How much do you make working on a cruise ship???

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#1
Ontario, Canada
5,585 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Not meaning this to be disrespectful in anyway, but I just recently had a acqantence (sp) tell me I shouldn't cruise because employees are treated very badly and paid terribly. Now I have only been on 2 cruises and everyone I have encountered has appreared very happy in their jobs. But I was just curious.

Also my son was considering taking a year or two off before college and was considering working for a cruise line. He hasn't looked into it at all but thought it was something he might want to do.

Does anyone know???

Kim
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#2
San Diego, Ca
17,574 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by MikeNKim
Not meaning this to be disrespectful in anyway, but I just recently had a acqantence (sp) tell me I shouldn't cruise because employees are treated very badly and paid terribly. Now I have only been on 2 cruises and everyone I have encountered has appreared very happy in their jobs. But I was just curious.

Also my son was considering taking a year or two off before college and was considering working for a cruise line. He hasn't looked into it at all but thought it was something he might want to do.

Does anyone know???

Kim
From what a steward told me once, the Cruiseline pays them 50.00 per month, The rest is all in Tips. Now remember this cabin steward can not clean all 30+ cabins on his own, he will have to hire some help and thats where all the money goes. The 50.00 they get per month is for tolietries etc. whether thats true or not, thats what I was told.

There is a website for Crewmates etc, Im sorry I didnt save it. But someone posted on CC.
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#3
Raleigh, NC
43,898 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Not many cruiselines hire American workers, but there are some that do... the pay is not great compared to the standards here which is why you won't see many Americans working on ships (along with the number of hours they have to work and very little time off, I had a friend who's son looked into it thinking it would be glamorous and fun... he quickly found out that wasn't the case). The pay for many, compared to the pay in their countries is VERY good... but it depends on the job. Depends on the length of their contract, etc. For a steward, their salary is only about $40/month, but with tips, that could work out to $2000/month (then they pay their asst approx $800/month out of their tips)... and some come from countries where they wouldn't make that in a years time. There are several sites out there that list various cruise ship positions and the approximate rates for various positions.
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#4
NORTH CAROLINA
155 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
There was a gal in the town I lived in in CA. She went to work on a cruiseline as a singer. She was ESTATIC when she first got the job. The only thing I know for sure (she wasn't a HEADLINE) was she had to work in the casino, or buffet line, or whatever when she wasn't singing. YOu don't just do ONE gig.
#6
phila, pa
51,760 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
To get a job that makes tips you have to work your way up the ranks- You wont be hired outright as a cabin steward or a waiter. Even a bar waiter.
People work in the laundry room working their way to the cabins.. and kitchen working their way to the dining room.

Like goingcruisin stated-- VERY FEW americans work onboard the ships. It is hard work for very long hours.
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#7
Ontario, Canada
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Joined Jan 2006
Thank you all. I hope I didn't offend anyone by asking.
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#8
Phila. PA
19,588 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
The OP is from Canada. The only canadians I have ever seen working on cruise ships were in the casino or the Camp Carnival type counselors.

Bill
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#9
766 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Originally posted by mrdood
This is a common topic - here is a thread with a lot of perspectives:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=244501
One thing is for sure, you can count on mrdood to let you know that this has been asked before and tell you where to go find it!

One thing to remember about the pay on a cruise ship is that you do not have to pay for meals or a place to stay during the contract. If I remember correctly also is that since it is a foreign flagged ship it is US Tax free (although I believe you have to report it come tax time and then pay all your taxes).

I did not realize how little a lot of the stewards and such were paid, makes me want to give bigger tips next time.
#10
663 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
If your son is interested in working on a cruise ship he should consider the NCL ship that sails out of Hawaii. It is a US flagged ship and the pay level appears to be fairly good. I believe the tips are part of a mandatory service charge. According to NCL the compensation levels are attractive when you include food, lodging and health care is included.

A friend of mine worked on a cruise ship as a dive instructor for several years after college. It paid well enough for the life style that he was most interested in.
#11
Raleigh, NC
43,898 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Originally posted by Hebejeebe
If your son is interested in working on a cruise ship he should consider the NCL ship that sails out of Hawaii. It is a US flagged ship and the pay level appears to be fairly good. I believe the tips are part of a mandatory service charge. According to NCL the compensation levels are attractive when you include food, lodging and health care is included.

A friend of mine worked on a cruise ship as a dive instructor for several years after college. It paid well enough for the life style that he was most interested in.
That is the line my friends son was going to work on... his pay was going to be minimum wage... granted, this was for an entry level position and over the years he would have had the opportunity to earn more, but the pay really wasn't great... It really depends on what job you are looking at... it's certainly not a glamorous job by any means, LOL.
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#12
Astoria, NY
14,221 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Does the captain work for tips?
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#13
London, Ontario
1,334 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Found on another website....

On our ship there were 34 nationalities represented. Pretty amazing. We talked candidly with several of the crew and they said that all got along wonderfully. They loved the diverse group of nationalities. With the crew living in such close quarters, the ones we talked to said that many of their preconceived notions about the other crew members were quashed. Many countries that had been taught to hate one another, found that the people of those countries were just like them and when you got the two nationalities together on the ship as crew mates, they became best friends.
Why are most of the crew members non-American? Mainly because of the work ethic that is needed for the ship. You have to understand that these individuals are away from their family and countries for 5, 8 or 9 months. They all work anywhere from 12 to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week for the entire duration of their contract. For each month of service, they get a week off at the end of their contracted work period. When they get back from their vacation, they rarely return to the same ship. Their previous place had to be filled immediately to stay at the level of service that Carnival is noted for. You really have to understand that some of the countries the crew comes from are very poor, and the money that is returned home, and the good it does, is phenomenal. Terry and I were in awe of them. I know I wouldn't be able to keep up with the schedule they keep. One thing for sure is that they all must be "people" persons. That's probably the number one criteria. You must love people from all walks of life!
We were fortunate to have a session with our cruise director who gave a talk about what life aboard the ship was like for the crew. He explained that there was an apprentice program on the ship. A question was asked about the crew's accommodations. Chris Roberts, our cruise director, explained that it really depended on you level of importance and seniority. Normally, crew members are housed 4 to a cabin in a dormitory type setting with showers at the end of the hall. What about the Captain's cabin? Well, he told us it's pretty cool. Even when the Captain is not on duty on the bridge, he can monitor every function of the ship due to the extensive bank of instruments in his cabin. The more senior the staff is, the nicer the amenities. They also try to pair similar occupations together so the room mates have similar hours. In other words, the entertainers are together since they have mainly nighttime hours. If they had a waiter for a room mate, they probably wouldn't want to get up at 5:00 am to get ready for breakfast preparation.
It's interesting though that the crew's rooms are made up each day just like ours. Plus they're served meals just like us. Not quite the same foods, but in the same style. Food on the crew decks is geared more towards the regional tastes of the crew. It's all part of the training program on the ship. Stewards and waiters start training on the lower crew decks of the ship and work their way up. They prove themselves on the crew desks, then possibly move to the senior staff area, then finally to the guest desks. So the crew even gets their cabins made up just like ours. They are judged on how they do. The crew dining room gets the training waiters, as well as the head waiters and hopefully someday, they may make it to the main dining room.
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#14
Indianapolis, IN
201 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
The last post was very accurate. My son worked for 5 years as an IT Manager on various Carnival ships. He was one of the few American officers on board. His pay was comparable to a land position if you take into consideration he didn't pay room or board. He did have to tip the dining room waiter and his cabin steward. He was able to eat in either the crew or the officer mess. The food wasn't quite as good as upstairs. Crew excurtions were often arranged a greatly reduced prices and many of the ports offered special crew rates on activities. Your position on the ship definately dictates your status on the ship. His fiancee was a dealer in the casino and she wasn't treated as well. He finished his last contract in September and did not intend to go back. As I speak, though, he is on his way to Mobile to bring the Sensation out of dry dock. There were a number of Canadians on board. They often worked in the purser's office or as crew staff. If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to email.
#15
66 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Wow, this is a very neat thread. I recently was out of a job for a few months and considered taking a position on a cruise ship. One of the only reasons I didn't is that I would still have had to pay mortgage for a house I wasn't living in. (Long story as to why I couldn't just sell it) But it does sound interesting! I guess now I'll just have to satisfy myself with going on cruises instead of working them.
#16
Tampa, Florida
979 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Cruise West has almost all American Flagged ships - which require American workers. If the CSRs work hard, they can make $800 a week in tips. And Captains are paid very well - but sometimes get a share of pooled tips.
#17
Washington State
3 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by Wennfred
85 USS HOEL DDG-13
Sorry to get off topic! I noticed you were on the USS HOEL in 1985. I was on the Hoel when it decommissioned in October of 1990.
#18
Minnesota
60 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
I worked on a cruise ship on the Mississippi River 20 years ago. I only worked for 3 weeks, it was exhausting work! We had to clean the rooms and waitress and once a week you had to stay up all night with a small crew of people in case any of the guests needed something. As I remember we recieved a very small amount from the ship and all the tips were divided evenly among the rest of us. It ended up being about $450.00 per week which I though was good money then but it was not worth the back breaking work and missing my familt & friends. We also did not get to eat the same food that we served to the guests. We had to eat "cheap " food like hot dogs and casseroles.
#19
1,138 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by surfklutz
Cruise West has almost all American Flagged ships - which require American workers. If the CSRs work hard, they can make $800 a week in tips. And Captains are paid very well - but sometimes get a share of pooled tips.
Is it that they require American workers, or workers with U.S. Coast Guard licenses?

Captains of any ship that size do get paid very well as do the engineers and mates.