How much do cruise staff make?

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#61
Beijing, China
1,239 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
momofmeg,

Don't lose any sleep over the cruise lines staying in business.
They are suffering just like the airlines. But they have a huge advantage.
The cruise industry has not even begun to tap the European and Asian Markets yet.

The Europeans and Asians are discovering cruising as the Americans are being priced out. And the Europeans and Asians can well afford it.

It won't be long before the Americans are a minority on cruises, the daily announcements are in Chinese or German, and all the prices are in Euros.

That's when we start getting paid in Euros.
#62
Montgomery,AL
416 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by cuyahoga11
I was thinking the same thing. Want to guess what my answer would be if someone was rude enough to ask me how much my paycheck was?
I work for the government and like many others, my pay scale is considered public information.
#63
Sacramento, Ca
1,304 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Originally posted by AandBmom
I have a huge appreciation for the hard work done ... Lastly, I work with teenagers that are always trying to sort their lives out and figure out what they might want to do for work when older and it would be helpful for me to have some info. about various possible jobs.
My son started at 18 yrs old and has worked on board for the better part of 7 years. The first year or first couple of contracts, is usually rough since these young people are learning to be away from home, work a full time job, share a room with strangers, missing family, holidays etc. You need to be in a stable frame of mind to accept work on a ship due to it's logistics. It's really stressful for some.

Originally posted by zqvol
In addition when you factor in food, lodging, clothing, etc. it is much more than you imagine. (Before anyone says they are packed in rooms, etc. they are still getting room and board, that they would have to pay for on shore.) In addition there are usually crew rooms with cheap alcohol, and a store to buy a lot of their personal items at really cheap prices.
On the cruise line my son works on most crew members do share small rooms with 2 or more people. And just when you just get used to your roommates habits - they are gone and you have a new roommate.
They have a crew mess which is buffet style and is not the same menu as the passengers buffet. Many of the dishes are ethnic foods that the crew members would find in their home countries. My son lived on rice and bagels and spent his paycheck on food on shore whenever he had the chance until he reached officer status! The officers mess does get to order off the menu. And they get their own room but it's smaller then a passenger room.
They do have a crew bar and a crew store, both with reasonable prices. No booze or food allowed in their room. They do room inspections. And no kitchen priviledges so if you end up working thru dinner and don't get off work until late - you're out of luck until tomorrow. DS loves home cooked food when he "vacations" - at home!


Originally posted by Rockee4055
The perk is: Family members, spouse, children, parents and step parents, brothers and sisters...
Again, I'm only speaking for one cruise line here. Most cruise lines offer a " Friends and Family" rate of some sort. Rates vary according to the itinerary and port fees etc.. Of course tips are not included. I have only taken advantage of it one time and looked for deals for the other cruises I've taken. Main reason - if the ship sells out - they can sell your room and you could be left at the pier waving goodbye. So since I have to spend $$ to get to the embarkation port - I'm going to be on that ship and the only way I can be sure of that is to pay for the cruise the same as every other passenger on board.

Originally posted by Chillaxin
Here are a few sites with wages listed, the wages can vary greatly depending on the cruiseline.
http://www.cruiseshipjob.com/
http://www.cruiseshipjob.com/position.htm
http://www.cruiselinesjobs.com/eng/wages/
http://www.jobmonkey.com/cruise/html...nd_saving.html
I did find that those wages quoted were on the high side. Without going into it I do know the wages of 4 different positions and these were not close. There are many factors to the wages. Many of the crew is hired thru a contractor of sorts. They have a different pay scale they work off. Let me say that according to US pay scales they are vastly underpaid BUT according to the pay scale of their homeland they are well paid and the jobs are coveted. This is why you'll find employees that have worked for the line for years. They have a great job in comparison to what they would earn at home. US, Canadian, Australian, UK crew are paid closer to what they would be paid in their own country but again it all depends on what they are doing on board.

Also - if your fired, or you chose to quit before the end of your contract - you pay your airfare. Otherwise the cruise line provides your airfare to and from, hotel if necessary and transportation to the ship.

Biggest advantage to working on a ship - You get to travel and see the world on their dime, and get paid for it. However, just because the ship goes to Rome that doesn't mean that YOU get to see Rome. YOU may have to WORK that day and not be able to go ashore.
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#64
North Carolina Coast!, USA
6,009 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
BUT, what are salaries BEFORE tipping???????? Waiter once told me he was paid $75 a month by the cruise line! Also was once told the cruise line deducts an amount each month and puts it aside for the, in this case another waiter, round trip air fare for employee to go home and come back when they go on vacation. Staff on board get paid very little which is why tipping is so important to them!
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#65
Beijing, China
1,239 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
Most cruise line employees are members of international maritime unions. These unions negotiate working contracts with the major cruise lines.

Most tipped employees working on ships have official salaries (without tips) that range between US$40 and US$80 per month. Normally, union dues (between $15 and $30 per month) are deducted from that base salary.
Before tips, the average tipped employee earns about $1 or $2 per 13 hour working day.

Some crew are required to pay for their air ticket to the ship. Nearly all cruise lines pay for their air ticket home at the end of the contract.

Some crew are required to pay for part or all of their uniforms.

Most crew are required to pay for medical exams, fire training courses, lifeboat courses, English courses, and other pre-employment training provided by the manning agencies.

Some crew must bribe the manning agent with as much as one year's pay to get the job.

Most cruise lines have a minimum guaranteed salary for each tipped position. This covers dry docks, or cruises where many passengers cannot or will not afford to tip them.

A typical average waiter's guaranteed minimum salary would be around US$1800 for 390 hours of work in one month.
#66
82,812 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
That brings us to the pooled tip question. If one waiter is exceptional and receives many over and above tips, is he contributing all of those tips to the pool? I don't mean tips from people who removed automatic tip from their account but ALL extra tips they receive. A very gregarious, charming waiter probably earns more than a more shy, less friendly steward but in order for all to receive the minimum guaranteed monthly salary, are they all contirbuting all of their tips to the pool?

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#67
11,387 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Originally posted by sail7seas
That brings us to the pooled tip question. If one waiter is exceptional and receives many over and above tips, is he contributing all of those tips to the pool? I don't mean tips from people who removed automatic tip from their account but ALL extra tips they receive. A very gregarious, charming waiter probably earns more than a more shy, less friendly steward but in order for all to receive the minimum guaranteed monthly salary, are they all contirbuting all of their tips to the pool?
Different cruiselines handle tips according to how they think best/wish?
Carnival does NOT pool tips except for the $1.00pppd to the bistro staff.
If a client leaves the auto-tip in place and tips more in cash, the tippee keeps all of it. [he may have to share if he has helpers, as Room Stewards do]
If the auto-tip had been removed, it is unclear if the tipee keeps any cash tips or if he has to turn them in to be pooled. I think he has to turn them in, others think not.
Princess, on the other hand, while in the Carnival family, pools all tips.

Extra cash tips on Princess, I do not know or care what happens to them. I tip extra cash to the people I want, what they do with it is not my concern or business.

Since I have no interest in a cruise job, how much any service person makes on a ship is not my business.

Dan
#68
MIAMI
311 Posts
Joined May 2001
I normally always take out the automatic gratuities and I tip the people who deserve it accordingly.
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#69
Edinburgh UK
8,123 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
They may not all be from 3rd World countries but those who are do not get anything like the sdame deal as those from the developed counties. I have a good friend from peru who works on cruise ships as an assitant barman. he works up to 14 hours per day, 7 days per week right throughout his contract of usually 9 months. he has to pay for his own uniform, visas and the rest. he also has to pay his agent who seems to not work too hard to negotiate a good deal for him. he had a supposed 9 month contract last year and was due to go home in january. They sent him home 3 months early because they didn't seem to need so many staff over winter. he was told by his agent that he would definitely be starting back in feb and would need a US Visa as he'd be based in the caribbean, then it was march and then April, he eventually got restarted early this mponth based in Europe and had to pay for an Italian Visa (Us Visa surplus to requirements but obviously no refund). In total he has pais almost $2500 to his Agent or in visas (average earnings in peru are $50-100 per month). he can't make too much fuss with his agent or he wont get any work at all on cruise ships. So why does he put up with all this? because he wants to help his family and has no choice about how he is treated. I also have got to know some other people who work on cruises (because I've been on the same ship many times) and there stories are similar. The Western Europenas and American crew get a far better deal and treatment than those from South America, bali and the Philipines and Africa get.

I sometimes feel guilty that they are almost being exploited by us as passengers but then agin, it's one of the few opportunitues where they can make much better money than at home and will sacrifice being away from their families almost all the time, sharing a small cabin with someone they may not even like just to make the lives of their families better, to pay for medical treatment or education for them. I don't envy cruise staff the tips they get or their lives. Whatever they get, they work very hard for.
#70
Georgia
14,594 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by Philip217
momofmeg,

Don't lose any sleep over the cruise lines staying in business.
They are suffering just like the airlines. But they have a huge advantage.
The cruise industry has not even begun to tap the European and Asian Markets yet.

The Europeans and Asians are discovering cruising as the Americans are being priced out. And the Europeans and Asians can well afford it.

It won't be long before the Americans are a minority on cruises, the daily announcements are in Chinese or German, and all the prices are in Euros.

That's when we start getting paid in Euros.
Just as I said. You won't be paid in dollars if mos tof your customers are not Americans
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#71
Texas
1,821 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by Philip217
Working on a cruise ship?
I have done it for 34 years.
I have had one Christmas off in 34 years.
I work 8 months without a single day off.
Every working day is 13 hours with multiple split shifts.
I have a good salary, but when you divide it by the 390 hours I work every month, it comes to about $5 per hour.
I get paid in US Dollars but live in Japan and China.
My salary has lost 15% against the Yen and 40% against the Renmminbi in the past 6 months.

If you have a US Passport, you will have a very difficult time finding a job on an international cruise ship. Most cruise lines just do not hire Americans - except as singers, dancers, or child care. Occasionally we see an American working in the Spa or Shops, but they don't last very long. They usually get fired for alcohol, drugs, or refusing to work.
Or because they won't work for those low wages!