Cruise Ship Jobs

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply for a job onboard luxury cruise liner in case I live outside the United States?

Yes, all the major cruise lines hire crewmembers from all over the world. Cruise ships embark from all major ports in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Are there any age restrictions to working on a cruise ship?

Cruise ships hire personnel of all ages, however you must be able to perform the tasks required for the job. The minimum age is 19-20 while the maximum is about 55-60, depending on the position.

What if I have no work experience for my desired position?

The cruise lines provide training for new employees. The cruise companies are accustomed to training new individuals for positions. Even if you do have experience, you'll still receive training on board.

Will cruise lines employ married couples?

Yes, there are many cruise lines, which hire married couples. The couple will also have their own living space. All you need to do is to apply together and advise us on your wish. We’ll make sure your applications are sent to the same cruise line recruitment offices.

Is it possible for me to get a job on the same cruise ship with my friends?

Yes, there are many cruise lines, which will allow you to get a job on the same ship with your friends. All you need to do is to apply together and advise us on your wish. We’ll make sure your applications are sent to the same cruise line recruitment offices.

What kind of documents is required in order to obtain employment with a major cruise line (i.e. passports, visas etc.)?

U.S. and Canadian citizens need just a passport, valid for at least three months after the end of the contract. All other nationalities need a C1-D U.S. seaman's visa, which is easy to obtain (it takes about one-two business days) from any U.S. consulate abroad after the job contract is secured.

Is the crewmember responsible for transportation to and from the ship?

In most cases the cruise line will be responsible for the airfare between the nearest international airport to your home and the port of embarkation, wherever in the world that port will be. Since cruise lines are flying thousands of people every day (passengers and crew), they get tickets from the airlines at a very low price.

What are the tax laws regarding income earned on a cruise ship?

U.S. citizens get taxes deducted directly from their paychecks, any other nationality crewmembers have their own responsibility to declare the income earned on a cruise ship.

What about the food and accommodation for crewmembers onboard a cruise ship and what are the living conditions?

Crewmembers do not pay for food and accommodation onboard cruise ship. Living arrangements vary by cruise line, but mostly by shipboard position. Senior officers enjoy single cabins, in general two employees share a cabin with a shower, WC and a TV.

Do crewmembers get to see the ports, which the ship is visiting?

Yes, crewmembers are free to visit the ports of call when they are not on duty. Leisure time varies between shipboard positions.

Are there any recreational areas on a cruise ship for crewmembers?

Yes, every modern cruise vessel is equipped with a crew fitness center, crew bar and a crew deck with a swimming pool and Jacuzzi. In general, cruise lines are taking a very good care of the well being of the crew members, since it could affect the quality of work and passenger service.

Are the employees allowed purchasing goods onboard cruise ships and do they get any discounts?

Yes, crewmembers enjoy duty free prices onboard a cruise ships, they also get up to 25% discount on goods purchased in the onboard boutique shops.

What is the usual length of a contract on a cruise ship?

Most cruise lines offer minimum 4 to 6 months contracts, depending on the position. Contracts could be extended or employees could take time off and then go back for another contract.

What about the working hours?

You can expect to work 6-7 days a week, approximately 8 - 12 hours a day. Your schedule will vary from day to day. Some days you may not work at all, others you may work a lot. It all depends on your position, duties and the ship itinerary.

What are the destinations for cruise ships and can employees choose a destination that they would like to work or is that up to the cruise lines to decide?

Cruise lines offer destinations worldwide, but the biggest markets for the cruise industry are the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe. Most of the cruise lines do not offer a choice for first time employees, they hire wherever they have openings, after one or two contracts employees get some choice of ships and destinations.

ICCL Shipboard Workplace Code of Conduct

The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) is a non-profit industry trade association consisting of the 16 largest passenger cruise lines that call on major ports in the United States and abroad. The ICCL is dedicated to providing a safe, healthy, secure and caring ship environment for both passengers and crew. This Code of Conduct addresses the employment practices and procedures on cruise ships, and it reflects consensus among member cruise lines for workplace guidelines considered appropriate aboard cruise vessels, within the recognized limitations of the sea environment.

What is the Workplace Code of Conduct?

It is a comprehensive, industry-wide commitment to safety, security and fair treatment of crewmembers in the shipboard work environment.

Compliance with Regulation

The United Nations has established two specialized agencies to deal with international maritime issues: the International Maritime Organization (IMO) based in London and the International Labor Organization (ILO) based in Geneva. Both organizations have adopted conventions dealing with the safety, health and welfare of seamen. The most widely adopted convention that governs shipboard labor and crew employment practices is ILO 147. ILO 147 has been ratified by 42 countries, including the United States.

Normally the applicable law will be that of the flag state of the ship on which the employee is serving, but the law of the employee's country of residence or, in certain situations, the law of the port state in which a ship is berthed may also be relevant. Port states, such as the United States, have the authority to enforce crew safety regulations. The U.S. Coast Guard has the authority to ensure that the provisions of ILO 147 are adhered to on all ships arriving at United States ports. The United States Public Health Service inspects passenger vessels that call on U.S. ports to ensure the highest public health standards.

General Conditions of Employment

As a guiding principle, member cruise lines conduct their worldwide operations according to the highest standard of business integrity and fair treatment of employees. All personnel, shipboard and shore side, have the basic right to be respected and treated in a fair and just manner at all times by superiors and fellow employees. As a global industry, the cruise lines recognize the value that different cultures bring to the industry, and encourage workforce diversity, and provide a workplace free of discrimination based on gender, race, religion, age, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, social or ethnic origin. All crewmembers will be 18 years of age or older.

Hours of Work

Hours of work and hours of rest will comply with flag state regulations and/or applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Living Conditions

All crewmembers receive room and board at no cost and live in a clean, well-maintained living environment. The crew areas on each ship shall be inspected on a regular basis by the ship's master or his representative.

Health and Safety

The shipboard work environment will be monitored and governed through safety and quality management systems. Cruise line sponsored medical care is provided for all crewmembers working on board. Crewmembers who become injured or ill while working are entitled to receive sick leave.

The work environment operates in accordance with Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, the Standards for Training Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW), and respective flag state requirements.

Seafarer Identification

ILO Convention 108 requires that ratifying countries issue identification documents to seafarers. The U.S. State Department oversees the issuance of work visas to foreign nationals who sail with ships into U.S. ports. U.S. embassy personnel in the crewmember's country of origin conduct background checks. A cruise ship's work force is pre-screened, and checks are conducted on prospective employees.


Responsibility for the recruitment and employment of seafarers who serve on cruise vessels may be undertaken by third parties, such as ship managers or crew managers, or by the cruise line. When personnel administration or the recruitment of seafarers is delegated to a third party, it is important to ensure that the activities of such agencies are monitored for compliance by the agency with its obligations under international law.


The precise circumstances in which the employer will be responsible for repatriation costs should be included in the employment contract, employment manual or terms and conditions issued to the seafarer.


Crewmembers are afforded wages that are competitive with comparable international pay scales and provided employment opportunities and compensation packages that are equal to or exceed similar positions in the nations from which crew are recruited. Depending on the position, there is also the opportunity for many crewmembers to earn gratuities. Additionally, policies include recruiting at the trainee level and providing education so crewmembers obtain work skills that facilitate promotion and career development.


The cruise industry places the highest priority on the safety and security of its passengers and crew. Every person onboard a cruise ship, from the captain to the cleaning staff and all guests, will be placed on an official manifest. Passengers and crew may embark or disembark only after passing through security. Once the ship is underway, access is strictly limited to documented employees and fare-paying passengers. Security personnel are employed onboard every vessel. Federal and state authorities have the right to investigate crimes onboard cruise ships. The FBI has the authority to investigate and prosecute alleged crimes in international waters involving Americans. The U.S. Coast Guard has jurisdiction for inspection and enforcement of international safety and security standards for all ships calling at U.S. ports.

Complaint Resolutions

All ships recognize the right of employees to voice complaints. All ships will maintain an environment in which crewmembers may express complaints and obtain resolution of those grievances without fear of retaliation or retribution.

Crew Awareness

This Shipboard Workplace Code of Conduct will be made available to all crewmembers.