Work on a Cruise Ship: Travel the World and Get Paid
|A cruise ship port stop in Venice, Italy.
A great way to see the world and get
paid at the same time is to work on a cruise ship. I just
completed my first contract with Princess Cruise Lines and
it was utterly fantastic. My itinerary took me all over
the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic into the Caribbean.
The ports I saw included Naples, Florence, Monte Carlo,
Cannes, Barcelona, Venice, Istanbul, Croatia, Jamaica, the
Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, and Mexico — just to
name a few.
There are of course numerous paid positions
on a cruise ship and numerous cruise ships to choose from.
However, not all positions are desirable and not all cruise
companies are worth your efforts. Many cruise ship jobs
will have you working 12-14 hour days, with no time to
see the world except through the ship windows. Paid jobs
that give you time to explore each port are the ones that
make cruising worthwhile.
As a theater technician I mostly work
nights. So I spend most of my days seeing the ports: taking
free tours offered by the ship or bicycling around with
a bike I brought with me. Production is one of the best
positions on the ship. Also, entertainers have more free
time then they know what to do with and the pay is also
a bit higher than for other positions. For production jobs,
a multitude of sites offer assistance. These include Cruise Ship Jobs and CruiseJobFinder. Often it is best to go directly to the cruise line's homepage and check out their
employment opportunities. To work behind the scenes you
will often need to have had a few years of experience or schooling.
Dancers and musicians must audition,
and the competition is stiff. Musicians often go through
an agent, who will help them acquire jobs on a variety of
cruise lines. Websites for musicians and performers include Proship Entertainment and Working on Cruise Ships — Singing and Vocal Careers (see our resources for travel jobs for more cruise ship companies).
Other jobs on ships that give you the
time to get off the ship and explore include work as a youth
or teen staff employee. When the ship is in port you will
not work; the hard days are sea days when you watch the
children all day.
If you like retail and enjoy working
with the passengers, then you can work in one of the shops
on board. These are never open when the ship is in port,
so you have free time to see the country. The casino is
much the same, but the nights are long. Photographers also
have some free time but less than all the above. You may
have to spend time photographing ashore and developing photos.
|Exploring a waterfall during
a port stop in Grenada. Photo by Kristin Carter.
The rest of the jobs on a cruise ship
for those in the dining room, galley, officers, and spa
involve many hours of work and little time to see
The pay on a cruise ship is a bit less
than what you would make on land for the same work, but
your room and board are free and there is nothing to buy.
There are crew food areas, crew bars, crew pools, a crew
fitness area, movies, theme parties, and much more to keep
you entertained while not working. The fun never ends.
Be careful what ship you work for.
I have nothing but good things to say about working for
Princess Cruise Lines,
and Royal Caribbean. Carnival, Norwegian, and Holland America got
mediocre reviews from my peers and the pay and hours are not as good.
After a 6-week break I will start in
the southern Caribbean and then cross the Atlantic for a
summer in England, Scotland, Ireland, and some of the Baltic
countries. I will continue cruising until I see most of
the world — at least the ports I can see on a