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Paid Work on a Cruise Ship

The Right Way to Get Hired

Paid cruise ship work is available worldwide, here in Scandinavia
Paid cruise ship work is available worldwide, here in Scandinavia.

If you are looking to change careers or just for a change of lifestyle, now is a good time to get a job on a cruise ship. According to the most recent statistics, over 25 million people worldwide have taken cruise vacations the past year, supplying over 300,000 jobs. Getting hired by a cruise line requires making sure that the right person sees your carefully put together employment package.

Crew agencies are generally a waste of money. Even if the agency tells you it will guarantee you a job or your money back, it will require rejection letters from the cruise companies to prove that you haven't been hired. But cruise companies don't send rejection letters.

To get hired, you first need to know what positions or jobs are available that fit your qualifications. Then, you need to know the right places to send your resume.

Americans and Canadians are generally hired for jobs that require passenger contact such as jobs at the front desk, boutiques, casinos, salons or spas, and work in entertainment, photography, or as youth counselors. Positions in the galley, restaurants, bars, and technical departments are usually filled through agencies outside of North America.

The following websites have excellent information about their shipboard positions:

Carnival Corporation is the largest cruise vacation company in the world, operating 13 different companies or "brands." Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd operates two different brands: Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises. Go to its employment website for further information.

Windstar Cruises and Holland America Line restricted who they hire for because of labor agreements in their unions. Go to their websites for employment addresses for photographers, gift shop clerics, hair dressers, and entertainers:,

Carnival Corporation hires all casino positions for all of its cruise ship brands. Go to for a listing of job descriptions and contact information.

You should send your employment package directly to the cruise line, using the addresses and contact names that you find on their employment websites. Do not send your resume via email; instead, put together a professional package that will guarantee their attention. It should include a resume, a cover letter, two letters of reference, any diplomas or awards, and a picture of yourself. Send your folder either priority mail or courier.

Tailor your resume to highlight experience of interest to the cruising industry. For example, if you are applying for a junior purser position, you should highlight hotel (front desk), banking, receptionist, or customer service experience. If you are applying for a youth counselor position, you should highlight your childcare, teaching, coaching, or nursing experiences.

The cover letter needs to be individually-targeted. Do your homework. Refer to current company information such as a new itinerary or the debut of a new ship. Also in the cover letter, say that you have a valid passport and when it will expire.

Ships cruise 12 months a year, so there is no set time to apply for a job. The turnover in the industry is quite high since many people only want to work for a short period of time.

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