Top Jobs for Tips on Cruise Ships

Most cruise ship employees receive a set salary that can range anywhere from $1,000-$10,000+ per month, cruise ship captains, engineering positions, executive chefs, sous chefs, and the Maitre’d are at the high end of the pay scale, while dishwashers, bus persons, waiters, cabin stewards, cocktail waitresses, and bartenders are at the low end of the salary scale. However, these lower paying positions are eligible for tips, which means earnings can fluctuate greatly from cruise to cruise. In many cases, tips can actually go above and beyond monthly salaries.

On the next to last day of each cruise, bus persons, waiters, cabin stewards, cocktail waitresses, and bartenders receive envelopes filled with tip money. On this special day (called “Christmas”) all tipped employees gather around to open their “gifts.” After, the gathering turns into a party that typically lasts through the night. If the following information is any indication of what each tipped employee makes, we’re certain that many of these employees earn the same, if not more than many of the more prestigious positions on the ship. There are usually 50 waiters and bus boys on any given cruise ship. They tip the dishwasher weekly. Tips at the dishwashing station range from $3,000-$4,000 per month. Each waiter and bus boy contributes $10-$20 per week into a pot for the dishwashers to divide.

Tipped employees can expect to clean up on luxury cruise ships, mega cruise ships, and even private yachts where the tips are usually much higher, but the atmosphere is more relaxed. If you would like to apply for a tipped position on cruise ships, the following information will be helpful.

Where are all the service and hospitality jobs?

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.

How do I apply for a service/hospitality 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.

What kind of perks can I look forward to?

In addition to tips, service employees will enjoy free travel to exciting destinations, and free accommodations and meals. You will also receive a competitive salary, health insurance, and free air travel to and from the ship.

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