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How to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship

If working on a cruise ship sounds like a paid vacation to you, check out the jobs available on the high seas.


  • Step 1: Test your sea legs Gauge how prone you are to seasickness by taking a boat ride in choppy water for a few hours. Though cruise ships rarely get rocked around like a small boat, there will be times when you’ll hit rough seas.
  • TIP: Being prone to seasickness isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker—many people build up a tolerance, and there are medications to relieve bad cases—but you should know what you’re getting into before applying.
  • Step 2: Assess yourself Honestly assess your personality traits. Most cruise positions require you to be energetic, outgoing, and generally a people person—you’ll have to keep that smile on your face seven days a week for a period of five or so months at a time.
  • Step 3: Research cruise lines Research different cruise lines. Find out which lines cater to which types of vacationers, what ports they visit, and any other aspects that interest you. Check if any have recently added new ships, which might mean job openings.
  • TIP: Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Princess Cruises have the three largest fleets, and consequently have the most positions to fill.
  • Step 4: Look up jobs Once you’ve found a carrier that appeals to you, get a listing of their available positions. Different cruises will have different needs. A family cruise will likely always have a demand for babysitters, just like a cruise that focuses on single adults needs musicians.
  • Step 5: Pick positions Pick positions based on your interests, personal strengths, and work experience.
  • Step 6: Tweak your resume Tweak your resume to highlight all-around skills that come in handy on a cruise ship. People who are comfortable with public speaking or who have lifeguard certifications are particularly appealing.
  • Step 7: Apply Apply for a position, making sure to follow the application process to the letter. Follow up if you don’t hear back. With any luck, you’ll soon be waving goodbye to the shore from the lido deck.
  • FACT: The first pleasure cruise ship was launched in 1900.

You Will Need

  • Sea legs
  • Self-assessment
  • An updated resume

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