How to get a job on a cruise ship

How to Land a Job on a Cruise Ship: Your Ultimate Guide

If you’ve ever dreamed of working on a cruise ship, traveling the world, and meeting people from diverse backgrounds, you’re not alone. Cruise ship jobs offer a unique opportunity for adventure and a rewarding career. However, before you set sail on this exciting journey, there are essential requirements and steps you need to follow to secure a job on a cruise ship. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process, from meeting the basic requirements to landing your dream cruise ship job.

Understanding the Basic Requirements

Be Prepared to Meet Age Requirements

To work on a cruise ship, you must meet specific age requirements. Generally, candidates must be at least 21 years old. However, certain positions, like childcare, may accept candidates aged over 18. Keep in mind that these age requirements can vary by cruise line, so it’s crucial to check each cruise line’s careers website or job advertisements to confirm the age criteria.

Ensure You Have the Right Travel Documents

To embark on a journey with a cruise ship, you’ll need to ensure you have the following essential travel documents:

Hold a Valid Passport

First and foremost, you must possess a valid passport. This is a fundamental requirement for anyone working on a cruise ship.

Obtain the Appropriate Visa or Work Permit

The type of visa or work permit you need depends on your nationality and the countries the cruise ship will travel to. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Only US citizens and Green Card holders are eligible to work on US-flagged vessels.
  • Cruise lines operating on European rivers primarily employ EU citizens.
  • If your cruise ship embarks in a US port, you’ll typically require a C-1/D visa. You can start the visa application process once you receive a job offer.

Language Proficiency

Language skills are crucial for working on a cruise ship. English is a requirement for most cruise lines, but if you’re in a passenger-facing role on a ship with international travelers, you may also need to be fluent in other languages such as German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, and more.

Pass a Medical Examination

Prior to working on a cruise ship, you’ll need to pass a medical examination conducted by the cruise line. Alternatively, you can hold an ENG1 or an ML5 seafarer medical fitness certificate, certifying your ability to work at sea.

Obtain STCW Basic Safety Training (BST) Certification

The STCW Basic Safety Training (BST) certificate is a prerequisite for most employees and crew members working on cruise ships. While some candidates may have the opportunity to complete this training after joining their ship, individuals with valid STCW certificates are typically given priority.

How to get a job on a cruise ship

How to Apply for a Cruise Ship Job

Research Cruise Line Companies and Positions

Before applying, it’s essential to research different cruise line companies and the specific positions they offer. This will help you determine if a cruise ship job aligns with your interests and qualifications.

Update Your CV

Ensure your resume showcases your relevant skills and qualifications for the positions you plan to apply for. Highlight your experiences in areas such as food service, hospitality, retail, or any other relevant fields.

Apply Directly to Companies

You can apply directly to cruise line companies through their official websites. Additionally, consider using third-party job boards and recruiters to find suitable job openings.

Attend Cruise Job Fairs

Cruise job fairs provide an excellent opportunity to meet recruiters in person and learn about job openings. These events can be a valuable resource for those looking to work on a cruise ship.

Focus on Positions You’re Qualified For

When applying for cruise ship jobs, it’s crucial to target positions that align with your qualifications and experiences. Tailoring your applications to these roles will increase your chances of success.


Landing a job on a cruise ship is an exciting endeavor, offering the chance to explore the world while working in a dynamic and unique environment. By meeting the basic requirements, conducting thorough research, and applying strategically, you can turn your dream of working on a cruise ship into a reality.


FAQ 1: Can I work on a cruise ship if I’m under 21?

If you’re under 21, you may still be eligible for certain positions, such as childcare, depending on the cruise line’s policies. Check the specific age requirements for each cruise line.

FAQ 2: Do I need a C-1/D visa to work on a cruise ship in the US?

If your cruise ship embarks in a US port, you will typically need a C-1/D visa. You can start the visa application process after receiving a job offer.

FAQ 3: What is the STCW Basic Safety Training (BST) certificate?

The STCW Basic Safety Training (BST) certificate is a mandatory certification for most cruise ship employees and crew members. It ensures that you have the necessary safety training to work at sea.

FAQ 4: What qualifications should I highlight in my CV for a cruise ship job?

In your CV, emphasize qualifications and experiences related to the specific positions you’re applying for. Relevant skills in areas like food service, hospitality, retail, or customer service can be beneficial.

FAQ 5: Are there job opportunities for non-English speakers on cruise ships?

While English is a requirement for most cruise lines, some positions may require proficiency in other languages. Check the language requirements for the specific position you’re interested in.

Leave a Comment