Entry Level Cruise Ship Jobs & Duties

Typical Entry Level Positions on a Cruise Ship:

Many cruise ships registered in foreign countries employ North Americans for important specific passenger contact cruise jobs such as: hostesses, children and teen activity coordinators, pursers, sports trainers, lecturers, musicians and entertainers, and shop keepers. When a cruise ship is registered in a foreign country and has an international crew, the on-board positions it will offer to North Americans consist only of the specific customer contact similar to the jobs noted above.

Shown in the Ship Directory are activities and services offered on board each foreign-registered ship that hires North Americans. North Americans, as described above, are hired to teach golf, aerobics, scuba diving, and many other sports; to provide entertainment and coordinate activities; and to work in the various shops on board the ship (not all shops in every ship are listed in the directory).

Cruise line applicants using this website are encouraged to consider all of their talents and experience when applying for cruise ship positions. Use the Ship Directory to determine which cruise ships you will apply to, considering all of the different activities and services offered on each ship.

All applicants for on board ship positions must be able to pass a physical examination and a drug test. Additionally, it is wise for on board ship applicants to have Red Cross First Aid, CPR and/or Lifesaving training.

Duties On Board:

Much like restaurant work, these duties on board ship include taking food and drink orders and serving passengers at then- tables, stocking and clearing buffet tables, silver service using very long sliver trays to serve meals, and generally attending to the passengers in the dining room. Waiters and Waitresses help set up and tear down the dining room for each meal sitting (ships often have two sittings for each meal since the dining room will not hold all of the passengers at one time).

Passengers are definitely pampered in ship dining rooms. Waiters and Waitresses must take and fill special orders and check and recheck that passengers are satisfied with then- meals. For any special occasion such as birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays, these personnel serve favorite dishes of the passenger, cake, or any appropriate food and drink, with pomp and circumstance. Cocktail servers (21 years of age or older) are also needed in a ship’s nightclubs and lounges. Cocktail servers take orders and serve passengers drinks at tables and other areas. They must be friendly and professional and sometimes need to be firm with passengers who are intoxicated or rude.

These personnel concern themselves with safety of passengers while in the ship’s nightclubs and lounges. They may even call an escort to help intoxicated or sick passengers back to their cabins to insure safe passage from the nightclubs and lounges. Waiters, waitresses and cocktail servers wear uniforms furnished by the cruise lines. Uniforms are usually laundered and ironed on board ship-by-ship personnel. These personnel work varying shifts according to schedule, and report to a dining room or bar manager.

Waiters, waitresses and cocktail servers must enjoy being in the public eye and interacting with passengers. Meal sittings are usually very hectic so meal servers must also be able to keep a smiling and friendly manner under stress.

On some smaller cruise ships, waiters and waitresses provide entertainment for the passengers after dinner. Those who can sing, dance, or play an instrument are especially welcome on these ships.

Wages include a base wage plus tips, incentive pay and bonuses. These personnel are allowed shore leave for up to three months at varying tunes of the year. While on board ship, these workers receive free room and board.

Basic requirements for most cruise ship jobs: at least one year or related experience, friendly manner, and in good health and physical shape.

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