A Guide to Securing Jobs on Cruise Ships With No Experience

Updated 5 May 2023

Many people dream of travelling overseas while earning money at the same time. Working on a cruise ship can satisfy that dream without requiring lots of qualifications. Even if you don't have any work experience, there are ways you can leverage your transferable skills to get a role on a cruise ship. In this article, we take a look at how you can find a job on a cruise ship with no experience, the basic requirements of the roles available and how much you can expect to make.

Explore jobs on Indeed
Part-time jobs
View more jobs on Indeed

Is it possible to get jobs on cruise ships with no experience?

It's possible to get jobs on cruise ships with no experience. Instead of focusing on a lack of work experience, you can emphasise the transferrable skills on your CV and cover letter to present them to potential employers during an interview. If you are a student or have worked in a manufacturing plant, factory or office, you already have developed relevant transferrable skills that can be useful to a cruise ship employer. Draw connections between your current skills and the job you're applying for and you may be in with a chance of landing the role.

Basic requirements for working on a cruise ship

The requirements for working on a cruise ship can vary depending on your employer. Some of the most basic requirements for working on a cruise ship with no experience include:

  • Be over 18 years old (or over 21 in some countries): All crew members have to be legal adults to apply for any cruise ship job.

  • Have a valid passport: All crew members require a valid passport to gain entry to an international port of call.

  • Have the required work permit or visa: Make sure you have legal permission to work on international waters.

  • Have no visible body piercings or tattoos: Some cruise liners may allow visible tattoos, but most require you to have a clean-cut appearance.

  • No criminal background: Passenger safety is the most important thing, so it's essential for all crew members to have no criminal history.

  • Pass a medical examination: Staff members have to prove that they do not have a contagious illness or disease, as this could pose a threat to all passengers on board.

  • Have a basic safety training qualification: Being able to jump to action in an emergency with the right training is vital for ensuring the safety of both passengers and staff on board.

  • Meet the company's language fluency requirements: Crew members are to be fluent in the language that most passengers and staff on-board speak. For example, if you're working on a cruise ship on the West Coast in the US, you have to be fluent in English.

Related: How To Include Languages On Your CV

How to apply for a job on a cruise ship with no experience

When you're certain you meet the basic requirements for working on a cruise ship, you can begin applying for roles. The following steps can help you through the process:

1. Research the cruise operator

There are many cruise operators travelling around the world. Take a look online at cruise ships that are currently looking for workers and try to gather insight into their working conditions. Check forums about the experience of previous and current staff to see if they have a good reputation from the point of view of employees and passengers and check how much they pay for entry-level positions. Doing so helps you to make an informed decision.

2. Prepare your CV

Once you have found a cruise ship that is hiring and has a good reputation, check their job requirements see if your current skills and experience are suitable. Before you apply, edit your CV based on the specific requirements and description of the job. Having a tailored CV can demonstrate that you have taken time to work on your application and show your interest in the employer.

3. Write a cover letter

Compose a concise cover letter that contains relevant details about your transferrable skills and qualifications to prove that you are a match for the role. Some employers also ask you to send a photograph of yourself. Choose one that represents who you are and makes a good first impression.

4. Apply and follow up

Follow the employer's instructions for submitting your job application, whether that's via an online job seekers website or via email. If some time has passed and you haven't had a response, it's a good idea to follow up on your application to show your continued interest in the role. Don't contact them too often as different companies operate at different speeds.

Jobs on cruise ships with no experience required

Most cruise ship jobs that don't require experience involve some form of cleaning tasks. Being hired for a cleaning job of any kind on a cruise ship is a great way to get your foot in the door, so you can work your way up the career ladder to a more exciting position with a higher salary and greater responsibility. Some of the most common no-experience cruise ship jobs are:

1. Bell staff

National average salary: £6.70 per hour

Primary duties: Bell staff provide passengers with professional services from their cabins, such as delivering gifts, beverages, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Having great interpersonal skills is crucial for this role as you regularly interact with passengers. Conveying a courteous and friendly manner in your interview is a good way to stand out for the role.

2. Engine room cleaner

National average salary: £8.90 per hour

Primary duties: Every cruise ship has an engine room that's filled with dirty smoke that can cling to every surface of the engine room. Your job as an engine room cleaner is to keep the tools, instruments, equipment and machinery in the engine room as clean as possible at all times. Doing so ensures the smooth running of the ship while meeting health and safety requirements. Previous industrial cleaning work transfers well with this specialist role.

3. Laundry attendant

National average salary: £9.14 per hour

Primary duties: Laundry workers have an essential role on cruise ships, so employers often seek new laundry staff to keep up with demand. Even if you don't have experience on a cruise ship, but you have experience in a general laundry service job, you have a high chance of getting hired as a laundry person on the cruise ship of your choice. Your daily tasks as a laundry person may involve washing and ironing all of the clothing of the passengers, officers and crew on-board the ship.

4. Deckhand

National average salary: £9.14 per hour

Primary duties: A deckhand's daily tasks can vary, but some of their main responsibilities include running various errands for passengers and giving passengers directions to various parts of the ship. Deckhands also keep the general deck area clean and ensure the equipment on the deck and deckchairs are in good condition. Safety, cleanliness and customer satisfaction are your main objectives.

5. Bar staff

National average salary: £9.24 per hour

Primary duties: Bar staff have a wide array of potential tasks. You may be responsible for the general upkeep, cleaning and maintenance of a cruise ship's bar area and equipment. You may also take drinks orders, serve beverages to guests and provide information when required. Working in a hotel or restaurant previously is worth mentioning on your CV as the skills required are similar, whether on water or dry land.

Related: 11 Diverse Hospitality Jobs

6. Kitchen porter

National average salary: £9.26 per hour

Primary duties: Kitchen porters are responsible for cleaning any utensils, galley equipment, pots, pans and dishes to ensure that the kitchen runs efficiently. This is a relatively straightforward job that doesn't require specialist experience. Having experience on your CV of working in a kitchen elsewhere is advantageous as it demonstrates that you understand the importance of following set hygiene guidelines.

Related: Cleaner Skills: Definitions and Examples

7. Cabin steward

National average salary: £9.98 per hour

Primary duties: The role of a cabin steward is to keep passenger cabins clean and tidy on a daily basis. You don't require cruise ship experience to work in this role, but any experience working in housekeeping, in a hotel or as a handyman increases your chances of success during the application process. Attention to detail and the ability to work quickly are essential.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Explore your next job opportunity on IndeedFind jobs

Related articles

7 cruise ship and cruise ship performer jobs (with benefits)

Explore more articles

  • 13 examples of secure jobs (with duties and salaries)
  • How to become a guide dog trainer (plus duties and FAQs)
  • What is a supply chain administrator? (With skills)
  • What does a dispatch manager do? (With duties and skills)
  • How to be your own boss (with 8 steps to take)
  • 17 Jobs at Magazines (Plus Salary and Duties Info)
  • What is front of house vs back of house?
  • 34 key GDPR interview questions, with four example answers
  • How To Become a Product Developer (With Job and Salary Info)
  • Is journalism a good career? (With benefits and challenges)
  • What are applied sciences? (Definition and degree types)
  • 15 consumer service jobs that pay well (With salaries)