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

Have you ever thought about working on a cruise ship? Are you great at playing an instrument? Well there’s a ship out there with your name on it.

While working on the ships, many of my friends were musicians. Working in the entertainment department (the same department as Youth and Teen Counselors), we often interacted and hung out – as we tended to be the predominant group of native English speakers on the ship. I wanted to know what their life as musicians was like, so I asked one of my friends to answer a few questions for me. What follows are his answers. If you’re thinking about working as a musician on a cruise ship, take note!


Let’s start off with how you ended up working on ships. How did you first learn about it, and what made you decide to do it?

I learned about ships through my university program. I was still a student and wanted have a summer job. Cruise ships provided a great opportunity to make money doing what I loved.



As a musician, do you get a lot of free time (in port, and at sea)?

Totally! Lots of sun, lots of fun!



How good would you say your chops have to be to play on ships?

Typically pretty good, but it seems like there is an occasional musician who sneaks through an audition.



So how often are you required to practice – do you practice outside of that?

There is no time required to practice. The only requirement was for the music to be well prepared, so however much practice it takes to learn the music.


How do you find musicians are treated compared to the rest of the crew? Do you get to access a lot of passenger areas and amenities?

Musicians are generally treated well on the Cruise Ship hierarchy, but not treated as well as higher crew such as guest artists, band master, and cruise director.



Next, what would you say your favourite memory of your time working on ships is?

Dancing with guests during band performances.



How long are your contracts, typically?

6 months.



Last, for anyone thinking of playing on a ship – do you have any advice?

Get involved with as music as you can! It’s a good way to make friends.



If you have any other questions, post them below and I’ll try to find you an answer.

Hey, I want to know what you think!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *