1. Home
  2. Planning
  3. Cruise Policies and Inside Info
  4. 11 Types of Cruise Ship Jobs That Fit Your Interests
11 Types of Cruise Ship Jobs That Fit Your Interests (Photo: Cruise Critic)

11 Types of Cruise Ship Jobs That Fit Your Interests

Most of us do not have unlimited time to travel -- work always gets in the way. But what if you could combine work with cruising by getting a job onboard a ship or within the cruise industry? Whether you've always wanted a career onboard or have never even considered it as a possibility, you might be surprised at the diversity of cruise ship jobs -- perhaps even one that matches your skills and interests. If you're looking for career inspiration, see our categorical list of cruise ship jobs below.

Updated March 7, 2018

1. Sailing and Navigation

Royal Caribbean waiters

If you enjoy the ocean, lots of responsibility and navigating large objects by using nothing more than the position of the stars (and thousands of dollars of seriously high-tech equipment), you might be a good candidate to become a cruise ship captain. Although captains get all the glory, they also have teams of officers to help them with operations on the bridge. You start low on the totem pole and rise through the ranks until you eventually call the shots.

2. Hospitality

This considerably broad category of cruise ship jobs can be divided into two parts: hotel services and food services. The former includes everyone from hotel directors and room stewards to the helpful people who work at the reception and shore excursions desks. Meanwhile, food services encompass waiters, maitre d's and chefs of varying skill levels. Not to be forgotten are the food and beverage director and the folks who make sure everyone onboard has clean sheets and towels.

3. Entertainment

Carnival Breeze Ovation Theater performers

But what if singing, playing an instrument, dancing, juggling, acrobatics, magic, comedy or dressing as your favorite cartoon character are more in your wheelhouse? Not to worry -- nearly all cruise ships need performers to help passengers fill their post-dinner hours. In addition to these more well-known cruise jobs, you might also consider other entertainment-related positions, which include that of a cruise director (if you have an outgoing personality and like to host events) or a costume, set or lighting designer (if you've got a knack for behind-the-scenes creativity).

Find a Cruise

4. Childcare

There's nothing that says you have to be a teacher or doctor to work with kids. If you thoroughly enjoyed your babysitting days, want to work in some of the most state-of-the-art childcare facilities around and have one or two years of experience working with children in a teaching, childcare or recreation capacity, you might consider employment as a youth counselor on a cruise ship. You'll run activities for the little ones, possibly accompany them to select meals and shows and maybe even be asked to do some late-night babysitting while mom and dad enjoy a bit of alone time.

5. Medical

Most ships have onboard doctors and nurses to deal with cruisers who become ill while sailing. Although you'll only be able to treat routine, non-life-threatening ailments, you'll get to use your medical training to help passengers and crew members while enjoying life at sea.

6. Recreation Management

Sure, there's someone at the water slide, zip line and rock climbing wall to help you take the plunge or get properly suited up, but have you ever thought about joining them? If you enjoy facilitating fun while having a blast yourself, recreation management aboard a cruise ship might be for you.

7. Health and Wellness/Cosmetology

Royal Caribbean cosmetologists

For those who want to ensure people look and feel their best, onboard jobs abound. From personal trainers and yoga instructors to hairstylists and massage therapists, the majority of cruise lines offer many positions in their spa and fitness facilities. They also need trained professionals to perform services such as Botox, acupuncture, teeth whitening and other medispa treatments.

8. Maintenance and Logistics

Whether you're a jack of all trades who's great at fixing things, the guy who drives forklifts full of provisions below deck or a college graduate with an affinity for bow thrusters and Azipods, cruise ships require constant upkeep and planning to make sure things run smoothly. Decks need to be washed and painted, cabin sinks and air-conditioning need fixing, and engines need to continue operating efficiently.

9. Crew Care

Crew members have lives, too. In that vein, there's a special group of cruise ship workers who cater to the crew. They plan social events, prepare meals, tidy up crew areas and make sure everyone has clean linens, towels and uniforms. On many ships, there's even an onboard tailor who's in charge of mending uniforms with tears or missing buttons.

10. Art and Design

Norwegian Getaway chandelier

Imagine being able to put your name to an interior design concept for a lounge or restaurant that will be seen by thousands. When it comes to ships -- new-builds in particular -- design is an integral part of the cruise experience. From the way the vessels are conceptualized and constructed to the furnishings and works of art with which they're decorated after completion, there's always something that can be done by creative minds with a sharp eye for aesthetics.

11. Administration

Although these types of jobs -- much like those in the aforementioned art and design realm -- might have you behind a desk more often than on the high seas, you'll still deal with all things travel-related. Cruise lines are in need of folks to help with operations at the corporate level, including sales, marketing, public relations, fleet logistics, accounting, human resources, itinerary planning and brand management, just to name a few. And let's not forget about all those hardworking individuals who help you find your cruise line's shuttle at the airport or check you in for you sailing when you reach the terminal.

Find a Cruise

Popular on Cruise Critic

Best Time to Cruise
It's one of the most common cruising questions: When is the best time to cruise Alaska, Australia, the Caribbean, Canada/New England, Hawaii, Europe or the South Pacific? The answer depends on many variables. Fall foliage enthusiasts, for instance, will find September and October the best time to take that Canada/New England cruise, whereas water sports-lovers (and families) much prefer to sail the region in the summer when school is out and temperatures are warmer for swimming. The best time to cruise to Alaska will vary depending on your preferences for viewing wildlife, fishing, bargain-shopping, sunshine, warm weather and catching the northern lights. For most cruise regions, there are periods of peak demand (high season), moderate demand (shoulder season) and low demand (low season), which is usually the cheapest time to cruise. High season is typically a mix of when the weather is best and popular travel periods (such as summer and school holidays). However, the best time to cruise weather-wise is usually not the cheapest time to cruise. The cheapest time to cruise is when most travelers don't want to go because of chillier temperatures or inopportune timing (too close to holidays, the start of school, etc.). But the lure of cheap fares and uncrowded ports might make you change your mind about what you consider the best time to cruise. As you plan your next cruise, you'll want to take into consideration the best and cheapest times to cruise and see what jibes with your vacation schedule. Here's a when-to-cruise guide for popular destinations.