Cruise Ship Job FAQ

Q & A

What if I don’t have any experience?

Although you may not have enough experience for every job that you would like to apply for, chances are that you may be qualified for at least one job. What are your best qualities and skills? Everyone has something that they are good at and some “transferable skills” that translate into experience.

Keep in mind that cruise lines write their job vacancies with the term, ‘experience required’ as way of limiting the number of candidates applying for the job. These requirements are more of a wish list for the employer and should be viewed as more of a guideline. If a job description sounds like something you think you would be capable of doing, go for it.

How long do I have to wait for a cruise ship contract?

The amount of time that one may wait for a ship assignment varies. Some of the major cruise lines have 10, 15, 20+ cruise ships with crews that are constantly turning over for a variety of reasons. You may wait two weeks or you may wait 6 to 8 months. Patience and persistence with your follow up will be key to landing a contract.

What types of cruise ship jobs are there?

A cruise ship has a hierarchy of jobs that is divided into a few main departments, Hotel Department, Deck Department, and Technical Department. The Hotel Department is the biggest department onboard encompassing jobs in housekeeping, food and beverage, guest services and entertainment. The Deck and Technical Departments look after Navigation, Safety, Security, Engine, Electrics, Electronics, Environmental, and Medical.

Additionally, many cruise lines use Concessionaires or third party vendors to recruit and operate select departments on their ships such as Gift Shops, Spa, Photo Department, and the Casino.

How can I apply for a cruise ship job?

For starters, there are many cruise lines that are in operation throughout the world. Check out our Cruise Line Employment Information pages for a short overview on each cruise line as well as how to apply to each of them.

Additionally, most of the large cruise lines use a global network of hiring partners to assist with their recruitment needs. One important point to stress is that when you are applying to work for a cruise line, you need to have a clear idea of the cruise ship job that you are applying for. For more information, read “How to Apply for a Cruise Job”.

Is there an age limit to work at sea?

Although there isn’t a set maximum age limit to work onboard a ship, less than 35 is generally the rule of thumb for getting hired. This is due to the fact that most jobs onboard require the crewmember to work with long hours (11 to 14 hours per day, 7 days per week, 8 to 10 months onboard).

This isn’t to say that someone over the age of 35 isn’t capable of getting hired. If you can prove to a recruiter with a solid resume that details your relevant experience, then there may be an opportunity for you. Keep in mind that you are also required to pass a maritime medical exam, proving you are physically and mentally fit to work at sea.