Work On Board Cruise Ships

Cruise Ship Employment Guide Cover

WANTED: People interested in traveling all over the world while watching their bank account grow every month.

If you want to take advantage of such a life-changing opportunity, you owe it to yourself to consider working on cruise ships. I can honestly say that working on ships changed my life in incredible ways, most importantly giving me the freedom to live on my own terms.

Get started today! Step-by-step instructions on how to apply to every major cruise line plus insider advice to guide you through the entire process are only a couple of clicks away.

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Want to learn more? Continue reading below…
(Read at your own risk. May cause extreme excitement.)


Once you walk up the gangway of your first ship, your life will never be the same.

Why? Your life will instantly involve…

Travel, Money & Social Life
WORLD TRAVEL – Explore all kinds of destinations (yes, almost every position offers a good amount of free time off the ship), from Alaska to the Caribbean, Europe to South America, the South Pacific to Southeast Asia.

MONEY! – Earn up to $6000+ USD per month, depending on position. And with very few expenses (room and meals are provided) it’s possible to save $6,000 – $20,000+ in a few short months!

AMAZING SOCIAL LIFE – Live the good life with access to crew bars, crew lounges, internet cafes, hot tubs, swimming pools, a crew gym, crew-only sunbathing decks, crew parties and other events.

SPECIAL PRIVILEGES – Spend your evenings socializing in passenger bars, and lounges, receive discounted tours in each port, attend the theater performances, dine in passenger restaurants…it’s all possible. Many positions offer these extra benefits.

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDSHIPS – Build friendships with crew members from dozens of countries around the world, and when you’re on vacation, you’ll have plenty of money to visit your new friends overseas!

LIFE-CHANGING OPPORTUNITIES – Network with crew members, local residents in every port of call and thousands of passengers and you’ll discover opportunities you simply never imagined. (Through networking on ships, I’ve been offered jobs in Greece and Costa Rica and a business partnership on the stunning Caribbean island of St. Kitts.)

2-4 MONTHS OF VACATION – Enjoy up to 4 months of vacation per year, which you can spend anywhere in the world you wish. You’ll actually work less and save more money than if you were working on land!

Friendship, Opportunity & Vacation


Applying for a cruise ship job is not the same as applying for a job on land. The rules are different, the process can be complicated and without any guidance, it’s nearly impossible to do on your own. Without knowing how to navigate the specific steps involved, cruise lines will often never even notice your application. In fact, you’ll have trouble simply trying to get an application in the first place.


When you purchase this guide…

Cruise Ship Job Guide - Description

How To Work On A Cruise Guide


“Thank you for a great guide! I had to laugh because you wrote ‘right when you least expect it, you’ll receive an email informing you that you have been selected for an interview.’ That’s exactly what happened! They offered me the job on the spot and said I looked very good on paper (thanks to you!). So instead of freezing over the holidays, I’ll be working on Holland America Line visiting Mexico, Honduras, Belize, and Guatemala.”

Katie Hart, North Carolina, USA


“I always say that working on cruise ships as an Entertainment Host was the ultimate job. Who else would pay me to hang out with passengers all day, travel the world and meet amazing people? BEST EXPERIENCE EVER… and I was able to pay off all my debt in a couple of contracts and then purchase my first home!”

Leah Bolton, Vancouver, Canada


“I would like to personally thank Earl for helping me to acquire a cruise ship job. I followed his guide precisely and in less than two weeks I have landed a job on board a major cruise line! I’m headed to Alaska and I’m so excited to begin this journey. To those of you who want to work on board a cruise ship, GET THE GUIDE!!! It helped me tremendously and I know it will help you!”

Santana Mackline, USA


“I thought I’d update you about my cruise interviews. I had three interviews just a couple weeks after applying and I was offered all three jobs! I went with Carnival Cruise Lines in the end and I can’t wait to begin. Just want to say a big thank you, the guide was really helpful, as were your emails.”

Xander McGrouther, USA


“I went for an interview last Tuesday in Vancouver and the next day I heard back that Cunard Cruise Lines wanted to talk with me. Four hours after my chat with Cunard, they offered me a position on the Queen Victoria as an International Host. I will board the ship in six days! Once again, thank you for everything!”

Jan Kerekes, Vancouver, Canada


The low, one-time cost for this detailed 175-page guide is only:

$25 USD

(April 2016 Edition)

That’s all you’ll ever need to spend in order to land a cruise ship job that will allow you to save $2000, $3000 or even as much as $5000 per month.

When that first pay check comes in, we guarantee you’ll consider this one of the best investments you’ve made!

Order Now

Pay with Paypal or Credit Card: Just click on the “Checkout with Paypal” button on the checkout page & you’ll be able to choose your payment method.

Instant Access: As soon as your order is placed, you’ll immediately receive your guide via email so that you’ll have instant access to all of the material. (Your guide is in Adobe PDF format.)

Works For Everyone: The information in this guide works for EVERYONE, no matter what country you live in. Cruise lines hire people of all nationalities and the only standard requirement to apply is that you are at least 21 years of age and not a convicted felon.

Money Back Guarantee
Also, every order of this guide comes with my personal guarantee…

60-Day Money Back Guarantee: If you don’t believe the information you receive will help you find a rewarding job on board a cruise ship, you have a full 60 days to ask for a refund. Just send me a quick email and I’ll refund the full amount without any questions asked.


Once you order your guide, you’ll be able to contact me directly with any questions you may have along the way. You’ll find my direct email address on the last page of the guide and I encourage you to use it. I guarantee you that I’ll do my very best to help get you working on board a cruise ship as quickly as possible.

Bon Voyage!


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604 Responses to Work On Board Cruise Ships

  1. Pingback: How I Can Still Afford My Life Of Constant Travel - Wandering Earl

  2. Justin says:

    Hello, Earl

    What if I have a small dog? Can I still get a job on a cruise line and take my little dog with me? He’s no bigger than a house cat.

    Thanks for your time,

  3. albert says:

    Hi Earl this is my first time ive ever seen your website and I’m very intrigued by it. I have been trying to figure out a way that I can travel the world again like I did in the NAVY and I cant believe I didn’t think of a going on cruise ships. I’m 21 with no college degree but I have ton of work, travel, and I’m use to adverse living conditions. Does previously being in the NAVY help out a lot in getting a job or would me not having any schooling hurt me in getting a good job with them. Thank you very much.

  4. Corey says:

    Hi Earl, I’m looking into buying your ebook. I see right now the addition available was just updated. I teach in South Korea and I will be travelling Asia until the end of 2012. I will not be ready to work on a ship until early 2013. In the comments you mentioned giving yourself 2 to 3 months once you apply before one should expect to board a ship, so should I wait to purchase this? If I do buy this book now (as I’m eager to look into it more in depth), would I be able to update to the latest addition later if a new one becomes available? Thanks!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Corey – If you do buy the eBook know, you can definitely update to the latest version at any time. The updates generally involve updating all of the links that are provided in the material so that I can ensure every customer receives the most relevant information possible.

  5. Firda says:

    Hi Earl,

    I visited your blog for the first time when you posted an article about Bali, quite a saddening post. And I’ve been constantly reading your blog ever since.

    I’m 26/F from Indonesia, I speak 2 foreign languages (English and Japanese) and currently learning French. I work for a major land operator for almost 4 years now, but it’s mostly behind-the-desk job, so I’m looking for a change of career.

    I really love traveling and learning new cultures, ever since I spent a year in Japan for an exchange program. Then I traveled to some Asian and European countries as well. I’m really interested in following your path of working in an international cruise ship, because I really want to do a job that enable me to travel to various countries. I’ve been trying to apply as a FA for several airlines, but failed miserably. So, now I’m heading to the cruise ship direction, which apparently offers pretty much the same perks.

    Reading from your previous comments about nationality, and various positions available in cruise ship, I guess that with the help of your e-book, I’ll be able to score some job if I work hard. But the question is, I heard some rumors (especially here in my country) that if you want to work for international cruise ship, you have to pay quite a big amount of money at first, for the so-called “registration fee” (because the ship company needs to arrange for your arrival documentations, work visa, etc.) If it’s for real, then it’s gonna be hard for me to do so, as I really don’t have that much money.

    Aside from the “fee” thing, what do you think would be the biggest challenge for me as a cruise ship?

    Hoping for your enlightenment.

    Thank you!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Firda – Most cruise lines do not charge you any money at all. You only get charged if you are hired by an un-official agency. So if you follow the information in the guide book and apply following the instructions provided, you should not be charged for anything. Cruise lines don’t charge registration fees, only those unofficial agencies do that.

      As for challenges, it all depends on your background but in general, if you are willing to just get your foot in the door, you can find a job on a cruise ship and work your way up to better positions over time!

  6. Toni says:

    Hi Earl,

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time so I’m not really sure how I managed to miss this but I was wondering if it really is that ‘simple’ to join a cruise ship with the requirements of ‘over 18 and not a felon’; surely cruise ships look for specific qualifications etc? I only ask because whilst I am 26 and have travelled for a couple of years, I don’t have a degree to back me up or anything and don’t speak other languages fluently enough; I wonder if a CV like mine would be strong enough?

    Thanks a million 🙂

    • Earl says:

      Hey Toni – As long as you have some work experience (doesn’t have to be related to any particular position on a ship), some travel experience and you are able to demonstrate that you can handle unique living/working environments (which you can easily do once you learn a few tips), then you’re qualified for many positions. Almost every job on a ship can be learned so it’s far more important to the cruise line that you have the ability to thrive in a unique, multi-cultural, ship life environment 🙂

  7. pomsky says:

    Hi Earl,
    You have an interesting & relaxed site.
    Can someone in Nigeria be availed of these opportunities.

    • Earl says:

      @pomsky – Absolutely…there’s no reason at all why you couldn’t apply and be hired by cruise lines around the world.

  8. Wally says:

    Hi Earl! I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now. I’ve been a traveller (on and off, depends on my school break) and would like to be a long term traveller one day. I chanced upon this article of yours and thought this is a great idea while I’m still on my vacation period. The thing is I’m curious whether cruise ships require a certain height for male or female. I am asian so I’m on a little bit of the small side (4’10 to be exact). And also, does your guide apply to everyone else no matter what their nationality is and where they live? I am from the Philippines and just wondering whether this guide will be really helpful. Thank you!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Wally – Thanks for the comment! And there is definitely no height requirement to work on board cruise ships at all. So that won’t be a problem. Also, this guide was written so that people of any nationality can benefit. For some positions you do have to apply to different offices depending on nationality but I provide all of the details in order to make it as easy as possible. And of course, once you read through the guide, please feel free to email me with any questions and I’ll personally help you out as best I can.

  9. Pingback: How I Can Afford My Life Of Constant Travel - Wandering Earl

  10. Christine Hayes says:

    Hi Earl, I just had a brain wave last night that I should work on a cruise ship!! So I start googling. first i read some of Roy’s blog and that led me onto yours. Both are excellent by the way, very witty and entertaining.

    I’m used to travelling as I’ve been teaching English in the Middle East and South Korea since I graduated from University. At the moment i’m training to be a yoga instructor and in a few months I will return to my home country (Ireland) to complete a Fitness Instructor course. I plan on purchasing your ebook when it’s closer to the time of me finishing the course. I’ve stayed up half the night google searching and it’s given me a bit of a headache 🙂

    Just a few questions, does you book include any tips in the area of looking for fitness instructor jobs? Do you know what sort of qualifications I need as a fitness instructor to work on a cruise ship? Would you reccommend that I do any other specific training such as spinning? Yoga is the one I am most passionate about, are there many cruise lines that offer yoga classes? Also is the salary solely commision based for instructors?

    If you can answer any of these questions it would be really helpful. Thank you.


    • Earl says:

      Hey Christine – That sounds like a great plan! As for your questions, the guide does include tips on how to apply for fitness instructor jobs. In terms of qualifications, you simply need to have completed a certified training course and then, after that, any other courses or areas of expertise will only help your chances of being hired. Every cruise ship has a gym and/or spa on board and as a result, they all offer a variety of fitness classes, including yoga. Normally, the way it works is that you are hired as a fitness instructor and then you are able to create your own classes based on what you know best. So if you know general fitness, spinning and yoga, those are three classes that you could organize. As for salary, it is usually a base pay plus commission but if you follow the advice in the guide and apply to right cruise lines, you won’t have to worry as the commissions should flow in quite nicely 🙂

      • Christine Hayes says:

        Hi Earl, thanks so much for answering my questions. You have been really helpful. I really look forward to rerading the guide now. Keep up the great blogging.

        Christine 🙂

  11. Jenny says:

    Can married couples work on cruise ships together?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Jenny – It all depends on the cruise line but there are several cruise lines that allow couples to work on the same ships together. I actually added a section into the guide that explains exactly how couples should go about getting a job together 🙂

  12. Donald says:

    Hi Earl, I just came upon your blog and I’m having a blast reading it and your reader’s reactions to your posts, especially this one about your eBook. (Oh yeh, and you officially have me looking forward to traveling to Bulgaria)

    I’m currently 27, an Associates Degree, I have small seasonal work experience in customer service and food preparation (I’ve worked for a Catering Agency and Coldstone Creamery) and Am a self-taught graphic designer (4+ years experience).

    I’ve read most of the responses in this section and I’m still not quite sure about my qualifications. I know I love to work on my feet, I can’t really see myself sitting down all the time (but I can imagine the jobs vary), and I really enjoy engaging all kinds of people. As far as travel is concerned, I basically grew up in an airplane (since I was 10) traveling back and forth from one state to another, and I absolutely love driving from one place to another, and just explore. Could I see myself on a cruise ship? yes. Becuase I’ve been on one before and for some reason, after my first trip to the Bahamas was over, I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to stay sooooo badly. I know it will probably take more than that to get accustomed to ‘ship life’ but it wouldn’t hurt to experience it.

    Whats your take?

    PS. Yes, I do plan on buying your book when I get my hands on more funds.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Donald – Welcome! As for cruise ship work, the answer is simply yes, you could find work on a ship with your background. As my book explains, cruise lines aren’t necessarily looking for people with specific work experience. They are far more interested in people who they believe will thrive in a unique, challenging ship environment. If you can prove that you would be a good fit for such an environment, cruise lines will hire you…and that’s basically how it all works 🙂

      Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll do my best to answer them!

  13. jim says:

    hi Earl,
    I am at the end of my photography course this summer. I always imagined combining photography and traveling in my life. Is a photographer needed that much on a ship? and even if i had a chance do you think the ship’s enviroment is a suitable place to be creative? thank you in advance for any assistance!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Jim – Photography is a major department on board cruise ships and every ship employs at least 5 – 20 photographers. With that said, taking photos of passengers and the ship doesn’t allow for much creativity, however, you’ll have plenty of free time off in the ports of call you visit, allowing you to head off for a few hours and get creative in some of these beautiful destinations. So it might be an ideal combination of work/travel/creative opportunities for someone like you who is interested in combining all three 🙂

  14. Caren says:

    Hey Earl,
    I am a certified wastewater operator. Is there any work on cruise ships for me?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Caren – There are positions available that are involved with water and waste management (as those are both huge operations on board every ship) so I would imagine that you would be a good candidate.

  15. Ashley says:

    Hey Earl –

    Love reading about your stories on the blog and have been thinking about working on a cruise ship for a long time.

    I have spent a lot of time looking at cruise ship job postings and qualifications. I am having a very difficult time figuring out where I would fit in. I do have a degree in web development, (not sure if there are any on-board related position) but I have no desire to work in that field. I have a lot of customer service experience, however I only speak one language (English). I’m in my early 20s and have some travel experiece; I have visited Europe many times, and have travelled a fair bit around North America as well. Any ideas where someone like me would fit in?


    • Earl says:

      Hey Ashley – Thanks for the comment and you would actually fit in to many positions on board a cruise ship. As the guide above will point out, it’s not necessarily your work history that cruise lines look at when hiring. They are far more concerned with several other factors that help prove to them that you are able to handle the unique challenges of ‘ship life’. So as long as you have some customer service experience and some travel experience, you’ll generally be able to find a suitable position or two to apply for.

  16. Ievgen Lopukhin says:

    Hallo Earl! My name is Ievgen from Ukraine. For my luck I had already onboard expirience. I was working on “Liberty of the Seas”, position photographer, honestly saying it was best time in my life. I met a lot new interesting people, which became my friends.
    Now in Ukraine i want to create my own crew agency, perhaps you may suggest me how i can get in touch with possible employers. I have already all reqired license.
    Thank’s for your help.
    Best wishes Ievgen.

    • Earl says:

      Privet Levgen – Thanks for the comment and congratulations on starting your new business! As for contacting the cruise lines, the best way is to simply contact the head office of each cruise line and ask to speak with someone in the HR department. Usually there is one contact person who deals with agencies and they will send you the guidelines that you must follow in order for them to work with you. And the best way to find the contact person is to call the main phone number for each cruise line as emails tend to be ignored 🙂

  17. Shreyas says:

    Hi Earl,

    After hours of browsing travel blogs, I finally stumbled upon yours which has more than excited me and that too only after a couple of posts!

    Ever since I got my first visa stamped last year, I’ve made up my mind to become a full time travel blogger. Be it the excitement of meeting new people, exploring new cultures, working at completely different workplaces; ever since I started reading stories of people like you online, I feel that this is what I want to do!

    And of course even my story has a BUT. Lemme first give you some keywords about myself. 21 year old,Indian,Speak 4 languages (basic Russian is one among them), College Educated, Software Engineer by profession.

    So before I make a firm decision on what I want to do in life, I want to weigh in my options. Do you think that a cruise line would be interested in offering me a job considering my nativity? (of course, I’m very good in socializing, I have a very good taste in food and alcohol and very much interested in getting used to a cruise life)

    • Earl says:

      Hey Shreyas – Thanks for the comment and I know that feeling when you get the first visa stamp 🙂 I remember getting my first stamp too and I’m not sure I have ever been as excited as that moment!

      As for cruise ships, there are actually thousands of Indians working on ships all over the world. On the last ship I worked on we had over 150 Indian crew members and they were scattered around many different departments. I actually had one on my team as well. And with your language abilities, that will be a huge bonus as the more languages you can speak, the better it is for cruise lines. They love to hire multi-lingual crew members.

      If you have any other questions about it, feel free to email me through the contact link at the top of the page and I’d be more than happy to answer!

  18. Jaimie says:

    i was just wondering how myself, being a Canadian, would be able to get work on a US or International cruise ship. would you need some sort of visa?
    most places i can stay in their country for six months at a time.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Jaime – As a Canadian, you would need to obtain a US Seamen’s visa to work onboard any ship but the cruise line that hires you will send you the paperwork you need to obtain the visa from the closest US Embassy or Consulate to your home. And apart from that, you don’t need any other visas to work on board ships as the cruise lines have deals worked out with every country they visit so that crew members can get off the ship during their free time without having a visa.

  19. B-j says:

    Hi Earl, I am interested to work on cruise lines. any idea what the chances are for a 18 year old.. I have very good work the cruiselines cover flights or visa cost?

    • Earl says:

      Hey BJ – While chances are less than if you were 21+ with a university degree, you still can find work on board ships. You’d probably have to start in a position such as waitstaff and work your way up the ladder but there are opportunities. And if you are hired by a cruise line, they do pay for your flight to the ship and your flight home after your contract. As for a visa, if you are not a US citizen, then the cruise line will reimburse you for the cost of your US Seamen’s visa that you will have to obtain to work on board any cruise ship. That’s the only visa you’ll need though!

  20. Katie Fox says:

    Hi Earl,

    What an amazing way to travel? What if you have a child? Does that ever happen?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Katie – Unfortunately, crew members are not allowed to bring their children on board as most crew members share a cabin with another person and because of the working hours, it wouldn’t be feasible to have a child living on a ship with their parent.

  21. Samuel Wall says:

    Hi Earl, I’m 24 and a qualified medical doctor. I am interested in taking some time off work – would there be any positions (on board) that would draw on my medical work?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Samuel – Absolutely…every cruise ship in the world has at least 1 doctor on board, some even have 2 or 3 depending on the number of passengers. And many cruise lines prefer to higher younger doctors who have just finished school as it’s easier than convincing doctors who already have established careers to move over to the cruise ships. So I’d say you have plenty of opportunities…

  22. Shiann says:

    Hey Earl! I’m 16 and a high school drop-out I and im really interested in doing something like this but I was wondering if I would have trouble doing so since I’m not in school or have completed it, Any information you have would be much appreciated.

    • Earl says:

      Hello Shiann – Thanks for the comment! In order to apply for a job on board a cruise ship you do need to be at least 18 years old and have at least a high school diploma.

  23. Sara says:

    Hey Earl! I just bought your eBook and have been reading it for an hour (it’s great, everyone)! I’m wondering when I should start applying, I graduate in May so would it be too early to do it right now? Should I wait until then? Thanks for all your help!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Sara – I would apply 2-3 months before you want to be on board a ship. This is generally the ideal time frame as the process can take a couple of months considering the interview, medical exam, etc. And even if the process only takes a couple of weeks, cruise lines will have no problem waiting an extra month for you to join the ship. I hope that helps but feel free to email me with any other questions you may have as well!

  24. Aaron says:

    Hey Earl!

    I just wanted to drop in and throw a HUGE thanks your way! About a month or two ago, I ordered this book and applied to every major cruise company in hopes of finding a video position along board. After a lot of hard work of applying, being persistent and waiting, I finally received an interview and an offer on Princess Cruises as a Videographer! I couldn’t be happier and I owe you much thanks for an amazing book with endless tips and tricks! If anyone else is reading this, know that the guide has it all to successfully applying and finally getting a job on board with hard work and dedication!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Aaron – That’s fantastic news!! You’ll enjoy Princess…the crew members have a good time on their ships 🙂 And please let me know how it goes once you’re on board…I definitely want to hear how ‘ship life’ treats you!

  25. Cassandra says:

    Hello! After seaching everywhere for information, I think this has been the most I have gotten. I am 18 years old, with experience at a local day camp with kids since I was 13, restaruant/waitress expereince for four years, babysitting, and much volunteer work also. I believe I have had many experiences, more than the average teenager, and want to expereince my life to the fullest. I will graduate high school in June, but leaving for Spain til July 31st. I would like to take a gap year( or years). Nomadic lifestyles are very appealing to me and i am going to travel. Being a part of a cruise ship seems like a wonderful way to start this. ANYWAYS. I am in need of an opinion/some ideas of cruise ship jobs to apply for or even if I am qualified enough, and when I should apply, I am guessing right about now( March/April). If this is too much to ask for I am sorry! Even an email or anything, or just reading this is very much appreciated! Thank you for your time, Cassandra

    Just wandering: I was also just declared clear of cancer, but not in complete remission til 5 years, will this affect being hired? When would I tell this to them(in an interview, after being hired, etc.) Thank you!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Cassandra – To be honest, I don’t know about the cancer issue. Cruise lines do require all applicants to go through a thorough physical exam because there is obviously limited treatments available while on board the cruise ship. And the cruise line wants to make sure you’re healthy enough for such conditions. As for positions and when you should apply, those are topics that are included in the eGuide that is available on this page…so if you’re definitely interested in working on ships, I would recommend purchasing the guide as you’ll find everything you need to know inside. And of course, I’ll be there to assist with any further questions you may have throughout the application/hiring process…

  26. Leen J says:

    hi earl..i would like to know is it possible to work on a cruise ship for only a month or two?!during the summer vacation

    • Earl says:

      Hey Leen – There are certain cruise lines that do hire extra summer staff but the minimum commitment would usually be 2 months. So if you can manage 2 months, then there are definitely opportunities for you to jump on board during the summer 🙂

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  28. Marianne says:

    I was just wondering, is it required that I have completed high school? 🙂

    • Marianne says:

      Oh, by the way, I am 17 now but can I apply now and then start working (if I’ve got a job) when I turn 18? 🙂

    • Earl says:

      Hey Marianne – One of the requirements for working on board cruise ships is a high school diploma. Also, you wouldn’t want to apply too far in advance either in case you get hired right away as cruise lines generally won’t wait many months until you’re ready 🙂

  29. Thiru says:

    Hey Earl,
    I’m really liking and respecting the fact that you have responded to all those who have asked you a question. I can imagine the amount of work that went into that, so please keep it up.

    Next: MY QUESTION. Basically I wanted to know if it was possible for a disabled person to work on a cruise ship. I am in a wheelchair and cannot walk at all. I know there are employment laws around this but that does not mean that it necessarily means anything (especially since its at sea and so the cruise liners can flaunt the laws).

    Let me give you a brief background into myself. I have actually been quite active. I went travelling to Thailand for 3 months, where I lived with the Tribes (Lisu), worked in an orphanage, and lived in a monastery for one month in Chiang Mai (which was HUGELY challenging being locked in a room for 30 days meditating and not able to leave the building, which I guess may demonstrate that I am able handle tough environments). Also, I’ve done stand up comedy (yes ironically while being in a wheelchair), and am acting now too. My background is very different, having studied maths for my undergrad and accounting for my postgrad. I don’t really care what job I do in a cruise liner, as long as it gets me a job there.

    Thanks mate, and please dont worry about offending me with any answer, I’d rather have the truth (for better or for worse), rather than an untrue fantasy.

    Thanks Earl, hope to hear from you soon buddy, you have an amazing blog here. (check mine out if you want too, its called

    • Earl says:

      Hey Thiru – I appreciate the comment and you certainly have done some amazing things on your travels. I’m actually looking into doing a 30-day meditation retreat this year myself and haven’t met many others who have done such a thing as well.

      As for you cruise ship question, the cruise lines are generally all registered in places such as Panama and Liberia strictly so that they don’t have to follow normal employment laws. With that said, my guess would be that they would not hire someone in a wheelchair. The reason I say this is because official maritime law states that every crew member on a cruise ship must have a safety duty in the event of an emergency. And while I’m certainly not saying that you wouldn’t be able to perform these duties, there might be challenges involved. When the emergency signal is heard, the elevators are turned off and crew members must go from their work areas to their cabins (on Deck 1) to get their life jackets and then up to their emergency stations, which could be as high as on Deck 15, within a span of five minutes. So for this reason I think that cruise ship employment might be difficult to obtain.

      But if this answer leads to any other questions, please let me know. I would certainly be more than happy to answer anything!

      And I’ll certainly check out your website. I can only imagine it will make for quite an interesting read!

      • Thiru says:

        I appreciate the early reply and the honesty, you seem like such a cool and interesting person who I would love to meet sometime. I really appreciate your honesty even though it may be hard to say it.

        In the mean time, keep up the blog, it is truly amazing, carry on writing up all the amazing adventures you have had and are having.

        In terms of the meditation retreats I would certainly recommend “Wat Rampoeng” in Chiang Mai (if you go back to Thailand anytime soon), and I would recommend Goenka’s 10 day Meditation Retreat (usually available in most countries) if you haven’t been there yet either.

        Take care bro, keep up your adventures and I will hopefully see you on your travels soon..!!

        • Earl says:

          Hey Thiru – I’ve actually done two of Goenka’s retreats so far and really enjoyed both. They’ve both had such positive effects on my life. Now I’ll look into Wat Rampoeng as well, thanks for the information!

    • Hey guys, just wanted to add to this. We had a guest lecturer last cruise who is in a wheelchair. Guest lecturers have modified guest status however, so they don’t have safety duties.

      So while I totally agree with Earl, if there is a will, there’s a way!

  30. rossy says:

    Dear Earl,

    I have been looking around on the internet for a while and can’t seem to find an answer to my own question, which is slightly different from what you talk about in your book.
    I actually would like to take a lift on a cruise ship, from Europe to North Ameria and then back after a few weeks. I am definitely willing to work in order to pay for the lift, but I am not really interested in a permanent job onboard. Do you think this is possible to find or should I quit searching?

    Thank you very much for your help.


    • Earl says:

      Hey Rossy – Unfortunately, what you’re looking for is not possible. That just doesn’t happen these days as every cruise ship has enough permanent crew members so they don’t need to take on anyone else. Also, the strict regulations that cruise ships must follow would not allow for such an arrangement either.

  31. jay says:

    Hi Earl! I’m a cook and I was wondering something….i heard that on cruise ship, they hire only people that they can pay not as much as they…deserve. I mean, they hire cheap labor . Also, that cook’s have bad workings conditions…..have you heard anything about that?? Do they hired lots of cooks, or they don’t need a lot?….I’m kind of confused about that….

    merci 🙂

    • Earl says:

      Hey Jay – What happens on cruise ships is that they do pay certain positions less money than people in the west might be used to. But with these positions, such as cooks, most of these crew members come from countries where they would earn much less. So for them, they are earning a very good salary.

      But there are a lot of available cook positions as every ship has so many restaurants that preparing food is a non-stop 24 hour operation!

  32. Sam says:

    Hi Earl,

    I’m a 21 year old IT professional with no travel experience other than around australia. Are there a lot of IT jobs on cruise ships? or would that help me in whatever other positions on a cruise ship?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Sam – Having an IT background is a great way to get into ‘ship life’. Every ship generally has 1 IT Manager (some have 2) and at least 2 Asst. IT Managers. It all depends on the size of the ship of course. But these are great positions with very good pay, privileges and living arrangements!

  33. Paul says:

    Hey Earl, while I’m sure this is too much to hope for. My long-term girlfriend and I have been looking into applying to work on cruises, and i was wondering if there was any way/chance that we would end up on the same ship.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Paul – That’s not too much to hope for, it simply depends on the cruise line you are hired by. Some cruise lines will not hire couples while others are more than happy to do so. There actually is a small section in the eBook that explains which cruise lines you should apply to if you are trying to get on board with a partner.

      • John says:

        My wife and I are interested in working together on a boat. How many companies/boats do you think offer jobs to couples?

        Also, is it possible to be in a cabin together or is that asking too much?

        And she’s Japanese, does that matter?

        • Earl says:

          Hey John – There are several cruise lines that will hire couples, especially the smaller, luxury cruise lines. I actually include a small section at the end of the eBook that discusses how couples should go about applying together. As for getting a cabin together, that probably won’t happen as crew accommodation is divided by department and chances are you wouldn’t end up working in the same department. However, if one of you ends up as an Assistant Manager or a Manager of a department, that person would most likely end up with a cabin of their own, which you could naturally live in together. And as for your wife being Japanese, that doesn’t matter at all…if the cruise lines thinks she can do the job, they’ll hire her, regardless of nationality!

  34. Aaron Oberdick says:

    Hi Earl,

    I just wanted to drop and and say after reading your stories and book which I just recently purchased, I am more than inspired to get a career started in the “ship life”. Before I graduated high school, I knew traveling was one of the many things I found beautiful in this world and aspired to do. I think providing my people skills along with technical skills will be a perfect fit in the ship life, while I am doing what I love, in traveling. I am eager to get applying this minute and hope for the best, while taking so much from your book and implementing it to myself. Although I haven’t been able to travel much, as I recently graduated from college, I hope to be along the path you have gone with your expansive explorations. Thank you again for the hope and dedication that you gave me to inspire to see everything this amazing world has to offer!

    Wish the best,
    Aaron O

    • Earl says:

      Hey Aaron – I appreciate the comment and having technical skills is definitely an asset in terms of applying for cruise ship jobs. There are many technical-oriented positions that you could probably apply for. And once you start to put your resume together, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!

      • Aaron Oberdick says:

        Hi Earl,

        So I’ve ran into one question only, and I am not sure what to do. Thanks for being open to questions by the way. When it comes to resumes, I have always tried to implement my graphic design knowledge into creating the best looking and aesthetically pleasing resume I could build. So far, this has been successful for me. I have created two separate resume’s, one being a standard looking one, and one with my incorporated art skills, both having the same exact content. In your opinion, do you think I should submit my standard resume, or the one created with a touch of “me” on it? I know some companies don’t like art-styled resume’s so I wanted to get your opinion before I made my final decision. Thank you in advance!

        • Earl says:

          Hey Aaron – I would say that incorporating your art skills would be fine as long as it isn’t over the top. But in the case of cruise ship employment, the art isn’t going to make much of a difference as they just want to see how your education/skills matches up to the requirements of ship life. So keep it low-key and you should be all set!

  35. Angelo says:

    Hey Earl,
    I just wanted to share an unlikely, but extremely pleasant, turn of events that has recently taken place in my life. It also pertains to your guide, which I’ll be buying up very soon.
    I interned in Turkey as an English teacher in late 2009 and met many other foreigners doing the same thing. There was a Colombian girl that I grew very close to in the six short weeks we were there. We continued to remain sporadically in touch until this summer. I was headed abroad for my first long-term job abroad as a certified teacher and the distance separating us was too much to get around in the end.
    What do you know, I’m back in Turkey and I’m avidly reading your blog and others great travels. It turns out, the very same Colombian intern from two years ago met a boy embarking on his first long-term contract with a cruise line. And the ship he was placed on had an itinerary to land in Istanbul several times before the end of this year!
    Upon hearing this, my intern friend decided to pack up all the things she had been saving to mail to me one day into a little brown bag and send them along with him, hoping in good faith that they would be delivered. However, after several failed attempts at connecting with each other (cruise line workers do indeed have very little free-time, as you say!) prospects at me ever receiving her letters seemed bleak.
    On his cruise liner’s last overnight trip into Istanbul, though, I finally got word that he was waiting for me to meet him in a cafe on the beautiful Bosphorous straight. We shared stories of our mutual friend (an old one, to me, while relatively new to him) and exchanged thoughts about working on a cruise ship.
    “How incredible.” I thought. I had just heard the “short list” of the countries his liner had passed through and was floored. I have to do this. It fit. I’ll be whatever I need to be. I’m right in the same position you were at your start, only most likely with a lot more gracious help! I can’t wait to see what this might turn into for me and I have you, among others, to thank!

    All the best,
    Angelo P

    • Earl says:

      Hey Angelo – That is quite an unreal tale! I’m not sure what to say…but I hope that you will soon be able to get a taste of ‘ship life’ yourself and see first-hand how unique that world really is. And let me know if you have any free time tomorrow to meet up here in Istanbul!

  36. Chanel says:

    Hello from South Africa Earl,

    A colleague of mine is enquiring regarding her 18yr old daughter wanting to work onboard cruise ships, will it be possible for her to apply.

    Also I noted above you mentioned that there are people that are mature, who are also employed onboard the cruise ships. I am considering doing something like this.

    Your response is appreciated.

    Best regards,


    • Earl says:

      Hey Chanel – It’s definitely possible for her to apply as the minimum age requirement is 18 years of age. So as long as she is able to present herself and her resume in as favorable a way as possible (which the guide will help her do), there shouldn’t be any problems. As for more mature crew members, there are plenty of opportunities as well. Cruise lines prefer to hire crew members of all ages and they often want to make sure that they have mature, experienced people to fill many positions.

  37. Hanna says:

    How much is it for over seas shipping? (to Denmark) Or is there an e book version?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Hanna – Thanks for the comment and actually, the book only comes in an eBook form so as soon as you make the purchase, you will instantly receive your personal link that will allow you to download the material!

  38. Layla says:

    Hello, I have one question: are these ships sailing to specific parts of the world? I am interested in the Middle East…

    • Earl says:

      Hey Layla – There are over 300 cruise ships in the world and they all sail to different places. There aren’t any cruise lines that I know of that sail only to the Middle East but many cruise lines do visit that region two or three times per year. However, you generally can’t choose which itinerary you want to work on. Once a cruise line hires you, they place you on whichever ship they need you to work on and that ship could be anywhere in the world.

  39. Brittany says:

    Is it still a worth while thing to apply for it you only have a high school diploma and limited work experience? I know you said the only requirements are being 18 and no felonies but is there a real chance of getting hired? Thanks! I look forward to reading this book!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Brittany – In your case, it will all come down to how well you present yourself and how well you can convince the cruise lines that you have what it takes to survive and succeed on board cruise ships. There are definitely 18 year olds working on ships, so you do have a chance. With that said, it will be somewhat more challenging to get hired if you’re competing with others who have more work/education experience.

      But again, it is definitely possible and the book will certainly help you out a great deal in terms of making sure you present yourself in the best way possible!

  40. Carla Hughett says:

    Hi Earl,

    Thanks for your answer, it was very helpful. I’m wondering whether cruise ships ever hire people for more than one job description–there are somewhat fewer things that I could see doing 40 or more hours a week. But anyway, my work experience goes something like this: category A (things that I can’t imagine being useful on a cruise ship) include growing veggies, milking goats, cutting firewood, and light carpentry. Category B is things I’d rather not do again, and includes personal care for seniors, running a printing press, and any kind of sales. Category C includes 1) Traditional Chinese Medicine (broadly defined; I know a fair amount about Western Medicine, nutrition, and general healthcare) 2) Massage (would need a bit of retraining to do anything but deep tissue 3) Qigong 4) Have a MS in Sociology, focus on environmental/sustainable agriculture issues 5) Am pretty comfortable teaching (lots of teaching assistantships) 6) Have cooked for groups, and a little bit in restaurants, but prefer to fill in rather than doing food service full time (especially of the gourmet sort I expect of cruise ships) 7) Have no real experience with operating tours, but I could really see myself doing that (talking about something I know and love, ie travel and other cultures, is something I really enjoy).
    Have to go pack now, and continue this fascinating conversation later–I fly Kathmandu to Delhi tomorrow, and take a night bus up to Manali, then on to Spiti–maybe I’ll take a rest day to sit in hot water in the Manali area, though.

    More later,

    • Earl says:

      Hey Carla – That is quite a varied work history! Cruise ships generally don’t hire people for more than one position/duty as every department is run quite separately and each hires their own staff. As for working in the Tour Office, the main criteria for landing such a job would be travel experience, an ability to adapt/live/work in challenging environments and with a diverse group of people and some work experience that involves interaction with customers in some way. In addition, getting a job on a cruise ship has a lot to do with knowing how to present your work history and how to make sure that everything you give to the cruise lines (CV, resume, etc.) is formatted in a way that will get your application to the top of the pile. And that’s basically what we offer with the eBook…all of the advice and tips you need to stand out. Of course, I can’t guarantee you get a job, but you will be given the best chance possible.

  41. Carla Hughett says:

    Hi Earl,

    Your story is quite interesting–I seem to be backing into a similar lifestyle, although for different reasons. I am Tibetan Buddhist, and have been spending a lot of time in India, with occasional forays to Nepal, Malaysia, and Taiwan. I could tell an interesting story about landslides and Spiti…..

    But regarding work on cruise ships, do you think there’s much available for someone who is (slightly!) over fifty (but doesn’t look or act it). The problem I run into with job prospects is that by my age people expect you to have racked up a lot of experience with just one or two things, and frankly my resume doesn’t look like much. You mentioned that crew is of all ages, but they may have very different backgrounds from mine… please don’t just give me a pat answer without looking into it a bit. (“I’m not really sure” is an acceptable answer, just no BS please)


    • Earl says:

      Hey Carla – Thank you for commenting! In terms of working on board cruise ships, it is a fact that ships hire people of all ages. Without knowing your specific background, I can tell you that cruise lines are basically interested in people who can show that they are able to adjust to life at sea, which is a lifestyle that involves living and working with a diverse group of people in a challenging environment. Generally, being able to prove this is much more important than any direct work experience as the majority of people who quit their jobs on board cruise ships do so no because they can’t handle the work, but because they can’t handle life at sea.

      Of course, any work experience related to any position on board is beneficial, and I would imagine that your diverse job history would give you experience in a couple of different departments that one would find on board cruise ships. Just your travel history alone should prove quite valuable for work in the Shore Excursion Department, especially if you have any experience at all that brought you into contact with tour operators or any tourism related companies, even if for only a short time.

      One example I can give is on the last ship I worked on. The cruise line hired a 55 year old guy to be one of my Tour Staff in the Shore Excursions Department. The main reason he was hired was because he had traveled for a few years and had spent six months working as a Tour Guide assistant in London. And that was enough to get him hired.

      Also, I didn’t have any work experience at all when I was hired for the first time except for six months teaching English in Thailand and a few temp jobs during college!

      Feel free to send me an email as well if you have more questions. I’d be more than happy to respond and offer any further information I can.

  42. Kelsey says:

    Hello! This job opprotunity seems to be very much up my ally!! I am wondering though, what is the age limit to work on a cruise ship? I am going to be 20 in October. This seems like a dream job based on the travelling alone !

  43. Gloriana says:

    Hi Earl!
    Great blog, really inspiring!
    I will try this beginning 2012. Every thing sound great.
    Just a couple of questions. How long are the working contracts normally?
    Any cons or ugly stuff I should prepare for?..nothing is perfect anyway. 🙂
    Have a great day!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Gloriana – Thank you for the comment! The contracts depend on which position you get and which cruise line you work for. In general, you can expect a contract to last 4 – 8 months with the majority being around 4-6 months long. As for cons, the biggest thing is that you won’t have a full day off during your contract. You will work every day. However, you will have time off so it’s not like you’ll work 18 hours every day for 6 months but some people don’t like the fact that there are no full days off. Also, for most positions, you will have to share a cabin with 1 or 2 other people and the cabins are usually on the small side. But as you move up the ladder and get promoted, your cabin situation improves and you may end up with a single cabin depending on your position. Apart from that, it all depends on the cruise lines again. Some cruise lines treat their crew members much better than others!

  44. Todd the seakayaker says:

    Interesting. If I ever get laid off again I may try this. Can you please address taxes and medical?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Todd – The taxes situation depends on your home country and whether the cruise line you work for is based in the US or overseas. In general, US citizens pay taxes on their income and non-US citizens usually don’t pay taxes but there are a handful of exceptions. However, depending on how long US citizens stay outside of the US in any given year, you may not have to pay taxes either. With medical, you are fully covered during your contracts. Some cruise lines also offer packages to officers and department heads in which they continue to earn money and have medical coverage while on their vacations in between contracts as well.

      So basically, it all depends on the cruise line, position and one’s nationality. If you ever have any more questions about working on ships, just send me an email and I’d be more than happy to respond!

  45. Peter Winterble says:

    Just to say that as a CORF (Certified Old Retired Fart) here in Argentina, I sure wish this kind of information and activity had been around when I was a certified younger person!

    It also seems like it would require a good deal of personal discipline and focus to really save a lot of money and manage one’s life in a shipboard environment. I commend you both for obviously having what it takes.

    Cheers and continued good luck,

    Peter in BsAs

    • Earl says:

      Hey Peter – Ha! Well, I’m sure you’ve found your own unique adventures in life considering that you’re now living down in Argentina 🙂

      And it does take a little discipline to save up money on board ships, although not too much considering that free time for crew members can be quite limited!

  46. salma says:

    I live in Egypt and I’m 19. Do you think I can find a Job ?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Salma – Naturally, I cannot tell you for certain if you could get a job on board cruise ships. It depends on several factors, including any work experience you might have, educational background and which positions you would be interested in applying for. But in general, anyone can apply to work on cruise ships and every cruise line is full of crew members of all ages and from dozens of nationalities, including Egyptian!

  47. Linda, I'd rather be traveling says:

    Hello Earl, good for you! Again!
    I am ordering this for my 16 year old!
    I believe in traveling as a Masters college degree of LIFE!

    All the best,

    • Earl says:

      Hey Linda! That’s excellent and I hope your son gets excited about such an opportunity 🙂

      And I couldn’t agree with you more about the educational value of travel. After all, that’s why I’ve found it impossible to stop traveling myself!

  48. Karis da Silva says:

    Does this apply to people outside USA? I live in New Zealand.
    Thanks (:

    • Earl says:

      Hey Karis – Yes, this guide does apply to people outside of the USA! In fact, almost 50% of the people who have used this guide are from outside the US, including several people from NZ 🙂

      • Karis da Silva says:

        Awesome, thanks!

        • Suzanne Fitz says:

          Hi Earl;
          What if someone is over 50?

          • Earl says:

            Hey Suzanne – There are definitely plenty of crew members over the age of 50 on board cruise ships. In the end, it all depends on the position(s) that might be the best fit for you and whether or not those are positions that a cruise line prefers to fill with younger applicants. But in general, I’ve seen crew members up to the age of 65 working in almost every department on board ships!

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