Career & job options within the cruise line industry

Most career paths and jobs do not have unlimited time to travel, meaning work can get in the way of exploring the world. However, what if there was a way to combine work and travel, would you consider it? If so, the cruise line industry could be a great option to bring you one step closer to living that work and travel-balanced lifestyle. Whether this might be your first step in building a career for yourself or searching for a new job, there is a good chance there is a place for you.

Okay, a place for me that sounds great, but what are the career options within the cruise line industry? Let’s start by that a cruise ship can be compared to a small city on the sea that takes tourists from one destination to the next. And what makes a city great? Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotels, coffee shops, beauty salons, museums, boutique stores, and more. So if you had a position that is or was hospitality-related, your job search will be fairly easy. From the front of house to the back of house, office positions such as marketing, sales, and management, and more can all be found within the cruise line industry.

Deck Department

Activity Department

Entertainment Department

Hotel/ Lodging Department

Salon/Spa Department

Corporate Office Department

Food and Beverage Department

Below you will find a structured outline of each department and jobs within the cruise line industry:

Deck Positions:

The deck department consists of personnel responsible for maintaining the ship’s safety, security, and navigation. The Technical department includes a variety of positions that range from entry-level roles, such as Deck Clerk, Trainees, and Cadets, to highly qualified seafarer roles, such as Environmental Officer, Security Officers, and navigating officers through to the ship’s Captain.

Able Seaman

  • Able Seaman is the more experienced deckhand who does general maintenance and works on the ship. Some responsibilities are operating deck machinery, keeping the bridge clean, handling all deck gear, etc.


  • Bosun is a member of the deck department and is responsible for maintaining the exterior of the ship. Duties include organizing the deck operations, which usually include storage, use, and maintenance of toys, equipment, deck maintenance, supervising the deck crew, to name a few.


  • Cruise ship captains responsible for every aspect of the voyage and vessel. They command the overall operations, crew, and safety for both guests and staff of the cruise ship.


  • This job title can vary from Joiner, Boat Fitter, Shipwrights. As the title might suggest, the carpenter is responsible for the repair, replacement, and building of all wood items on the ship.

Chief Officer

  • This position is responsible is in charge of ensuring that the quality of standard is kept on board. Mainly the regulations, safety, and maintaining the appearance of the hull. They are also responsible that international laws and policies are followed as well.

First Officer

  • The First Officer also called the Navigation Officer, is a Bridge Watch Keeper and answers directly to the Captain. She/ he is responsible that all bridge operations and navigational equipment are functioning properly.

Chief Radio Officer

  • The Chief Radio Officer is responsible for all the cruise ship’s radio and other communication. In this role, you could expect to send telegrams, monitor weather reports, and the telex, keeping in contact with the cruise line’s home office, to name a few.


  • The Quartermaster primarily works on the bridge and is responsible for navigating the ship safely. In this role, you will be expected to prepare and update navigational charts and monitor various instruments, compasses, and clocks. Secure classified material on the bridge and more.

Safety Officer

  • As a Safety Officer, you will be responsible that everything on the cruise ship is according to safety standards in this position. Depending on the cruise line, the Safety Officer may or may not be required to perform bridge watch-keeping duties. Expect to assist the Staff Captain during the inspections. Work with Staff Officer and Hotel Director to resolve issues. Record all certificates related to safety and fire fighting, etc.

Security Officer

  • Also called Deputy Security Officer, provides security for the cruise ship, crew, and passengers. They are responsible for controlling and supervising all points of entry to the cruise ship gangways and tender docking stations. The duties they carry out are investigating incidents or accidents and create a detailed report. Make regular security inspections around the ship, etc.

Staff Captain

  • The staff captain is the second in command on the ship. They are responsible for ensuring their captain orders and policies are carried out. The duties they carry out are training staff members on how to perform their daily work tasks, supervise and manage staff. Oversees and ensures that deck maintenance is carried out and handles all matters of misconduct and discipline, etc.

Activity Positions

Activity Co-Ordinator

  • As the title describes, you would be in charge of coordinating onboard entertainment. You can expect to be responsible for coordinating with onboard musicians and activities staff in order to provide suitable entertainment for guests, present quizzes, and games. Organize and host shore excursions and sporting activities, such as hiking and water-sports

Dive Instructor

  • The diving instructor teaches people how to dive while providing guided tours. They are responsible for the safety of the diving party. They are also in charge of the maintenance of the diving equipment.

Shore Excursion Manager

  • Shore Excursion Managers are the kings and queens of entertainment. They offer everything from sightseeing, live musicians, restaurants, nightclubs to gambling. You will be responsible for presentation, promotion, supervision, and arrangement for shore excursions offered in the various ports and onboard the vessel. Build relationships with vendors, promoting excursions, and supervising staff. Ensure that guests receive efficient and courteous assistance on all tours, etc.

Youth Counsellor

  • In this position, you will be in charge of various programs for guests in the age range of 3 and 17 years old. You will be responsible for determining activities based on the ages and the needs of the age groups to participate in the scheduled activity. Additionally, you will also need to communicate with parents tactfully and courteously to generate a high level of comfort.

Entertainment Positions

Assistant Cruise Director

  • In this position would be supporting the cruise director with managing and supervising the cruise staff. You will assist and coordinate the routines and activities passengers will experience on the cruise ship. Your responsibilities are making announcements on the Public Address System. monitor and evaluates guest comments and creates plans for improvements. Assist the Cruise Director in preparing and organizing the daytime activities, evening shows, and special events, etc.

Cruise Staff

  • Cruise staff is responsible for organizing the daily activities passengers will experience. These activities can range from diving, golf, race track, etc.


  • As a DJ on a cruise ship, you will be responsible for engaging with listeners, queueing up playlists, and generating interest in the show.

Guest Entertainer

  • Entertainers are usually part of the late evening shows. Outside of their shows they greet passengers, help out with activities and games, perform at deck parties. Entertainers are also asked to talk with passengers.

Singer Vocalist

  • As a singer, you should be well-versed in a range of styles and have the ability to connect with the cruise ship audience through rhythm and melody.


  • Dancers their main responsibility is to perform in shows. Besides that, they also teach dance classes and assist in any other activities if necessary.


  • Cruise ship musicians are hard-working players who entertain passengers through music.

Hotel/ Lodging Positions

Hotel Manager

  • As with any Hotel Manager position, you are in charge of the entire hotel operation on board and guest satisfaction. Additionally, you also have to ensure a pleasant work environment for your crew. Key responsibilities are operating within the budget. Ensure revenue targets are met, etc.


  • Also called Bellhop, Room Service Attendant, Bellperson. In this position, you help to transport passengers their luggage to and from the cabins, showing their location, teaching them to operate lights and locks, radio and television sets, or telephone. And providing them with any requested additional items, etc.

Receptionist Jobs

  • The Receptionist works at the front desk. They are responsible for checking guests in and out. Additionally, they are also responsible for answering questions and handling complaints or problems. You can consider them as the face/ brand ambassador to the guests.

Chief Steward/ Housekeeper

  • The title might give it away already, but in this position, you will be leading the housekeeping department. You will be responsible for supervising and coordinating the housekeeping staff, which includes cabin services and bell staff. Additionally, you will be in charge of hiring and firing employees as well.

Chief Cabin Steward

  • Also called Head Room Steward. In this position, you would be responsible for keeping the public areas and cabins clean. You would be working directly with the Chief Steward/ Housekeeper and help to train the Cabin Steward in their daily cleaning routines.

Cabin Steward

  • A Cabin Steward on a cruise ship is responsible for cleaning and maintaining cabins. In this position, you make guests their beds and clean the bathroom. Providing a fresh room for the guests. Duties include providing fresh linens, vacuum, empty trash bins, replenish bathroom amenities, etc.

Salon/Spa Positions

Beauty salons and spas on cruise ships offer passengers full service treatments ranging from spas, body wraps, mud baths, facials, massages, and hair services. Onboard salons and spas are either run in-house or by a concessionaire company. Positions you can find in this field are beauty salon/ spa manager, assistant salon/ spa manager, hairstylist/ hairdresser, barber, beauty therapist/ beautician, nail technician, acupuncturist, massage therapist, and fitness instructor/ personal trainer etc.

Beauty Salon/ Spa Manager

  • The Spa/Salon manager oversees the entire operations of the spa division aboard the cruise ship. She/he is responsible for managing and onboard training of the salon in order to ensure that the cruise line's highest standards of service are met. You will be responsible for promoting the various services offered onboard as well as products offered for sale.

Assistant Beauty Salon/ Spa Manager

  • The Assistant Manager is responsible for supervising the day-to-day operations of the department aboard the cruise ship as directed by the Spa Manager. She/ he is in charge of the close monitoring of the beauty and fitness personnel's daily sales performance results, condition of treatment rooms,

Beauty Therapist

  • Beauty Therapists aboard a cruise ship provide overall beauty care to clients, including skincare, hair, and body. You would teach clients how to use make-up and other beauty products as part of the job. Additionally, you will also give facials and may provide hair removal services.

Nail Technician/ Stylist

  • Also called Manicurists, you would be responsible for manicures, pedicure services, and procedures, sale of products, and other relevant services.

Hair stylist/ Hairdresser/ Barber

  • The Hairdresser is responsible for cutting hair using basic and advanced techniques, consulting customers about styles and colors, and applying hair care products, like treatment oils and masks.

Massage Therapist

  • A licensed massage therapist on a cruise ship offers a variety of massages, including relaxation, deep tissue, and sports massages. The massage therapist is responsible for keeping a full schedule. To do this, she interacts with cruise ship guests in a variety of venues that encourage the guests to visit the spa.

Corporate Office Positions

Are you looking for travel benefits, but don’t want to deal with demanding tourists? Then perhaps aiming for a corporate position might the path for you. Cruise lines their headquarters can be expected to be in Florida, Seattle, Los Angles although some cruise lines can be located in nontraditional areas as well. Such as Europe, New York, Connecticut. Office Positions range from:

  • Accounting

  • Administrative

  • Airline Operations

  • Marketing/ Public Relations

  • Sales/ Reservations

  • Human Resources

  • Information Technology

  • Legal

  • Finance

  • Customer Service & Call Center

Food and Beverage Positions

Food and beverage positions on cruise ships are very similar to the restaurant industry. To learn more about front-of-house and back-of-house positions. We suggest reading “Career & job options worth considering within the restaurant industry.