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Cruise Ship Worker: 10 Steps to Get Started as a Travel Crew Member

Cruise ship worker, yes, get paid to travel to prime destinations and exotic locations. As an RVer, you might do it seasonally. Or, use your RV as home between cruise trips. Ten steps to get started.

Get That Fab Job on a Cruise Ship!

by Julie E. Botteri, expert and author

Getting a job on a cruise ship is based on a simple equation:

Ships + Passengers = Crew Members

And, with more "homeports" now for cruise ships in America and Canada, there are increasing demands on the cruise lines to select staff from North America. What does this mean for you? Jobs are always available.

As long as the cruise lines are in business, they need staff and crew to serve and entertain the passengers. They need you!

Some simple preparation can help launch your career, so here are 10 steps to breaking into this fab job based on the FabJob Guide To Get A Job On A Cruise Ship:

1. Learn about cruising.

You aren't required to know everything about cruising before you get a job as a cruise ship worker. However, employers are impressed by applicants who go the extra mile to show they have a sincere interest in the cruise industry. Do you know the difference between port and starboard? Aft and forward? What are tenders? These are everyday terms you will need to become familiar with. Reading travel magazines and books and watching the travel channel on television is a great start, too.

2. Get your passport.

If you already have it, make sure it is valid for at least the next two years. Cruise lines want you to have a current passport beyond the extent of your first contract. If you don't have one, now is the time to apply. A passports is a 10-year travel investment (5 years for Canadians), and there is no good reason today not to have one. It is your ticket to the world around you.

3. Take stock of your work experience.

Maybe your background includes jobs or internships in parks and recreation, restaurants, theme parks, attractions, tour guiding, television, or radio. Are you good with children? Great with a camera? Even more savvy on a computer? Quality people with experience in practical, hands-on, hospitality, technological, customer-related, and people-oriented fields are what cruise lines search for in employees.

4. Bone up on your language skills.

It is to your benefit to speak more than one language, and three or four are even better. A multi-lingual applicant will be in a better position to get work on cruise ships than one who speaks no foreign languages. A good place to start is Spanish, French, Italian, German, or even Portuguese. However, even if you speak only English, there are still many opportunities available.

5. Get that resume together.

Your resume is a direct reflection of who you are and what type of person your training has created, and demonstrates what drives you to succeed and try new things. Moreover, applying for "any available position" means you are not serious, nor will you be taken seriously. There are lots of exciting, specific job positions on cruise ships. You can have one.

6. Make a demo tape.

If your goal is to be seen and heard, a piece of paper cannot do that. Entertainers, dancers, public speakers, lecturers, variety acts, or folks that specialize in audio/visuals, I am talking to you. A well-polished, professionally produced, 15-minute videotape of your live-action skills is suggested, as well as one that includes audience reaction with laughter and applause.

7. Try it! You might just like it.

Everyone that has worked on cruise ships will tell you that it's not just a job, it's a lifestyle. Personality attributes, practical experiences, people skills, and a willingness to learn all contribute to success. For nearly all cruise ship jobs, no prior cruise ship experience is necessary. You simply need to have a thirst for adventure, self-motivation, and enthusiasm.

8. Be flexible.

You should be willing to travel for at least 6 months or more at a time. Can you believe that? Travel for half a year or more. Although most cruise ship employees are single and young without many attachments, there are also husband and wife teams who work onboard. Some of the positions are dance instructors, social hosts, and hostesses.

Flexibility onboard is imperative to your success, too. Onboard and external training programs are offered to further educate you in your position. You can improve your productivity, or make sure your sales skills are cutting edge. The end result means getting promoted or getting a new contract as a cruise ship worker.

9. Be willing to save lots of money.

Travel arrangements to the ship are paid for. Accommodations are provided for you. You are fed three times a day or more. There are no expenses. Medical insurance is paid for. You make a monthly salary, up to over $2,000 USD. Can you handle it? How can you not save money?

10. Be ready to go tomorrow.

Cruise ship worker jobs can pop up at any time. Cruise lines and employment agencies want people that are assertive and available. If your paperwork is in order and you're open for interviews, your number can be called.


This article is based on the FabJob Guide to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship. The complete guide gives detailed advice on how you can get hired for a fun and exciting job traveling to exotic destinations such as the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, the Bahamas, Europe, the Mediterranean, or Tahiti. Visit for information.

The author, Julie E. Botteri, is a Master Cruise Counselor. Her cruise experience includes managing the water sports and scuba programs for cruise lines including Renaissance Cruises luxury yachts and Princess Cruises.

While the article only lists a few examples of jobs for cruise ship workers, the employment possibilities are diverse: entertainers, medical staff, sales staff, office workers, janitorial help, casino operations, security, financial services, guest activities, human resources, hospitality staff, inventory, marketing, massage therapists, shore excursions, electrical, photographers, bartenders, environmental services, housekeeping, cook, kitchen staff, and dining room staff. These are just some of the many positions that you'll find on these deluxe touring ships.

Go to the section that lists articles about other types of employment for working RVers and campers.

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