how to apply for jobs on cruise ships

How to apply for Cruise ship jobs?: Career options & eligibility criteria

Working on a cruise ship and getting paid while traveling across the globe definitely sounds like a lucrative career option! Grabbing a cruise ship job is the dream of many but only a few can actually make a successful career on the sea. In this blog – we’ll let you know everything about Cruise ship jobs – from the eligibility criteria to the process of application – every detail you need to know will be covered below. 

So let’s dive right in!

How to join a Cruise ship?

1. Apply for a Cruise Ship Job through a Recruitment Agency

This is the most common way of applying for Cruise Ship Jobs. Major cruise lines have officially licensed recruiting agencies and hiring partners all around the world that handle acquiring and evaluating job applications as well as scheduling individual and group job interviews.

Because cruise lines do not have representatives in every nation, one recruitment firm may handle the whole region as well as the surrounding countries.

2. Apply through a Concessionaire Company

Concessionaire companies are independent companies in charge of hiring employees worldwide to work onboard cruise ships. These companies normally recruit people for specific onboard departments, such as Spa, Sales, and a few other departments.

It’s important to note that these companies are independent, separate from cruise ship companies. Their main task is to provide training for future cruise ship employees, guide them through the complete hiring process, and prepare them for work on a cruise ship.

3. Apply for Cruise Ship Jobs Online (on the Cruise Company’s website)

Another way of applying for a cruise ship job is directly online. On the official website of every company, there is a career section (usually on the bottom of the home page) where you can send your CV and fill in the application for a required position. 

Or, you can just type the name of the company and put the word careers next to it, and it will direct you to their career section (ex. “princess cruises careers”).

4. Apply for a Cruise Ship Job on a Cruise Job Fair

In some countries, there are cruise job fairs that you can attend and apply for various cruise ship job positions. These job fairs are normally organized once in a year (sometimes more often, sometimes less, based on companies’ business needs) in different cities worldwide. 

This is a great opportunity to meet and interact with other people who have the same ambitions as you, and a chance to speak to those people who already have experience in working in the cruise industry. You would meet hiring partners in person and get detailed information on every topic you’re interested in.

What are the career options in Cruise liners?

With most cruise liners being like mini cities (some ships can hold 2,000 guests or more), with staff reaching over 3,000, you can just imagine the multitude of jobs that await. There are certain sections on board a cruise ship where you can find the job that is most appropriate to you and your relevant skills or qualifications:

  • Restaurants (chef jobs, kitchen staff, waiters, barman, manager, etc.)
  • Hotel Facilities (cabin crew, housekeeping, reception, manager, butlers, etc.)
  • Leisure Center (instructors, lifeguards, activity leaders, etc.)
  • Gym (personal trainers, workers, etc.)
  • Salon and Spa Jobs (massage therapist, hair stylist, etc.)
  • Land Excursion Team (tour guide, seaman, recreation staff, etc.)
  • Deck Department (captain, mates, able seaman, deckhands, etc.)
  • Engine Department (chief, DDE, assistant engineer, oiler, wiper, etc.)
  • Shops (cashiers, managers, bookkeepers, etc.)
  • Casinos (dealers, security, hospitality, etc.)
  • Entertainment (production manager, director, actors, comedians, dancers, lighting, sound engineer, backstage crew, etc.)

In each of these areas, you can find tons of cruise liner jobs that will appeal to you. Certain positions require some form of qualification whether it is in the hospitality industry, retail sector, medical wing, or maritime, but some of the entry-level positions are open for those that have no qualifications as yet, like students or high school graduates looking for a bit of adventure while they make some money. Some jobs on cruise ships will require you to have some experience in a related field.

Who can apply for Cruise jobs?

While specific position requirements and experience depend on the job you are interested in, there are some other essential requirements that all employees must meet to be able to work onboard a cruise ship.

  • Be at least 21 years old. Sometimes candidates aged over 18 years are accepted for certain positions (e.g. childcare). This varies by cruise line so check on each cruise line’s careers website or job adverts here on All Cruise Jobs.
  • Hold a valid passport
  • Pass a medical examination by the cruise line or have an ENG1 or an ML5 seafarer medical fitness certificate to work at sea. Know more about medical and physical requirements here.
  • Have the relevant visa or work permit – depending on where you are from and which countries you will be traveling to.
  • Meet the language requirements relevant to your position. English is a mandatory requirement in all cruise lines. Employees in passenger-facing positions on-board ships with international passengers may be required to be fluent in other languages, e.g. German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, etc.
  • Have a valid STCW Basic Safety Training (BST) certificate (this is required for most employees and crew working on-board cruise ships). In some instances, you will get an opportunity to take the training after you join your ship. However, candidates who already have valid STCW certificates are usually prioritized.

What are the eligibility criteria for getting a job on a Cruise ship?

Expertise will be a key to success on a cruise ship but a good qualification will help you to get a good profile. You should be a graduate with relevant work experience to get a better career option on a cruise ship at the beginning.

If you want to work on a Cruise Ship, then you should hold a minimum of 1 to 2 years of relevant experience. In some cases, someone with one year of experience can apply if the hiring agency has mentioned it in the criteria.

There are hundreds of positions available on a cruise ship, each demanding a different skill set, qualification, and work experience. To have a look at all the designations in detail and learn about their eligibility criteria, check out this blog

How to apply for Cruise ship jobs without any kind of qualification or degree?

Do not be discouraged by the job descriptions published by cruise ships looking for new staff with lots of experience. Instead of worrying about work experience that you don’t have, emphasize your transferable skills and then sell them to the cruise company you want to work for.

You have transferable skills if you have worked hard as a student or in an office, factory, or manufacturing plant. You have already developed many transferable skills, which are very useful to cruise ships.

Draw the connections between your past work and the work required on the ship, and you will get the job. But you need to articulate your transferable skills very well and connect them to the cruise job you are applying for.

How to get a job on a cruise ship with no experience? The best way to get a job on a cruise ship with no experience is to emphasize your transferable skills in your resume. When you get the interview, focus on how you can transfer your present skills to the job’s requirements.

Here are some of the jobs that you can get on a cruise ship that does not require experience:

  • Galley Cleaner
  • Pot Washer
  • Ordinary Seaman
  • Cabin Steward
  • Assistant Cabin Steward
  • Bar Utility
  • Deckhand
  • Bell Staff
  • Cleaner
  • Laundryman
  • Engine Room Wiper

What kind of jobs are available on a Cruise liner?

Jobs on a cruise ship are mainly divided into two categories:

  1. Marine Operations – Employees in the marine operations division do everything required to keep the ship functioning perfectly. More on the technical side of things!
  2. Guest Service Operations – They keep the party going. From food management to guest handling services everything is done to perfection!

Which are the Top 5 Cruise companies in the world?

1. Celebrity Cruises

With only 11 ships in the fleet, Celebrity Cruises offers the floating-city experience of larger vessels (think: kids clubs and endless buffets) while maintaining the service standard and intimacy of smaller lines. And you can’t beat the affordable rates, which can dip below $145 per person for the line’s Bahamas voyages.

2. Royal Caribbean International

With more than 20 cruise ships, Royal Caribbean is one of the largest lines sailing the ocean today. Having the ability to accommodate thousands of guests per ship allows the company to keep rates low. In fact, travelers may find itineraries in the popular Caribbean and European destinations for less than $200 per person.

3. Princess Cruises

You can expect to pay a similar price for a Princess Cruise as you would for a voyage on Carnival (the line’s parent company) – or, in some cases, even less. While Carnival caters more to families, Princess’ 14 ships target more adult travelers, especially on longer voyages. Along with lodging and dining, fares cover activities like cooking lessons and history lectures.

4. Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival specializes in budget-friendly fun, offering frequent sales and early booking deals at already low prices. In fact, finding itineraries for less than $200 per person is the norm on the line’s 24 ships. While access to most of the ships’ activities won’t cost a penny, some extras (like sodas and alcoholic beverages) aren’t covered in fares.

5. Holland America Line

Whether you opt for one of Holland America’s kid-friendly ships or choose a more adult-oriented itinerary, you’ll find the premium cruise line to be a pretty good bargain, with five-day Caribbean cruises starting at less than $350 per person. But cutting costs doesn’t mean skimping on service; each ship offers one staff member per every two or three guests.

Be aware of fraudulent Cruise Employment Opportunities!

When you start looking for cruise ship jobs online, you need to stay aware of fraudulent companies claiming to provide you placement. These companies are infamous for asking a sum of money in return for providing jobs on cruise ships. The red sign is when they don’t offer any documents or receipts and keep you in the dark about the opportunities available on cruise liners. Transacting with these so-called recruiting companies will make you end up losing your money. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much do cruise ship jobs pay?

The average salary of a cruise ship worker can range from $20000 to $900000 per year. Due to the wide variety of jobs available on a cruise ship, there is no specific salary a cruise ship worker should expect to make. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for all captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels is $87,420 per year, but the salary for specific roles within that category can vary.

2. What qualifications do you need to work on a cruise ship?

There are hundreds of job roles available on a cruise ship ranging from dishwashers to doctors. Every role requires its own unique qualification and experience. You can check the eligibility criteria of different jobs in this guide.

3. How do you get a job on a cruise ship?

To get a job on a cruise ship, you can use any of the following methods:

  • Apply through a recruitment agency
  • Apply through a Concessionaire Company
  • Go to the Cruise Company’s website and apply online through their career portal
  • Apply for a Cruise Ship Job on a Cruise Job Fair

4. Which cruise ship pays best?

The top 8 cruise liners that report the best pay include Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, and MSC Cruises. 

5. Is tattoo allowed in a Cruise ship?

With their client profile in mind, almost all cruise line companies have regulations regarding tattoos. While the companies might not have anything against the art, they are always looking out for the comfort of their guests. The general rule is that tattoos should not be visible when cruise ship crews are in their uniform and in passenger areas.

For staff members who wear shorts, skirts, or short-sleeve shirts, this would apply to tattoos and other body art on their calves, shins, forearms, and perhaps even their ankles. Those who wear trousers and long-sleeved shirts can get away with these tattoos.

6. Do Cruise ship workers pay tax?

Most Indian citizens working in merchant ships or cruise ships are considered seafarers by the income tax act. However, all of them do not have to pay tax. The residency status is calculated based on the number of days spend within the boundaries of India by a seafarer during the tax assessment year. The person whose tax is being assessed should have spent at least 184 days in his or her capacity as an employee on a seagoing vessel or company outside the nation of India.

7. Do cruise ship workers get days off?

Most cruise lines offer a minimum of four to six months contracts, depending on the cruise line or/and position, contracts could be extended or employees could take time off and then go back for another contract. Crew members work every day of their contract, taking time off in hours rather than in full days.

8. Do cruise ship employees get free food?

Yes, crew members receive free food for working onboard a ship, along with a cabin to sleep in. Similar to the guests, crew members have their own buffet-style restaurant to get their meals throughout the day. Some staff – who interact with guests at work – and officers are also able to access passenger areas like the main dining room and certain restaurants where they can eat certain meals.