What is it like to work on a cruise ship?

What is it like to work on a cruise ship

Cruise ships are floating resorts that offers passengers a unique way to travel to various destinations. Unlike traditional forms of transportation, a cruise ship is designed for both transportation and recreation.

People choose to embark on cruises for a variety of reasons, such as travelling to different parts of the world, enjoying onboard entertainment and activities, or just kicking back and relaxing.

Each cruise ship is different, but they do have some things in common:

  1. An emphasis on teamwork – lots of different workers need to come together to make sure passengers are safe and happy.
  2. You’ll meet people from all walks of life – including all different ages, backgrounds, cultures, and sensibilities, so great people skills are a must.
  3. Adaptability is key – availability of work can be influenced by weather conditions, seasons, holidays, and even the economic climate.

Ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience

Cruise ships are usually found in the accommodation, hospitality, and tourism industries. There are different types of cruise ships and experiences, including luxury travel liners, family-friendly ships, adventure-focused expeditions, and thematic cruises catering to specific interests.

Key tasks

  • Answer passenger inquiries
  • Operate ship equipment and systems
  • Plan and execute onboard activities and events
  • Clean rooms and communal areas
  • Provide dining services and culinary operations
  • Keep thorough paperwork and records
  • Navigate and handle logistics
  • Restock supplies at stops
  • Promote services and deals to the public
  • Maintain ship equipment and systems
  • Implement and oversee safety protocols
  • Provide emergency medical care

You can expect varied hours and on-site work

Varied hours  |  Work on-site  |  Jobs more common in metro areas  |  Strong job growth

Once a cruise ship has launched from the dock, they need staff to be onboard 24/7. While specific working hours can vary, many employees often work long hours – certain roles require continuous rotating shifts to ensure the cruise carries on safely. You will also need to be prepared to spend long periods of time away from home.

Hands-on work is the norm on cruise ships. While certain administrative and marketing roles may involve remote work, most workers will find they need to be on-site.

Cruise ships are more commonly found in metropolitan areas, particularly in major port cities and popular tourist destinations. As long as you’re willing to travel, you should be able to find work.

International travel and tourism have been gradually building up again since the pandemic, so there is strong future growth for workers on cruise ships.

The Career Clusters you’ll find on a cruise ship

People from all Clusters are needed for a cruise ship to run successfully, and there are lots of jobs available to suit people in any Cluster. In many roles, you might find yourself performing tasks across multiple Clusters.

What do Makers do on a cruise ship?

Makers on cruise ships generally work in hands-on roles, and are responsible for operating, maintaining, and repairing the various systems and equipment you’ll find on board. They’re needed for almost everything, including navigating and steering the ship, troubleshooting technical issues, fixing faulty equipment, keeping things clean and tidy, preparing food for guests, and loading and unloading cargo.

  • Maritime Pilots
  • Technicians, Tradespeople & Maintenance Workers
  • Deckhands
  • Cleaners & Housekeepers
  • Chefs, Cooks & Kitchenhands

The role of a Linker on a cruise ship

Linkers on cruise ships help to ensure that passengers have everything they need to enjoy their trip. They might answer customers’ questions and find the right trip for them, point guests towards appropriate services or facilities onboard, or help them find activities to enjoy during stops. Some Linkers help to serve food and drinks and provide other entertainment for guests. Other Linkers promote cruises to the public through various channels, such as TV or social media.

  • Guest Services Representatives
  • Travel Agents
  • Waiters, Bartenders & Stewards
  • Marketing Specialists

Where you’ll find Coordinators on a cruise ship

Coordinators organise and execute a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that needs to happen before a cruise ship can launch. This can include things like planning appropriate routes and stops, ensuring the ship is stocked with essentials, scheduling entertainment and activities onboard, monitoring weather conditions, organising essential travel paperwork and permits, and keeping detailed records and logs.

What do Informers do on a cruise ship?

Informers provide information to guests about both onboard and onshore activities and experiences. Certain cruises may also require experts to teach and guide guests in certain activities, such as diving or fitness classes. Some Informers help to train other staff, while others don’t work directly onboard the cruise ship, but still provide vital expertise to ensure operations are financially and legally viable.

The role of Innovators on a cruise ship

Innovators help to design and engineer the various parts and systems of cruise ships, from huge engines needed to power the ship to functional and comfortable rooms for guests to enjoy. They also find ways to integrate new technologies into the ship’s experiences and activities. Others use their creativity and skills to provide entertainment for guests, including singing, music, and performances; and some capture photos and videos to either provide to guests or use in promotional materials.

How do Guardians work on a cruise ship?

Guardians are responsible for overseeing important compliance and safety procedures and regulations on cruise ships, including what to do in an emergency. They are also needed to protect guests’ valuables and ensure that no dangerous items are brought onto the ship. Many cruise ships also offer wellness and beauty services to passengers and need Guardians to provide treatments and therapies. Additionally, other Guardians are needed to provide emergency care to passengers who are sick or injured.

  • Safety & Security Officers
  • Massage Therapists & Spa Attendants
  • Stylists & Manicurists
  • Nurses & First Aid Officers

How do we expect working on a cruise ship to change in the future?

Working on cruise ships has been affected by many changes over the years, including very recently thanks to the pandemic. But there are other factors that could change the way we work on cruise ships too.

Health and safety have been a very important issue for cruise ships recently, particularly since the pandemic. There is a growing emphasis on ensuring passengers are safe while also being able to enjoy themselves, with all cruise ship workers needing greater awareness of health standards and procedures. There is also an increased focus on crisis management training for staff to handle unforeseen events effectively.

As the travel industry places more and more emphasis on sustainability, cruise ships will need to adopt more eco-friendly practices. This could impact various roles, with a greater importance placed on environmental awareness and integration of green technologies.

Like in nearly any industry, advancements in technology may lead to changes in certain job functions. Routine tasks could become more automated, allowing workers to focus on higher-level responsibilities.

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