How Much Do Cruise Ship Workers Make? (With Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The travel and tourism industry offers many chances for individuals to make money while working unconventional hours and exploring the world. Cruise ships, in particular, provide these benefits in addition to the opportunity to interact with diverse cultures and gain expertise in a variety of industries. Understanding how much cruise ship workers make may help you decide if this is a profession you want to pursue. In this article, we explore the many types of cruise ship employees and the average salaries for some of the most prevalent cruise ship positions.

How much do cruise ship workers make?

If you're wondering "How much do cruise shop workers make?", it can vary depending on several factors. Due to the wide variety of positions on a cruise ship, there's no set salary for cruise ship employees. Instead, there are various elements that can influence cruise ship employee pay, including:

  • Gratuities and tips: Many service crew members on cruise ships earn gratuities and tips in addition to their pay.

  • Type of position: Individuals in leadership positions, such as a cruise director or a chief engineer, earn more than those in entry-level employment.

  • Experience: Cruise ship crew members with greater experience earn more and are eligible for promotions.

  • Special skills: Individuals in highly skilled technical professions, such as information technology specialists and electrical engineers, typically earn more than employees in less skilled roles.

  • Ship size and type: Larger ships that convey more passengers require staff to take on additional responsibilities and often pay more than smaller ships.

  • Cruise liner: Each cruise liner company offers a unique compensation structure to its crew.

Apart from their salary, cruise ship crew members receive additional advantages, such as rooms onboard, medical care and meals. This lowers employees' living expenditures while on a scheduled cruise. Cruise ship workers often work longer hours, which results in increased income for hourly employees. They frequently get substantial discounts on cruises for themselves and their family members.

What are cruise ship workers?

Cruise ship employees include all team members aboard a cruise ship. Depending on the cruise line and type of ship, cruises may require hundreds of staff in various departments, such as:

  • Deck: The deck crew handles the general safety of the cruise ship and its passengers. Officers, such as the ship's captain, and ratings, such as deckhands.

  • Engine: The engine department is in charge of the ship's mechanical and technical systems, including engines, HVAC systems and firefighting systems.

  • Hotel: Hotel personnel are in charge of guest accommodations and the food and beverage department.

  • Medical: On a cruise ship, the medical team treats injuries or diseases and responds to emergencies.

What benefits do cruise ship employees receive?

The living expenses of a cruise ship employee may be substantially cheaper than someone employed on land. Employee benefits for cruise ship personnel may include the following:

  • accommodation

  • food

  • laundry

  • training

  • flights from and to the ship

  • hospital care

  • health care coverage

  • dental coverage

  • retirement plan

  • life Insurance

  • cruise discounts for family members

Employees on cruise ships get access to a crew bar with a bar allowance. If they go over their allowance, management may require them to pay for drinks, which are less expensive than at guest bars.

Types of cruise ships jobs

The following is a list of common cruise ship jobs and their corresponding average salaries:

1. Barista

Average base salary: $15,190 per month

Primary duties: Baristas brew and serve espresso-based coffee drinks. There are several skills baristas require, including an understanding of coffee blends, coffee roasting, espresso machine operation and milk frothing.

2. Server

Average base salary: $15,723 per month

Primary duties: A server welcomes and serves guests, providing detailed menu information, multi-tasking many front-of-house tasks and taking payment. They offer meals and beverages to customers in a restaurant.

3. Receptionist

Average base salary: $14,470 per month

Primary duties: Receptionists greet guests, process check-in and check-out procedures, collect payment and act as a resource for guests seeking more information. They may possess great interpersonal and communication skills and the patience necessary to address the concerns of guests.

Related: 10 Important Qualities of What Makes a Good Receptionist

4. Cleaner

Average base salary: $12,188 per month

Primary duties: A cleaner keeps rooms, pools, hallways and other public locations clean and organised. Their primary responsibilities include sweeping, mopping, vacuuming floors, dusting counters, ceilings and furniture, sterilising restrooms, kitchens and other public areas.

5. Security officer

Average base salary: $17,827 per month

Primary duties: Security officers supervise ship safety, respond to security or safety incidents and assist with any problems onboard. Most security officers undergo an intensive training programme, which may include tactical firearm training. They may require security officers to hold a license issued by a recognised authority.

6. Operations supervisor

Average base salary: $17,694 per month

Primary duties: Operations supervisors oversee all activities aboard a cruise ship's respective department or area. They assess the department's effectiveness, enhance operational processes and report to upper management.

7. Fitness instructor

Average base salary: $19,673 per month

Primary duties: A fitness instructor, often known as a personal trainer, trains and instructs individuals and groups on fitness programs. They also evaluate people's fitness and provide personal training programs. They keep track of how much time people spend on exercise machines and how much weight they put on. They also instruct people on how to exercise properly and offer group exercise sessions, such as circuit training or aerobics.

8. HVAC technician

Average base salary: $21,787 per month

Primary duties: HVAC technicians' primary responsibilities are to repair and maintain the ship's climate control systems, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning. They often finish a six- to 24-month training course, followed by an apprenticeship.

9. Hotel manager

Average base salary: $36,490 per month

Primary duties: Hotel managers supervise hotel department personnel, schedule staff, ensure excellent client experiences and coordinate hotel amenities such as room service. They may possess superior interpersonal, communication and problem-solving abilities.

10. Food and beverage manager

Average base salary: $21,889 per month

Primary duties: Food service directors are responsible for the ordering, storage, preparation and service of food and beverages. They supervise wait staff and bartenders, arrange employee schedules and resolve customer complaints.

Related: How to Become a Dietitian (With Qualifications and Skills)

11. Entertainment manager

Average base salary: $30,165 per month

Primary duties: An entertainment director organises events and books promoters and entertainers for a certain event. The entertainment director negotiates contracts for artists, develops and monitors event operations and employees, creates and adheres to a budget for each event and ensures that attendees have a great experience. They supervise the lighting, production and sound specialists of a production.

12. Nurse

Average base salary: $30,037 per month

Primary duties: Nurses aboard cruise ships perform primary functions, such as providing medical care and treatment to guests, personnel and crew members. They care for patients suffering from illnesses, injuries and medical emergencies.

13. Executive chef

Average base salary: $39,011 per month

Primary duties: Executive chefs handle the planning and preparation of meals for cruise ship passengers. They place orders for supplies, maintain inventory and supervise kitchen employees.

Related: What Is a Sous Chef and What Do They Do? (With Salary)

14. Chief engineer

Average base salary: $49,875 per month

Primary duties: The chief engineer's primary responsibilities include maintaining the ship's systems, which include the engines, hydraulics and controls. They handle inventory and collaborate closely with the ship's captain.

15. Maintenance manager

Average base salary: $22,261 per month

Primary duties: Maintenance managers handle the upkeep, repair and cleaning of a cruise ship's key passenger and crew areas. They provide maintenance and repair services for mechanical components in these areas, such as elevators and lighting.

16. Environmental consultant

Average base salary: $13,491 per month

Primary duties: Environmental consultants develop safety strategies, implement safety procedures and protocols, assess health and safety reports and coordinate hazardous material handling and disposal. Environmental consultants give specialist assessment and consulting services to their clients on environmental challenges. They're also responsible for ensuring that new environmental policies and procedures correspond to environmental laws and regulations.

17. Captain

Average base salary: $17,459 per month

Primary duties: The ship captain is the ship's highest-ranking officer. They're in command of the ship and handle navigation and operations. The captain navigates their vessel using lights, depth finders, radar, buoys and radios, based on weather conditions. They determine the ship's oxygen, air pressure or hydraulic fluid levels.

18. Electrical engineer

Average base salary: $24,839 per month

Primary duties: Electrical engineers supervise the maintenance and repair of a cruise ship's electrical systems. They typically have at least a bachelor's degree in engineering from an accredited university.

Related: What Is Electrical Engineering?

19. Director of operations

Average base salary: $41,075per month

Primary duties: Cruise directors can plan and supervise all activities and events onboard a cruise ship. They manage departmental communication, act as the cruise's ambassador and manage customer complaints.

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

Explore more articles