My friends who are interested in getting a job on ships often ask me what the best jobs are. Honestly, it highly depends on your interests, personality, and background; but there are some that are better than others.

There are obviously a lot more (and better) jobs than I’m listing here. These I’m listing however are easy to obtain without working for a long time on ships (for example, Cruise Director is pretty cool, but you’ve got to put the time in). That being said, here’s my list for the best jobs on cruise ships and why, starting from the top.

1. Teen Counsellor

Similar to a Youth Counsellor (YC), the Teen Counsellor (TC) is responsible for taking care of the teenagers of the ship. While the YC’s job is more of a babysitting role, the TC is more of a camp counsellor for older kids. Teenagers are able to come and go in the lounge as they please, and do not need to be signed in by a parent.

This means that most of your time is spent planning and hosting activities for them to come to. This was my job on the last ship I worked on before I decided to leave ship life.

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   What It’s Like To Work As A Teen Counselor On A Cruise Ship

Why It’s Awesome:

As a crew member, you’re only allowed to eat or visit certain areas of the ship, meaning a lot of it is off limits. If you’re with passengers however, this rule doesn’t apply. As a teen counsellor I was able to basically go anywhere I wanted to, as long as I had some teens accompany me.

I would regularly explain the rule to a few of my favourite teens at the beginning of the cruise (Hint: my favourites were the ones who actually showed up to the events), and there would be a common joke where I would turn to them at various points throughout the cruise and say “You guys are hungry… right?”, at which we’d all head off to get passenger food.

In case the food isn’t a good enough reason, my regular days included hosting toga parties, dressing up in a giant gorilla suit and having them chase me throughout the ship, and once in a while playing a ship-wide game of hide and seek (one time I napped in my cabin and insisted that I was just really good at hiding: something I don’t feel guilty about given the fact that we never get a single day off).

2. Cruise Staff

As a teen counsellor, I would regularly have duties overlapping with the cruise staff, and it was pretty fun. They host all the events for passengers over the age of 21, and if I were to head back to ship life, I would probably want to do this role for a little while.

The days are long, and tiring, but you spend them in front of a crowd meeting new people. This position is definitely recommended for extraverts.

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   Cruise Staff – What Life Is Like Working On A Cruise Ship

Why It’s Awesome:

When the passengers aren’t on the ship, chances are you don’t need to be either. Cruise staff enjoy a fair amount of time off in port.

3. Youth Counsellor

These guys look after the kids anywhere from 3 to 12 years of age. Generally divided into three groups (3-5s, 6-9s, 10-12s), youth counsellors work as a big team offset by seasonal youth counsellors during the busy weeks and months.

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   What It’s Like Working As A Youth Counsellor On A Cruise Ship

Why It’s Awesome:

With the exception of everyone’s most hated thing: Port Play, where a small portion of the team stays behind for the day to watch kids that parents leave on board, you tend to get a fair amount of time off.

4. Shore Excursion Staff

The ship makes a fairly large amount of money selling passengers on “shore excursions”. These are partnerships between the cruise line and local tour companies and vendors. Passengers purchase tours on the ship from shore excursion staff, and then the staff connects them with local guides and tours for the day (occasionally coming along).

Why It’s Awesome:

All those trips that passengers are paying thousands of dollars to go on? Guess who gets to “try them out” for free from time to time? Side note, other crew members of different departments get to do this.

5. Photography Staff

These guys show up at events around the ship and take photos of guests having fun. Their photos are usually excellent and it can be a great souvenir to bring home. You’ll of course need to know your way around a camera, but being a photographer on a ship can be pretty fun.

Why It’s Awesome:

For people who love photography, it’s a no brainer. While they don’t enjoy as much free time as some other positions (since they sometimes need to accompany passengers on shore excursions), they still get a fair amount of time to explore the various ports of call the ship makes.

6. Internet / IT Managers

A little more specialized, but still doable. These guys look after networking, hardware, and sometimes are just internet cafe managers, requiring no technical background.

Why It’s Awesome:

Unlimited access to internet. Need I say more?

In Summary

Once again, this is not in any sense an exhaustive list. I just wanted to give my list of easily approachable jobs, and which ones I thought were the best. Have any questions? Know of a job I didn’t mention that’s pretty great? Post it in the comments below. I’d love to hear it.

Also, a special thanks to Leonardo Yip for posting the cruise ship photo on Unsplash.


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