Ahoy, maties, and welcome aboard one of the most exciting hourly job industries. Employees in this field include entertainers, bar and restaurant staff, cabin stewards, janitorial workers and gift shop staff. Entertainers are hired to perform for the passengers whether it's singing, dancing, comedy or magic. Sometimes there are set performance times where you will be on stage while other times you may be asked to perform during dinner or as the guests are boarding the ship. Bar and restaurant workers take and place orders for food or beverages, accept and process payment, and keep their work areas clean and neat. Cabin stewards make beds, perform daily cleaning and provide room service. The gift shop staff is very important for driving revenue to the cruise agency and is responsible for operating a cash register, receiving payments, and keeping the shop stocked and organized.
What is working on a cruise ship like?
Cruise ship jobs can be very physically demanding, requiring employees to be on their feet all day performing a variety of tasks including bending, kneeling and lifting heavy objects like pots and pans. Workers can expect to work both early morning shifts and late into the evening, so stock up on Red Bull and coffee before you depart. Risks include trips and falls due to choppy waters, illness from working in close quarters with a large group of people, and seasickness, so don't forget your Dramamine. The environment is glamorous as well as noisy, with young children, families and rowdy Spring Breakers aplenty. Like flight attendants, workers in this field are away from home often, so if you're prone to homesickness or you just can't bear to be away from Fido overnight, you may want to look elsewhere.
What skills do I need and how can I get promoted?
It is imperative that cruise ship workers are friendly and comfortable interacting with the public. In case of a crisis, like turbulent waters, employees need to be quick on their feet, calm passengers down and maintain order on the ship. Restaurant workers and bartenders serving alcohol must be at least 21 years old and understand procedures and policies according to the law. Bartenders need to memorize drink menus in order to remain efficient and serve several people at a time. If you want to work in the gift shop, previous experience usually isn’t necessary, but good public speaking skills are important. Cruise ship performers should have prior experience in their field and be comfortable in front of large groups of people. With the right training and enough experience, promotion opportunities include hotel management, entertainment director or reservations specialist.
Show me the money!
The ultimate benefit of working on a cruise ship is the opportunity to travel the world and meet new people along the way. Most employees work for commission or tips, but some are given a set wage, which varies depending upon the job description. Other benefits may include free room and board, free air travel to and from departure site, free or discounted meals, free medical insurance (which is required by maritime law) and discounted tickets on future vacation packages for friends and family. Throw on a life vest and grab your sunscreen--this ship will set sail as soon as you join the crew. For more specific information, check out our wage calculator to help you determine pay for this job in your neck of the woods.