Cruise Jobs

Cruise Line Jobs (Including River Cruise Companies)

 With the advent of improved safety measures at sea and along major rivers, the cruise line market has grown tremendously in recent years. Cruise ships are ‘large luxurious vessels that ferry passengers on leisure and entertainment cruises at sea and along major rivers’.

A cruise ship can have a capacity of as many as 3,000 passengers. To cater for these large numbers, there must be a corresponding number of jobs and skills necessary to keep a cruise ship operational. The rapid growth of this industry has seen a boom in the job market as companies rush to employ staff in this rapidly growing industry.

River Cruises between Canada and United States

A river cruise offers travelers the option to enjoy a variety of sceneries during a voyage. A cruise along the famous waterways of the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, Columbia River and the San Francisco Bay is a magnificent spectacle as you sail from Canada to the United States.

The large rivers snaking through Canada and the United States provide a wonderful opportunity to explore the beautiful scenery and landscape of picturesque cities and plantations that dot the riverbanks.

River Cruise Liners are not as large as ocean cruise liners. This is because they navigate narrower and shallower water ways. Nevertheless, they are well equipped to cater for all a voyager’s needs.

The world’s maps present broad information on Canada and US River Cruises as well as other cruises around the world.

However, no other travel industry rivals cruise lines in job turnover. For this reason, most cruise lines hire staff continuously throughout the year. The most common entry level requirements for most cruise lines are: highly motivated persons, outgoing, energetic, friendly and excellent persons who are commitment to excellent customer service. Employment contracts vary between 3 to 9 months, with an option to extend the contract.

There are numerous rewards that come with working for a luxury cruise line. The general benefits consistent in all jobs are:

        i.            Accommodation, food, medical insurance and airline tickets back home at the port of disembarking.

      ii.            Some countries do not require citizens who work on cruise lines to pay income tax which they earn at sea (for example, U.S. citizens only pay income tax if they are employed by a U.S. based cruise line).

    iii.            Relatives of crew staff and their family members may get discounted cruise rates.

The following paragraphs will explain the different positions found on cruise lines.

Captain, Cruise Ship 

  • Job description

Direct and navigate a ship; sets the rules and regulations; oversees all activities on board.

General qualifications & requirements

Cruise ship captains must have an undergraduate degree from a maritime

School, a STCW-95 license to operate a ship, as well as a U.S. Coast Guard license for a registered U.S. vessel; and in addition, prior shipboard experience leading up to management, including at least five years in a subordinate position.

They must also have excellent technical maritime skills; strong communication

and interpersonal skills; mathematical ability; attention to detail and observation; ability to stay calm in difficult situations.

Salary and benefits

The annual starting salary is US$ 50,000 to US$ 100,000, and upwards.

Activity Director

 An activity director may also be known as an ‘activity coordinator’.


  • Job description


An activity director organizes and provides cruise content for social events for an organization or group of people. In addition, they need to have the ability to perform the following activities:

        i.            Establish and maintain interpersonal relationships.

      ii.            Communicate with supervisors or subordinates.

    iii.            Obtain information by interacting with computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

    iv.            Organize, plan and prioritize tasks.

      v.            Communicate with external sources in person, in writing, by telephone or e-mail.

    vi.            Make decisions and solve problems.

  vii.            Process information.

  1. Perform administrative activities.

    ix.            They also perform a variety of other tasks and work under general supervision. They typically report to a supervisor or manager.


  • General qualifications & requirements


Much of the qualifications of activity coordinators are similar to those of meeting planners discussed in later chapters. However, most cruise lines will require activity directors to have a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent, and between 2 – 4 years of experience in cruise lines or in a related area.

  • Salary and benefits


The salary may range from between US$ 24,000 to US$ 35,000 per year.




  • Job description


Entertainers aboard a cruise ship are contracted to provide entertainment to travelers on a voyage. They may be permanently hired or contracted on temporary basis to provide entertainment where they are paid a ‘performance fee’.

The entertainment may be varied during specific times to cater for people of all ages.

  • General qualifications & requirements


Although an entertainer’s job is one of entertaining guests, at times without following a set rehearsal, they need to have impeccable interpersonal skills that will make it easier for them to interact with their guests. Other requirements include:


        i.            Oral Comprehension.

      ii.            Oral Expression.

    iii.            Speech Clarity.

    iv.            Originality.

Salary and benefits


The salary is between US$ 36,000 and US$ 84,000 per year, although the performance fee may be higher depending on a particular cruise.


Guest speakers


  • Job description


Normally, the operators of a cruise ship may invite speakers to give talks or speeches during the course of a voyage. The topics spoken upon may vary from in topics ranging from historical or geographical topics, or they can also be tailor – made to discuss topical and humanity issues such as character building and guest bonding.

  • General qualifications & requirements


Guest speakers need to have a fair understanding and knowledge of the subject for which they are invited to speak about. They also need to have fluency in language and in addition possess:

        i.            Knowledge of the structure and content of the desired language, including the meaning and spelling of words and grammar.

      ii.            Knowledge of media production, communication and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform using written, oral and visual media.

    iii.            The ability to speak clearly so that listeners can understand


  • Salary and benefits


Guest speakers may also be on the cruise lines’ ordinary payroll or be contracted. The salary ranges from US$ 6,000 to US$ 36,000 yearly. Guest speakers also are usually offered accommodation and travel expenses.

Waiters/ Waitresses


Waiters or waitresses aboard a cruise liner may also be called hosts or hostesses.


  • Job description


Waiters take guests’ orders, serve food and beverages, prepare itemized invoices and at times accept payment for services offered. Depending on the establishment, their duties may vary to include escorting guests to tables, serving guests seated at counters or clearing and setting up tables. However, top notch cruise liners or hotels may frequently hire other staff to perform these duties.

  • General qualifications & requirements


Establishments that have rigid table service standards often have stiffer employment requirements, such as previous table service experience or higher education attainment.


Knowledge of a foreign language can be useful to communicate with a diverse clientele and staff. Waiters also need an impeccable memory to avoid confusing customers’ orders and to remember faces, names and preferences of frequent patrons.


  • Salary and benefits


The salary ranges between US$ 10,800 to US$ 24,000 per year. Many establishments provide free meals and furnish uniforms, although some may subtract from wages the cost of any meals or boarding facilities provided. Full – time waiters often receive typical benefits, but part-time workers usually do not.


House – keepers


  • Job description


House – keepers are hired to ensure that the guests’ rooms are cleaned, laundry is washed and ironed and that generally guests’ rooms are kept neat and tidy. House – keepers also have an explicit duty to ensure that guests are comfortable during their voyage while they are in their rooms.

  • General qualifications & requirements


There are no stiff requirements that house – keepers should possess, but they should be able to have thorough knowledge of fabric cleaning and surface maintenance. House – keepers should be active listeners with a good command of the English language.

  • Salary and benefits


The salary ranges from US$ 10,000 to US$ 10,800 per year. House – keepers get various benefits including accommodation, meals, tour holidays and an air ticket back home if they disembark from a port away from their normal abode.

Cruise Line Job contacts


For more information on cruise-line jobs visit: This is a composite website detailing these and many more jobs per location. Below is a contact list of cruise line companies (both ocean and river cruise lines) in the U.S and Canada that regularly accept applications for various on – board positions: –

       i.            American Cruise Lines, Inc
Attn: Personnel Dept
741 Boston Post Road, Suite 200
Guilford, CT 06437
Or fax it to 203-453-0417 attention: Personnel Dept

     ii.            AIDA

Rostock, Germany;home_loc_nr=C66E3643-4673-490C-979E-4B2E1871D8D5

  iii.            Birka Cruises

Terminal City Farm
PO Box 15 131
SE-104 65 Stockholm

Human Resources
Lars-Erik Karlsson

lasse.karlsson @

   iv.            Carnival Cruises



     v.            Celebrity Cruises

1050 Caribbean Way
Miami, Fl 33132;jsessionid=0000Br9GTG3wJBpmrRZhs342Rw_:12hdebdrn?pagename=careers&cS=EnhancedFooter


   vi.            Crystal Cruises
2049 Century Park East
Suite 1400
Los Angeles, CA 90067

  1. vii.            Costa Cruises

Costa Cruise Lines
Human Resources
200 South Park Rd, Ste 200
Hollywood, FL 33021
Fax. (954) 266-5880  

  1. viii.            Disney Cruises

The Walt Disney Company

Online Job Application Form

   ix.            GAP Adventures

Base Camp

19 Charlotte Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 2H5

All Countries

In North America


     x.            Norwegian Cruise Lines

NCL Corporation Ltd. 
7665 Corporate Center Drive 
Miami, Florida 33126


   xi.            Polar Star Expeditions
55 Crane Lake Drive
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3S 1B5

David Archibald
Operations Manager
Polar Star Expeditions
55 Crane Lake Drive 
Halifax, Nova Scotia 
B3S 1B5
Fax: +1-902-420-9222

George Myra
Assistant Manager
Polar Star Expeditions
55 Crane Lake Drive 
Halifax, Nova Scotia 
B3S 1B5
Fax: +1-902-420-9222


  1. xii.            Royal Caribbean International

Crown & Anchor Society,
P.O. Box 026053, Miami, FL 33102-6053

  1. xiii.            Silversea Cruises – The Americas & Other Countries

110 East Broward Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

  1. xiv.            Swan Hellenic

Lynnem House

Victoria Way

Burgess Hill

West Sussex, RH15 9NF

United Kingdom

 xv.            Thompson Cruises


TUI Travel House
Crawley Business Quarter
Fleming Way
West Sussex, UK
RH10 9QL

Tel: +44 (0) 1293 645 700

  1. xvi.            Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
    17323 Ventura Boulevard
    Los Angeles, CA  91316


  • Other Resources




                            iii.            School for the Service Arts –


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