How To Get A Job On Board Cruise Ships

Derek Travel Tips & Advice, Work & Travel 74 Comments

Job On Board Cruise Ships

Over the past few months, every now and then, I’ve mentioned that I’ve been working on a variety of new projects. And while at times it seems as if some of these projects will drag on for another 30 years without ever being finished, I am thrilled to announce that one of these projects has now been completed!

So why am I even bothering to make this announcement? Well, even though I normally prefer to avoid talking about my current income-generating endeavors on my blog, this case is a little different.

This project, which has forced me to work 90 hours per week for quite some time now, has the potential to benefit some of you, or perhaps many of you, or maybe even other people that you may know.

How can I be so sure?

I base this belief on the fact that barely a day goes by without a friend, a reader or even a complete stranger, asking me the one question I love to hear:

Can you help me get a job on board cruise ships?

I love to hear that question because in all honestly, had I never worked on board cruise ships, there is no way I would still be traveling today. In short, with the money I saved during my 5 years as a Tour Manager on board ships, I’ve been able to gain enough freedom for me to not only continue traveling, but to spend time working on creating the life I truly want to lead.

Of course, it wasn’t all about the money. Combine the savings with the amazing friendships I made and the dozens of countries I explored as part of my job and you can understand why I’m thankful every single day for the time I spent working on board cruise ships. As a result, the mere thought of someone else experiencing the very same life-changing benefits that I’ve enjoyed, is enough to get me pumped up and ready to assist in any way possible.


Job On Board Cruise Ships - How to Work on a Cruise Ship

Yes, it’s a guide to getting a job on board cruise ships.

And if I’m allowed to say so, this guide is AWESOME! I absolutely couldn’t be happier with the results and so far, the feedback has been nothing but exceptional.

So, if working on board a cruise ship is something you, or someone you know, may be interested in, I highly recommend checking out the official site of my new guide:

Without repeating the information you’ll find on the website, all I can say is that I’m certain you won’t be disappointed (especially when you see the bonus I’m giving away as well)!

So have a look and let me know what you think. 🙂 And as I’m a firm believer that working on board cruise ships is one of the most underutilized paths to freedom out there, I sincerely hope that at least a handful of you will find the finished product to be more than useful…


As it’s just not my style to randomly ask people to promote something for me, I’d rather put it this way. If you believe that your blog readers, Facebook fans or Twitter followers may be interested in this material, then I would greatly appreciate any efforts to help spread the word as much as you see fit. If you don’t feel they’d benefit, that’s perfectly cool as well, no problem at all!

Also, I do offer a generous affiliate program with this product and if you’re interested in signing up as an affiliate, just send me a quick email and I’d be more than happy to walk you through the easy process of getting started.

Job On Board Cruise Ships - How to Work on a Cruise Ship Guide

Most importantly, if any of you are interested in a lifestyle where, as my good friend and cruise ship colleague always says, “every day is another day living the dream”, I’m more than ready to help you make that lifestyle a reality:

And of course, if you have any questions about the guide or about working on board cruise ships in general, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or email me directly.

Since 1999 I've been traveling and living around the world nonstop. Sign up below for personal stories, real advice and useful updates from my adventures. Only good stuff, no nonsense.

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Comments 74

  1. Kenneth Odong

    Hello, sir, hoping everything is going on well, I have decided to contact you because am much interested in working on cruise ship but I don’t know the procedure for payment I mean can I pay through western union? If yes, then can you send me your western union details so that I pay for the guide (e-book).
    Looking forward to hear from you. Thanks.

  2. Jalisa

    Hi Earl,

    I am new to your blog, nevertheless i am thinking about purchasing your work on a cruise ship guide. However i am just wondering if this guide will also list the necessary requirements to work with each ship for example STCW 95. Will it tell me which cruise ships require STCW 95 beforehand and which do not?

    1. Post

      Hey Jalisa – Yes, the guide does go over everything you would need to get on board! All the cruise lines operate differently now but they all require STCW 95. However, most cruise lines will give you a list of courses near you so that you can get the certification and some cruise lines will train you themselves. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  3. simon oscar

    Hello Mr Earl,
    Its me again,i hope it is still ok with you.
    My younger brother too wants to work with cruise ship after i gave him your website and he read a lot about it and now he wants to start the process.He said he tried to reach you for few
    inquiries but he could not.He particularly wanted to know if he can send the money for the ebook through Western union.He also says,he would like to make that payment for the two of us,is it allowed coz we are brothers.
    He says he has no Visa card and the Paypal
    Thanks,simon oscar

  4. simon oscar

    Hey Earl,
    Thanks for your quick response.i have understood everything i needed to know as for those enquiries.
    By the end of this month ,we are hopping to get our new Visa cards because the company has transfered from the former Bank they used to pay us from.This new Bank uses Visa card only.
    For this matter therefore,i would like to know if i may not loose everything in my Account if i purchase the Guide using my Visa card.I have never done this kind of transaction before that is why i have this fear.
    Please,guide me.

    1. Post
  5. simon oscar

    Thanks for the wonderful work.i have been reading about cruise ship job for the past two years now and i have to say that ,am very ready to purchase your guide because am satisfied. I have been reading your blog only .
    My questions;
    i have never worked with a cruiseship company but i have worked with Two star hotel,will cruise ship hire me ?
    Am from Africa and of all the videos posted on You tube,i have never seen any black working on a cruise ships does it mean Cruise ship don’t hire black people ?
    Can i send the money through Western union if i don’t have Visa card ?

    1. Post

      Hey Simon – Thanks for the comment. I obviously can’t say for certain if they would hire you but the guide will definitely help you take your experiences (work, education, etc.) and present them in a way that will make you the most attractive candidate possible for the job you are interested in. And people of all races, all religions, from all continents work on ships!

      If you don’t have a visa card you can also pay with Paypal.

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  8. Nick

    Good day Earl!

    I have 2 questions for you regarding your guide.

    1- Does it mostly apply to US residents, or is the information as good for other countries? (Like Canada 😀 )

    2- I can see that you first created this guide quite a while ago. Is the information still good and up-to-date, and when was it updated for the last time? Also, if it is updated again in the future, will we have access to the updated version?

    Thanks a lot! Really excited for this!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Nick! The information applies to anyone interested in a cruise job, regardless of nationality. And I update the book every month, especially the links as those tend to change often. So you’ll always have the most updated info!

  9. janice

    Hi Earl I have wanderlust in my blood so I guess getting a cruise ship job would be best for me.How do I go about applying for a cruise ship job?

      1. Brittany

        I have been trying to read your house but it only shows me the first paragraph and the screen doesn’t scroll past that. Is there another way I could access the guide to working on cruise ships?

        1. Wandering Earl

          Hey Brittany – The guide is actually for purchase so once your payment goes through, the complete eBook will be sent to you right away!

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  11. Jessica D

    Hey Earl!
    I recently just got home from a family vacation and we went on a Royal Caribbean cruise. I have done several cruises before but for some reason after this trip I did not want to leave, and instead I had the urge to stay on the ship to work and entertain people as one of the singer/dancers or animation/cruise director’s staff. Since I got home I have been researching non stop about possible jobs on cruise lines when I came across your guide. I am really interested in purchasing your guide. Will it have the information I need about the entertainment staff aspect of cruise ships.
    Also, I am currently in University completing my degree. Do cruise ships offer contracts that are 4 months long, such as a summer contract?

    Thanks, Jessica

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Jessica – That’s very cool that you’re interested in working on ships! As for the contracts though, while some positions do offer 4 month contracts, it’s quite difficult to pick the dates. Usually, you need to go to the ship when the cruise line needs you since they need to schedule thousands of crew members. So if you apply and get hired, they’ll give you a sign-on date when they need you. As for the guide, it will absolutely help you get a position in the entertainment department!

  12. Khadijah

    Hello Earl! First off I just want to say how inspiring and great your blog is, I’m so envious and I can’t wait to start traveling! But I just want to know before I buy it if this guide covers how to get employed as a security officer, because that’s what I’m looking to do. Thank you for your time.

  13. Cecile

    Hello Earl,
    I have never been so happy to find a decent website as yours. You are such a inspiration for all the nomads in this world 🙂
    I’ll keep it short. I am about to buy your cruiseship job guide, but I also registered on one of the websites. There is one that requires USD49, to get a premium account. Would you recommend to do this, or just buy your guide with avoiding this premium account?
    A big grazie from Italy!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Cecile – I would not pay the $49. First, use the guide and see how it goes because that is going to give you a direct way to apply for any job you want with all of the major cruise lines. There’s really nothing else you would need to do and actually, in the guide, I recommend avoiding websites that actually tell you they will help you get a job. Our guide gives you all the information and tools you need to make it happen yourself which, to me, is a much better approach than making promises that I will actually get you the job 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

  14. Wayne McKenzie

    Hey Earl,

    This is Wayne and I love reading your blog. I am hugely interested in travel and currently looking into working on cruise ships as a youth counselor or cruise staff. Currently, I applied to several cruise lines, but would like to know the best way to obtain a position and how long it would take for me to get hired. If you can, please provide me with some feedback.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Wayne – It’s hard to pinpoint how long it will take to get hired. It really depends on the method you use to apply and whether or not your resume is designed in a way that is most appealing to cruise lines and basically. I have created a guide – How to Work on Cruise Ships – that takes you step-by-step through the process, giving you the best chance possible of getting hired. Might be worth a read for you.

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  17. Sahil

    Hey Earl,
    I want work in cruise and recently i finished my study in tourism and travel. I keenly want to join this field. I do not have any experience in field yet. Can you please guide me that how should i start and where should i look up.

  18. Artur

    I followed the steps from your book, sent some applications a week ago, and still don’t have any reply. Could you please tell me how to make the follow-up as mentioned in your guide? I didn’t find an email address for carnival cruises, nor the phone number..

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  20. Roy | cruisesurfingz

    Congrats on creating the guide Earl. I discarded my dream of working on a cruise ship until I met someone who did it. And even then it was a hassle to find all the information you need – they don’t make it easy! I’ve since been working on cruise ships since Jan 2010.

    So it’s good that you’ve come out with a guide.

    Anyway, just one criticism – saying that you’ll save $2,000 – $6,000 per month is an exaggeration. Sure no problem if you’re the Captain or Marine officer. But I imagine most people who’d buy your guide would be going for Entertainment, Retail, Spa, Photo, F&B. Very few of those guys would earn $2k let alone save it per month if they aren’t in management. At least not on my cruise ship.

    I saved more money when I was working in Toronto. But cruise ship work let’s me travel and live in perpetual summer. So for me, it’s worthwhile!

    1. Earl

      Hey Roy – Thanks for sharing your thoughts and that’s great that you’re on board ships! Which cruise line are you working for?

      I am quite surprised about what you said in terms of saving money. In my 5+ years on board ships (3 different cruise lines), I definitely found it quite normal for a crew member to save $2000/month. Even my staff in the Shore Excursion department earned well over $2000/month. Of course, this amount would be impossible for certain positions but in terms of those positions that readers of this guide would be interested in, I think that number is fair.

      Now I’m curious which ship you’re on 🙂

      1. Roy | Cruisesurfingz

        Earl I’m happy to tell you privately but for obvious reasons I can’t disclose it in a public forum 🙂

        Not sure how long ago you worked on cruise ships, but my shipmates who’ve been onboard (different major cruise lines) for years have said that commissions & tips are much less now than in previous years – and our wages are comparable to other lines.
        The industry is very competitive, so there’s been lots of cost cutting and no wage increases.

        All I can say is from personal experience, it’s fair to aim for $1000-1500 savings a month. Realistically people will want to go to the crew bar, eat out, do touristy things, buy stuff and enjoy their free time. Not trying to discourage anyone, just that it’s important to have the right expectations.

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  22. Todd | Todd'sWanderings

    Great job and congratulations Earl. It must feel great to finally see all your hard work make its way out into the world.

    1. Earl

      Thanks Todd! As soon as the first sale came in I was able to take a huge breath of relief, knowing that the past few months of intense work will at least help one person out!

  23. Gray

    What a great idea for an ebook, Earl! There’s definitely a mystique about working for cruise ships and most people have no idea how to go about getting a job on one. Kudos.

    1. Earl

      Hey Gray – That’s exactly how the idea started. Nobody knows how to start the process of getting a cruise ship job and the reliable information they need simply doesn’t exist. Now that problem is solved! 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  24. Maria Staal

    Hey Earl, congratulations on finishing this project! The site looks very good and I hope you will sell loads of books.
    Funny that you are just a step ahead of me. My book will come out next month and I need to set up a similar site for it. Seeing yours gives me lots of inspiration. 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Maria – Glad to know you’re officially only a month away from your book launch. Congratulations! Now just go and get that website made and stay inspired!

  25. Adam Mayfield

    Nice job on the site! It’s looking good. I remember looking into this back when I was a much younger lad and always came up empty handed. Good luck with the project and take a break already!

    If you’d like, I’d be happy to do a short write up about it over at Vagabond Guide.
    .-= Adam Mayfield´s last blog ..Automatic Doors – Living Life Without Them =-.

    1. Earl

      Hey Adam – It’s pretty much still the same today. If someone really wants to learn how to get a job on ships, there is almost no reliable information out there (that I’ve come across anyway). Of course, that’s the case no longer! 🙂

      I’d love for you to do a write up on Vagabond Guide, thanks so much for the offer. I’ll send you an email in just a moment…

    1. Earl

      Hey Randall – Full of surprises, I like it. I’ll try my best to keep them coming! And thanks so much for the RTs of this post!

  26. Jason Demant

    Hey Earl,

    Congrats on releasing the product, seems like a great idea for a product!

    Here’s my question: how much more difficult (or even possible?) would it be to get a job on a cruise ship with your significant other together? Doesn’t necessarily need to be the same job, but same ship.

    Congrats again!
    .-= Jason Demant´s last blog ..Traveling For A Year Isn’t Luck =-.

    1. Earl

      Hey Jason – That’s definitely a valid question and the general answer is that it depends on the cruise line. For example, while some cruise lines don’t like the idea of couples working on the same ship, others openly welcome it, believing that it helps keep the two crew members even happier. The last cruise line I worked for, Cunard Line, is more than happy to hire couples, as is Carnival, which happens to be the biggest cruise line in operation.

      That’s not to say that it isn’t a bit of a challenge. The chances of both of you having matching contracts (that start and end on the same day as each others) is not very high, although, the cruise line will often work with you to ensure that your contracts are as close together as possible. And sometimes certain crew members are required to extend their contract or switch to another ship for a few weeks in order to help out, so there can be some random surprises thrown in.

      However, at the end of the day, working on board ships as a couple is more than possible. In fact, on my last ship, it seemed as if I was the only person who wasn’t hired along with their significant other!

      Feel free to comment again or send me an email if you have any other questions. I’d be more than happy to help out as best I can.

      1. syd

        Hey Earl,

        I’ll be purchasing this guide pretty soon but am also concerned about being able to have my significant other on board with me. From your response above, I can see that it is possible 🙂 However, does that apply to lesbian couples as well? Or do we have to pretend to be sisters? lol

        1. Earl

          Hey Syd – Pretending to be sisters is definitely not necessary 🙂

          I actually have a section inside of the book that provides details on how to apply as a couple, so just follow those same steps as well and you should be all set!

    1. Earl

      Hey Sam – Hopefully you liked what you saw after checking it out! This is definitely a great niche and one that I really feel I can use my experience to make a difference in…time will tell I guess!

  27. Alan

    Site looks fantastic, Earl. Congrats to you and Liz for working so hard to get this off the ground!
    .-= Alan´s last blog ..Gaborone- Botswana- Lost Luggage- Developmental Success and Idle Travel =-.

    1. Earl

      Thanks so much Adam! I’m definitely passionate about the opportunities that such employment can offer, so I’m happy to hear you could feel that on the website! And with the price, I’m offering it at this low price for the first week only in order to give my readers a chance to enjoy a substantial discount. After the week is over, the price will be raised…

    1. Earl

      No catch at all Phil! As for cruise ship employment, while it’s hard work, almost every crew member will agree that the rewards are simply too great to be ignored. As for my guide, I really wanted to create the most honest, detailed and useful guide available, and I’m excited about the final result!

  28. Kirsty

    Awesome! It looks great. I remember when I was in unversity the only way to get cruise info was to buy a book. I wonder if they’re still around and made the transition to the online world.

    Looks great… good luck with it. It’s great when all that hard work pays off, eh?
    .-= Kirsty´s last blog ..August Earnings Report =-.

    1. Earl

      Hey Kristy – That’s the thing, the cruise employment books are completely outdated once you buy them. But the guide I put together will be automatically updated every two weeks so that all of the material is always as relevant and useful as possible. And that makes a huge difference in this ever-changing industry!

      Thanks for the kind words about the site. And congrats on your excellent earnings this past month!

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