So You Want to Work for a Cruise Line?

How to determine if the travel-centric job is right for you


It’s just about every traveler’s dream to see the world for free, or better yet, to get paid to travel. The good news is there are a surprising number of jobs out there that require (and finance) travel. The not-so-good news—some of these dream jobs can turn out to be nightmares if you go in with the wrong expectations.

Travel jobs can be a lot of fun, but at the end of the day your job is the primary reason you’re there. It’s important to realize you’ll be working—not vacationing—for most of the time. But for those driven by adventure, with a severe case of wanderlust, there are quite a few jobs that will pay for you to travel.

Several travel job options are available on cruise ships. Due to the comprehensive nature of cruises, which offer entertainment, guided tours, food and drink and other extras, they need a ton of staff with many different skill sets. There’s a job that’s a good fit for just about anyone—from housekeeping, bartending and entertainers to medical staff, officers and the captain of the ship—there is no shortage of variety.

Is this the right job for you?
Since there is such a rich selection of jobs available, it’s likely that you can find one that matches your skill set. If there’s a job you think you’ll like and you don’t mind being on board a ship for days, weeks or even months at a time, working on a cruise ship might be right for you.

What qualifications do you need to be work on a cruise ship?
As in many travel careers, customer service is paramount, so if you’re not good with people landing a job on a cruise ship might be tough. Formal qualifications vary based on the job title and the particular cruise line. Medical staff on board will likely need some certifications or license, while some wait staff might not even need prior experience.

How much does working on a cruise ship pay?
The various cruise lines rates change based on job type, experience, the ship’s size and the type of trip, but housing accommodations are usually provided free. Depending on the above factors, workers usually earn between $1,000 and $8,000 (or in some cases more) per month and often have health insurance while employed.

Where can you find cruise ship jobs?
If there is a specific company you’d like to work for you can go directly to their website. If you’d like to browse jobs at many companies, there are aggregator websites too, like

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