Working On a River Cruise Ship

River cruises are gaining popularity. In fact, they are one of the fastest growing sectors of the cruise industry. River cruises are available in many countries and along the major rivers. There are several reasons why so many people are booking river cruises. One reason is that they allow passengers a way to explore the interior of a country, rather than just its shoreline, which is what the luxury liners offer. Passengers are able to see sights that they wouldn't be able to see on a large ship cruise.

Other than renting a car and driving, which can be less relaxing than a cruise, there are very few means of travel that offer as many benefits. Employees on river cruises can receive the same benefits of seeing the country and exploring the tour's ports of call.

River cruises also have the added advantages of being long or short, or large or small. For example, some cruises are less than 24 hours while others last up to 10 days or two weeks. Some river cruise ships are large yachts that hold up to 22 passengers, while others are larger ships that sleep up to 300 people plus the crew.

However, they are smaller than ocean cruise liners, which typically transport thousands of passengers. The result is that the environment can feel friendlier and more intimate. River cruises are also popular because they provide a much smoother means of travel than on ocean cruises, which means passengers are less likely to experience motion sickness.

If traveling in this kind of environment sounds good to you, then consider getting a job onboard a river cruise ship. Keep in mind that like most hospitality oriented companies, you generally have to work on weekends and some holidays.

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Jobs Available on River Cruise Ships

Since river cruises are often about sight-seeing, there is an emphasis on excursions and other activities related to ports of call. For this reason, there are more jobs available for people who can act as tour guides, nature guides, or for people experienced in hiking and other activities. Here's a list of some of the jobs river cruise lines offer.

  • Executive chef, sous chef, line cooks
  • Dining room servers, bus people, and dishwashers
  • Housekeepers
  • Tour guides
  • Naturalists
  • Hiking tour guides
  • Activities director
  • Restaurant manager
  • Gift shop/retail sales personnel
  • Deckhands
  • Engineers
  • Maintenance workers
  • Entertainers
  • On larger ships there may be the need for spa workers

Sample Itineraries

As mentioned, this is the fastest growing segment of the cruise and travel industry, so there are growing number of itineraries available. Whether you're interested in work and travel in the United States, Europe, Asia, or other exciting locations, there is sure to be river cruise operating. Here are a few sample itineraries.

  • Europe/Ports of Call: Amsterdam, Kinderdijk, Cologne, Koblenz and Middle Rhine, Miltenberg, Wurzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Melk, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest
  • Russia: Moscow, Uglich, Yaroslavl, Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, Kizhi, St. Petersburg
  • China: Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing, Mt. Jiu Hua, Jingdezhen, Wuhan, Dongting Lake, Jingzhou, Three Gorges Dam, Shibaozhai Temple, Fengdu, Xian, Beijing
  • Egypt: Cairo, Luxor, Edfu, Aswan, Amada, Kasr Ibrim
  • Ecuador and The Galápagos: Quito, Ecuador; Baltra, Galápagos Islands, Santa Cruz Island, James Island, Rabida Island, Bartolome Islands, Tower Island, San Cristobal, Guayaquil
  • Mississippi River cruises
  • Columbia River cruises
  • Danube River cruises

From this list you can see that just because you're cruising rivers doesn't mean your cruise will be any less scenic or exciting. Whether you're interested in working in the United States, Europe, Russia, China, or Egypt, there are river cruises available.

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