Onboard and Onshore Cruise Ship Positions

Whether you long for the sea breeze and ocean air, or you're strictly a landlubber with a passion for hospitality management, there are literally hundreds of positions available in the cruise industry that will meet your needs. But you'll need to know exactly what each position entails before you apply.

There are a large variety of jobs on cruise ships and at cruise line corporate offices.

The great news is that there is a good chance that a job that you have had in the past will give you enough experience to perform a number of the jobs onboard a cruise ship. Some examples include: previous jobs at hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs, libraries, gift stores, boutiques, grocery stores, convenience stores, health clubs, beauty salons, museums, coffee shops, and just about any hospitality related job.Cruise ship bridge photo

Skim over the list of job titles below. You may recognize a number of the jobs, i.e., disc jockey, but some may be foreign to you. For example, few people know what a Gentleman Host does!

This page provides you with a list of common positions on luxury cruise liners as well as links to general job descriptions, which will give you a better idea of what each job is all about.

Furthermore, see how jobs are broken down into different departments below.

The only way to get a more detailed look at these jobs is to become a CruiseJobFinder member.

Commonly Available Positions on Cruise Ships:

  • Deck Crew
  • Cruise Directors
  • Disc Jockeys
  • Expedition Leaders
  • Hosts and Hostesses
  • Naturalists
  • Shore Excursion Managers
  • Water Sports Instructors
  • Youth Counselors
  • Cosmetologist
  • Fitness Directors
  • Medical Staff
  • Air/Sea Reservation Agents
  • Bartenders
  • Gift Shop Positions
  • Photographers
  • Junior Assistant Pursers
  • Information Technology Staff
  • Administration Assistants
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Casino Staff
  • Cruise Staff
  • Entertainers
  • Gentleman Host
  • Lecturers
  • Production Managers
  • Shore Excursion Staff
  • Lifeguards
  • Beauticians
  • Massage Therapists
  • Fitness Instructors
  • Personal Trainers
  • Bar Stewards
  • Bedroom Stewards
  • Hospitality or Hotel Managers
  • Deckhands
  • Pursers
  • Dance Instructors
  • Booking Agents
  • Sales and Marketing Positions
  • Engeering Department Crew

Jobs Listed by Department

Activity and Shipboard Entertainment Departments:

These positions are all about keeping passengers busy and entertained, and they're the people who are top of mind when passengers hear the term "cruise staff." The activity leaders or instructors work with passengers in small groups, leading them in a specific activity, whether it's diving, dancing, or Yoga. Entertainers provide music (either playing it or as a disc jockey), sing, act, juggle, or other forms of entertainment, either poolside or in the ship's many clubs, casinos, or on stages. Cruise directors are responsible for all of these areas, and making sure that passengers are participating and enjoying each experience. For a more detailed overview of Activity/Entertainment positions and their job requirements, Click Here!



Deck and Engineering Departments:

These are the people in charge of keeping the ship well maintained, running smoothly, and on course - all the while ensuring everyone's safety, keeping detailed records, and being knowledgeable of maritime laws and regulations. While the captain is usually very visible, you may not realize that there are many additional crew members, each with important duties. For most of these positions you'll need to have some experience onboard a ship and specialized training. However, there are some internships and/or apprenticeship programs that can launch your career in this department. For a more detailed overview of Deck Positions, Click Here!



Service and Hospitality Departments:

These positions can also be called "hotel management" jobs. The common denominator with all of these jobs is that you are providing a direct service to passengers, whether it's cooking food, serving food or beverages, cleaning cabins, doing laundry, and a wide range of other duties. The purser also falls under this category. Pursers are in charge of all onboard accounting during each cruise. For a more detailed overview of Service/Hospitality Positions, Click Here!

Food and Beverage



Hotel Administration

Personal Care and Shipboard Medical Departments:

Workers in these jobs are also providing direct care to passengers, but services are in the form of massages, hair care, manicures, or even medical care. Of course you'll need to have the proper credentials or licenses before you can apply for any of these jobs. For a more detailed overview of Personal Care Positions, Click Here!



Nurses and Physicians

Corporate Office Positions:

Some people are much more interested in being an important part of the inner workings of the industry - the very necessary people who keep the company running, not just the ships. If this sounds like you, then here are the main departments you have to choose from for finding work. In many of these positions you can be promoted to executive or leadership roles.

Accounting: If you're more interested in an onshore, behind-the-scenes job in the industry, you could pursue a position in this department. In addition to the traditional accounting positions, you'll also find cruise line-specific jobs like tour accounting.

Administrative/Clerical: Like any other business, it takes a lot of people in the "back office" to keep a company running smoothly. From human resources professionals, to IT workers, without the work and expertise of these employees, the work onboard the ship would be much harder to perform.

Air operations: It takes a lot of coordination between the airlines/airport and the harbor to ensure that passengers and their luggage arrive and depart safely, on time, and with all their possessions intact. These employees are the ones responsible for these important tasks.

Marketing/PR: The cruise industry has become much more competitive than in years past. There are more cruise lines, and more ships all vying for passengers. Marketing and public relations professionals have the task of creating public campaigns that make their companies stand out from the competition. Creativity is important in these positions.

Reservations/Sales: These are the onshore employees that usually have the most interaction with passengers. It's your job to be the first representative of the cruise line that the passenger comes into contact with. You must be very service-oriented, while still keeping in mind that the goal is to sell tickets. These jobs are very important to cruise lines.

Keep in mind that you may have to go to where the jobs are, whether you're interested in an onshore job or onboard job. The corporate offices of most cruise lines are either in Los Angeles or Florida. However, New York, Seattle, and various European cities also have their share. Likewise, if you're contracted to work onboard, you'll need to travel to the starting point of the cruise. But before you can even get to that stage, you'll need to be able to get to an interview. So location needs to be a key consideration when applying for any of these positions. For a more detailed overview of Office Positions, Click Here!


  • Accounts Payable Staff
  • Bookkeeper
  • Operations Analyst
  • Senior Business Analyst
  • Senior Staff Accountant
  • Staff Accountant
  • Tour Accounting


  • Administrative Assistant
  • Administration Manager
  • Customer Service
  • Human Resources
  • IT Lead Developer
  • Manager Deployment & Itinerary Planning
  • Operations Administrator
  • Part-Time Data Entry
  • Payroll Clerk
  • Software Engineer

Air Operations

  • Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) Coordinator
  • Pier/Airport Expediter
  • Seasonal Air Operations Agent
  • Seasonal Corporate Air Ticketing Agent

Marketing / PR

  • Account Executive
  • Brand Manager
  • Field Representative
  • Marketing Research Analyst
  • Media Relations
  • Purchasing Agent
  • Vice President of Marketing

Reservations/ Sales

  • Inside Sales Representative
  • Outside Sales Representatives
  • Reservations Sales & Service


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