With 17 new cruise ships in service in 2008 and over 64 having been commissioned since 2000, the cruise ship industry has become one of the fastest expanding job sectors in the world.

There are currently 348,000 people working in the cruise industry who are getting paid to travel the world!  So what’s the draw for anyone thinking of working on cruise ships and how do you go about finding jobs on cruise ships?

Allow us to introduce you to the world of working overseas on cruise ships and being paid to have adventures on the high seas!

The obvious draw for anyone considering working on cruise ships is the travel.  Currently cruise lines are offering paying customers the chance to travel all over the world, and with a standard cruise ship ratio of 1 staff member to 2 paying passengers this means that one third of the ship’s passenger members are actually getting paid to see the sights!  Not only this, but with food and accommodation being supplied free, working on cruise liners is a good way to save money and you may also find that your wages are paid tax free.

Obviously you’re not going to be put up in the presidential suite while you’re working, and accommodation is usually in shared berths with anywhere between 2 and 4 people sharing a room.  There are possibilities for couples to work on cruise ships, and if you’ve made the company aware you’ll be working together they may berth you together.  But don’t think that working at sea is going to be an easy ride, it’s very hard work with long days, and you need to have an ever present smile for the customer, who is after all paying for your voyage.

There are a lot of jobs on cruise ships that require professional qualifications – such as deck hands, engineering officers, captains and the like – but there are also many other cruise ship jobs available for people who have nothing more than experience in the hospitality sector.  Wages depend on the type of work being carried out, and as you would expect, pay rates differ widely.  For example, “tipping personnel” such as waiters on cruise ships who are in constant contact with the public can expect to earn, with tips, up to GBP 1,600 per month, bar waiters up to GBP 1,200 per month, and bartenders also to GBP 1,200 per month.  Some of the most sought after positions on board however are cruise ship cruise or entertainment staff.  These positions are often entry level positions and definitely for the extrovert.  Cruise ship cruise staff organize all social activity such as bingo, karaoke, quizzes etc., and can expect to receive a salary up to GBP 1,400 per month.

Competition for jobs on cruise ships is high, so you need to prepare before you apply.  You should carry out research of the cruise lines and their destinations, who’s commissioning new ships, what their customer target market is.  Choose several jobs which interest you and make sure your CV highlights any previous work experience you’ve had in the hospitality field.  The best way to find a job on a cruise ship is to contact cruise lines directly, and most will have a homepage with a careers section.

There are also many online companies offering work on cruise ships who require up front payments to register – but beware of these!  Whilst some sites are legitimate, others are not, and before handing any money over you should research the site and the company behind it.

Here are a handful of websites to help you start your search for work overseas on cruise ships: –

http://www.cruiselinesjobs.com/eng/welcome/  This has good information about jobs on cruise ships with a large list of contacts.
http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=145  This is a list of over 50 cruise line contacts.
http://www.scambusters.org/cruiseshipjobs.html  And this has information about cruise ship job scams.