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What you need to know before you apply for a cruise job

A lot of people ask where to apply and how one would get a cruise job, and how it is like to work onboard a cruise ship. Most of these questions are too vague to answer - or the answers could fill an entire book.

Here are some suggestions on how to get closer to your dream of working onboard a cruise ship:

What you need to know before you apply for a cruise job


Do a research on the internet, read the articles you find on this website, anything you can find about working onboard a cruise ship.

Check out the websites of the cruise lines and look at their employment sections. Most cruise lines give an overview of working onboard a cruise ship and more important, they tell you what the requirements are for each position.

Think about if you would like to work on big ships or more mid-sized ships. Do your research on the different cruise lines. Remember, that you will not apply for a ship, but a cruise line. You can be sent to whatever ship the cruise line decides. The same applies for the area where the ship will be sailing.

Ask yourself, if this life is for you: shared cabin, 6 months contracts, working every day 10-12 hours per day, being away from friends and family, strict rules, hierarchy…

Think about what you want to achieve by working onboard a cruise ship: Make and save money? Travel? Make a career onboard a cruise ship? There are positions which serve better one goal than another.

Your Skills and Experience

On almost all cruise ships, English is the first language. If English is not your first language, you might want to improve on your English skills. Depending on the position you qualify for/want to apply for, you need to speak one or more additional languages.

Ask yourself, with what (knowledge, work experience) you can be of service to the cruise line.

A cruise line is no different from any other business. They are looking for people with work experience in the field/position the applicant applies for. Work experience is more important than academics.

Apply for Jobs

Depending on your qualifications and work experience, find the position you want to apply for.

Apply directly to the cruise lines or to job offers you find on internet job sites. Do not use agencies, which ask you to pay money for applying to them. Don't get caught by scammers.

Applications which read "I will do anything" will not get you even a return email.

From the time of your application to hear back from the cruise line all waiting times are possible. You can receive a reply within days (or even hours), or might have to wait for months. It depends on what the cruise line’s needs are at that particular time and how good of a match you are (i.e. your work experience).

Written by Scarlet Perez