So you’re interested in working aboard a cruise ship. If you have experience with children, a Youth Counsellor position might be of interest to you. Spending half of your time as a camp counsellor, and the other half as a babysitter, you’ll be responsible for making sure the children on the cruise, are having as much fun as their parents in the bars upstairs.

Youth Counsellors often sign shorter contracts, lasting anywhere from 4-6 months. Pay is average, but factoring in the ability to travel, included food and accommodation, it can make it an attractive package.

From the day you sign on the ship, to the day you leave, you will be working every single day. There will never be a single day where you won’t work. From embarkation day, to sea days, to port days, the job differs entirely. It’s a lot of work, so let’s break it down by the hours.

A typical sea day looks like this:

8:30 AM Wake up, get ready

9:00 AM Open centre, start morning programming, play games

12:00 PM Lunch break

2:00 PM Take kids to play sports outside

5:00 PM Dinner break

7:00PM Open centre for evening programming

9:00PM Take kids on a parade around the ship

10:30PM Close the centre, stay for late night fun time

1:30AM Last kids leave – close the centre

2:00AM Crawl into bed… or more likely, head to the crew bar. Rinse and repeat

Fortunately, on days where the ship makes port, our schedules are a lot less packed. Some staff will need to stay aboard and look after kids – but it’s done in shifts. Assuming you don’t get scheduled for a “training” session, you will have plenty of time to explore the port that you’re in.

youth counselor cruise ship
All Youth Counselors have nicknames for kids to refer to them as, generally starting with the same letter as their real first name. It’s common to not know the real name of your coworkers.

About The Job

Most of the day is spent looking after kids. A word of warning though – many youth counselors enter thinking it will have a camp-atmosphere. While at times the kids centre will have a camp feel, more times than others you’ll feel more of a babysitter than a camp counselor.

You will work in a team, and always have at least one other counselor working with you. Depending on the location of the ship, the company you can work with, and the time of the year, the ship could have anywhere from 11 to 1100 kids onboard – so do your research before you catch your flight. If you’re the kind of person who can thrive in a busy atmosphere, than you might be well suited for this job. If you’re the person who’s more autonomous, and more likes working with youth on with a laissez-faire attitude, then I recommend looking into teen counselor positions.

If you’re still keen after reading this – apply! Who knows, in a few weeks you could be sailing the Mediterranean visiting beautiful islands and playing ridiculous games. Don’t forget to pack your best pirate outfit!


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