How to Become a Youth Counselor on Cruise Ships

Just about every budget-friendly cruise line is also family friendly. Cruise lines such as Carnival Cruise Lines and Disney Cruise Lines have entire programs devoted to children. These programs allow parents to catch a little R&R from time to time, but they are also fun (and even educational) for kids. On family-friendly cruise ships you will find one or more children’s pools, a children’s playroom, designated teen club, arcades, cybercafes, classes, and more.

Because there are so many programs for children onboard cruise ships, the need for skilled youth counselors is tremendous. Youth counselors supervise events for children and they also manage all kid friendly areas on the ship. They conduct classes, escort children on tours, and some may even serve as sitters if needed. A large percentage of youth counselors have an associate degree or higher in education, nutrition, social work, child psychology, physical fitness or other related field.

Youth counselors may have a heavy workload, but during their downtime they enjoy a number of awesome perks. In addition to free travel to exciting destinations, youth counselors on cruise ships also receive free accommodations and meals. They receive discounts on everything from spa services to retail items and they also receive a competitive salary. Youth counselors on cruise ships receive excellent health insurance benefits.

About Jobs on Cruise Ships and the Application Process

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. In addition to youth counselors, this department consists of 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 do not have a specific cruise line in mind, visit the Ships and Cruises Directory to locate cruise lines along with the web address. Once you have located the web address, follow the steps below to ensure a smooth process.

If the cruise line lists youth counselor 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 youth counselor 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 (“youth counselor”) in order for the HR department to forward it to the appropriate activity/entertainment department manager.

Skip to content