Did you know that cruise employees receive some of the best perks in the travel industry? For starters, most cruise ship employees receive paid air travel to and from the ship. Next, cruise employees receive free accommodations. Depending on the department, position, and rank, you may receive a private cabin, a shared cabin with one other employee or you might have to share with 3-4 other employees. If you have to bunk with multiple co-workers, just think of it this way: if your housing is paid for, that’s more money you can keep in your pocket!
Here’s how the payment system works on cruise ships. Each employee has an account that’s handled by the ship’s bursar. You may withdraw from your account each pay period or you may allow the account to increase throughout your contract. At the end of your contract, you are free to cash out in full. Many cruise employees choose this route mainly because they do not have any expenses while during their stay on the ship. Yes, even meals are free. So, cruise ship employees receive free meals, free accommodations, and free travel to and from the ship. What else is there? Believe it or not, there’s even more!
Cruise ship employees receive health insurance, retirement benefits, and competitive salaries. Many positions are eligible for tips as well. Most restaurant, spa, salon, and housekeeping positions are eligible for tips. Other service positions such as bell boy and room service are also eligible for tips. It is not uncommon for these positions to earn no less than $300 per week in tips. Depending on the department, salaries on cruise ships range from $2,000 per month up to $6,500 per month. Top salaries on cruise ships are usually reserved for management, engineering, director, and other high level positions.
The only perk that is uncommon to cruise ships is paid vacation. But most employees would agree that living and working on a cruise ship is pretty much the same as a paid vacation! If you are interested in working on a cruise ship, continue reading to learn about the different departments on cruise ships and how to apply.
How to Get a Job on Cruise Ships
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.
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.
When you are ready to apply for a cruise job, if you have a specific cruise line in mind, locate the cruise lines’ OFFICIAL website first. Visit the Ships and Cruises Directory for official listings. Once you have located the site, visit the website and search around for job postings. Most cruise line websites have a career center or job postings page. If the cruise line lists job openings, be sure to 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.
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. Please note that this website charges a fee. You can apply for a job on your own, free of charge, sign up with a placement agency, or use Cruise Ship Jobs’ service.