Cruise ships are large vessels that require numerous employees in different roles to operate successfully. For beginners, a cruise ship job can be an excellent way to earn money in a temporary role or to get started in a career. If you’re interested in finding work on a cruise ship for the first time, it’s important to know what to do and what your options are.
In this article, we describe the steps you can take to get a job on a cruise ship with no experience, discuss some common roles on a cruise ship and look at some of the important skills for working in this industry.
How to get a cruise ship job with no experience
If you’ve had no experience working on cruise ships, you can follow these steps to find and apply for a role:
1. Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements
Though different cruise lines may have varying preferences for job candidates, they generally have some eligibility requirements in common. Before you begin searching for employment opportunities, make sure that you can confirm the following to your potential employer’s human resources department:
Age: Cruise lines usually require that applicants be at least 18 years old. Some roles may require a minimum age of 21.
Passport and visas: Cruise ships often enter international ports, requiring everyone on board to possess a valid passport. To be considered for a cruise ship job, you may also be required to obtain the appropriate visas.
Criminal background: Because passenger safety is among the primary concerns of cruise lines, they generally require their employees to have no record of criminal history.
Medical exam or records: The issue of safety also requires cruise ship employees to be free of any contagious diseases. Thus, cruise lines may ask candidates to undergo a medical exam or furnish medical records for employment.
Tattoos and piercings: Many cruise lines insist that their employees have no visible tattoos or piercings. Tattoos may be permissible if you’re capable of covering them.
2. Identify and research your options
The next step is to determine who your potential employers are and what you can expect from working for them. Using a job search website, look for cruise lines that may hire candidates with no cruise ship experience. Once you’ve identified these companies, look through their corporate websites and employee reviews to get a sense of the work environment, employee benefits and other factors that interest you. To help you decide on the best cruise lines for you, consider creating company charts that detail the pros and cons of each.
3. Choose a role
Cruise ships comprise numerous functional areas, including passenger service, hospitality, food service, entertainment, maintenance, safety, deck work and engine work. To determine which area is right for you, search the job listings of your preferred cruise lines. You may find that many listings ask for some experience in the job’s primary activities but not necessarily any cruise ship experience. Some such listings are for assistant roles or cleaning positions in housekeeping or food service, but there may also be positions on deck and in departments such as entertainment.
4. Prepare your resume and cover letter
Once you’ve decided on a role, you can begin preparing your resume and cover letter. It’s a good idea to cater these documents to every employer to which you apply. To do so, study the job description for the role that interests you, focusing on the skills required for the role and the keywords used by the employer. Mention these skills and keywords in your documents to highlight your competencies and cover for your lack of cruise ship experience.
5. Submit your application
With your resume and cover letter completed, read them over to see whether you can make any corrections or improvements, and then submit your application. The employer may not want you to apply through a job site, instead preferring that you use the portal on their company website or email the human resources department directly. Reread the job listing carefully to make sure you’re following the company’s instructions for application.
What cruise ship jobs are there?
Cruise ship roles that require no experience are generally entry-level positions in different departments. Here are some entry-level cruise ship jobs you might consider. For the most up-to-date Indeed salaries, please click on the links below:
1. Room steward
National average salary: $28,124 per year
Primary duties: Also known as cabin stewards, room attendants are members of the housekeeping department whose main role is to clean and sanitize passengers’ rooms. Every day, while the passengers are out on the deck or onshore, the room attendants enter the rooms, make the beds, clean the bathrooms and surfaces, provide new towels and sheets as needed, empty the trash and generally freshen up the living quarters. They may also deliver important memos or notices to the passengers, placing these in conspicuous areas in the rooms.
National average salary: $28,455 per year
Primary duties: An attendant is a general service person on the staff of a cruise line. The specific duties of an attendant depend on the department for which they work, but they generally involve performing various services for passengers or staff on request. For example, slot attendants work in a ship’s casino, carrying out tasks such as paying out winnings, assisting guests and notifying technicians about required repairs on machines.
National average salary: $29,018 per year
Primary duties: On a cruise ship, dishwashers work in the galley—the cooking area of the vessel. They’re primarily responsible for cleaning and sterilizing the dishware and glassware from which passengers eat and drink, the utensils they use and the assorted cookware that the galley cooks use to prepare food. Afterward, they may also be responsible for putting away the cleaned items in their designated areas.
4. Bar utility
National average salary: $31,526 per year
Primary duties: A bar utility, also known as a bar assistant or assistant bar steward, is a member of the bar staff who supports the bartenders. They’re responsible for ensuring that the bar’s drinks and ingredients remain stocked. They also take care of cleaning and sanitizing bar tools and glassware. Additional duties include cleaning the bar area and removing waste.
National average salary: $31,778 per year
Primary duties: Cruise ship deckhands are general-purpose crew members who perform a broad array of duties on the vessel. Their duties include monitoring activity on the main platforms and walkways, maintaining the good condition and cleanliness of the main platforms and the items on them and providing assistance to passengers. In some cases, deckhands may address operational or passenger problems or direct these issues to others who can resolve them.
Skills for working on a cruise ship with no experience
The following skills and qualities may improve your chances of finding work on a cruise ship as an inexperienced candidate:
Interpersonal communication: Interpersonal communication refers to the ability to convey thoughts, feelings and other information to others, both in speech and in writing. Interpersonal skills are essential for common duties such as relaying messages, reporting problems and resolving conflicts between passengers or colleagues.
Organization: Organization is the ability to manage your time, energy and material resources in an orderly, efficient way. Your role on a cruise ship is likely to require you to handle various duties throughout the day, and organization skills can help you execute them successfully.
Teamwork: A person with strong teamwork skills can work well with others to complete tasks. This skill is essential when working with the diverse group of people you may encounter on a cruise ship, both on the staff and among the passengers.
Initiative: Initiative is the quality of taking action or carrying out a necessary task without requiring direction from someone else. This quality is vital in various roles, such as that of a deckhand, in which much of the work is unsupervised.
Friendliness: Working on a cruise ship puts you in contact with a large number of passengers, and it’s among your duties to ensure they enjoy their experience. Thus, a friendly personality and approachable attitude are essential when interacting with them.