Cruise ship jobs are both numerous and varied. Jobs on cruise ships are numerous because of the enormity of cruise ships, and they are varied because of the many different services and forms of entertainment offered on cruise ships. Some vessels have crews that exceed 2,000 people in number, and the cruise ship jobs held by this army of people range from the simple to the highly complex. In a previous article, we described some of the general characteristics of cruise ship jobs, so in this article we look at some of the specific positions that people may hold on cruise ships.
Before listing some these positions, those seeking cruise ship jobs should consider two things: their prior work experience and the skills that they have acquired. Reflecting on these two things should help you determine what type of positions you are qualified for. Although the employee turnover rate is particularly high in the cruise ship industry, meaning cruise ships are always hiring staff, the positions offered are still competitive. (After all, lots of people want to travel around the world while working a job with good benefits and pay.) You need to make sure you are qualified for the positions you are applying for: if you haven’t served tables for a restaurant on land, for example, you probably won’t land a job serving tables on a cruise ship.
At the same time, don’t feel overly concerned about not having previous cruise ship job experience. With the exception of higher-level positions (generally those that are directly involved with the operation of a cruise ship), most cruise ship jobs don’t require previous cruise experience. Why? For one, this might limit the pool of eligible applicants to an unacceptable degree, but perhaps more importantly, cruise ships jobs are very often like jobs on land. If you know how to mix drinks in a bar on Sunset Boulevard, you’ll know how to mix them on a ship. (This isn’t to say that there aren’t significant differences between working on land and working at sea, but merely that the basics of your chosen field will remain largely the same.)
All that said, here are the main categories that cruise ship jobs fall under:
(1) Hospitality and Other Services. This department manages the restaurants, bars, and clubs on-board, as well as the passenger rooms and retail outlets. Jobs that fall under this category include bar tending, serving tables, and cooking. This department also encompasses accountants and lodging managers.
(2) Activities and Entertainment. Positions in these departments tend to go to outgoing people who like to entertain passengers. DJs, photographers, and production managers fail in this category, as do many casino positions.
(3) Personal Care. The department responsible for personal care encompasses numerous positions on-board. Fitness, spa, and beauty services fall into this category, and so do medical services. Thus, doctors, nurses, massage therapists, and many other professionals find work in this department.
(4) Engineering and Deck Maintenance. The engineering department of any cruise ship is charged with a very serious task: making sure the cruise ship operates. Many people who work in this department are experienced engineers and officers; however, there are less prestigious positions to fill, like those dealing with general maintenance.
In every one of these categories, there are far more jobs available than described. However, the jobs we list should give you a reasonable idea of the types of positions available on cruise ships.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that there are also land-based office jobs for cruise ships, but these are like other ordinary jobs, and hence lie outside the scope of this article.