Looking To Start A Future In the Cruising Industry?
What is the perfect role for you?
There are many types of roles to choose from if you’re looking to work on a cruise ship and all with different aspects and salaries. If you’re looking for the right role for you, here a few to choose from and maybe look into yourself.
Available positions on cruise ships include:
- Deck (e.g. Captain)
- Entertainers (e.g. Comedians)
- Housekeeping (e.g. Butler)
- Engineering (e.g. Plumber)
- Hotel Administration (e.g. Cost Accountant)
- Food and Beverage (e.g. Waiter/Waitress)
- Salon/Spa/Fitness (e.g. Beauty Therapist)
- Medical (e.g. Nurse)
The Captain is the highest ranking officer and the Master of the cruise ship and is responsible for multiple things, such as – operations aboard the vessel, safety and medical care of all bodies on board (guests and crew), protection of the environment in compliance with the cruise line’s policies, local authorities and the International Maritime Law. The captain also ensures that all of the ship’s charts, documents and certifications are up to date. They also make sure that all safety equipment such as lifeboats, life rafts, fire doors etc are in working condition. The average salary based on this role is £6205 – £7757 and up depending on the cruise line and time served with the company.
A Comedian aboard a cruise ship is a talented performer that provides a top-notch quality show to guests as a main act either in the ship's theatre or in some of the lounges. The show can comprise of a solo, duo, trio or quartet. the Headline Entertainer does not participate in crew and passenger safety drills or any related activities and enjoys a single cabin accommodation and full deck privileges - use of all passenger facilities - bars, lounges, restaurants, gym, disco, swimming pools etc. Although the Guest Entertainer is an Independent Contractor aboard the ship (not a staff member), he/she still reports to the head of the department – Cruise Director. The average salary based on this role is between £1162 - £1939 per week and up depending on the cruise line and popularity of the act.
The Butler has many responsibilities. These include:
- Serving all food and beverage orders requested by guests
- Ensures the suites are prepared with all food and beverage menus, service menus, flowers, fruit baskets, etc.
- Makes reservations for various activities and services such as shore excursions, dining, wine, spa, flowers, etc. Follows-up to ensure services and amenities are delivered as specified
- Makes arrangements for tailor service, tuxedo rental, babysitting, special needs, etc. Responds to guest complaints in a considerate, professional and positive manner by showing concern and listening actively and reports all complaints to Front Office Manager for following up.
- Attends crew and passenger safety drills
The average salary based on this role is £1862 – £2482 per month depending on gratuities and on the cruise line. The role can also lead to a promotion of becoming Head Butler.
The Plumber is responsible for the maintenance of all plumbing and they may help install it, repair it, and maintain it wherever it is found. The responsibility of the Plumber is to ensure that all plumbing is working as expected. When the ship is loading potable water, they handle the hoses. They also maintain the systems for the ship’s black water plants, the drain plants for gray water, and all hot and cold potable water. They are also responsible to take care of the complaints of passengers. The average salary for this role is £1396 - £1939 depending on the cruise line.
As a Cost Accountant, the main responsibility is inventory control, and managerial reporting, including generating a daily food and supply cost. Also, weekly receiving and inventorying of all items in the food, bar and photo departments. A major part of the duties expected of the cost accountant is carried out on personal computers. The average salary for this role is £1800 - £2100 per month.
A Bar Waiter/Waitress provides passengers with alcoholic beverages in the various places where they are served on the ship. They may also suggest various cocktails, wines, or beer to the guests, and will also present them with the bill. They also help with stocking the various bars on the ship, and they are expected to receive training in the form of courses and meetings that will enable them to be promoted to higher positions on the ship. The average salary based on this role is £1395 - £2170 per month depending on the cruise line, size of ship, commission earned and gratuities from passengers. This role may also lead to a Bartender position.
A Beauty Therapist is responsible for multiple things:
- Reports to the ship's Beauty Salon / Spa Manager and Asst. Manager
- Could work as a skin care specialist, body and detox specialist and a holistic therapist
- Provides facial massage and skin care
- Performs makeup application, lash and brow treatments
- Applies wax depilation, body electrical and mechanical treatments
- The Beautician informs and educates guests regarding various wellness issues and handles concerns and questions in a professional and courteous manner
The average salary based on this role is £1860 - £3256 depending on gratuities, commission on sales, size and itineraries of the cruise ship. This role could also lead to a promotion of becoming an Assistant Beauty Salon/Spa Manager.
The Ship Nurse should be an experienced Registered Nurse (RN) responsible to provide appropriate day-to-day health care to passengers and crew members aboard the cruise ship. The cruise ship nurse reports and works under the direction of the ship's lead nurse, ship's physician and ship's chief doctor. She/ he is called first in case of medical emergency aboard the cruise ship providing first aid care until arrival of the ship's physician. She/ he also assist the physician with procedures/ treatments, document nursing interventions/ observations and sets up treatment rooms, checks emergency equipment, maintains established par levels of medical supplies/ medications. The average salary based on this role is £3255 - £3799 per month depending on the cruise line and accumulated experience with the company. This role could also lead to a promotion of the Lead Nurse position.
The most popular employers?
There are many Cruise line employers in the industry but which are the main ones and where do I start?
Billing themselves as the "world's most popular cruise line," Carnival introduced the first cruise ship to exceed 100,000 gross tons, Carnival Destiny, which had its maiden voyage in 1997.
Carnival's other "Fun Ships" include superliners longer than 2 football fields and taller than a 9-story building. All ships travel to exotic, sun-drenched ports, primarily in the Caribbean and Mexico.
Carnival was the first cruise line to advertise heavily on TV, and today its commercials appear nationwide.
Carnival has more than 20 ships operating three to 18 day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Europe, Bermuda, South America, Panama Canal, and Tahiti and Fiji Islands.
Princess Cruises dates back to 1965, when it started cruising just one ship to Mexico. Princess has expanded over the years to become one of the five largest cruise lines worldwide.
Travelers can choose from 16 ships (2012) and itineraries that include ports in the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, Europe, Mexico, South America, Australia/New Zealand, South Pacific, Hawaii, Tahiti/French Polynesia, Asia, India, Africa, and Canada/New England.
The company's popularity early on was spurred by its exposure on the television series, "The Love Boat." This '70s show brought the cruising industry to the nation's attention, reviving a dwindling market.
Princess Cruises is a Carnival Corporation brand.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is one of the largest companies in the industry. It was founded in 1969 and rode the crest of cruising popularity in the 1980s to become the largest single cruise line by passenger capacity.
Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with more than 20 innovative ships, calling on more than 270 destinations in 72 countries across six continents. The line also offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises, and CDF Croisieres de France, as well as TUI Cruises through a joint venture.
Together, these brands operate dozens of ships with more under construction. Royal Caribbean offers almost dozens of itineraries, including stops at more than 100 different destinations on 4 continents.
Where to start?
In trying to get a job on a cruise ship you are going to be up against a lot of stiff competition. Any official qualifications or good experience in your chosen field will help your application forms stand out above others. If you have graduated from college or university with relevant, professional qualifications - for example, as a pastry chef or beautician - then these are the types of things recruitment companies will be looking for so make these qualifications obvious. Cruise ships also like to take on returnees because they already know that person and are happy with their work. These people are your competition but even these staff were first time applicants at some time.
You should send your employment package directly to the cruise line, using the addresses and contact names that you find on their employment websites. Do not send your resume via email; instead, put together a professional package that will guarantee their attention. It should include a resume, a cover letter, two letters of reference, any diplomas or awards, and a picture of yourself.
What are the benefits of working on cruise ship?
You get paid to travel. This is probably one of the biggest pluses to working on a cruise ship. And, it's the one most people think about. Not only are you able to see new places, you'll have the opportunity to meet people from other areas of the world, many who are crew members along with you.
You can save your pay. Because you're furnished room and board along with your salary, you shouldn't have a lot of expenses. You don't have to pay utilities, so that's one expense you won't have. You're busy most of the time, so there isn't much opportunity to spend your hard earned salary.
Because the crew is generally made up of people from all over the world, you can meet new people and learn about their cultures. You may even have a foreign roommate, which will help you learn a good deal about their culture.
After you've successfully completed one contract, you'll be more likely to be chosen for another. If you choose to change cruise lines, your previous experience may help you get your foot in the door with the new company.
If you're single when you begin your career on a cruise ship, you may find the biggest pro for working there is that you find your future spouse! While this is not a guarantee, it seems that quite often romances bloom among the crew.
Other perks and benefits that are often included with your cruise line job are:
- You get reduced price cruise vacation for family and friends
- Air travel en-route and homeward bound
- Free laundry service
- Free medical insurance (which is required by maritime law)
- Discounts at cruise ship stores and often at land based stores, bars and restaurants