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working on a cruise ship

How to work on a cruise ship guest post by Marija Petrović.

Have you ever dreamt of living and working on cruise ship? Surrounded by over 120 nationalities, spending your work break on white-sand Caribbean beaches as your everyday life? I most definitely thought about it during my time at college and here I am, 10 years later, living that dream out!

Is it hard to work on a cruise ship? How do you get a job on a cruise ship? Will I get seasick? How will I speak English if it is not my native language? And many more…are only some questions I had myself before I embarked on this adventure. But don’t you worry, I will do my best to answer them all and share the pros and cons of this unique type of life with you.

Interested in other work and travel jobs? Read the posts on how to become a superyacht stewardess, 30 best jobs for digital nomads or how to get started as a virtual assistant.

Marija from Serbia at work on a cruise ship

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If you are wondering how on Earth, a 23-year-old girl from Serbia ended up on a luxury cruise ship…let me tell you…it’s a lot easier than you think. 

Every country or region has at least one agency that works as a scout for candidates all over the world. The Internet can easily help you find one near you. And so I applied for a receptionist job, as I was busy finishing my degree in the College of Tourism. 

Unfortunately, that position was not open at the time, but luckily, I ended up signing a contract after one interview as a Floor Supervisor, within the housekeeping department. Two months later, I was on my first flight ever in my life, stepping on a gigantic cruise ship (which was, by the way, the smallest in the fleet). 

Did I mention my level of English was at a bare minimum to say at least? Because it was! But hey, is there an obstacle for a millennial who loves traveling, adventure, and dreams of living aboard? If you ask me…any obstacle can be overcome!

Can I Create a Career from Working Abroad?

Absolutely! See, I have worked within the housekeeping department for over 5 years and progressed along the way – as long as I enjoyed it! But the moment I felt stuck and hungry for more experience, I applied for a new position. 

Switching my ‘officers uniform’ for an orange polo shirt was the best decision of my life. Now, my duties are between selling the most exciting excursions in Ports of Call, arranging them with local operators, and ensuring guests have nothing but the best time ashore. It brings me such joy to see others enjoy the incredible experiences on offer and I love to help them make memories.

Whatever your passions are, find a career path that links with that. Then, it will feel like you don’t work a day in your life!

Riding horses on the beach on a day off from cruise ship work

What does Working on a Cruise Ship Look Like?

The path I took from the position I first started on, to the one I’m currently in – wasn’t easy!  But was it worth it?… Absolutely! Working 10 hours a day, without a day off ( or only half a day off), being away from family and friends for as long as 6-8 months, living in a shared room without a window…was challenging and of course, not for everyone. However, if you are the type of person who is outgoing, positive, adventurous, easily adaptable, and hard-working, this will be your dream come true! 

Imagine having a job you love, a chance to meet people from all over the world and call them your friends, maybe even if you are lucky to meet your loved one. Not to mention, you don’t pay for anything, your accommodation, meals, and health insurance – are all covered. If you aren’t hooked yet, how about waking up on a different island every day or visiting different cities?

I have visited almost 30 counties with the ship…Caribbean Islands, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, Virgin Islands, Columbia, Roatan, and Belize are only some of them…so why couldn’t this be you?

What I Wish I Knew Before Working on a Cruise Ship

If you feel, this is something you would love to try for yourself, there are a few pieces of advice I would love to share with you from my long term experience:

  • Do it while you are still at a younger age, it will be easy for you to adapt.
  • Save money, but also spend it on everything that makes you happy…because experience can’t be measured with any savings.
  • Be open-minded and ready to adjust to everything. Keep in mind, this is a huuuge floating hotel, and things don’t always go as planned.
  • Socialize, socialize, socialize…I can’t stress enough about this! We are all humans and need to interact, talk, and laugh every day. If you ever feel unhappy or unsatisfied with something, there is always someone to talk to and open yourself up.
  • Work hard, but smart. The majority of us started our careers in this industry in a lower position and that’s fine. Keep in mind that you can always progress and get to a place where you want to be (and relatively fast if you are motivated and dedicated enough).
  • Keep a good work/life balance…exercise, go out and explore ports, hang out with coworkers, play your favorite movie or read a book.
  • And always remember…you are here for your own goal and as long as you are fulfilled, you will truly enjoy it.

And that brings us to the end of this blog! I truly hope it has opened your eyes to the possibilities of working on a cruise ship and if you have any questions you would like to ask, please feel free to connect with me on Instagram @travelgirloverseas or through email at [email protected].

Speak soon and Happy Travelling!

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Hello! My name is Erin, the lady behind Curiously Erin. After more than 10 years of travelling and working abroad, I wanted to create a platform where I could share my stories and travels. My goal is to help you live the life you desire and inspire you to travel more.

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