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How Much Does A Cabin Steward Make On A Cruise Ship


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Dorolisa Renner



Working on a cruise ship can be a thrilling and lucrative career choice for many individuals. One of the most important roles on a cruise ship is that of a cabin steward. These hardworking professionals play a vital role in maintaining the cleanliness and comfort of the cabins where guests stay during their voyage.


A cabin steward’s responsibilities go beyond just cleaning cabins; they are also responsible for providing excellent customer service and ensuring that guests have a memorable and enjoyable experience onboard. They must be attentive to guests’ needs, respond to their requests promptly, and maintain a high level of professionalism at all times.


In addition to providing exceptional service, cabin stewards work long hours and often face challenging situations. They must be able to handle the physical demands of the job, such as lifting heavy items, bending, and standing for extended periods. Attention to detail is crucial as they are responsible for maintaining an impeccable level of cleanliness in the cabins.


Furthermore, cabin stewards must possess excellent communication skills and be able to work effectively as part of a diverse team. They interact with guests from various backgrounds, cultures, and languages, which requires the ability to adapt and provide service that meets individual needs.


Beyond their core duties, cabin stewards often have the opportunity to explore different ports of call during their time off. This aspect of the job allows them to experience new cultures, interact with locals, and create unforgettable memories.


In this article, we will delve into the world of cabin stewards on cruise ships. We will discuss their job duties, factors impacting their salaries, the average salary range for cabin stewards, additional benefits and perks, tips and gratuities, how to become a cabin steward, and the challenges and advantages of this profession. So, buckle up and let’s explore the fascinating world of cabin stewards on cruise ships!


Job Duties of a Cabin Steward

As a cabin steward, you are responsible for ensuring the cleanliness, comfort, and overall experience of the guests staying in the cabins. Your job duties may include:

  1. Cabin Cleaning: The primary responsibility of a cabin steward is to clean and sanitize the cabins thoroughly. This includes making the beds, changing linens, vacuuming, dusting, and disinfecting surfaces. Attention to detail is crucial to ensure that the cabins are always in pristine condition for the guests.
  2. Restocking Supplies: Cabin stewards are responsible for replenishing towels, toiletries, and other essential supplies in the cabins. This ensures that guests have everything they need for a comfortable stay.
  3. Laundry Services: Some cruise ships may require cabin stewards to handle the laundry needs of the guests. This may involve picking up dirty laundry from the cabins, washing, drying, and returning them in a timely manner.
  4. Greeting and Assisting Guests: As a cabin steward, you are often the first point of contact for guests. Greeting them warmly, assisting with luggage, providing information about onboard facilities and activities, and addressing any concerns or special requests are all part of your role.
  5. Room Service: In addition to cleaning the cabins, cabin stewards may also be responsible for delivering room service orders to the guests’ cabins. This includes taking orders, setting up the trays, and ensuring prompt delivery.
  6. Reporting Maintenance Issues: It is essential for cabin stewards to be vigilant and report any maintenance issues or damages in the cabins promptly. This helps ensure that the cabins are in optimal condition and provides a safe and comfortable experience for the guests.
  7. Assisting with Emergency Procedures: Cabin stewards play a vital role in emergency situations, such as evacuations or medical emergencies. They are trained to provide assistance, guide guests to safety, and follow the ship’s emergency procedures.

Overall, as a cabin steward, you are responsible for creating a clean, comfortable, and welcoming environment for guests. Your attention to detail, excellent customer service skills, and ability to work efficiently are essential for ensuring guest satisfaction.


Factors Impacting Cabin Steward Salaries

Several factors can influence the salaries of cabin stewards working on cruise ships. Understanding these factors can help individuals gain insight into the potential earning opportunities in this profession. Here are some key factors that impact cabin steward salaries:

  1. Experience and Seniority: Like most occupations, experience plays a crucial role in determining salary. Cabin stewards with more years of experience and a proven track record of providing exceptional service are often rewarded with higher salaries and more opportunities for advancement.
  2. Cruise Line and Ship Size: The cruise line and the size of the ship can significantly impact cabin steward salaries. Luxury cruise lines or large ships typically offer higher salaries compared to smaller cruise lines or ships. This is because offering a higher salary helps attract and retain top talent in the industry.
  3. Position and Rank: Within the cabin steward hierarchy, there may be various positions and ranks. Higher-ranking positions, such as Head Cabin Steward or Chief Cabin Steward, often come with increased responsibilities and higher salaries.
  4. Contract Length: Cabin stewards typically work on contractual terms, which can range from a few months to a year or longer. The length of the contract can impact the salary. Longer contracts may come with additional benefits or higher pay due to the longer commitment required.
  5. Geographical Location: The cruise itinerary and the location of the ship can also affect salaries. Ships that travel to high-demand destinations or regions may offer higher salaries to attract qualified cabin stewards for those routes.
  6. Education and Training: While formal education may not be a requirement for becoming a cabin steward, additional certifications or specialized training can enhance earning potential. Advanced training in areas such as hospitality, customer service, and emergency response can lead to higher salaries and better job opportunities.
  7. Tips and Gratuities: Cabin stewards often receive a portion of the tips and gratuities given by guests. Tips can serve as a significant supplement to the base salary and can vary depending on guest satisfaction, demand, and tipping policies of the cruise line.

It is important to note that cabin steward salaries can vary greatly depending on these factors. It is advisable to research specific cruise lines and their compensation packages to get a more accurate understanding of the earning potential in this profession.


Average Salary Range for Cabin Stewards

The salary range for cabin stewards working on cruise ships can vary depending on several factors, as mentioned earlier. While it is challenging to provide an exact figure, we can provide a general idea of the average salary range based on industry research and reports.


On average, entry-level cabin stewards can expect to earn a monthly salary ranging from $1,200 to $1,800. This range may increase with experience, additional certifications, and higher-ranking positions. Mid-level cabin stewards with a few years of experience can earn between $1,800 and $2,500 per month. Senior-level positions, such as Head Cabin Steward or Chief Cabin Steward, can earn salaries upwards of $3,000 per month or more.


It is important to note that these figures are just an approximation and can vary based on factors such as the cruise line, ship size, itinerary, and the specific position held. Additionally, these figures do not include additional benefits, such as free accommodations, meals, and access to onboard facilities, which are often provided.


Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, tips and gratuities can significantly impact a cabin steward’s earnings. It is common for guests to provide tips as a token of appreciation for excellent service. The amount of tips can vary depending on the satisfaction of the guests and the tipping policies of the cruise line. Tips received by cabin stewards can be a significant supplement to the base salary and can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per month, depending on the cruise line and the demand for their services.


It is advisable to research specific cruise lines and their salary structures to get a more accurate understanding of the earning potential for cabin stewards in the industry. Keep in mind that working on a cruise ship often provides additional perks and benefits beyond the base salary, making it a lucrative career choice for many individuals.


Additional Benefits and Perks for Cabin Stewards

Working as a cabin steward on a cruise ship comes with a range of additional benefits and perks that make it an appealing career choice. These perks can vary depending on the cruise line and the specific ship, but here are some common ones that cabin stewards can enjoy:

  1. Free Accommodations: Cabin stewards are provided with onboard accommodations free of charge. This eliminates the need to pay for rent or mortgage, which can significantly reduce living expenses.
  2. Meals and Dining: Cruise lines typically provide free meals for their employees, including cabin stewards. This allows them to enjoy a variety of delicious cuisines without worrying about grocery shopping or cooking.
  3. Healthcare Benefits: Many cruise lines offer healthcare benefits to their employees, including cabin stewards. These benefits may include medical, dental, and vision coverage, ensuring that cabin stewards have access to necessary healthcare services.
  4. Access to Onboard Facilities: Cabin stewards have access to various onboard facilities and amenities, such as gyms, swimming pools, theaters, and crew recreation areas. This allows them to relax and enjoy leisure activities during their free time.
  5. Opportunities for Career Advancement: Working as a cabin steward can provide opportunities for career advancement within the cruise industry. With experience and proven competence, cabin stewards can progress to higher-ranking positions, such as Head Cabin Steward or Chief Cabin Steward, which often come with increased responsibilities and higher salaries.
  6. Travel and Exploration: Cruise ships travel to various destinations worldwide, offering cabin stewards the opportunity to visit exciting and exotic locations during their time off. This gives them the chance to explore different cultures, cuisines, and landmarks while broadening their horizons.
  7. Crew Activities and Events: Cruise lines organize special events and activities exclusively for crew members. These events can include parties, talent shows, sports tournaments, and crew excursions, fostering a sense of camaraderie and allowing cabin stewards to socialize and form friendships with colleagues from around the world.

It is important to note that the specific benefits and perks can vary depending on the cruise line and the ship. It is advisable to research the offerings provided by specific cruise lines to get a better understanding of the additional benefits that cabin stewards can enjoy.


Overall, these benefits and perks make working as a cabin steward on a cruise ship not only financially rewarding but also an enriching and fulfilling experience.


Tips and Gratuities

Tips and gratuities play a significant role in the earnings of cabin stewards working on cruise ships. Guests often show their appreciation for outstanding service by providing tips, which can be a substantial supplement to the base salary. Here’s what you need to know about tips and gratuities as a cabin steward:


Tipping Culture: Tipping practices vary across different cultures and nationalities. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the tipping customs of the cruise line you work for and the guests you’ll be serving. Some cruise lines may have specific guidelines regarding tipping, while others may allow guests to tip at their discretion.


Tip Distribution: Cruise lines typically have a policy for distributing tips among the crew members. These policies ensure that the tips received are distributed fairly among all the staff members who provide direct service to guests, including cabin stewards, waitstaff, bartenders, and housekeeping staff. The distribution is often based on a predetermined percentage or a shared pool system.


Guest Satisfaction: The amount of tips a cabin steward receives is often linked to guest satisfaction. Providing exceptional service, going above and beyond guests’ expectations, and ensuring their comfort and satisfaction can result in higher tips. Being attentive to guests’ needs, promptly responding to their requests, and creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere can significantly impact the tips you receive.


Customary Amount: The customary amount for tipping varies, but it is often around 15% to 20% of the total service bill. However, on cruise ships, guests may have different expectations and may choose to tip based on their overall experience and the level of service they receive during their stay. Some guests may tip more generously, while others may tip less or not at all. It’s important to remember that tipping is a personal choice and can vary from guest to guest.


Handling Tips: Cabin stewards typically receive tips in various forms, including cash or through electronic tipping systems. It’s important to follow the appropriate procedures and guidelines set by the cruise line for handling tips. Some cruise lines require cabin stewards to report and pool their tips, while others may allow individual retention of tips. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the specific rules and regulations regarding tips on your cruise ship.


Supplement to Base Salary: Tips and gratuities can significantly supplement the base salary of a cabin steward. The amount of tips received can vary depending on factors such as guest satisfaction, demand for services, and specific tipping policies. Cabin stewards often report that tips can make a substantial difference in their overall earnings.


Overall, tips and gratuities are an integral part of a cabin steward’s income. Providing exceptional service, going the extra mile to ensure guest satisfaction, and maintaining a positive and professional attitude can help maximize your tips and create a rewarding financial experience as a cabin steward.


How to Become a Cabin Steward

Becoming a cabin steward on a cruise ship requires a combination of skills, qualifications, and personal qualities. While there are no strict educational requirements, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of landing a job in this role. Here’s a general overview of how to become a cabin steward:


Earn Relevant Certifications: While not always required, obtaining certifications in hospitality, customer service, or housekeeping can enhance your credentials and increase your chances of being hired as a cabin steward. These certifications demonstrate your commitment to the profession and your knowledge of the industry’s best practices.


Develop Strong Language Skills: As a cabin steward, you’ll be interacting with guests from around the world. Having strong language skills, particularly in English, is essential. Consider taking language courses or improving your language proficiency to communicate effectively with guests and colleagues.


Gain Experience in Hospitality: Prior experience in the hospitality industry can be advantageous when applying for a cabin steward position. Working in hotels, resorts, or other customer service-oriented roles can provide valuable experience in delivering exceptional service and maintaining high standards of cleanliness.


Attend Recruitment Events: Cruise lines often hold recruitment events where aspiring cabin stewards can meet with hiring managers and present their qualifications. Research recruitment events in your area or attend job fairs specifically targeted at cruise ship careers to network and showcase your skills and enthusiasm.


Prepare a Professional Resume: Craft a well-designed resume that highlights your relevant skills and experience. Include any certifications, hospitality experience, language skills, and customer service-oriented achievements. Customizing your resume to showcase your suitability for the cabin steward role can make a strong impression on potential employers.


Apply Through Cruise Line Websites: Most major cruise lines have an online career portal where you can submit your application directly. Research the cruise lines that interest you and visit their websites to explore job opportunities and submit your application. Be sure to follow their application guidelines and provide all the necessary documents and information.


Prepare for Interviews: If your application is shortlisted, you may be invited for an interview. Prepare for the interview by researching the cruise line and familiarizing yourself with their values and service standards. Be ready to discuss your relevant experience, your customer service skills, and your ability to work in a demanding and diverse environment.


Obtain Required Documents: Before joining a cruise ship as a cabin steward, you will need to obtain necessary documents such as a valid passport, seafarer’s medical certificate, and any required visas or work permits. Ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork in order to be eligible for employment.


By following these steps, you can increase your chances of becoming a cabin steward on a cruise ship. Remember to stay determined, demonstrate your passion for delivering exceptional service, and be prepared for the challenges and enriching experiences that come with working in this dynamic and exciting industry.


Challenges and Advantages of Working as a Cabin Steward

Working as a cabin steward on a cruise ship comes with its own set of unique challenges and advantages. While it can be a rewarding and exciting career, it’s important to be aware of the potential obstacles and benefits. Here are some of the challenges and advantages of working as a cabin steward:



  1. Long Hours and Demanding Work: Cabin stewards often work long hours, sometimes up to 10-12 hours per day. They may have to handle multiple cabins and perform physically demanding tasks, such as lifting heavy items and bending. It requires stamina, strength, and resilience to meet the demands of the job.
  2. Irregular Schedule: Cabin stewards work on a rotational shift basis, which means they may have to work evenings, weekends, and holidays. This can disrupt their personal life and make it challenging to maintain a regular routine or spend time with family and friends.
  3. Isolation and Homesickness: Being away from home for extended periods can be emotionally challenging. Cabin stewards may experience feelings of homesickness and may have limited contact with their loved ones. Adapting to the confined living quarters and the isolated nature of life onboard can be tough.
  4. Dealing with Difficult Guests: While the majority of guests are pleasant and appreciative, cabin stewards may encounter difficult or demanding guests from time to time. Handling guest complaints, resolving conflicts, and maintaining a professional and respectful demeanor can be challenging.
  5. Sea Sickness: The constant motion of the ship can cause sea sickness, especially during rough weather conditions. Cabin stewards need to develop coping mechanisms and strategies to manage this discomfort and continue performing their duties effectively.


  1. Travel Opportunities: One of the most significant advantages of working as a cabin steward is the opportunity to travel to various destinations around the world. Cabin stewards have the chance to explore new cultures, visit breathtaking locations, and experience new adventures during their time off.
  2. Job Security and Growth: The cruise industry continues to grow, offering stable employment opportunities for cabin stewards. With experience and dedication, cabin stewards can advance to higher positions, gaining more responsibility, higher salaries, and increased job satisfaction.
  3. Networking and Cultural Exchange: Working on a cruise ship exposes cabin stewards to a diverse and multicultural environment. They have the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds, learn new languages, and develop lasting friendships with colleagues and guests from across the globe.
  4. Additional Benefits and Perks: Cabin stewards often receive additional benefits, such as free accommodations, meals, and access to onboard facilities. These perks can substantially reduce living expenses and provide opportunities for leisure and relaxation during their time off.
  5. Professional Development: Working as a cabin steward allows individuals to develop a range of skills, such as customer service, problem-solving, time management, and teamwork. These transferable skills can be valuable in a variety of future career paths.

Despite the challenges, many individuals find working as a cabin steward on a cruise ship to be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. The opportunity to travel, meet new people, and gain valuable skills makes it a unique and enticing career choice.



Working as a cabin steward on a cruise ship offers an exciting and rewarding career path for individuals with a passion for hospitality and a desire to travel. While the job comes with its challenges, such as long hours and time away from home, the advantages, such as the opportunity for personal growth, travel, and unique experiences, outweigh the difficulties.


Cabin stewards play a crucial role in ensuring the comfort and satisfaction of guests during their cruise. From maintaining impeccably clean cabins to delivering excellent customer service, cabin stewards contribute to creating unforgettable experiences for passengers from all walks of life.


The salary of a cabin steward can vary depending on factors like experience, cruise line, ship size, and position held. However, the potential for additional earnings through tips and gratuities adds to the overall attractiveness of this profession.


Furthermore, cabin stewards enjoy additional benefits and perks, such as free accommodations, meals, and access to onboard facilities, which contribute to a more comfortable and financially advantageous working environment.


While the life of a cabin steward may be demanding, it offers numerous advantages, including opportunities for personal and professional growth, cultural exchange, and the chance to explore destinations worldwide during downtime.


If you have a passion for customer service, a strong work ethic, and a desire to embark on a unique adventure, working as a cabin steward on a cruise ship can be an excellent career option. It allows you to hone your skills, travel the world, and create unforgettable memories, all while being part of an industry that thrives on providing exceptional experiences to guests.


So, if you are ready to embark on a journey of discovery, in both personal and professional realms, consider becoming a cabin steward on a cruise ship. Your dedication, hard work, and commitment to providing excellent service will ensure a fulfilling and prosperous career in the captivating world of cruise hospitality.