Cruise ships are staffed by thousands of service, hospitality, customer service and boating professionals. They are required to sign contracts to work internationally for months at a time. Cruise ships hire a crew to work in every aspect of the ship’s maintenance, staff to manage the ship and concessionaires to work in the shops. Working on a cruise ship is a great way to see the world, save money and meet new people from many different countries. It may help to keep a broad list of jobs you would be willing to do, in order to increase your chances of landing a cruise ship job.
Below is the list of the most popular cruise ship departments, job positions and requirements:
The boutiques offer guests unique gifts to create lasting memories of their cruise experience. The boutiques usually carry a wide variety of merchandise including fine jewelry, designer and contemporary watches, fine fragrances and cosmetics, accessories such as sunglasses and handbags, liquor, fine gifts in porcelain and crystal, men’s and women’s apparel, and unique gifts and souvenirs specific to each cruise line experience. Additionally, the tax-duty-free onboard shopping environment offers excellent savings compared to shore pricing.
ENTRY-LEVEL BOUTIQUES POSITIONS
Entry-level positions include Jeweler, Watch Specialist, Fragrance Specialist, and Shop Staff.
Applicants must have a minimum of two years’ experience in retail sales and visual merchandising and must demonstrate excellent sales and customer service skills along with the ability to perform inventory and stockroom duties. It is preferred that Shop Staff applicants have specialized experience in apparel or fine gifts comparable to the merchandise lines carried onboard. Applicants for Specialist positions must have experience in fine jewelry, watches, or cosmetics.
CRUISE STAFF DEPARTMENT
The Cruise Staff make a dramatic impact on each guest’s cruise experience by conducting a variety of onboard activities for them to enjoy. Activities range from trivia games and contests to themed parties and dance lessons. This team is also responsible for hosting an array of special events onboard, including guest performers, group exercise classes, and even the occasional conga line.
JUNIOR ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR
The Junior Assistant Cruise Director is an entry-level position on the Cruise Staff team. This team provides fun and exciting activities for guests, like trivia games, Zumba® classes, ice sculpture demonstrations, dance lessons, and arts and crafts. In this role your goal is to help the Cruise Staff provide a premium entertainment package and make our guests’ vacations memorable. You contribute to these memories by actively participating in all events with enthusiasm and dedication.
Applicants must have a minimum of two years’ experience in the entertainment and hospitality field, including direct experience hosting activities for large groups. Confident/strong microphone experience is required. Entertainment talents such as dancing, singing, stage performance, hosting sports events, and arts and crafts are a plus, but candidates must be willing to participate in any/all such activities onboard as part of a team environment.
ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR
In addition to the regular Cruise Staff responsibilities, the Assistant Cruise Director-DJ provides entertaining, engaging, and memorable DJ and emcee services throughout various shipboard venues.
Applicants must have a minimum of two years’ DJ experience at corporate parties, weddings, or similar events; experience hosting karaoke; and a thorough knowledge of a variety of musical genres from 50s classics to today’s popular music. Applicants must include a Web link to their demo reel for consideration.
DECK & TECHNICAL
The Deck department is overseen by the Staff Captain and is responsible for navigating the ship as well as managing all safety-related matters, including environment and public health. This team works closely with the Technical department to ensure that all equipment is well maintained and meets international laws and regulations. The Technical department includes a variety of positions that range from entry-level roles, such as Deck Clerk, Trainees, and Cadets; to highly qualified seafarer roles, such as Environmental Officer, Security officers, and navigating officers all the way through to the ship’s Captain.
The Technical department is responsible for the efficient and cost-effective operation and maintenance of all onboard machinery and equipment, covering a wide range of areas including power generation and propulsion; heating and air conditioning; and deck, hotel, and entertainment support systems. The Technical department’s mission is to provide a safe, secure, and environmentally sound operation at all times. It is a dynamic department with a wide variety of roles and career opportunities.
SENIOR WATCHKEEPING OFFICERS
Senior Watchkeepers are responsible for safe navigation of the ship, maintaining a 24-hour watch by working a four-hours-on/eight-hours-off rotation. Every ship employs three Senior Watchkeepers in the ranks of 1st Officer, Senior 2nd Officer, and 2nd Officer to cover the three watches. Each watch is supported by a Junior Watchkeeper in the rank of 3rd Officer.
Applicants must hold an unlimited Chief Mates Certificate of Competence recognized by the UK Marine & Coastguard Agency and Bermuda Maritime Authority.
The Environmental Officer is responsible for ensuring the highest possible levels of compliance by shipboard staff with all established environmental standards, in line with the company’s core values.
Applicants must be a licensed Deck or Engineer officer holding a minimum of either a 2nd Deck Officer or 2nd Engineer Certificate of Competence, or at least five years’ experience with environmental management systems.
Security Officers are responsible for leading a team of security personnel in monitoring guest and crew activities, investigating security matters that arise, and promptly reporting and correcting security issues in order to maintain a safe and secure shipboard environment in line with the company’s core values.
Applicants must have a minimum of five years’ experience as a law enforcement officer or service in a maritime military/LE organization. Criminal Investigation experience is preferred as well as knowledge of ISPS code and experience with security surveillance and screening equipment.
SENIOR WATCHKEEPING OFFICERS
Senior Watchkeepers are responsible for maintaining a 24-hour watch in the ship’s Engine Room, by working a four-hours-on/eight-hours-off rotation. Depending on vessel size, each ship employs either three or four Senior Watchkeepers in the ranks of 1st Engineer and 2nd Engineer.
Applicants must hold an unlimited 2nd Engineer Certificate of Competence recognized by the UK Marine & Coastguard Agency and Bermuda Maritime Authority.
HOTEL SERVICES ENGINEER
The Hotel Services Engineer leads an onboard Hotel maintenance team in achieving the highest standards appearance for guests and crew area, prompting defect correction in a cost-efficient manner while in line with our company strategy and core values.
The Hotel Services Engineer is responsible for all aspects of Hotel maintenance utilizing the services of the tradesmen within his/her sub-department, as well as the electrical and ventilation departments. This position works closely with the Staff Electro-Technical Officer and the Ventilation Officer when required.
Applicants must have Technical qualification at OND or HND level or equivalent; a minimum of two years’ experience in hotel or hospitality industry maintenance; the ability to read and understand technical drawings and manuals; and excellent technical knowledge to be able to manage, supervise, and guide officers and tradesmen of varying levels of expertise.
Second Plumbers are responsible for assisting in the maintenance and repair of the onboard water, sanitary, and heating systems in a cost-efficient manner that is in compliance with company safety standards.
Applicants must have experience with small repair, evacuation pumps, and welding. Prior experience in a hotel or shipboard environment is preferred.
Third Engineer Officers are responsible for operating, inspecting, and maintaining engines, machinery, and equipment in a safe, efficient, and cost-effective manner to the highest professional standards.
Applicants must hold an unlimited Engineers Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competence recognized by the UK Marine & Coastguard Agency and Bermuda Maritime Authority.
2ND ELECTRO-TECHNICAL OFFICER
Second Electro-Technical Officers assist in leading a team of Electro-Technical staff in the safe, efficient, and cost-effective operation, inspection, and repair of all shipboard electrical systems in compliance with company safety standards to ensure the protection and safety of all guests and crew members.
Applicants must hold an HND qualification in the electro-technical field and have a minimum one year’s sea-time experience.
ENTERTAINMENT & GUEST PROGRAMS
The Cruise Entertainment and Guest Program departments are multifaceted and incorporate a variety of teams that work together to create a captivating entertainment experience. Cruise lines offer everything from lavish production shows to organized activities, games shows, and informative presentations. They encourage high-quality entertainers, accomplished musicians, skilled production technicians, and knowledgeable lecturers to pursue opportunities to travel the world and delight their guests.
FOOD & BEVERAGE ADMINISTRATION
The Food and Beverage Administration team (F&B) ensures an excellent guest experience through exceptional dining venues and fun and exotic drinks. As a member of the F&B team you are also responsible for identifying process improvements, reviewing operational concerns, ensuring compliance with policies and procedures in all bar and food service areas, and analyzing daily revenue and cost activities in accordance with overall performance, location, and outlet categories.
FOOD & BEVERAGE MANAGER
The Food & Beverage Manager oversees the food and/or beverage operations onboard to achieve the highest level of customer service, maximize revenue opportunities, and control costs. This position supports a minimum of different restaurant and beverage outlets that contain exciting menus designed to match our numerous itineraries.
Applicants must have a degree from a recognized hotel/catering/culinary school; five years’ experience in a related senior management position with an extensive understanding of food production and restaurant service within the hotel or cruise ship industry; and a thorough knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, and the effective distribution of goods.
ASSISTANT FOOD & BEVERAGE MANAGER
The Assistant Food & Beverage Manager assists in the management and administration of all onboard Food & Beverage areas to achieve the highest levels of customer service, revenue generation, and cost control.
Applicants must have a minimum of three years’ experience in a related F&B management position with experience in beverage operations, food production, and restaurant service within the hotel or cruise ship industry. A degree from a recognized hotel/catering/culinary school is preferred.
JUNIOR ASSISTANT FOOD & BEVERAGE MANAGER
The Junior Assistant Food & Beverage Manager provides operational assistance and administrative support to onboard F&B management to achieve the highest levels of customer service, revenue generation, and cost control.
Applicants must have a minimum of two years’ experience in a related F&B management position with experience in beverage operations, food production, and restaurant service within the hotel or cruise ship industry. A degree from a recognized hotel/catering/culinary school is preferred.
FOOD & BEVERAGE OPERATIONS
The Restaurant department is responsible for the operation of dining services in all Food & Beverage venues. Providing excellent customer service to the guests is a key function in this position and requires interaction with multiple departments and levels of management to ensure the operation functions smoothly. The Restaurant department includes a variety of positions that require differing skill sets, so applicants will be considered for positions suitable to their level of experience. The growth and training opportunities within this fast-paced and dynamic department are vast.
Applicants for entry-level positions must have a minimum of one year’s experience in a restaurant, preferably in a fine dining establishment; good written and verbal communication skills; and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment with minimal supervision.
The Bar department looks after all front-of-house guest bars and supports back-of-house bar locations onboard vessels. This department is responsible for providing memorable experiences for the guests in terms of delivering high-quality beverages and warm, friendly, and professional service. This is an exciting department for individuals who enjoy customer interaction and have a “bubbly” personality. Entry-level positions within the Bar department include Bartender, Bar Steward, and Utility F&B Bars. The growth and training opportunities within this fast-paced and dynamic department are vast.
Applicants for entry-level positions must have a minimum of one year’s experience in a Food & Beverage environment involving the service of beverages, a general knowledge of bar products and presentation, the ability to work in a fast-paced environment with minimal supervision, and good written and verbal communication skills.
The Culinary department prides itself in preparing fresh, flavorful cuisine cooked with passion and care. This department is responsible for all food operations onboard the ship and manages food production for not only the guests but also the crew members. It is a very large and active department with a wide representation of the culinary arts. This department includes a variety of positions that require differing skill sets, so applicants will be considered for positions suitable to their level of experience.
Applicants for entry-level positions must have a minimum of one year’s culinary experience at a hotel restaurant or resort, a general understanding of HACCP regulations and safe food-handling procedures, the ability to perform physical work in a fast-paced environment with minimal supervision, and good written and verbal communication skills.
The Housekeeping department is responsible for maintaining the highest level of cleanliness and service in guest staterooms, public areas, and open decks as well as providing laundry services to both guests and crew members. This department is also responsible for the movement of baggage on and off the ship and making sure the ship is ready for new guests each and every cruise. Entry-level positions within this department include Utility Cleaner, Accommodations Attendant, and Laundry Steward.
Applicants must have prior experience within the hospitality industry, an understanding of public health and environmental requirements relating to cabin service, good verbal communication skills, and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment with minimal supervision.
The shipboard Human Resources team works in conjunction with the shoreside Employee Relations team to implement and uphold all HR policies and initiatives in line with the company’s core values. Additional responsibilities include overseeing the Crew Welfare program, creating an optimal work environment to enhance the onboard employee experience, and supporting shipboard and shoreside management teams.
Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree in human resources, adult education, or a related field from an accredited college or five years’ experience in shipboard operations, training, or employee relations. Knowledge of various international human resources standards in the areas of compensation, employee relations, general benefits, employment and staffing practices, and organizational development is preferred.
The onboard Information Technology team manages and supports all shipboard IT systems and operations while also providing maximum system use. The onboard team works closely with our shoreside IT department to continually improve our shipboard systems and technology. The focus is always on the guest experience and maintaining safe operations. Cruise lines do this by keeping informed of the latest technological advancements, and providing service excellence in all aspects of technology.
The IT Officer is responsible for the maintenance, operation, and support of all onboard computer systems, mobile devices, physical and virtual servers, networks, point-of-sale terminals, network equipment, and peripherals. This consists primarily of level 1 and 2 support as well as system monitoring and troubleshooting. The IT Officer works closely with the shoreside IT group to ensure all onboard systems perform at optimum levels.
Applicants must have at least two years’ related experience in areas of user support within a medium-sized LAN; a thorough knowledge of computer systems including but not limited to Linux, MS Office, Windows Client and Server editions; and experience troubleshooting PC hardware, software applications, and network connectivity. Additional requirements include the ability to meet deadlines and maintain an attention to detail and accuracy while working under pressure in a team environment, excellent written and verbal communication skills, and the ability to lift and carry IT equipment weighing up to 40 pounds. Management or supervisory experience and a BS or higher in computer science, MIS, or related field is strongly preferred.
COMPUTER SYSTEM SPECIALIST
The Computer System Specialist is responsible for the level 1 support of all onboard computer systems. This includes installing and configuring new PC system hardware, upgrading existing hardware, and supporting mobile devices. The Computer System Specialist works closely with the IT Officer to ensure all onboard systems perform at optimum levels.
Applicants must have strong customer service skills with the ability to work on multiple tasks; proficiency in the use of computer business applications with working knowledge of PC / LAN systems, hardware and software applications; a minimum of two years’ experience in areas of user support and troubleshooting hardware and software issues; the ability to meet deadlines and maintain attention to detail and accuracy while working in a team environment; excellent written and verbal communication skills; and the ability to lift and carry IT equipment weighing up to 40 pounds. Current CompTIA A+ 220-801 Certification, technical school certification, or three or more years of equivalent work experience is strongly preferred.
The Medical team provide safe, high-quality, evidence-based first response and patient care while promoting the highest standards of public health. As a medical professional you’ll join a small, close-knit team of maritime medical experts who provide personal, one-on-one care to patients from start to finish. Each ship has a Medical Center designed to meet the health care needs of the cruising population. With broad experience and proven proficiency in emergency medicine, the medical staff are expected to manage acute medical emergencies, trauma patients, and a diverse general practice case load.
As a cruise ship Nurse you will have the opportunity to travel the world, enhance your skills, and work alongside experienced medical professionals. Shipboard Nurses act as first responders, triage emergency calls, assess and treat at the scene, and transfer patients to our primary medical facility. Daily walk-in clinics are also open to meet the basic medical needs of our guests and crew members. Cruise lines maintain a well-equipped Medical Center onboard, which includes critical care areas, X-ray units, lab facilities, and a pharmacy. Shipboard opportunities are also available for qualified Nurses with Japanese or Mandarin language skills.
Applicants for the position of Nurse must have 3 years’ post-registration work experience in emergency medicine or acute care, and current registration and licensing with appropriate governmental or provincial regulatory agencies. Valid Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification must be obtained prior to joining a vessel.
Being a Paramedic offers you the ability and opportunity to travel the world, enhance your skills, and work alongside experienced nurses and doctors. Cruise lines maintain well-equipped Medical Centers onboard that include critical care areas, X-ray units, lab facilities, and a pharmacy. The Paramedic staff plays a crucial role in these processes as the first line of care. You will have the opportunity to respond to emergency scenes, treat the sick and injured, and then continue that care in the Medical Center as part of a highly trained team.
Applicants must have current certification and three years’ post-certification experience as a Paramedic. Six months’ experience in an emergency department, medical clinic, or alternative Paramedic work environment is preferred. Valid Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification must be obtained prior to joining a vessel.
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO DEPARTMENTS
Onboard photography is primarily centered on portrait and event photography, using both natural locations and onboard studio setups with backdrops and studio lighting. The Videographers produce a souvenir DVD documenting the cruise experience from beginning to end, showing both onboard entertainment and port tours and destinations. The work is fast-paced, high-volume, and high-quality. Attention to detail, teamwork, and outstanding customer service are the most important elements of this job. You will be shooting photos and videos both ashore and on the ship, processing photos and editing video footage, selling the finished products and other retail items, and providing top-quality customer service to the guests.
Applicants must have a minimum of one year’s photography work experience or two years of formal photography training. Strong computer skills and digital photography experience are preferred. Cruise lines provide all digital equipment and a state-of-the-art onboard lab for use during work hours. Retail sales or customer service experience is also preferred.
Applicants must have a minimum of one year of videography work experience or two years of formal video production training. Strong shooting and editing skills are required and prior sales and customer service experience is preferred. All video and editing equipment is provided onboard.
Cruise lines set the standard for onboard entertainment and offer exciting shipboard positions for knowledgeable and professional Technical Production staff. The first-class theaters and entertainment venues are equipped with state-of-the-art, multi-million-dollar technical systems complete with elaborate sets, spectacular costumes, and fascinating pyrotechnic effects. The lighting and audio systems consist of MA Lighting, High End, Vari-Lite, German Light Products, Martin Professional, Flying Pig Systems, Green Hippo, Digidesign Venue, and Midas. The stages are equipped with intricate Tait Towers and Stage Technologies rigging systems consisting of lifts, revolves, serapid tracks, and overhead line-sets.
All of the production shows are showcased in magnificent theaters and are both conceptualized and produced in-house. Cruise lines work with a talented and award-winning team of Directors, Scenic Designers, Lighting Designers, Choreographers, and Media Designers.
SENIOR PRODUCTION MANAGER
Senior Production Managers oversee all production show elements including lighting, audio, video, automation/rigging, scenery, pyrotechnics, and show rehearsals.
Applicants must have a minimum of three years’ professional work experience in stage management or production/technical direction, with an emphasis in musical theater productions. Strong organizational skills with excellent inter-personal skills are required.
ASSISTANT PRODUCTION MANAGER-LIGHTING
The Assistant Production Manager-Lighting is responsible for programming and operating lighting systems within multiple shipboard venues. This role safely delivers functioning and well-maintained lighting, pyrotechnic, and video systems in support of a dynamic, engaging, and memorable entertainment and activities program.
Applicants must have a minimum of three years’ professional work experience operating, designing, and maintaining MA Lighting, Flying Pig Systems consoles; High End, Vari-Lite, GLP, Martin Professional fixtures; Green Hippo, Catalyst media servers; and familiarity with Pyrodigital console operation.
ASSISTANT PRODUCTION MANAGER-AUDIO
The Assistant Production Manager-Audio is responsible for the operation, maintenance, and programing of live audio within a variety of onboard venues as assigned by shipboard management. This role safely delivers functioning and well-maintained audio systems in support of a dynamic, engaging, and memorable entertainment and activities program.
Applicants must have a minimum of three years’ professional work experience operating and maintaining large-format consoles and mixed media playback. Equipment operating specifics: Digidesign Venue Profile and SC48 consoles, iZ Corp RADAR playback system, LCS Matrix 3 automated surround-sound system, PeaveyMedia Matrix audio interface, QSC Q-SYS Integrated System, and Countryman/Shure UHF wireless microphones.
ASSISTANT PRODUCTION MANAGER-CREW CHIEF
The Assistant Production Manager-Crew Chief is responsible for safely operating functioning and well-maintained rigging/automation systems and associated props and scenery in support of a dynamic, engaging, and memorable entertainment and activities program. In addition, this role assists in the general operation of the venue while managing assigned production staff.
Applicants must have a minimum of three years’ professional work experience operating and maintaining Tait Towers Navigator systems and Stage Technologies Acrobat/Chameleon systems. A good understanding of rigging principles and practice is required. Strong organizational skills with excellent inter-personal skills are essential.
Stage Crew are responsible for assisting the Production team with the maintenance of all equipment, scenery, and props as well as show and event preparation pertaining to A/V equipment, scenic goods, props, lighting, and rigging.
Applicants must have a minimum of one year’s professional work experience with a technical theater background and must possess a solid understanding of basic theater principles to effectively work with mechanized stage equipment, pyrotechnic product, lighting equipment, scenic items and props, rigging and audio equipment, as assigned.
The Pursers department is the center of Hotel operations onboard all vessels. This dynamic department encompasses a variety of roles and is responsible for the management of hotel accounts, shore excursions, and shipboard personnel operations such as the Crew Office.
JUNIOR ASSISTANT PURSER
Junior Assistant Purser is the entry-level position into the Pursers department. Most Junior Assistant Pursers initially begin their onboard career at the Front Desk where responsibilities include providing exceptional customer service to each guest, assisting guests with account inquires, resolving customer service issues, and answering telephone calls. This position offers excellent career development and promotion opportunities in hotel management.
Applicants must have a minimum of two years’ experience in the hotel/hospitality industry performing junior management duties and front desk responsibilities at a large hotel. Applicants must also be computer literate, have experience with large volume cash handling, possess mathematical and analytical skills, and have excellent customer service skills. Secretarial skills and foreign language fluency are also preferred.
The Stewarding department is responsible for maintaining meticulous sanitation and hygiene standards in all Galley areas, ensuring that operating procedures are upheld and adhered to at all times. This includes the proper cleaning, handling, and storage of tableware, cookware, silverware, and Galley equipment.
Applicants must have a basic knowledge of cleaning and sanitation procedures for the food service industry, good verbal communications skills, and the ability to perform physical labor in a fast-paced environment with minimum supervision.
YOUTH STAFF DEPARTMENT
Youth Staff are the center of onboard life for the youngest guests and keep them enthralled, entertained, and safe in the onboard Youth and Teen Centers. Cruise ships have a variety of youth programs that are age-specific, including dedicated facilities for ages 3-7, 8-12, and 13-17. Activities are both fun and educational, including arts and crafts, games, sports, science workshops, and much more. Being outgoing and fun with an interest in entertaining kids of any age group are a must for this position!
Applicants for Youth Staff must have a minimum of two years’ work experience in a youth/child care-related or teaching field or previous employment in a recreational or educational setting such as camp counseling, coaching, and/or leading outdoor or community-center activities. Experience supervising kids in a group setting is also required. Experience with children of several ages is strongly preferred, as counselors must be willing to work with any age group to which they are assigned.