. Please note that the positions in this department are not typically entry-level positions, especially on large ships. The department consists of deckhands, maintenance workers, engineers, and officers. These positions help to motor or sail the ship, attend to the physical maintenance needs of the ship, and keep it in accordance with fleet regulations and international maritime laws. Officers are in charge of passenger safety as well.

Staff members in the Service/Hospitality Department or Hotel Management Department have the responsibility of managing the bars & restaurants and passenger cabins, as well as shipboard retail concessions like gift shops. Just a few Service/Hospitality positions include: Hotel Manager, Cabin Stewards/Stewardesses, Accountant, Executive Chef, Wine Steward, Chief Purser, Purser Staff, Chief Purser, Bellman, Pastry Chef and the list goes on and on. Most service positions such as bartenders, waiters and cocktail servers can earn a good amount of extra money from tips.

No cruise would be complete without a department devoted to helping passengers pamper themselves. The Personal Care Department includes spa, fitness, beauty and medical services. It helps manage hair stylists, manicurists, massage therapists, fitness instructors, beauty therapists, spa attendants, nurses and physicians all dedicated to the well-being of passengers.

Most office positions are onshore — employees typically work in the main office performing administrative tasks, arranging cruises or performing general office tasks. Office positions generally fall under the following categories: Accounting, Administrative/Clerical, Air Operations, Marketing/PR and Reservations/Sales.

For more information about jobs on cruise ships visit Cruise Ship Jobs online. Here, you can download the 2010 cruise ship employment guide; you can read through cruise line profiles; you can find out which ships are hiring and for what positions — and you can even apply for a cruise ship job right online.

If you have a specific cruise line in mind, visit the cruise line website first. If the cruise line lists job openings, follow the application procedure to the letter. Applicants that do not follow directions are typically passed over in favor of those that do. If the cruise line does not list job openings on its site, send a polished cover letter and resume to the cruise lines Human Resources Department. The Human Resources Department is typically located at the cruise lines headquarters. This information is usually listed on the cruise line website. It is important to include the position you are interested in so that it can be directed to the appropriate department manager.

Read Next Article » How to Become a Deck Engine Mechanic on Cruise Ships
Previous Article « How to Become a Cruise Ship Director

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