Interested in a career in cruising? If so, you’re in for a treat! In addition to free travel to exciting destinations, cruise ship employees receive free accommodations, free meals, and discounts on retail items and services. Cruise ship employees also receive competitive salaries, health insurance, and free air travel to and from the ship.
If you want to increase your chances of landing a job on a cruise ship, look no further than the Big Four. The Big Four are the top four cruise lines for job opportunities. They include:
Royal Caribbean International
Carnival Cruise Lines
Norwegian Cruise Lines
These cruise lines have the largest fleets in the industry with state-of-the art spas, salons and fitness centers and dozens of options for entertainment and dining. Cruise lines that offer these types of amenities and features usually have to best and the highest number of job opportunities. Several smaller, specialty cruise lines are also ripe for the picking. These include: Delta Queen Steamboat Co. and Lindblad Expeditions.
Continue reading to learn more about the different departments on cruise ships and how to apply for a cruise job.
Cruise Ship Departments
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.
How to Apply for a Cruise Job
When you are ready to apply for a cruise job, locate the big four cruise lines’ websites first by visiting the Ships and Cruises Directory for official listings. Once you have located the official web address, visit the website and search around for job postings. Most cruise line websites have a career center or job postings page in plain view. 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.