How to Get Paid & Travel for Free by Working on a Cruise Ship

We all know how rough the job market is right now, but there happens to be one area of the economy swimming in job opportunities – cruise ships. (Yep, I went for the pun. Live with it. :))

Most people work hard to save up some money so they can treat themselves to at least one vacation every year, but working on a cruise ship could give you the opportunity to travel the world and get paid for it.

We’ve got all the details…

What Kind of Jobs Are Available?

Firstly, there are all kinds of job vacancies currently available. From hotel staff positions and waiting tables, to working as a tour guide or entertainer, there could easily be a role that matches your experience and skills, even if you’re just looking for something temporary rather than a long-term ‘career move’.

We scoured some of the ship’s websites and found hundreds of vacancies. Here’s a sample…

Deck Manager
Disc Jockey
IT Personnel
Professional Diver
Sales Associates for Retail Stores
Sound Technician
Sports Staff

If you want to apply, here are the direct links to the career pages of the cruise lines:

Princess Cruises
Norwegian Cruise
Disney Cruise Line
Royal Caribeean
Carnival Cruise
All Cruise Jobs

Life on a Cruise Ship

Cruise life isn’t always glamorous. Long hours, demanding customers, and the possibility of seasickness(!) are just a few of the drawbacks.

If you have a family or responsibilities to take care of, you should be aware that you’ll be gone for months without a break. Most cruise lines require that you sign a contract that lasts anywhere from 3 – 12 months. And, instead of working a normal schedule, many jobs have a 12 weeks on, 3 weeks off schedule.

One perk is that most cruise ship offer free food and lodging to staff, which could make it an ideal opportunity for someone looking to save money pay off debts.

How Much Can You Make?

This obviously depends on the job and the # of year’s of experience you have. However, after looking over dozens of job postings, it seems like wages tend to be similar to what you would earn in medium sized US city. reports that tipping personnel usually earn a very small base wage, but with tips can earn a monthly salary in these ranges…

Waiter  from $2500 to $4000
Busboy / Assistant Waiter  from $1500 to $3000
Bar Waiter / Waitress  from $1000 to $2500
Bartender  from $1500 to $3000

Salaried staff can earn anywhere from $2,500 a month as a retail associate to $10,000 a month as a cruise ship captain.

Good luck Penny Hoarders!