In the world of bartending, you won’t find many differences between head bartenders and a bar managers. Both positions require many of the same skills and education. For starters, head bartenders and bar managers must be at least 21 years of age. They must be outgoing, friendly, and well-groomed. Head bartenders must have excellent communication skills and leadership qualities.
Head bartenders and bar managers must oversee all bar operations and manage bar staff. They maintain inventory, purchase supplies, manage finances, and employee schedules. Head bartenders also handle event planning, staff meetings, and training staff.
Head bartenders on cruise ships have the same duties as land-based head bartenders. The only difference is, head bartenders on cruise ships must have advanced knowledge of drinking laws while at sea and the ship’s Guest Code of Conduct. It is important to note that every ship is different when it comes to certain aspects of alcohol consumption while onboard. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line publishes the following rules on serving minors:
With the exception of Alaska and Hawaii itineraries, (Where you must be 21 years of age to consume or purchase alcohol of any kind) NCL permits guests between the ages of eighteen (18) and twenty (20) to purchase and personally consume wine and beer while on NCL ships with the consent of an accompanying parent or legal guardian on the same sailing once the vessel is outside the US state territorial waters (3 miles out).
In addition to the skills listed at the beginning of this article, many cruise lines prefer to hire candidates with a certificate from bartending school, plus at least 3-5 years experience. Once you have obtained a position as a bartender, you can work your way up. This is the typical path from bartender to bar manager. In some cases, you will find advertisements for head bartenders or bar managers on cruise ships. The majority of the time, 7-10 years experience is required, and most of the experience should be obtained while at sea.
To get started on the path from bartender to head bartender on a cruise ship, you should enroll in a training program at an accredited bartending school. Once you have completed the program, consider obtaining a position at a bar in a restaurant or bar and grill on a cruise ship or even a local tour boat or dinner cruise boat. The dining experience will make you an attractive candidate to employers. You should spend several years sharpening your technical bartending skills and gaining customer service experience. If you are working on a cruise ship and you excel in the bartending position, you will certainly become a top contender for head bartender. If you work at a land-based establishment, the same applies.
To search for head bartender positions on your own, 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.
Head Bartender Pay and Benefits
Head bartenders on cruise ships may earn anywhere from $3,200-$4,000 per month depending on the cruise line. They also receive free accommodations and meals, health insurance, and free air travel to and from the ship.