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How To Get A Job At Cruise Ship


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Alida Orcutt



Working on a cruise ship can be an exciting and rewarding career opportunity. Not only do you get to travel to different destinations around the world, but you also have the chance to meet new people, gain valuable work experience, and enjoy a unique lifestyle at sea. If you have ever dreamt of working on a cruise ship, this article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to get a job in this industry.


Before you embark on your journey to find a job on a cruise ship, it’s important to understand that the hiring process can be competitive, and each company may have different requirements and expectations for their employees. However, with the right knowledge and preparation, you can increase your chances of landing a job on a cruise ship and begin a fulfilling career at sea.


Throughout this article, we will explore the various steps you need to take to secure a job on a cruise ship. From researching different cruise ship companies and determining your desired position to updating your resume and cover letter and attending recruitment events, we will cover everything you need to know to navigate the hiring process.


Whether you are interested in working as a chef, entertainer, deck officer, hospitality staff, or any other position on a cruise ship, this comprehensive guide will provide you with the necessary information to kickstart your career in the cruise industry. So, without further ado, let’s get started on your journey to landing a job on a cruise ship!


Step 1: Research different cruise ship companies

Before you begin your job search, it’s important to research different cruise ship companies to find the one that aligns with your career goals and preferences. Each cruise line has its own unique culture, itineraries, and target demographics, so it’s crucial to choose a company that suits your interests and values.


Start by exploring the websites and social media profiles of various cruise ship companies. Look for information about their fleet, the destinations they visit, and the types of positions they offer. Pay attention to their company mission and values, as well as the amenities and services they provide to their passengers.


Additionally, consider reading reviews and testimonials from current and former employees to get a sense of their experiences working for different cruise lines. Online forums and communities dedicated to cruise ship jobs can provide valuable insights and advice from individuals who have firsthand experience in the industry.


Furthermore, some cruise ship companies host recruitment events or job fairs in different cities or online. Attending these events can give you the opportunity to meet recruiters and learn more about the company culture and available positions.


By conducting thorough research, you can narrow down your options and target the cruise ship companies that align with your career aspirations. This knowledge will also come in handy when tailoring your resume and cover letter for specific companies during the application process.


Remember, working on a cruise ship can be a life-changing experience, so take the time to research and select the company that suits you best. The next step is to determine your desired position, which we will explore in the following section.


Step 2: Determine your desired position

Once you have researched different cruise ship companies, the next step is to determine the specific position you want to pursue. The cruise ship industry offers a wide range of job opportunities, from guest services and food and beverage to entertainment and marine operations.


Consider your skills, experience, and personal interests when selecting a position. Are you passionate about providing exceptional customer service? Are you a talented musician or performer? Do you have experience in hospitality or management? Identifying your strengths and passions will help you narrow down the available job options.


Keep in mind that each position has its own set of requirements and qualifications. Some positions, such as deck officers or engineers, may require specialized training and certifications. Others, like hospitality staff or entertainment performers, may focus more on skills and experience in their respective fields.


It’s also crucial to consider the lifestyle and living conditions of the position you choose. Working on a cruise ship often involves long hours, shared accommodation, and being away from home for extended periods. Make sure you are comfortable with these aspects before committing to a particular role.


If you’re unsure about which position to pursue, consider reaching out to individuals who currently work or have previously worked on cruise ships. They can provide valuable insights into the different roles and offer guidance based on their own experiences.


Once you have determined your desired position, you can begin tailoring your resume and cover letter to highlight the relevant skills and experience that make you a suitable candidate for that specific role. In the next step, we will discuss how to update your resume and cover letter for the cruise ship industry.


Step 3: Update your resume and cover letter

Before applying for a job on a cruise ship, it’s essential to update your resume and cover letter to showcase your skills, experience, and suitability for the position you’re interested in. Remember that your resume and cover letter are your first impression and can significantly impact your chances of getting an interview.


Start by reviewing and revamping your resume to highlight relevant experience and qualifications. Include any previous work experience in the hospitality or customer service industry, as well as any certifications or training you have obtained. Tailor your resume to emphasize skills and achievements that are applicable to the cruise ship industry.


When writing your cover letter, customize it for each cruise ship company you apply to. Address the cover letter to the hiring manager or recruitment team and express your enthusiasm for the company and the position you’re interested in. Highlight how your skills and experience make you a valuable asset and a good fit for the company.


Be sure to mention any previous experience working in a team, as teamwork is essential on a cruise ship. Also, emphasize any customer service skills you possess, as providing excellent service to passengers is a crucial aspect of working in the industry.


Remember to make your resume and cover letter concise, organized, and error-free. Use bullet points to outline your responsibilities and achievements in previous roles, and quantify your accomplishments wherever possible. Proofread multiple times to ensure there are no spelling or grammar errors.


You may also consider creating an online profile or portfolio to showcase your work and skills. Include a link to your online portfolio in your resume or cover letter, allowing employers to get a more comprehensive view of your capabilities.


Once you have updated your resume and cover letter, you can start applying for cruise ship jobs. Many cruise ship companies have online applications on their websites where you can submit your documents. In the next step, we will discuss how to effectively apply for cruise ship jobs online or directly.


Step 4: Apply for cruise ship jobs online or directly

When it comes to applying for cruise ship jobs, there are two main avenues to consider: applying online or contacting the cruise ship companies directly. Both methods have their own benefits, so it’s important to choose the approach that aligns with your preferences and the specific cruise ship positions you’re interested in.


Many cruise ship companies have online portals or job boards on their websites where you can browse and apply for available positions. These portals allow you to create an account, upload your resume and cover letter, and submit your application directly. Make sure to carefully read the job descriptions and requirements before applying to ensure that you meet the criteria.


When applying online, it’s essential to follow the specific instructions provided by the cruise ship company. Pay attention to any additional documents or forms they may require, such as scanned copies of certifications or identification documents. Tailor your application to highlight your relevant skills and qualifications for the position.


Another approach is to contact the cruise ship companies directly. Research the contact information for their hiring departments or human resources teams and send them a customized email expressing your interest in working for their company. Attach your resume and cover letter to the email and explain why you believe you would be a valuable addition to their team.


While applying directly may take more effort, it allows you to make a personal connection with the company and showcase your enthusiasm and dedication. Remember to follow up on your application if you don’t receive a response within a reasonable time frame.


In both cases, be prepared to wait for a response as the hiring process for cruise ship jobs can take time due to the high volume of applicants. Stay proactive and continue to search for other openings and opportunities while you wait to hear back.


Now that you have submitted your application, the next step is to prepare for potential interviews. In the following section, we will discuss how to effectively prepare for interviews with cruise ship recruiters.


Step 5: Prepare for the interview

Preparing for an interview is crucial when applying for cruise ship jobs, as it allows you to showcase your skills, experience, and personality to potential employers. Here are some important steps to follow to ensure you are well-prepared for your interview:

  • Research the company: Familiarize yourself with the cruise ship company you have applied to. Learn about their values, mission, and the services they provide. This will demonstrate your interest and dedication during the interview.
  • Understand the position: Review the job description and requirements to gain a clear understanding of the position you are interviewing for. Identify the key skills and experiences that are sought after, and think of examples from your past work or personal experiences that demonstrate those qualities.
  • Practice common interview questions: Prepare answers for commonly asked interview questions, such as your strengths and weaknesses, how you handle difficult situations, and why you want to work on a cruise ship. Practice your responses to ensure you are confident and articulate during the interview.
  • Showcase your teamwork skills: Working on a cruise ship involves collaboration and teamwork. Highlight your ability to work well with others and share specific examples of successful teamwork experiences.
  • Dress appropriately: Dress in a professional and polished manner for your interview, taking into account the specific dress code of the company. Even though cruise ship jobs may have a more relaxed dress code while on board, it’s important to make a good first impression with a neat appearance.
  • Prepare questions to ask: Be prepared with thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer. This demonstrates your interest in the position and company. Ask about the company culture, training programs, opportunities for growth, and any specific aspects of the position you are curious about.
  • Show enthusiasm and a positive attitude: Let your passion for working on a cruise ship shine through during the interview. Demonstrate your eagerness to take on the challenges and enjoy the unique experience of working at sea.
  • Follow up after the interview: Send a thank-you email or letter to the interviewer after the interview, thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the position. This will leave a positive impression and show your professionalism.

By preparing thoroughly for your interview, you can present yourself as a qualified and enthusiastic candidate for the cruise ship job. Good luck!


Step 6: Attend recruitment events or job fairs

Attending recruitment events or job fairs can be a valuable opportunity to connect with cruise ship companies and increase your chances of securing a job. These events are specifically designed to bring together employers and job seekers in one location, making it easier for you to network and learn about available opportunities.


Research upcoming recruitment events or job fairs that specifically focus on the cruise ship industry. Check the websites of cruise ship companies, industry trade organizations, and online job boards for information about these events. You can also join online communities or forums dedicated to cruise ship jobs, where individuals may share news and updates about upcoming job fairs.


Prepare for these events by updating your resume and bringing copies to distribute to potential employers. Dress professionally and make sure to have a firm handshake and maintain good eye contact while interacting with recruiters. Be prepared to discuss your skills, experience, and why you are interested in working on a cruise ship.


During the event, take the opportunity to meet and network with recruiters from various cruise ship companies. Ask questions about the available positions, company culture, and the hiring process. Collect business cards or contact information from the recruiters you speak with, as this will allow you to follow up with them after the event.


Keep in mind that recruitment events can be busy, so it’s advisable to arrive early and allocate sufficient time to visit all the booths or tables that are of interest to you. Don’t be afraid to stand out and make a memorable impression, as these events can be competitive.


Even if you don’t receive a job offer at the event, attending recruitment events or job fairs can provide you with valuable insights into the industry, allow you to make connections, and potentially lead to future job opportunities. So, be sure to take advantage of these events to enhance your chances of getting hired on a cruise ship.


Step 7: Complete necessary certifications or training

When considering a career on a cruise ship, it is important to be aware that many positions require specific certifications or training. These certifications are essential to ensure the safety and well-being of both passengers and crew members, as well as to meet industry regulations and standards.


Research the specific requirements for the position you’re interested in and find out what certifications or training programs are necessary. Common certifications include STCW (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping), which is a mandatory requirement for all seafarers and covers essential skills such as personal safety, firefighting, and first aid.


Other certifications can include specific job-related skills, such as food safety and hygiene certificates for those working in food and beverage or culinary positions, or lifeguard certifications for roles in aquatic areas. Some positions may also require specialized skills like scuba diving or specific medical certifications.


Once you have identified the required certifications, research accredited training centers or institutions that offer the courses. These can be found online or through reputable industry organizations. Ensure that the training provider is recognized by the appropriate maritime authorities.


Complete the necessary certifications or training programs, making sure to obtain all relevant documentation upon completion. Keep these documents organized and easily accessible, as you will likely need to provide proof of certification when applying for cruise ship jobs.


It’s important to note that some cruise ship companies may provide training or certification programs for certain positions. In these cases, you may be required to complete the training upon being hired. However, having the necessary certifications already in place can make you a more competitive candidate during the hiring process.


Remember to keep your certifications updated by renewing licenses or attending refresher courses as required. Keeping your skills and knowledge up-to-date will not only increase your employability but also enhance your ability to perform your job effectively and safely.


By completing the necessary certifications or training, you demonstrate your commitment to your role and contribute to the overall safety and success of the cruise ship operations. So, make sure to prioritize this step in your journey toward securing a job on a cruise ship.


Step 8: Obtain necessary travel documents and vaccinations

When preparing to work on a cruise ship, it is essential to obtain the necessary travel documents and vaccinations to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience. These documents and vaccinations are important for legal compliance, health and safety, and smooth entry into various countries during your contract.


Start by ensuring that you have a valid passport. Check the expiration date and make sure it will remain valid for the duration of your contract, as well as any additional months required by the cruise ship company or the countries you will be visiting.


Research and familiarize yourself with the visa requirements for your intended destination(s). Depending on your nationality and the countries you will be visiting, you may need to apply for a work visa or obtain specific travel permits. Contact the consulates or embassies of these countries to obtain the necessary information and start the visa application process well in advance.


In addition to travel documents, certain vaccinations may be required or recommended for working on a cruise ship. These vaccinations help protect you and others from common diseases and ensure your overall health and safety while traveling. Consult with a healthcare professional or a travel health clinic to determine which vaccinations are necessary for the areas you will be visiting.


Common vaccinations for cruise ship workers may include hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever, tetanus, and influenza. Some countries may require proof of specific vaccinations upon entry, so it is important to carry the necessary documentation with you.


Keep a record of your vaccinations and ensure that they are up to date. Consider obtaining an International Certificate of Vaccination, also known as a ‘Yellow Card,’ as it serves as a recognized proof of vaccination for certain diseases.


Remember to stay informed about any updates or changes to travel document requirements or recommendations for vaccinations. Government websites, travel health advisories, and reputable sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) can provide up-to-date information.


By obtaining the necessary travel documents and vaccinations, you ensure that you meet the legal requirements, protect your health, and are prepared for a seamless journey while working on a cruise ship. This step is crucial in ensuring a positive and trouble-free experience throughout your contract.


Step 9: Pack appropriately for living and working on a cruise ship

Packing appropriately is crucial when preparing to work and live on a cruise ship. Since you will be away from home for an extended period, it’s important to pack everything you need while also considering space limitations in your accommodation.


Start by reviewing the packing guidelines provided by the cruise ship company. They may have specific restrictions and recommendations regarding clothing, personal items, and professional attire. Follow these guidelines to ensure compliance and convenience.


Consider the nature of your job and the climate of the cruise ship destinations. Pack a variety of clothing options suitable for both work and leisure, taking into account any uniform requirements. Include light, comfortable attire for the daytime and more formal or semi-formal outfits for evening events or formal nights. Don’t forget to pack suitable footwear for different occasions and activities.


Remember to pack essential personal items such as toiletries, medications, and any specialized equipment or supplies you may require. Consider the duration of your contract and pack enough of these items to last throughout your time on the ship. Keep in mind that space may be limited, so avoid overpacking and prioritize items based on their importance and practicality.


Don’t forget to bring any necessary electronics, chargers, and adapters to stay connected and entertained during your free time. Additionally, consider bringing items that will help you stay organized, such as a travel-sized laundry bag, a small first aid kit, and a portable phone charger.


When it comes to personal belongings, secure them safely in your cabin or use the storage provided by the cruise ship. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuable items that are not necessary for your work or personal use.


Lastly, remember that you will be living in close quarters with your fellow crew members. Pack items that contribute to a respectful and considerate living environment, such as earplugs, a sleep mask, and personal hygiene items.


By packing appropriately and following the guidelines set by the cruise ship company, you can ensure that you have everything you need for a comfortable and productive experience while living and working onboard. Take the time to plan and prepare your packing list, and consider making adjustments as necessary based on your specific job and destination.


Step 10: Interview with cruise ship recruiters

Interviewing with cruise ship recruiters is a critical step in the hiring process and an opportunity for you to showcase your skills, personality, and suitability for the position. Here are some essential tips to help you prepare for and excel in your interview with cruise ship recruiters:

  • Research the company: Before your interview, thoroughly research the cruise ship company to familiarize yourself with their history, values, fleet, and itineraries. This knowledge will enable you to ask informed questions and demonstrate your genuine interest in the company.
  • Review the job description: Revisit the job description and align your skills and experiences with the requirements. Prepare specific examples that highlight your relevant abilities and accomplishments.
  • Dress professionally: Dress in a polished and professional manner, even if the work environment on a cruise ship may be more casual. Make sure your appearance reflects your enthusiasm and dedication to the position you are applying for.
  • Showcase your customer service skills: Cruise ship jobs often involve providing exceptional customer service. During the interview, emphasize your experience in customer-facing roles and provide examples of situations where you have exceeded customer expectations.
  • Highlight your teamwork abilities: Working on a cruise ship requires strong teamwork and collaboration. Share instances where you have successfully worked as part of a team, resolving conflicts or accomplishing goals together.
  • Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability: The cruise ship industry can be dynamic, with changing schedules and unexpected situations. Showcase your ability to adapt to changing circumstances and your willingness to embrace new challenges.
  • Prepare questions: Prepare a list of thoughtful questions to ask the recruiters. Topics could include training programs, career advancement opportunities, work schedules, or anything else that pertains to the position or company.
  • Show enthusiasm and a positive attitude: Let your passion for working on a cruise ship shine through during the interview. Display your excitement for the role and your eagerness to contribute to the team’s success.
  • Follow up after the interview: Send a thank-you email or letter to the recruiters within 24-48 hours of the interview. Express your appreciation for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the position. This small gesture can help leave a positive impression.

Remember, interviews with cruise ship recruiters are your chance to stand out from other candidates. Be confident, articulate, and genuine in your responses. Show enthusiasm for the role, highlight your relevant experiences, and demonstrate your ability to thrive in the cruise ship environment. Good luck!


Step 11: Accept a job offer and negotiate contract terms

After successfully completing the interview process, you may receive a job offer from a cruise ship company. This is an exciting moment, but before accepting the offer, it’s essential to carefully review the terms and conditions of the contract and, if needed, negotiate any necessary changes. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Review the job offer: Carefully read through the job offer, including the position title, start date, salary, work schedule, and duration of the contract. Ensure that all the details align with your expectations and the discussions you had during the interview process.
  • Negotiate if necessary: If certain terms of the contract don’t align with your needs or expectations, it is acceptable to negotiate. Common negotiation points may include salary, vacation time, or specific requests related to your role or living arrangements. Make sure to express your interests respectfully and clearly articulate why the proposed changes are important to you.
  • Seek legal advice if needed: If you have concerns about the contract or need clarification on certain clauses, consider seeking legal advice. An attorney specializing in employment contracts can guide you through the process and provide professional insights.
  • Communicate your acceptance: Once you are satisfied with the contract terms, it’s time to formally accept the job offer. Notify the cruise ship company through the appropriate channels, such as email or a signed acceptance letter, expressing your gratitude for the opportunity.
  • Ask for written confirmation: Request written confirmation of your acceptance and ensure that you receive a signed copy of the contract or employment agreement as well. This will serve as a legal document outlining the terms and conditions of your employment.
  • Keep a copy of the contract: Make sure to keep a copy of the signed contract for your records. This will be an important reference document throughout your employment and can help resolve any potential disagreements or misunderstandings in the future.

Remember, accepting a job offer on a cruise ship is an exciting opportunity, but it’s crucial to ensure that the terms of the contract align with your expectations. Don’t hesitate to negotiate if necessary and seek legal advice if you have any concerns. By taking these steps, you can confidently accept the job offer and embark on an exciting career at sea.


Step 12: Complete pre-employment screenings and medical exams

Before starting your job on a cruise ship, you will be required to undergo pre-employment screenings and medical exams. These screenings are essential to ensure that you are physically and mentally fit to work in a maritime environment and to maintain the safety and well-being of both passengers and crew members. Here are the important steps involved:

  • Provide necessary documents: Start by gathering all the necessary documents required for the pre-employment screenings and medical exams. This may include identification documents, medical history records, and any specific forms provided by the cruise ship company.
  • Physical examination: As part of the medical screening, you will undergo a comprehensive physical examination conducted by qualified medical professionals. This examination will assess your overall health, sensory functions, physical fitness, and ability to perform essential job requirements.
  • Medical history review: The medical professionals will review your medical history, including previous illnesses, surgeries, allergies, and medications. It is crucial to provide accurate and detailed information to ensure they have a clear understanding of your health status.
  • Vaccinations and immunizations: During the medical exam, you may be required to update or verify your vaccinations and immunizations. This helps prevent the spread of communicable diseases on board and ensures the health and safety of everyone on the cruise ship.
  • Drug and alcohol testing: Many cruise ship companies have strict policies regarding drugs and alcohol. As part of the pre-employment screenings, you may be required to undergo drug and alcohol testing to ensure a safe and professional work environment.
  • Background checks: Cruise ship companies conduct thorough background checks to ensure the safety and security of their passengers and crew. These checks may include verification of employment history, criminal record checks, and reference checks.
  • Follow all instructions: Follow the instructions provided by the cruise ship company and the medical professionals conducting the screenings. Be honest and thorough in your responses to ensure accurate assessments of your health and suitability for the position.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements and procedures for pre-employment screenings and medical exams may vary among cruise ship companies and jurisdictions. Be sure to communicate with the cruise ship company to understand their specific requirements and to address any questions or concerns you may have.


By completing the necessary pre-employment screenings and medical exams, you are taking important steps to ensure the health and safety of yourself and others on board. It also contributes to the overall success and smooth operation of the cruise ship. Once you have successfully completed these screenings, you will be one step closer to starting your exciting career working on a cruise ship.



Congratulations on completing this comprehensive guide on how to get a job on a cruise ship! Throughout the steps outlined in this article, you have gained valuable insights into the process of researching cruise ship companies, determining your desired position, updating your resume and cover letter, applying for jobs, and preparing for interviews.


Working on a cruise ship offers a unique and exciting opportunity to travel the world, meet new people, and gain valuable work experience. However, it also requires dedication, preparation, and a commitment to providing exceptional service to passengers.


By researching different cruise ship companies, you can find the one that aligns with your career goals and interests. Determining your desired position allows you to tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your relevant skills and experiences. Applying for jobs online or directly, attending recruitment events, and showcasing your qualifications during interviews all increase your chances of landing a job on a cruise ship.


Additionally, completing necessary certifications or training, obtaining travel documents and vaccinations, packing appropriately, and going through pre-employment screenings and medical exams are key steps to ensure a successful journey while living and working on a cruise ship.


Keep in mind that the cruise ship industry is competitive, and the hiring process can be rigorous. It’s important to stay resilient, continue learning and growing in your desired field, and remain open to new opportunities that may arise.


Remember, working on a cruise ship is more than just a job; it’s an adventure-filled experience that allows you to explore the world while pursuing your career aspirations. Embrace the challenges, build lasting friendships, and make unforgettable memories as you embark on this remarkable journey.


Best of luck in your pursuit of a job on a cruise ship. Bon voyage!