How to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship with No Experience

Do not be discouraged by the job descriptions published by cruise ships that are looking for new staff with lots of experience. Instead of worrying about work experience that you don’t have, emphasize your transferable skills and then sell them to the cruise company that you want to work for.

You do have transferable skills if you have been working hard as a student or in an office or factory or manufacturing plant. You have already developed many transferable skills which are very useful to cruise ships.

Draw the connections between your past work and the work required on the ship and you will get the job. But you need to articulate your transferable skills very well and connect them to the cruise job you are applying for.

How to get a job on a cruise ship with no experience? The best way to get a job on a cruise ship with no experience is to emphasize your transferable skills in your resume. When you get the interview, focus on how you can transfer your present skills to the requirements of the job.

Don’t of course lie about having cruise ship experience if you really have had none. If the company finds out, you will be shown the door. Read on to learn more about how to get a job on a cruise ship with no experience, as well as several helpful tips for landing your dream job.

Cruise Ship Jobs That Don’t Require Experience

Here are some of the jobs that you can get on a cruise ship that do not require experience:

  1. Galley Cleaner
  2. Pot Washer
  3. Ordinary Seaman
  4. Cabin Steward
  5. Assistant Cabin Steward
  6. Bar Utility
  7. Deckhand
  8. Bell Staff
  9. Cleaner
  10. Laundryman
  11. Engine Room Wiper

Any of these positions will provide you an effective launching pad by which you could progress into a higher ranked and higher-paying position on the cruise ship.

no experience required cruise ship jobs

1. Galley Cleaner

A galley cleaner is someone who cleans and maintains the neatness of the galley or kitchen of a ship. You don’t need to have any galley-cleaning experience to apply for this job. But certainly, you need to show your future employer that you have the necessary skills to do the job.

If you have worked as a utility man in a restaurant or a factory before, your chances of getting the job will increase. The average salary for this job ranges from $900 to $1,200 per month.

2. Pot Washer

Washing a pot is something that can be done even by a small child about ten years old and up. So, you can apply as a pot washer even if you haven’t worked in this job before. However, you need to show that you have the transferable skills to do the job. If you can show your future employer that you have worked in the kitchen of a fast-food joint, you can land the job.

As a pot washer, you will be asked to clean the dishes, pots and pans, and other galley equipment and utensils. This position earns an average of $900 to $1,200 per month.

3. Ordinary Seaman

An ordinary seaman is like the utility man in a factory or an office building. So, if you have worked in these jobs before, you can apply as an ordinary seaman on a cruise ship. Your task, if hired, is general cleaning of the ship, which includes maintenance and cleaning the deck areas. You can earn from $1,300 to $2,200 per month if hired in this position.

4. Cabin Steward

Cabin steward is another entry-level position that does not require cruise ship experience. Your duties, if hired, include daily cleaning and tidying of the passenger cabins. If you have worked in a hotel before as a utility man or in housekeeping, your chances of getting hired will increase. You can earn from $1,700 to $2,500 per month in this job.

5. Assistant Cabin Steward

The position of an assistant cabin steward is one step below the rank of the cabin steward. That means your responsibility if hired in this position, is not as heavy. However, be prepared to do the dirty work because that’s how the world of work works. The pay for this job ranges from $1.100 to $1,900 per month.

6. Bar Utility

A bar utility is responsible for the general cleaning and maintenance of bar areas and bar equipment in the ship. This entry-level position doesn’t require experience. But if you can show your future employer that you have worked in this job in a restaurant or a hotel, you can get the job faster. The pay for this job is somewhere between $900 and $1,200 per month.

7. Deckhand

This job is also an entry-level position, so there is no experience required to be a deckhand on a cruise ship. If hired, you might be asked to take on different jobs. You will be running errands for passengers, giving directions to different parts of the ship, general cleaning on deck areas, and keeping deckchairs and related equipment in good condition. You can earn from $1,200 to $2,000 per month if hired.

8. Bell Staff

Bell staff on a cruise ship is another entry-level position that does not require experience. Your duties, if hired, include providing special services to the passengers in their cabins like delivery of foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, delivery of beverages, gifts, and other items requested by the passengers. You stand to earn between $1,100 and $1,900 per month if hired. 

9. Cleaner

A cleaner on a cruise ship is tasked with the general cleaning of the public areas on the ship. Somehow, this job overlaps with that of the ordinary seaman.

No experience is required since this is also another entry-level position. But if you can show the employer that you have worked as a general cleaner in a hotel, restaurant, or factory, your chances of being hired will be good. You can earn from $900 to $1,500 in this position.

10. Laundryman

Cruise ships need laundrymen very badly. So even if you don’t have cruise ship experience, but have worked in a laundry service, your chances of landing a laundryman job will be high.

Your responsibility, if hired, will be washing and ironing all the garments of the crew, officers, and passengers of the ship. Your earnings could range from $1,200 to $1,800 per month if you get the job.

11. Engine Room Wiper

A cruise ship also needs engine room wipers. The engine rooms of cruise ships are almost always filled with dirty smoke with particulates that settle in every nook and corner of the engine room.

Your task, if hired, will be the general cleaning of all engine room machinery, equipment, instruments, and tools. You can earn from $1,200 to $2,200 per month in this position.

General Requirements in Applying for a Job on a Cruise Ship

In all jobs on a cruise ship, there are some general requirements that you must satisfy if you want to be considered by the HR department. Here are some of the general requirements:

1. Criminal Records and History

A cruise ship provides special services to thousands of guests. The safety and security of the passengers are uppermost in the mind of shipowners. As such, they will ensure that all the deckhands and crew members of the ship are thoroughly authorized, if not properly investigated, to ensure that they have no criminal history or criminal record before they are hired.

2. Medical Certificate and Medical Records

All crew members, officers, and staff are required to present a medical record or history that shows they are not carriers of any kind of communicable disease. Again, the ship is providing service to thousands of guests. A crew member that carries a communicable disease is a threat to all people on board.

3. Passport

The cruise ship calls on different international ports. Crew members, officers, and staff are required to present their valid passports for them to be allowed entry to any international port of call.

4. Tattoos and Piercings

Most cruise liners require their crew members, staff, and officers to be clean, which includes no visible tattoos and piercings on their bodies. Some cruise liners may allow tattoos as long as they are covered. Others will not consider them at all.

Two Basic Classifications of Jobs on a Cruise Ship

There are two general classifications of workers on a cruise ship. They are the crew members and staff. What are the basic differences between the two?

1. Crew and Staff Members

The maintenance, housekeeping, busboys, cooks, waiters, and bartenders are the crew members of a cruise liner. They only go to passenger areas to do their work. They eat, sleep, and live at crew-only decks.

Higher on the echelon are the staff members. These include the captain and the officers, hotel department, and entertainment staff. Staff members are the ones who regularly interact with the passengers. These workers are usually in the sports and fitness section of the ship, theater personnel, computer techs, videographers, and so forth.

2. Staff

Members of this group are distinct from the staff members of the cruise ship. They are not directly employed by the cruise ship but are employed by outside concessionaires.

Casinos, photography services, medical staff, and entertainment are the usual concessionaires that provide their services to the ship’s passengers. They are given different access to the ship’s amenities. For example, they can eat in buffet areas, but they can’t go to nightclubs.

How to Apply for Cruise Ship Jobs That Do Not Require Experience

how to apply for cruise ship jobs

If you don’t have any experience but want to work on a cruise ship, follow these steps in applying for a job.

1. Decide on Which Cruise Ship You Want to Work For

Check all the ships that are looking for workers. Get some general information about the working conditions on these ships, especially how much they pay for entry-level positions. Go for cruise liners that have good reputations both on the passenger and the employee’s point of view.

2. Look at the Job Requirements and Study the Job Descriptions

Check the job requirements that the cruise liners have posted on their websites or physical offices. Study their job descriptions and check which of those you can handle with your present skills and experience level.

3. Prepare Your Resume

Before even applying, you should have already prepared a general resume listing all your personal data, educational attainment, current activities, and past working experience (if you have any).

Modify your resume based on the specific job requirements and job descriptions of the cruise ship. Having a tailored resume for the job will show their HR department that your application is just for them and not just for anybody else.

4. Prepare a Cover Letter

Compose a concise but complete cover letter. It must not be too long or too short. It should highlight your qualifications and transferable skills that are the right match for the job opening.

5. Choosing the Right Photo

If you are asked to include a recent photo, carefully choose one that truly represents who you are. Preferably, you should be smiling in that photo. It will give a good impression on your would-be employer.

6. Send Your Application According to the Instructions of the Employer

There are many ways by which you can send your job application. What matters is that you follow the instructions of the employer. If he wants you to give it personally, then do so. But if he wants you to submit your application online, then follow his instructions.

7. Follow Up Your Job Application

Show them that you are really interested in the position by following up on your job application. If you don’t follow up on your application, he might think that you are not really interested in the job. But don’t overdo it because he might be peeved with your overzealousness. Give him a call if he fails to fulfill his promise that he will call on you.

Conclusion – How to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship with No Experience?

So, to revisit our initial question: How to get a job on a cruise ship with no experience? The best way to get a job on a cruise ship if you have no experience is to highlight your transferable skills in your resume. When you get the interview, focus your discussion on how you can transfer your present skills and experience to the requirements of the job.

There are many jobs on a cruise ship that do not require any experience, including:

  1. Galley Cleaner
  2. Pot Washer
  3. Ordinary Seaman
  4. Cabin Steward
  5. Assistant Cabin Steward
  6. Bar Utility
  7. Deckhand
  8. Bell Staff
  9. Cleaner
  10. Laundryman
  11. Engine Room Wiper

Even if you don’t want these jobs, you could start with one of these entry-level jobs and then request transferring to a different job later. The cruise ship industry is always growing as more ships get built and more people want to take a cruise. So there is an opportunity for you, even without experience.